This review is of a Thule roof rack fit to my 2011 Mazda3 Sport. Its a basic rack and if installed with care, stays put. The load limit is 100 lbs, so pack with care if you also use a roof box - I've weighed each piece of my gear to and the box itself to make sure I stay within the limits. The rack itself is cheap and works as its supposed to. The only thing I would like is a torque specification so that I don't over tighten and get the dreaded "oil can" popping sound of my roof being compressed (I heard that happen to someone else once, not pleasant). Oh, and I put some 3M protective film down on a clean roof to prevent any paint damage from the foot pads. It looks crappy if I'm not careful wiping away wax, but will protect the paint.
I was given my first Thule system back in 1992 when Thule was a sponsor of mine. I used that basic rack system along with numerous accessories up until the summer of 2015. The load bars were finally rusting [where I had drilled holes in them] and I felt I needed to replace them. My towers and my locks, however, are still my 1992 originals, and they're doing great.
I'm really glad that these are made of a strong material. Review would probably be five stars but they showed up with a dent. I don't know if it happened in shipping or from the factory. The inner product box inside of the shipping box has a dent that seems to line up with the dent on the bar. I'm really irritated by this blemish, but it showed up five days late from it's expected delivery date anyways, which negatively impact my plans for a charity bike ride since I didn't have the rack for my bikes on the car.
The Thule system is not as stylish-looking, and makes slightly more wind noise, but it stays on the car much better! I experienced catastrophic failure of my Yakima Q-tower system flying off my 2008 Honda Civic, and my wife's 2000 Honda CRV. So far, I've heard the same story fron eleven other people who drive low-profile, sleek vehicles without factory racks. Yakima's Q-clip system attempts to fit multiple cars with common clips that just don't work. Their tower system gradually loosens itself over time. Yakima will also put you through hell trying to warranty their product. Thule makes a custom clip for every car, with all metal (ugly but functional) tower pieces- if you like your gear in one peice, avoid Yakima at all cost!
Thule’s number one priority is safety – for you and the people around you. Our fit kits ensure your roof rack fits your car as safely and securely as possible. Also, at the Thule Test Center™, our products are only given the official seal of approval once they’ve survived numerous crash tests, wear and tear simulations, as well as extreme heat, cold, damp, sunlight and even harsh chemicals. All so you’re free to concentrate on the adventures ahead.