Do you trust your factory rack?

Has anyone actually seen a factory rack fail with a paddle craft strapped on? I’d assume if the weight limit isn’t exceeded that factory bars are tested for the rated load, including crash tests. Why not trust them for a rated load?

I think trusting the factory rack would vary hugely depending on the specific vehicle. Personally, I use the factory cross rails for my vehicle because there were only a few 3rd party racks available when I got mine, the third-party ones were actually more than twice the cost of the factory cross rails, and most importantly, the factory rails had equal or higher capacity than the third-party ones. For example, my factory rails have a 220 lb capacity, whereas the Yakima ones sold for my vehicle are only rated for 165 lbs.

I don’t know whether it’s the case with Yakima, but quite a few OEMs use Thule for their rack systems.

New to the forum but not to driving or racks! It’s strange that you have rust. I had mine on the car for years and they never rusted even though the plastic covering scraped off in some areas. I would replace them if you’re skeptical of their integrity. I don’t trust factor racks at all. They really weren’t designed for carrying the stuff we all routinely put on our roofs nowadays. My last three cars have been flat-tops for that purpose and to save money (in the Honda world it can add $1k to sticker price) for legit crossbars and mounts.

Vehicle is? 220 seems like a lot.

It’s a Buick Envision SUV, but that appears to be the standard GM factory rack for their line of mid-sized SUVs. The GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox factory cross rails/system appear to have the same capacity.

I purchased the cross rails from a dealer, and the person I spoke to mentioned that the rails were made by Thule. I haven’t been able to independently confirm that though.

If you ever watch crash tests, you will often see the factory bars merrily tumble off the car. They’re often just slotted in and and with flexing they come loose.

A little rust is easily fixed and not usually a significant strength issue. However I prefer the Thule square bars. Saddles and other accessories won’t roll on the bars and they are a lot less expensive than the aerodynamic bars. Most accessories will fit either. I suspect that the simple round and square bars are going to be discontinued.

Doubtful round will be discontinued. I like round so saddle will rotate as hull goes up. Round is cheaper to make they have to stay competitive.

I sold my previous car with a Yakima roof rack because the buyer saw the car with the roof rack and insisted on me including them. I have since been using strapping 1-2 50 pounds each plastic sea kayaks to an OEM Subaru Outback roof rack, one directly to the roof rack and the nicer kayak in Thule fold down cradles. I have never had a problem. Occasionally, the cradles and the kayaks slide around a bit but have never ever fallen off. I drive hundreds of miles and at high speed. I have had no issues with the Subaru factory crossbars.

My rav4 has flush rails so Thule/Yakima crossbars are in the $500 range. I’m going to look at some off brand bars. I may send them back but if they aren’t well built, I’d like to save the $400 give or take.

My wife came with a factory rack. It’s better than an after-market rack, IMHO. Seriously, the small bit of rust is nothing to be concerned about. You can easily rectify the problem for just a little money and minor effort.
Remove the rails, and lightly sand away the rust. If the rust is as you say, a 200 grit sandpaper should be more than enough. You can finish with a 400, but do NOT “polish” the metal with anything finer. The metal needs some “tooth” for the primer & paint to adhere.
After sanding, use a good self etching metal spray primer like Rustoleum. Let it dry overnight, then give it a very light sand with the 400 grit paper. You don’t want to sand thru it, just give it a little tooth for the paint to adhere to the primer well.
After a day’s dry time, spray your chosen color of Rustoleum LIGHTLY on the rails. Several light coats are far better than 1 or 2 heavy coats.
Sandpaper, Primer & Paint will cost you about $16 and will last many years, if done in this manner. If you want a nice shiny finish, after the paint dries for a month, lightly wet sand the rails with 1000 then 2000 grit sandpaper, but it’s not necessary.

A lot of these discussions boil down to how well you secure your boat. There are best practices that are important to consider. Watch this: Flying Kayaks - YouTube. Hope that helps to answer your question. There is no such thing as a tie-down that’s too secure.