Roof Rack or New Vehicle?

I love my 2007 ford focus zx3 (hatchback), and it's been great for hauling my recreation kayak in the hatch, but since I have upgraded to 15' I've been looking for options for getting it from place to place.

Thule and Yakima racks are about $400 for everything I need, I have found some cheaper options from perrycraft, but we're still looking at around $300. The roof of my vehicle also bends in under a bit of weight, so I'm a tad concerned. I certainly don't want to kill someone with a runaway yak!

Are these Yakima/thule setups worth it, or should I just look for a cheap, beat up SUV? Mostly concerned about it getting lose on the highway. Any horror stories from people with cheap cars and aftermarket racks?

Lastly, would the permanent self tapping screw rack from perrycraft be more secure than a yakima/thule window mount?

Thanks for your help!

I was happy my Thule rack

– Last Updated: Dec-12-15 9:16 PM EST –

on a Pontiac Grand Am - it was a four door, but it carried my boat and many others.

Looks like the set up with the short roof adaptor is about $500. Not cheap, but I'd go for it - roof rack.

Rack current vehicle
is way less costly than replacing car. Keeps eyes open on Craigs List and thrift stores and garage sales. I just bought last week from local Habitat a new set of Thule 883 Glide and Set for ten, yes $10 and not almost $200 retail. They also have a new set of Thule Aero bars with some foot packs and lock cores for $12.50. At a garage sale yesteday I snagged a new box of six Yakima locking cores and Harmony bilge pump for $5.

remove liner add
angle aluminums…procede to develop rack


buy a dual cab pickup…a nice used small Tacoma

work up a cost estimate visavee the usual.

no such thing as a cheap beat up SUV maintenance and insurance is not cheap. Yakima is top notch equipment as is Thule. Easy to resell when the time comes also.

I’ve been keeping an eye out! Are most of the Yakima and Thule stuff interchangeable, or are the attachments brand specific?

I was originally going for a truck, but then I realized I would have to put a rack in the back to keep it straight. Those cost about the same as the roof racks unfortunately.

the attachments are brand specific
Go with a line and stick with it.

Now as for rack history. We went with a Yakima rack in 1987. We don’t trade in vehicles often. Yes it was an investment. But the only things that we have changed are towers ( Twice) and clips ( three times)

The last upgrade of clips cost $29.

The Yakimas ( and probably Thules) have a lifetime guarantee. We had one tower that was 17 years old fail last summer in the Great Plains in a high wind. Yakima sent us a complete set of four.

So our maybe $500 investment over 30 years is about…less than $2 a month. You may spend that much a day on coffee.

Holy crap that’s a lot of boats on that car! Just curious, did that exceed the weight limit? That certainly boost my confidence in what they can do.

Thanks for the info that’s a big help!

Thanks for the info, that makes me feel much better about grabbing a set of racks new, just for the warranty!

Here’s an option to consider:
A light duty (1 or 2 place) canoe/kayak trailer won’t be much more money than that roof rack, and there are various trailer hitches available for your Focus. The roof rack, if bolt-on (permanent) will have a negative effect on your mileage even when empty. Just some food for thought…

be careful
South Carolina neither requires trailers to be licensed and does not collect personal property tax on them

Other states have other ideas. Here it has to be registered.

use a shell or wood frame
trucks are negative in snow winter environments, needing LSD for canoe hauling outback

Most off the Yakima carriers work on either round or square tubes. I happen to prefer the Yakima racks and carriers.

so lame
Trucks are an income. Put on a plow and it earns its way.

That’s the way it works in Maine. 120-150 inches of snow annually. We never are stuck…so many pickups with plows.

and 4WD replaced 2WD pickups, 2WD vans, rear wheel drive commuters in snow country. Ford’s small Turkish delivery van is FWD ?

I wrote pickup then corrected.

Ultimate canoe haulers always specd as 4WD or LSD at bottom. But FWD is OK…if you’re using FWD going back to RWD with leaf springs n no LSD is a large step backwards into the ditch.

My E250 has LSD with Toyo A/T. On dry dirt that’s OK but on wetter the suspension needs axle snubbers or 5 pt leading arm control.

Traction from start is always a problem of axle tramp.

Maybe not true on Maine: opinions vary

Echoing the others - get a rack. I drive a 2-door civic with a Thule after-market setup and haven’t had issue. I just recently drove it from San Diego to Washington actually. Have had it for about a year and yes, much cheaper than getting. New vehicle!

There is no problem backing up with a roof rack or parking. Trailer can be a PITA for many. I can back up most anything and it is a pain to park at times.

Quality Racks =good investment
Yakima and Thule are not cheap.but I consider my Yakima well worth the bucks.if you trust the car to handle the load.then I would eat the cost of a good quality rack.