Gutter less roof racks

Anyone have any problems with a gutter less roof rack. Seems as if they don’t have much to hold onto. I bought a Thule rack for my Prius and wondered how solid it will be. FishHawk

No problems here
We’ve used them for years on various vehicles with no problems - from plastic Saturn wagons to a Toyota 4-Runner (no factory rack). The place where I work sells them, and if there were problems, we’d surely have heard about them.


I’ve read about a number of examples of attachment failures for gutter-less mounts. Usually it was a case of getting hit by a hard cross wind without adequate bow and stern attachments. I have not personally experienced it though. I’m of the opinion that the gutter mounts are vastly superior to the gutter-less.


if it’s properly installed…
…you shouldn’t have any problems. Thule won’t release a new clipset for a gutterless mount until they’ve had enough time to engineer it to fit as perfectly as possible (which is why they have several hundred clipsets for different cars, as opposed to a relative handful from Yakima).

I’ve been using guttlerless clips for ten years now, since I sold the last rain-gutter’d car I owned, and have loaded upwards of 300 pounds on them with no problems. That’s nearly twice their recommended load, so don’t try this at home…:wink:

If you’re unsure as to whether your racks are on correctly or not, stop by the dealer you bought them from and have them review your installation. There’s an instruction book in your clipset box that will show exactly how far apart from each other the towers are supposed to be on each bar and how far away from each other the front and back bars are supposed to be. If you follow their instructions and make sure you’re not guessing as to correct fit, you should be fine.

Solid Hold On Prius
We have done a couple of Thule/Prius installations at work, both have been extremely solid and capable of safely hauling multiple boats.

The only issue is that the arched roofline only allows bor 24" of bar spread (front to back). This will work fine for craddled or J-Barred boats but is a fairly short footprint for a canoe. Double bow and stern lines can make up the difference.

In both cases we added Top-Ties under the hood for use as bow lines.

Student of mine carries his 17’10" Impex Assateague on his prius using a Thule roof rack, and he drives FAST! Boat’s still on his roof not on the road.

See you on the water,


I’ve used both, and have absolute
confidence in gutterless systems. Going without bow and stern ties is stupid, because the means of attaching the boat to the rack may fail. But the clips that hold the rack to the car will not fail. Not even in thunderstorm crosswinds.

Glad that you’ve not had problems…
I’m repeating what was discussed in a my local sea kayaking club about a year ago. I don’t know all of the particulars but one person brought it up and another chimed in with a similar story.

I have the Yakima system on both my pickups and have gutter-less mounts in the front. I think they’re pretty funky. I found that in order to tighten them enough that they don’t slip around while in use, I’ve dented the steel a bit on one pickup. Personally I don’t like them at all and would much rather have gutter mounts. YMMV


drilled it
I believe boats on car worth more than car. Priorities. I drilled up thru door frame and used stainless screws barely big enough to fir. Check first to make sure it requires tremendous force to put in the screw so it will stay. Loctite? Need special carbibe drill because q towers are tough. Really lowers resale but no leaks and now have span for 21 ft t-bolt at 70 mph.

I spent $30 and got a great one
from Advanced Auto. It’s solid and secure. Easy to put on and take off. Works great. The clips have to be put on correctly. The go UNDER the molding INSIDE the door OVER the weather stripping.

No Problems
I have a Thule rack on my Civic and it’s solid as a rock. No rain gutters.

My older Yakima system (circa '90)
was tricky, but reliable if checked and adjusted often. The new system, circa 2000, has exact parameters specified, and is not denting at all on Accord sheetmetal. I would have thought that pickups would have sheet metal at least as heavy. Some people think Yakima and Thule err by placing the rack feet right over curved areas at the edge of the roof, but that curvature means arched strength. Is that where the feet ended up on your pickup, or did Yakima’s dimensions cause the feet to be on a flat area?

I have used Yakima gutterless mounts
now for three years on my pickup and have had no problems. Actually they aren’t gutterless since they clip on the gutter on the inside of the door. The rear rack on the cap did need a sort of gutter installed for the towers to clip on to. Frequently, I carry my 18 ft canoe and a solo canoe. I have hauled them from Florida to Alaska. If the wind is strong I’ll use two ropes in from to keep the canoes from moving. Even doing this at times I would have to stop to tighten the straps because the cross wind was so strong. I actually think the gutterless mounts are stronger at least the way they are mounted on my truck. They clip on the gutter in the inside of the door and since the door is normally closed, it would be nearly impossible to come loose. I always use a tie down on the bow and stern unless I’m just going down the street.

Plenty strong.
We have a Yakima system for our Saturn LS-1. With extra-wide bars, we were carrying two pack canoes mounted inboard and two mountain bikes, each outboard of the canoes. While travelling on a narrow forest road, we moved off to the side to provide space for an oncoming car. Unfortunately, we didn’t properly gauge the overhanding trees, which caught the bike on the right side of the car. Loud crunching sound, but everything stayed on top and secure. It wasn’t until later that I found we had bent the fork on the bike and put some dents into the roof where the rack towers sat. So yeah, I’d say a gutterless rack can mount very securely.

Yalima on my Dodge Dakota
I have a Yakima 2 Kayak Rack syetem on my 2000 Dodge Dakota, with the extended cab.

It has proven to be a solid rack ststem, and has not given me any probems at all.

I take it off over the winter, and it takes 5 minutes to take it off.

In the spring, I fuss with it for about 15 minutes to put it on, as it has extra pieces with it for the extended cab. But it is easy to put on.

It is a nice solid system, that I would buy again.

I have Mako Saddles front and back, with the felt pads. It works well.

bow stern lines
won’t prevent a rack from pulling off,just keep the mess from bouncing onto the highway. Operator error is probably a bigger problem than differences in the design. I’ve heard more than enough stories of overloaded gutter racks taking flight because they weren’t checked/secured after installation. I loaded up a friends Saab with three kayaks for a trip across country and tied straps through the windows to the rack because one of the fittings was funky.

They’re back on the flat section.