Roof rack popped off

I recently bought a Pro Rack crossbar set from Rack Attack and had them fit it to my Subaru Legacy sedan.

One week after the installation (no loads since installed), I heard a pop while driving.

After stopping I noticed one of the tower clips popped off the door frame/opening.

I find this very unnerving as I will be driving down to Florida from Canada in a month’s time with two kayaks on the roof.

Does anyone know why this popped off? Is this normal? Any advise or words of caution?

I guess I’ll have to make sure the kayaks are secured to the car and not just to the rack.

it happens,
sometimes on certain cars more than others. It’s all about how well the clips/rail grabs bite. A good habit is to grab a crossbar and tug to make sure the rack is secure even when you’re not carrying boats.

Any cross bar rack that only “clips” or holds onto the door opening is inherently insecure, including Yakima’s.

The shape of the door opening frame also varies by vehicle which leads to additional insecure attachments which I found out on my Honda pilot.

I can’t help you "why it popped off"
But I have installed all my racks, by myself, directly to the roof, and never have had one come off.

jack L

Bow / stern lines
You should certainly attach bow and stern lines to attach your load to your car, so if the rack fails, you don’t kill the innocent person driving behind you. I would recommend using those lines even if you hadn’t noticed a failure of the rack attachment system. Lines can never hurt, take only a few seconds to use and provide an extra level of safety.

utter nonsense
I’ve owned three cars now using that attachment and in a decade have never had a failure. But you do have to follow the installation instructions closely.

take it

izzit possible drilling holes in the fore aft rails then running ties thru holes n over the rack ?

definitely tie it to the car
yes, bow and stern lines both on both boats - and since you have had that failure, I would go ahead and run a flat webbing strap through the windows as well, just for insurance.

Ditto, take it back, since the dealer
put this on, and make them “fix” it.

Your part could be out of spec.

and I bet they try to blame the
cold weather for this, too !

never tie
thru the windows, you won’t be able to open the door!

Tie with the doors open.

Racks will fail
I lost a kayak a few years ago when my Yakima racks failed. The racks were 4 or 5 years old and not being a trusting type I always gave them the wiggle test before loading a boat. In this case the clip did not give way but rather the hinge within the tower failed. One minute I am driving down the highway and then poof the boat disappeared. Fortunately no damage other than the destruction of the rack and the boat - I still have nightmares about wiping out a van full of nuns. Now I always use front and back tie downs and racks that bolt to the roof racks. I may be a slow learner but I do eventually learn.


a ha
good catch, I missed that. My bet is on dealer error.

Not on all cars

– Last Updated: Feb-03-16 3:05 PM EST –

I know that you and I have disagreed about this in the past, but have you ever tried the clip method on doors that have full double gasketing, where there's no option for metal-on-metal contact and the clip can only sink into soft rubber? I suspect you haven't, because clips don't hold worth a crap on those kinds of door openings (they also destroy the door seal).

That’s a scary thought,
as I’ll be having Thule roof rack installed on my 2016 Honda FIT whenever spring arrives.

Using bow and stern lines makes sense, but can you safely attach the kayak to the car without interfering with side curtain airbags?

Watch Out For Those Bow & Stern Lines
For they do come loose and your tires will run over them and will snap an OC-1 in half. So keep those lines short and secure.


– Last Updated: Feb-03-16 4:25 PM EST –

My instructions said to gently pull back the gasket and insert the metal tab of the foot fit piece in between the gasket, and the body metal, so that it has contact with metal. Two of my cars had this circumstance, but I agree, if instructed to place it against the gasket I'd be skeptical.

I often hear how difficult it is to fully tighten the foot until the little plastic lever audibly "clicks" and seats within the tower. So I suspect a good percentage of rack failures are user error. And he said "inherent" not "inherent on some models". Not a big fan of blanket statements.

How do they come loose?
In the 50 years I’ve been either carrying boats or seeing it being done, I’ve yet to see this happen with proper knots. In fact, I’ve never seen a proper knot come loose from anything under any circumstance. I think “keep them secure”, meaning know how to tie and knowing not to use cheap rope that’s not compatible with knot-tying is all the advice anyone needs on this. Besides, who has tie-downs of different lengths to match every boat?

Not all equal
The Thule Fit Kit for the Honda Fit is a good Fit. Use the bow/stern tiedowns, don’t carry a kayak longer than 22’ and keep it under 83.732mph (slower in areas subject to crosswinds)

I don’t have any experience with Pro Rack which is what the OP had but I do know that Thule puts their stuff through some extensive testing. It’s cheaper long term insurance to put the R&D in before the rack is traveling at highway speeds in front of the bus load of nuns.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

PS - Drop me a line when you’re ready to strap the Samba. I have a couple of strap snugification tricks I’ve learned over the years with that Hullavator.

That sounds good

– Last Updated: Feb-03-16 7:27 PM EST –

I've seen a couple of those installed wrong, but not by boating enthusiasts. All the ones I've seen on my friend's cars have no gaskets getting in the way in the first place.

Edit: I just looked at the gaskets on my cars, which WOULD be in the way. I can't see a good way to get a clip beneath them without cutting away material, partly due to the complicated set of bends that the clip would need just to fit get between the top edges of the door and the irregular surface of the car body when reaching for the first available hooking surface, and that surface is tiny, barely more than an eighth of an inch wide. Doesn't look promising at all, but maybe there's a way. I'm glad I haven't had to resort to worrying about that method.