Having a roof rack on your vehicle brings you many benefits for off-road journeys where you will need extra storage. If you frequent the beach with your paddleboards or small boats you will relate to the importance of owning roof racks because, most of the times, vehicles have limited cargo space to fit a variety of items. The roof remains the rescue with ample space to store your items.
Although there’s plenty of roof racks on the market, I have sought out Yakima vs Thule comparison as the premium manufacturers of these tools for a number of years. They’ve mastered the art of manufacturing top-notch roof racks for a wide variety of items.
Choosing the best roof rack can be challenging and so, confining your choices to Yakima and Thule ranges make it an absolute breeze. Wrapping up this comparison article is the buyer’s guide with the common questions asked by vehicle owners.
Without any further ado, let’s get into the real business of comparing these two gigantic manufacturers of roof racks on the market.
Yakima versus Thule Comparison
Thule is a big guy on the market with plenty of experience in crafting roof racks and other auto parts. A product from this brand gives hope that it is high quality and will therefore last so long. In my search, I came across Thule Crossroad that attaches perfectly on your vehicle roof to secure square bars. It is not compatible with aerobar or rapid bar or the Thule AeroBlade.
Appearing in black with Thule branding in white, these feet will match almost any design. The ultimate appearance of your car is important when choosing these aftermarket auto-parts. Ideally, black color should match with any color.
What About the Installation Part?
That too, it shouldn’t take you the entire day trying to figure out how it works. The installation manual is provided. Consult the brochure to learn about the exact bar lengths needed.
The rubber-coated steel strap helps attach the foot to raised railings. Again, the built-in tool makes installation a cinch.
All in all, even a beginner can install the foot by following the instructions. It is also easy to remove with no additional tools required.
Scared of theft of your Thule feet? You can lock it with the separately sold locks to prevent them. This also prevents rattling especially when driving on rough terrains where the roof racks can loosen up easily.
As a long-standing manufacturer of roof racks and accessories, Thule has mastered the art of crafting top notch products that pass through a rigorous test. To prove that to you, the company gives you warranty for any workmanship defects. At least I haven’t heard anyone complaining about their customer service and neither did I.
Thule brand has been in the game for a long time, and so buying one of their products is an assurance of good quality in itself.
The design and their aesthetic appearance complement many cars. To ensure that you are not messing up with the sizes, check the installation manual for clarity.
Headquartered in South Sweden, Thule Group is an international brand with a large category of products that include roof racks, bike racks and roof boxes.
It employs over 2200 employees who are immersed in its tradition of designing and developing top-notch aftermarket parts for a wide range of vehicles.
Inspired by the motto “Active Life, Simplified”, Thule Group has been at the forefront of manufacturing roof racks that convenience vehicle owners. The group is a renowned leader in its product range, with its products sold in over 140 markets worldwide. In 2017 alone, the company has made SEK 5.9 billion in net sales. This is evident that their products are on high demand.
- Easy to mount and install roof rack foot pack
- Rubber coated steel strap for easy of attachment
- Lockable foot to prevent rattling and theft
- Fit square bars only
Like Thule, Yakima also has a huge mark in the industry of roof racks. Now let’s consider the most important component of roof racks: Towers serve as the foundation of your roof top system as they attach to factory raised side rails.
To prevent theft or to ensure secure attachment, you can lock the towers with the separately sold SKS system. The design is sleek and unique, thus assuring you a lifetime benefit coupled with a lifetime warranty the company offers.
Owning these towers puts you closer to enjoying every ride in your outdoor adventures. They help you pack your luggage on the rooftop without cluttering your cargo space.
The good part of the towers is that they provide a huge clearance between your roof rack and the rooftop so that no possible scratches from your heavy items.
Weighing just 5 pounds, it’s easy to handle and install these towers. The installation manual is provided. Enjoy an extended capacity with these TimberLine towers on your raised side rails. They are quiet. My only doubt is the thick rubber used to lock as it may be affected by heat in hot summer days. But, nonetheless, that’s not a deal breaker.
The stainless steel strap makes it easy to attach to the raised side rails seamlessly. I also like the fact that, unlike Thule foot pack, this Yakima product is versatile and attaches on different bars. All in all I am very impressed with it. Plus it has a maximum load of 220 pounds, which is greater than most towers in its feature range.
Yakima, a US brand, is inspired by its philosophy “Designed to Last” in mastering the art of producing high quality auto parts.
The company’s products undergo rigorous tests to ensure that the customers never complain about mediocre. All conditions are taken into account. The company has a broad range of roof racks bike racks and many others.
The company has three portfolio brands: Yakima, Prorack and Whispbar. In 2015, it has acquired a major location near the Lake Oswego, Oregon that will serve as its expansion side. By acquiring this $20.1 Million property, Yakima aims to expand its footprints in North America.
- Compatible with RoundBar, CoreBar and JetStream
- Lock them with the SKS (sold separately)
- Durable stainless steel strap
- Maximum load of 220 pounds (100 kilograms)
- Attaches on raised side rails
FAQ and Buying Guide
Now that you have read through the comparison between Thule and Yakima roof racks components, let’s delve into an important topics: the buyer’s guide and general topics. In here I will answer the frequently asked questions and also highlight the important features to look for when purchasing roof racks in general.
Roof racks and their components come in different sizes, shapes and materials. It is therefore important to arm your knowledge with skills on how to choose the best among others. Let’s start with the general topics below.
Are Thule Roof Racks Universal?
For this reason, you have to be careful whenever making purchases. Take into account the size and the roof type you have. I will highlight the roof types below that how important they are to consider when buying roof racks for your vehicle.
Where are Thule Racks made?
Contrary to popular belief that Thule products are made in Europe, 75% of the roof racks sold in North America are predominantly made in the USA. Of course there is a certain percentage of the racks made in Europe but majority are made in the USA.
Thule is a Swedish Company with footprints in several parts of the world.
How do you remove a Thule rack?
Removing a Thule Rack is as easy as installing it. I understand that a video speaks louder than the words especially when coming to technical know-hows.
If your roof rack feet are locked, you will have to unlock before you can pull the cap and remove the rack. There are various components to remove in order to remove the roof racks completely. You need a screwdriver, wrench and a ladder to achieve that. But, for small cars the ladder may not be necessary as it is with SUVs and trucks.
Climb the ladder to access the roof bars at the front and rear end. You may start with any bar, there’s no hard rule that which one you should start with. Unfasten the bolts with which the bars attach securely to the roof. As I have reviewed already, the roof racks attach to the roof through feet/towers, and so you may have to remove the bars then the towers.
If it challenges you to remove the racks, you may go to the nearest dealer for a help. But, if you installed the product by yourself, it should be easy to uninstall it and install it later.
Where are Yakima roof racks made?
Former headquarters of Yakima were in Beaverton Oregon and the company has since moved to the 89000 square foot property in close proximity to Lake Oswego in Oregon in 2015. The location of its headquarters reflects the manufacturing site of its roof racks.
Yakima is an innovation leader in roof racks and cargo products. It cost $20.1 million to secure the current headquarters of the company, a move that shows how valuable and big Yakima is in the industry. From a 65000 square-foot to an 89000 square-foot building in Oregon.
Can you put roof racks on any car?
Provided the car meets the specifications of the roof rack then yes you can put the roof rack on any car. The question is almost identical to the one about Thule racks being universal. On some cars the roof racks may not fit properly.
Bear in mind the assortment of roofs with some not having factory raised side rails at all and others with rain gutters while others are just naked.
What will a roof rack do to your car?
A roof rack is indispensable when you travel long distances with too much luggage that cannot fit properly in your car boot. That is the good part of the roof rack to your car.
However, the racks, in spite of the lightweight materials used in construction or their designs, will forever have an impact on how the car handles. There is an aerodynamic drag to your car and this has a negative effect on fuel consumption. Other roof racks stipulate the speed limit because the aerodynamic drag (air resistance) increases with an increase in speed.
The other effect could be the aesthetic look. The addition of the roof rack will modify how your car looks. Others will make it look attractive while others may tamper with tis beauty. Pay more attention on the design and the complement of the car and the color of the racks. I recommend considering black and silver colors as they match a variety of vehicle coatings.
Do roof racks use more petrol?
Because of the aerodynamic drag to your car, fuel economy is affected. The air resistance will prompt your vehicle to expend more energy when handling it. As a result, it consumes more petrol in a long run.
However, these roof racks differ in designs. The ones with aerodynamic designs may consume less petrol. Roof racks may consume about 19% more.
What to look for when purchasing roof racks?
There are several factors you should take into account when buying roof racks for your vehicle because, oftentimes, these products come in different sizes, shapes and build materials. Ask yourself these questions:
Does it fit my vehicle?
Before popping out a large sum of dollars to buy Thule or Yakima, find out if the roof rack can it your car. The year, model and the make of your car can help determine if a specific can fit. Also important is the recognition of different roof types when selecting roof racks.
Different roof types
- Side rails – most vehicles come with factory raised side rails that make it easy to attach towers and then the racks. These side rails also help with the clearance, especially for vehicles with sunroofs.
- Naked roof – a naked roof is as the name suggests: naked. It has no rails nor the rain gutters where you can attach the rack. Only in exceptional cases where you can drill holes for installation. Alternatively, you can get clamps to clamp racks on door frames.
- Ain gutters – there is an edge or a strip that runs from the front to the rear side along the edges of your car. The main purpose is to prevent water from spilling onto your windows. These gutters can also be used to install roof racks. However, they are not designed to bear heavy weight.
What is the build material of the roof rack?
During the rise of roof racks, steel was predominantly used as the build material but then it turned out it is too heavy. Also, steel parts have to be coated to protect them against the elements.
Nowadays, you have more choices between aluminum and stainless steel, predominantly. In comparison, they are both of good quality. Aluminum is light weight than stainless steel but its products tend to be more expensive. Stainless steel is more durable and is corrosion resistant. The choice between these build materials is a personal preference.
What kind of items will I store on my roof racks?
Not all roof racks can carry generic items. It is therefore important to know what kind of items you plan to take along as you hit the road.
Perhaps you want to go with kayaks, bike racks or paddle boards. These may require heavy duty roof racks on SUVs. Knowing what you want to carry can help you choose the roof racks based on load capacity and designs.
The other factor to consider is how easy it is to install the roof rack. Others come pre-assembled and require no additional tools to install. With some roof racks you may need adapters to install them. Also noteworthy is compatibility of towers/feet with a variety of crossbars.
The other factor is how lockable the roof racks are. The downside of many is that they do not come with the keys and so you have to purchase locks separately. But, usually, there are not that too expensive.
I have come to an end of my Thule and Yakima product comparison. These brands are some of the most revered on the market in roof racks and other roof components. In my reviews I have singled out the towers/feet as they form the foundation to install the roof racks.
Towers form an integral part of the roof rack system. But, they have to be installed on raised side rails. Bad luck for those with a naked roof. There are alternatives, however, for each roof type.
Most of these installations can be DIY. With instructions provided, I don’t find it difficult to install the roof rack on your own.
My buyer’s guide should have equipped you with more knowledge to choose the best roof rack or accessories on the market. I have highlighted the important features to look at when shopping. Also covered are common questions posed regarding roof racks.