Yakima rack stolen AGAIN!

For the second time this year my Yakima roof rack with locks has been stolen. Once from the metro rail parking garage and yesterday from my parking lot. These rails have locking towers but apparently are very easy to remove as damage to car is minimal.

I called Yakima and the person I spoke to said the LA police has called them in regards to a rash of gang related robberies of their roof racks. Is this a new crime trend? I just want to ask if any of you in the paddling community have had any success with another brand of rack that can be left on the car and the locking mechanism works better than Yakima. These racks are very expensive and I bought the locks with the intention of being able to leave them on the roof. Now have to think about another system or removing them each time I go out and come back from paddling. That is a PITA.

Guess I’ll have to use the foam blocks again until I find a solution and more cash :frowning:

I certainly would try the OTHER brand.
I do not know if my Thule can be ripped from the roof while locked. I hope I never have to find that out. Obviously no one ever attempted it as I have the screw on kayak risers whick take no effort to steal.

I’d think the two brands are the same
at least when it comes to locks.

Do what I do: Put it on so tight you can’t even get it off yourself. Then let it rust. Seriously, I don’t know what the solution is. Maybe keep a big heavy junker plastic boat on top at all times to slow them down?

Spray paint
They’re probably not stealing them for their own use. Why not try spray painting your next one a hideous color which whould make it difficult to fence. I know some folks who do this with their pricey ski poles.


Cheap and simple locks
The two or three tumbler cheap locks used by roof rack companies are so easy to pick that they may as not even be there.

Possible Deterrent
Not sure how you’d fit it to your rack, but folks I know secure their kayaks to the car using a length of 1x19 SS rigging wire, with eyes swages into each end. The cable is looped around something in the kayak - a seat, for example. The eye near the boat is large enough to let the smaller eye on the other end pass thru it. The end with the smaller eye is then placed within the car, and the door closed on the cable. It’ll take a fair set of wire cutters, or a cordless disk grinder, to cut it…

And the hideous color paint is a good idea, too - our Thule rack is covered in pool noodle for padding, and several colors of duct tape to help keep the foam in place - it ain’t pretty, buy hey, it’s there…

Just remove them
I know it is a pain, but once you have the yakimas set up it only takes an extra couple minutes to remove or install. In dicey areas far from home I’ve even locked the racks in the car before launching. I would hate to be off somewhere and get back to the ramp to find the racks gone and be looking at a naked roof transport scenario.

may I suggest light purple?

If someone is picking your lock
I take it they’re not above smashing your window to unlock the door.

I had a Saris roof top rack
a number of years ago. Went to visit someone in Boston and had the car parked on Beacon St. overnight. Came out the next morning got in the car and drove an hour back home and went to work. Parked the car at work, started walking to the building, looked at the car and noticed something was missing. The entire rack with two bike trays was gone. They pried it off the car with whatever tools would work as there were gouge marks and some small dents on the roof. To say I was pissed off was an understatement as I wanted to go back to that spot when I got a new rack and wait in the bushes for these punks.

As usual, if a thief wants something, they are going to get it. Locks, cables, etc. are simply a deterrent and do not provide a guarantee your stuff will stick around.

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I just read an article recently…
that told about the roof racks being the new choice of theft by the gangs.

Cars are out now since they can be traced by the chips that are installed, and most other interior stuff is either protected by electronics, or alarms.

I have never had locks in my Yakama rack towers.

Where we live, we leave the keys in our vehicles and our house opened when we go to town.

Jack L

Bolts not locks
I bolt the racks to the roof permanently. It takes a lot of doing. You have to install polyurethane coated jack nuts into holes you drill into your roof. This leaves permanent holes that you can fill with round head bolts if you want to take the racks off. But it takes some time to unbolt the racks. If needed you could use security bolts but even regular bolts makes removing the racks about a 20 minute job.

You also have to drill the base of the racks. Thule racks are much better for this as the base is steel. Then you don’t need the clips at all. Two stainless bolts for each tower.

Don’t try this on your own. Get a friend who is a mechanical engineer to help you decide where and how to drill. You don’t want to mess this up.

Please don’t try to hold me responsible if you take on this worthy project unless you hire me to do it. :slight_smile:

no way

– Last Updated: Jun-25-10 3:17 PM EST –

I'd advise against this for too many reasons to list here. Leaks, rust, visual damage, structural integrity, trade-in value, warranty implications...unless you own a beater I wouldn't even think about it. Do you think a thief who unfastens the towers only to find the bases screwed down is going to walk away, or pull out a screwdriver? No, they're going to tear it off your roof and unscrew the screws later.

(you could, however, glue on some false bolt heads to the tower bases to make it look like it's bolted to the car roof)

Like thomas says, it only takes a few minutes to install and remove. If you live somewhere where people will stoop to this level - just remove it. I take mine off for long trips where I don't need it, and after doing it a few times it becomes very routine.

Get extensions
If you install some sort of rack extensions mounted to the bars, they will be somewhat harder to remove and manage by a thief.

A 6 foot extension that holds both rack rails together makes the thing a pretty big and unwieldy rectangle that fewer thieves will tackle.

Also, get your next rack used and not brand spanking new looking. That will decrease the resale value and will be less likely to be stolen. Who knows - you might even buy back your own rack -:wink:

Hate when these things happen but short of bolting the thing to the car or buying a garage, there isn’t much you can do to more reliably prevent theft if the rack has to stay on the car…

stolen racks
One reason thieves go to rail stations is because when they find the car parked close to the station entrances, they anticipate that it will be there all day until the owner gets off work…that is why so may cars are stolen from rail station lots. I’de suggest contacting the rail police department because I’m certain they do surveillance in the lots. (not the station managers, but the police for the rail) Be sure and report this crime and when you get another system, engrave components with your personal number (not SSN)to help identify them. You might just see it on another vehicle or it may turn up on a traffic stop when the officer sees a bunch of racks in the back seat… Police will stake out high crime areas and the waiting in the bushes on surveillance, does pay off. Keep in mind, the crooks have tools (weapons) in their hands when prying off the bars… Contact your nearby pawn shops and Play-it-Again stores to be on the lookout. By the way, where does Jack L reside?..

Food for thought - load bars are hollow
Sorry to hear about your experience - it is such a violation to have stuff stolen.

I’ve never worked with Yakima racks, so I speak only from my experience with Thule:

It occurs to me that load bars are hollow (at least Thule ones are), and I wonder if it’d be feasible to string a cable through them and secure it to the vehicle somehow. The load bars thread through the footers, so a cable coming out the ends of the load bar would prevent the footers from being slid off the load bars.

Just a thought.

Thule Tracker II
I don’t have locks for them because they can be removed in seconds and stored in the vehicle. I take it off at the access if I feel like theft is a possibility. At home, it’s stored until use. Had someone time me at one of the Ozark Rendezvous’ once. Off in about 15 seconds, on in less than 30 seconds. WW

I’d like to see your exact set-up.

– Last Updated: Jun-25-10 2:36 PM EST –

I'm really only familiar with the Yakima mounts that I use, as I really haven't paid any attention to the other varieties that must be available. I know I could come up with some theft-deterent ideas if I had the rack in front of me to look at.

If you have those little levers which serve the dual function of tightening a screw and then flipping down where they lock in place and can't be turned, I think they can simply be pried loose with a screw driver since only a flimsy plastic loop engages the lock. A machine shop could fabricate a set of those levers made out of steel or aluminum, which wouldn't be cheap, but they'd be a whole lot harder to pry out of the lock.

If it is necessary to slide the load bars through the towers before it is possible to remove the towers from the car, it would be easy for any welding or machine shop (or a friend who can do that stuff) to rig up a clamp that grips the load bar right alongside each tower which can't be removed with ordinary tools (you'd leave the rack on all summer with this method, or even "forever"). Heck, a tiny bead of hard-surfacing would make the clamp 100 percent hacksaw-proof too. A rack modified in that way would not appear to have much resale value either, so it might be immune from theft for that reason alone.

Sorry if that doesn't sound practical, but that's the general type of approach I'd take, "being me", since anything is truly possible when modifying gear. Otherwise, I like the idea of "making your racks ugly" or just removing them when parked in high-crime areas.

After having my bike rack stolen
I had fantasies of putting a new one on, parking my car where the last one was stolen, then hiding and watching with a baseball bat. It truly is a frustrating thing to have happen, especially when you get back from a ride or a paddle, and find the rack you were going to transport your toy home on has been swiped.

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Another possible approach if you never
sell a car but rather drive it into the ground, would be to use Aquaseal or similar to glue the transluscent tower pads to the car roof. They can take the rack, but they’ll soon find it harder to resell without those pads.

Or, you could glue the pads to both the tower AND the car roof. But that might be too semi-permanent for most.