Yakama control towers - some advice

today I was doing a little revising on my pick up truck roof racks, and when I went to un-snap the Yakama control tower plastic covers that hold down the bars, they were just about frozen (stuck) and I had a fear I might break them.

It has been about four years since I opened them.

I was able to spray some silicon lubricant on them and finally work them loose.

So if any of you folks have them, you might want to open them every so often just to exercise them.



Why were they stuck?

I haven’t opened mine at all since installing them about 2 yrs ago.

Since they are PLASTIC (c’mon, Yakima…) they can’t rust in place. I wonder if regular use of 303 would keep them in good shape. Probably best to open, clean, and close them regularly.

unlock them first

For those using Q towers on sedans,
if you take the racks off now and then, BE SURE you keep all the silly rubber pads with the towers. Yakima designed them to fall off and get lost. Then when one takes the racks out of storage to put them back on, a missing pad or two can put you in a bad situation. You will be otherwise ready to load the boat and go, and your racks will be useless. My dealer (REI) did NOT have replacement pads as a separate item, so I had to spring for a complete set of metal clips to get the pads.

Two answers:

– Last Updated: Oct-27-07 6:27 AM EST –

1. yes they are plastic, and that is why I posted the advice.
And yes from now on I will once a year spray the pivot points with a silicon spray.
You might want to open and close yours to see how they are working

2. I don't use the locks.
they should have opened just by flipping them up.

The only thing that I can think of is the combination of sun and road grime got in the pivot points which caused them to bind up.
I am sure if I forced them rather than working them a little at a time with the spray they would have broken.


I laughed when I read that you said that they were “designed” to get lost and fall off. I know exactly what you mean!! Mine have fallen off but I found them right away. Now I just make it a habit to double check for them before storing them away in the barn.

Why did you buy the clips just to get the rubber pads? Wouldn’t Yakima just sell you the pads by themselves? I have always had VERY good customer service from them. YMMV


Rutabaga seems to have them in stock. But still not cheap at $4 each.

Because, as I said, I needed them
that day, not a few days later. That is why losing even one of them can be so punishing. I suppose I might have faked out a pad by scrounging for some inner tube rubber or some similar substitute. But I don’t like to experiment on the highway.

I sent Yakima a nasty letter about their design practices and the consequences for customers. But I don’t expect to see a redesign until they come out with completely new towers.

Their locking levers are cheesy platic, too. Real secure.

You don’t use locks
There might be another reason why your towers stuck. Yakima really designed those towers to be used with locks. There is a slot in the back of the tower that a ‘T’ shaped bar slides through. With a lock, it is turned 90 degrees and the tower is prevented from opening. Does your towers still have the black plastic plug in the lock core hole? On the plug is a little plastic nubbin that keeps that ‘T’ from turning. If the plug has come loose or is gone, then the ‘T’ can turn freely and seemingly freeze your tower. You can see from the back of the tower if this has happened.

I use locks, not because I’m worried about stuff being stolen or paying a few extra bucks to Yakima, but because everything seems to work better with them.

Nope don’t use the locks
they are an accessory that I don’t want or need, and the little black plug is still in there in each tower doing the job that it is supposed.

I posted the above as “ADVICE”

Take it or leave it.

I for one will open mine occasionally from now on and exercise them with a spray of silicon lubricant.