Do you trust your factory rack?

I have a factory rack on my 2010 Rav4 but added a Yakima rack when I bought the vehicle so I could carry multiple boats for shuttles, as well as a full, heavy roof top box for long road trips. I just discovered my cross bars are peeling and rusting. I’m thinking of just removing the Yakima rack for now and attaching my various carriers to the factory cross bars. They have a weight limit of 100 lbs, which I will not exceed. But should I trust the factory rack? I never have before. I’m inclined to cheap out for now - unless I shouldn’t.

Cheaping out with projectiles on a rooftop, not a good idea. Replacement Yakima crossbars aren’t that expensive.

I bought a new pair of 66” round bars a year or so ago, to replace some very old (though not visibly rusty) 58” bars. Was not shocked at the price.

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I haven’t trusted a rack since rain gutters


My Yakima round bars have been on my vehicle constantly for ten years no rust. I live on saltwater bay. How much do new bars cost? You can remove rust and hit spot with liquid tape.

They are $115 for a pair. Not a lot, but I’m bleeding money lately. I purchased this rack system used and it’s been on my car since November 2009. No idea how old it is. I’ve never heard of liquid tape. That might be the answer. The rust is very superficial at this point. I noticed when measuring for a new SUP rack attachment.

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I built my own rack for carrying up to two full sized canoes. I trust my racks 100% what gives me pause are what the carmaker provided to hold any rail/rack to the car. There are 4 threaded 6mm places with a sheet metal projection with a threaded hole. It is all I had to work with so I used them. I figured I have additional bow and stern tie down points off two places front and rear so for me it is a case of belt and two pairs of suspenders. I then combine that with driving in favorable conditions at moderate speeds.

Often when we are loading our boats I look around at what others are doing and just about the time I’m going to tell someone something I get reminded I’m not the rack police.

Few bucks I think you’ll be happy. Used on outboard motors trim pumps which are always subject to saltwater.


That’s probably all that secures the OEM roof rails on a lot of cars. Then add that the roof rails might be mostly plastic and it makes you question how much to trust them.

My car doesn’t have roof mounting points (or available rails), but I actually think that the clamp-type racks that clamp on the door frame are quite secure if the towers can’t slide along the rails (see issues in another thread). Just personal preference but I trust that the most.

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I have an ‘09 Rav4. I use the factory racks (3’ max spacing) for my under 12’ Royalex canoe for travels on back roads without traffic up to ~40mph and less than 10 miles. In other words, no, I don’t trust them - much.

Well I have been dissuaded from that foolishness. I’ll try coating my Yakima bars. If that fails, I’ll buy new bars. I can’t free up the factory cross bars to separate them anyway. I left them on but moved them closer together/out of the way and they are evidently not going anywhere.

I carry canoes on the roof of a 15 year old Volvo station wagon. The car, bought used, was not equipped with roof rails and I did not want to use the rack feet that mount above the doors as they are not far enough apart. So I bought a set of rails from a junk yard and installed them myself. Therefore I know that the rails are attached with six 6mm machine screws on each side, 12 overall (threaded bosses are installed in all the cars, just not the rails). For loading canoes I use Thule cross bars which clamp onto the rails. I consider that rig to be pretty solid. But I still use bow lines if I am gonna drive over 40 mph or go a long distance.


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Can of spray paint and some sand paper would be cheaper.

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Another option is to use a product that chemically converts the rust as a primer, then paint over that.

Stops Rust® Rust Reformer Product Page (

Ooooh! That appeals to my lazy nature.

Also works great on my underground connecters for my garden lights…
Which get covered with saltwater a couple times a year…

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Are the bars plastic coated now?

Just bought new Thule square bars to go on the rails of a new to me Subaru Forester, and I was surprised how expensive they were. Definitely agree with pikabike - cheaping out with projectiles on a rooftop, not a good idea.

New (to me) car - old boat

One can often find used racks and rack parts on craigslist or facebook marketplace at less than half price of new.

But if I were you I’d try the stuff paddledog recommends since your rust is just a little surface rust so if you seal up the bars you should have a rock solid system with no problems again.

Minor rant: given the price that Yakima and Thule charge for plastic coated steel bars it would be nice if they first coated the steel inside and out to inhibit rust. Thule also leaves sharp burrs on the cut ends that can definitely draw blood. Sheesh.

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My Yakima are galvanized inside.

They are. And I think they are galvanized, but for some reason there is rust.