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 …
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.
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
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.
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.