How to Install a Yakima Roof Rack


This video depicts a Yakima Roof Rack being installed on a 4-door sedan with factory roof rails already installed. Although this video is representative of most vehicles, the installation process may vary slightly for your particular vehicle.

Find your vehicle-specific M measurements in your Q clip instructions. These measurements are critical to a good fit and need to be within 1/8” of the specified measurement to get the right fit. If your car isn’t specified, check on to get the most up-to-date measurements.

  1. Clean the surface of your vehicle where the Q-Towers will be sitting.
  2. Open the tower housing and loosen the bar clamp screw so the crossbar will slide through. Slide it through.
  3. Place the crossbars with the towers on a flat surface. Measure and tighten your towers onto the bars using the M1 Front Bar and M3 Rear Bar measurements.
  4. Apply downward pressure on the crossbar while tightening.
  5. Make sure the towers are both flat on the ground once they’re tight.
  6. Attach the end caps and place the Q pads onto the bottom of the Q towers.
  7. Make sure to double-check the M measurements for both crossbars (M1 for the front and M3 for the rear) when done.
  8. Open the vehicle doors and gently place the towers and bars onto the roof of the vehicle.
  9. Using the M2 measurements, measure from where the paint ends at the windshield to the front edge of the tower.
  10. Line the Q clips with the vinyl pads and insert the clips into the cam lever.
  11. Take the lock housing and insert it through the hole in the cam body. Slide the anchor clips into place.
  12. From there, you can loosen the adjustment posts on each tower so there is little pressure when closing the cam lever. Be sure to check the M2 measurements before tightening.
  13. Increase the tension on the adjustment knob using half-turns. Adjust one side at a time and close the cam cover after each increase in tension. Make sure to make several trips between the two towers to ensure they’re balanced.
  14. After each adjustment, check to see if the gold slider is between the hash marks on the tower housing. The gold slider must also be aligned with the opposite tower’s gold slider to apply even pressure across both towers. Once the gold sliders are between the hash marks on both sides, the cam covers should be closed with firm resistance.
  15. With the car doors open and the cam levers closed, check the Q clips by pulling outward on the clip. Grab the crossbar inside the tower, and push and pull using only arm strength to make sure they’re seeded properly.
  16. If any of the clips or towers move, check the gold slider for proper position, check your M measurements and make sure both towers have equal pressure on the door frame.
  17. Use the M4 measurement to place the rear crossbar, measuring from the center of the crossbar ends. Install the rear crossbar using the same process as the front crossbar.
  18. Remember, balancing the tension on both towers is critical to getting a solid fit. If one tower is too tight, then the whole system will loosen as you load the rack. Make sure the measurements are correct and the gold sliders are balanced and aligned between the hash marks.
  19. When installed, make sure the clips are seeded properly and the crossbar doesn’t move.
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Mike Cote
I'm on off-road enthusiast behind the wheel of a perpetual project 4x4 Tacoma. I like to play in the rocks, but won't shy away from fast runs through the desert. My passion came from my dad whose had me in and around cars for as long as I can remember.


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