Sticky Yakima Pads

So, is it just me, or do everyone’s Yakima Q-Tower pads degrade to a viscous goo, requiring replacement every year or two?

I’ve been using (and generally enjoying) Yakima Q-Tower rooftop rack systems on my cars for 12 years or so. The translucent, rubbery (silicone?) pads affixed to the bottom of the towers seem to do a decent job of protecting the cars’ paint from unnecessary scratches, etc…

But after 2-3 years of use, when removing the rack system from the car, I often find those same pads to be turning black on the edges, becoming very sticky to the touch and leaving tenaciously tacky muck marks on my paint, which must be laboriously removed with automotive tree-sap-and-insect remover!

Washing the pads in plain dishsoapy water and gently scrubbing with a bristle brush seems only to erode the rubber, resulting in further gooeyness, and I’ve finally resorted to heavily seasoning them in talcum powder prior to remounting, to prevent them from permanently adhering to my car’s roof.

  • I leave the rack installed from April thru November, so it doesn’t get hit with Wisconsin winter road salt spray.

  • I don’t use drive-thru car-washes, with their questionable chemicals.

  • This phenomenon occurs regardless what brand of hand-buffed car wax I use, and with no wax at all.

    Any ideas what’s causing this?

    I would just replace them annually if the darn things weren’t so ridiculously overpriced: six bucks, EACH, if you can even find them in stock somewhere …

I know what you mean…
mine do the same thing.

I take my racks off each time I’ve finished using them, but I always get the sticky foot print.

A small amount of mineral spirits seems to zip it off fast and clean.


Yakima replaced mine for free…
sent them an email, a few days later the fed-ex truck dropped an envelope with 4 new pads inside.

Too bad for my Honda Fit, the gooey silicone pad let the foot collapse and dent the roof :frowning:

But Yakima didn’t hesitate in sending new pads…I just should have asked for them sooner !


Haven’t had that kind of degradation.
My gripe with the pads is that they easily come loose and get lost when I’m removing or restoring the racks. On one occasion, I had to go to REI and buy a set of clips in order to get the pads. I needed them RIGHT NOW in order to go paddling that weekend, and REI did not have replacement pads as a separate item.

I would recommend everyone contact Yakima and obtain a full spare set of four pads. Keep them where you can get them when needed.

Call Yakima
They also replaced mine for free. I washed mine in dish detergent and they almost seemed to melt. I would not recommend washing them except with the mildest soap you can find. Now the rubber grip pads on my Mako saddles are doing the same thing (4yrs old) and I will be contacting Yakima for replacements very soon. Hopefully they won’t charge me for those either but I dont mind paying if the price is reasonable.

sticky racks
303 protector might do it. VF

Yakima Customer Service…
…seems poor to me. The rollers on my Hully Roller turned to goo. I sent an e-mail asking for advice. No response. My next rack with will be Brand “T”.

Try calling customer service
and talking to a human, rather than just email. I’ve always found them to be friendly and helpful. As far as pad life, I just bought a replacement set after 7 years, so I’m not unhappy. YRMV

It’s due to global warming
Just kidding!!..mostly.

I suspect that it is UV degradation from sunlight. UV rays do a number on unprotected rubber. Whoever suggested 303 protectant might have a point.


I did get a return email when
I complained to Yakima about the pads coming loose and getting lost.

Your inquiry must have been a challenge for them. Probably they struggled to reply and then just forgot. In such instances, a low pressure phone inquiry might work better.

Thanks all!
I’ll talk to the Yakima reps at the next show.

As for the various treatments recommended, it seems nearly everything I’ve tried only hastens the pads’ early demise: dishsoap, SimpleGreen, 303, ArmorAll, even gentle scrubbing.

The only thing which seems to help is talcum powder or corn starch, which does nothing to rejuvenate the pads, but prevents them from gluing themselves to my car, but doesn’t drip down down and ruin the wax/paint like some of the others.

Thanks again!

Wouldn’t 303 make them too slippery?
Seems like putting 303 on the pads might make them tend to slide out of position on the roof.

Atmospheric cheese causes sticky

I leave my pads and racks on the car year-round, removing only if we take a long trip without a boat. For whatever reason, I have not noted the sticky or gummy problem to the extent you have. I would not have to replace pads if I didn’t lose them when the rack goes off and on the car.

I don’t think 303 will hurt, but it might affect pad grip. On certain cars that would be a problem.