Saturn overloaded?

We are finally buying two Carolina 14’, each weighing 55 lbs. and planned to put a Yakima roof rack on our Saturn Vue. The kayak dealer says that’s fine with them ,as long as we realize that we will be"overweight" by 35-50 lbs., according to the Saturn guidelines. They are correct; our manual says no more than 100 lbs on the roof. Saturn even sells a rack, but I guess it’s for 1 kayak. Question: does anyone carry two heavy kayaks on a Saturn for any length of time and if so, has there been any damage to the car? Or the kayaks? Like the factory roof rack with kayaks flying off on I-95? Any other suggestions?

Saturn Vue
I regularly carry two boats on my Vue. I use factory provided racks (Yakima would not fit). I retro fitted hully rollers on the back and got the cradles from Saturn. My Vue is a 2002 and things may have changed on the newer models.

I’ve exceeded the 100 lb. limit on more than one occasion. Once driving over 1500 miles with 2 boats on the roof.


You need a factory rack
Vues have flimsy plastic fake gutters that won’t hold the footers for an after-market rack. You have to have a factory rack (at least the side rails) if you want to install any kind of carriers.

vue rack
hi…i have a ‘02 Vue myself…i’ve “tested” the rack up to around 90mph with a 17.5’ kayak strapped to the top and not a wobble or shake. You have to understand that racks are purposely underrated. I think the key is to distribute the weight as evenly as possible and use bow and stern lines to help anchor and hold the boats. I myself would not hestitate to put 3 boats on top and drive xxxx miles if i wanted too and and know the rack will take it.

Yakima Tracks work fine
The VUE was not designed to have a typical clip style rack fastened to the door and window trim. It already has threaded inserts in the roof along the sides where the factory rails fasten. On my 2002 VUE without a factory rack, i mounted Yakima tracks. The tracks were designed for atop camper shells and van roofs. Then into the tracks i mounted ‘landing pads’. The control towers mount to the landing pads and hold the crossbars. The landing pads stay on the tracks and the bars remove by detaching the control towers from the landing pads. A simple to operate lever extends and retracts a deadbolt which locks the control tower to the landing pad.

On this setup i routinely carry a Wenonah Minnesota IV which is 23 feet long and a 17’ tandem canoe. It has held a 20’ Grumman War Canoe at over 125#. The weight is born by the tracks which are bolted into the Saturn recepticles for the Saturn Rack. There is no weight born by the plastic body or roof skins.

The bolt spacing for the Saturn threaded inserts is the same as the hole spacing for the Yakima tracks and i had no problem removing the Stainless steel metric socket head bolts and attaching the Yakima tracks with slightly longer bolts. Each side has two short track sections. One over the front of the front doors and one at the rear of the roof. This gives a very long bar spread. The tracks are black and blend in with the black roof trim on which they mount.

I have bounced a canoe and big Yakima cargo box over 600 miles of northern Quebec dirt road on two separate fishing trips and i know that the roof load was close to 200# between the canoe and the load in the cargo box and in the 2 canoe packs lashed under the canoe.

100# would be a good guide for a clip mounted rack setup with the feet of the towers sitting on the plastic roof panels and gripping over the plastic trim panels above the doors. Clip attached racks are a weaker mount in many ways compared to a raingutter or track mounted rack. Bolting on the artifical raingutter brackets is often the strongest solution for a gutterless roof. Most people object to drilling the roof, but it is a stronger system that allows more bar spread and putting the load on a stronger part of the roof.