Frequently Asked Questions

 

Below are the answers to the most common questions our technicians are asked. If your particular question is not listed, please contact us and we will be pleased to assist you.

General

I lost my car rack keys, how do I replace them?

My rack is missing parts. Can you help me?

 

Roof  Rack – General

My old rack doesn’t fit my new car. What can I do?

My car doesn’t have rain gutters. How do you attach a rack?

My factory rack has no cross bars, only rails that run down the length. Is there a rack for this?

My factory crossbars are too curved and short. What do I do?

Can I attach accessories directly to my factory cross bars?

How much weight can I carry on my roof rack?

How wide can my bars be?

Can I go through a car wash with a roof rack or luggage box attached to my car?

 

Roof  Rack – Bikes

How many bikes can I carry on the roof?

Can I carry bikes and a box on the roof?

 

Roof  Rack – Skis

Can I put a ski rack directly on my factory rack?

How many skis or boards can I carry?

 

Roof  Rack – Water Sports

Do I have to tie down my canoe or kayak at the bow and stern?

I would like to carry two kayaks on my roof. Is this possible?

I am not strong enough to put my kayak on the roof. What can I do?

 

Roof  Rack – Cargo Boxes

Can I put a box directly on my factory rack?

Will a box interfere with my hatch back?

Can I easily remove the box from my car?

 

Hitch – General

What is the difference between class 1, 2 and 3 hitches?

Can I transfer the hitch from my old car to my new car?

 

Hitch Rack – Bikes

How many bikes can I carry on my hitch?

Will my rear door spare tire interfere with the bike rack?

Can I carry skis and snowboards on my bike rack?

My bike frame doesn’t have a top tube. How do I hang my bike on the rack?

 

Tire Mount Rack – Bikes

How many bikes can I carry on my tire mount rack?

Will I damage my back door by using a tire mount rack?

 

Trunk/ Hatch Rack – Bikes

Can I put a bike rack on my trunk or hatch?

Will the rack or bikes damage my vehicle?

How many bikes can I carry on my trunk/ hatch rack?

 

 

 

General

I lost my car rack keys, how do I replace them?

We have a large selection of keys in stock. If we don’t have your particular one we may be able to order it in for you.

My rack is missing parts. Can you help me?

Most likely we can as we have an extensive inventory of parts. Bring your rack in to see if we have the necessary items. If we don’t have it in stock, we may be able to order it in for you.

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Roof  Rack – General

My old rack doesn’t fit on my new car. What can I do?

Many racks are made up of component pieces. Most likely it will just be a matter of purchasing one or two new components and trading in the ones no longer required. If you let us know what vehicle the rack was on, we can tell you what new parts will be required.

My car doesn’t have rain gutters. How do you attach a rack?

Most cars have rain gutters; they are just hidden at the top of the doorframe. Thule and Yakima have over 100 different Fit Kits or Q clips that attach to these internal rain gutters allowing a rack to be installed securely while still allowing the doors to close without interference.

My factory rack has no cross bars, only rails that run down the length. Is there a rack for this?

Yes. Both Thule and Yakima have racks that will clamp onto your rails allowing you to carry a multitude of accessories.

My factory crossbars are too curved and short. What do I do?

This is a common problem. It is best to replace them with new crossbars that are longer, straighter and stronger allowing you to carry more accessories.

Can I attach accessories directly to my factory cross bars?

Assuming that your crossbars are strong enough, you should be able to attach bike, ski and kayak racks plus luggage boxes directly to them. You can check out your particular vehicle by going to the online fit guide or by contacting us.

How much weight can I carry on my roof rack?

This all depends on your car but typically it ranges from 35 - 75kg (80 - 165 lbs). The downward pressure is typically not the issue but rather the sheering force as you stop or go around a corner. Please contact us to find out your vehicles weight limit. 

How wide can my bars be?

You should check with your local motor vehicle department but usually no wider than your mirrors. Long bars allow you to carry more but you may get a sore head as you get in and out of the car.

Can I go through a car wash with a roof rack or luggage box attached to my car?

We don’t recommend going through an automatic car wash with a rack or box on the roof. If you still feel compelled to do so only use a touch less wash and always check with the operator first to make sure it is safe to do so.

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Roof  Rack – Bikes

How many bikes can I carry on the roof?

Four bikes is usually the maximum. After that you usually run out of room or will have surpassed your roof rack’s weight limit.

Can I carry bikes and a box on the roof?

This will depend on your roof rack and box size. If you want to use your factory cross bars, then most likely it won’t work. If you are using Thule or Yakima cross bars then as long as you have room beside your box and you don’t exceed the roof rack’s weight limit, you should be okay. Two bikes is typically the most you will be able fit beside the box.

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Roof  Rack – Skis

Can I put a ski rack directly on my factory rack?

Yes you can. Some racks attach to your crossbars and some attach to the raised rail that runs down the length of your roof. If you only have a track running down the length with no crossbars, you will need to purchase a roof rack first.

How many skis or boards can I carry?

Most ski racks will fit 6 pair of skis, 4 snowboards or some combination of the two. Determining factors will be the width of the skis and boards and how much clearance you have under the rack. Some factory racks are very close to the roof, which prevents the skis or boards from being placed face down. If required and if your crossbar is wide enough, you can put two ski racks side by side doubling your carrying capacity.

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Roof  Rack – Water Sports

Do I have to tie down my canoe or kayak at the bow and stern?

Absolutely! There is a large sideways and upward wind drag on canoes and kayaks. The tie downs prevent the boats from shifting around and are a great safety line in case something goes wrong. A common problem is that many new cars don’t have front tie downs. If you are faced with this please check with your mechanic or drop by to see what can be done to resolve this situation.

I would like to carry two kayaks on my roof. Is this possible?

Yes this can usually be done as long as you don’t exceed your roof rack’s weight limit. Frequently you will run out of rack width so instead of the kayaks laying on their bottom, you may have to use J cradles and lie them on their side. If you wish to carry both kayaks on their hull, you will need at least 58” crossbars.

I am not strong enough to put my kayak on the roof. What can I do?

You are not the only one with this problem so Thule and Yakima have developed rollers and bar extensions to allow you to get the boat up on top more easily. Please check their web sites to see how they work.

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Roof  Rack – Cargo Boxes

Can I put a box directly on my factory rack?

Yes you can as long as your factory rack has cross bars and you don’t exceed your rack’s weight limit. Please check the fit guide to see if your rack is strong enough.

Will a box interfere with my hatch back?

On full sized vehicles, this is rarely a problem. On mid sized cars and trucks we recommend a ¾ length box to eliminate contact with your hatch. These shorter boxes are great for camping supplies, golf clubs, snowboards and skis up to approximately 180cm long.

Can I easily remove the box from my car?

Yes you can. Most boxes have easy to use mounting hardware that allows you to quickly install or remove the box. The levers are located inside the box so as long as the box is locked, only you can remove it.

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Hitch – General

What is the difference between class 1, 2 and 3 hitches?

A class 1 hitch has a lower towing capacity and tongue weight than a class 3 hitch. Generally speaking a class 1 is for compact cars, a class 2 for mid sized cars and class 3 for larger cars, sport utilities, vans and trucks. It all comes down to your vehicles frame strength and your engine/ transmission size.

A class 1 typically has a 2000 lb towing capacity, a 200 lb tongue weight and a 1 ¼” x 1 ¼” square receiver (the part where the bike rack slides into). Class 2 and 3 hitches usually have a 3500 lb towing capacity, a 350 lb tongue weight and either a 1 ¼”x 1 ¼” receiver (class 2) or a 2” x 2” receiver (class 3).
The tongue weight is the downward pressure allowed on the hitch and is generally 10% of the towing capacity.

To find out what class of hitch your car will accept, please contact us.

Can I transfer the hitch from my old car to my new car?

The only way you can transfer hitches is if the two vehicles are exactly the same body style. Since most car manufacturers change a vehicle’s design every four years, your chances aren’t that great. If you think you are a candidate though, contact us and we will look into it for you.

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Hitch Rack– Bikes

How many bikes can I carry on my hitch?

The total weight of the bikes and bike rack must not exceed 50% of your hitch’s tongue weight. For an explanation of tongue weight, see the question above. A typical bike weighs 30 lbs, a downhill mountain bike weighs 40 to 50 lbs and a steel construction bike rack weighs 40 lbs. A class 1 hitch can usually carry 2 regular bikes (2 x 30 lbs = 60 lbs plus a 40 lb bike rack = 100 lbs which is 50% of the 200 lb tongue weight) or 1 downhill bike. If you want to carry 3 regular bikes on a class 1 hitch you could purchase an aluminum bike rack with usually weighs 20 lbs, giving you 20 more pound of bikes to carry than the steel bike racks. A class 2 and 3 can carry 5 regular bikes or 3 to 4 downhill bikes.

Will my rear door spare tire interfere with the bike rack?

Yes there is a reasonable possibility that this will happen especially if you have a larger sized spare. The only way to find out is to bring the vehicle in so that we can try the different racks out on your hitch. If you only need to carry 2 bikes, you can mount a rack directly to your spare tire instead of installing a hitch.

Can I carry skis and snowboards on my bike rack?

Yes you can. Both Thule and Yakima make a ski/ snowboard rack to fit on their hitch mount bike racks.

My bike frame doesn’t have a top tube. How do I hang my bike on the rack?

Both Thule and Yakima make a top tube adapter that clamps between the seat post and handlebars. The bike then hangs off of this.

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Tire Mount Rack – Bikes

How many bikes can I carry on my tire mount rack?

Two is the maximum you can carry on a tire mount rack.

Will I damage my back door by using a tire mount rack?

No it will not cause any damage but you should limit the amount if times you open your rear door with the bikes still on the rack. Long term repeated use could wear the hinges out prematurely

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Trunk/ Hatch Rack - Bikes

Can I put a bike rack on my trunk or hatch?

You can put a rack on most vehicles. Please check the fit guide to see if your vehicle will accept one. If it does not, it may be that the car’s metal is too soft, you have a large spoiler or that there is nowhere to hook the straps onto.

Will the rack or bikes damage my vehicle?

There should not be any significant damage if the rack is installed properly. You must clean the car where the rubber pads rest on the paint, you must make sure that the straps are securely fastened to prevent the rack from moving and you should remove the rack when not in use. No matter how careful you are though, over time marks may start to appear on your paint especially in dark coloured vehicles. A good wax job will usually eliminate the problem.

The bikes should not damage your vehicle as the racks are designed to keep the bikes away from the paint. Just make sure that the pedal of the inside bike does not touch your car.

How many bikes can I carry on my trunk/ hatch rack?

You can carry 2 – 3 bikes on this style of rack. Please go to the fit guide to see what your vehicle will accept. If you have heavier downhill mountain bikes, you may have to reduce the amount of bikes you can carry.

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