Can You Put Roof Racks On A Car Without Rails?

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Roof racks are great for carrying extra gear on your car, but many different types of roof racks are available, and most of them require rails to be installed to carry items such as cargo boxes, bikes, skis, or kayaks.

So I've been searching for several days all around trying to gather some info on how to install a roof rack without rails, and Here are some things I found out:

To install a roof rack without roof rails, You have three well-known brands as options for a bare roof vehicle. So you have the Thule system, the Yakima system, and Rhino-Rack. Each of them are popular options for transporting gear on a vehicle with a bare roof.

Each brand has its own set of crossbars that can be used with a particular mount type - so it's essential to know which ones will work well on your vehicle! So that is what I'll go over next, so stay tuned.  

Thule Evo Clamp Foot Pack

The Thule Evo Clamp foot pack is designed to adapt your car's roof rack system with a doorframe bracket and rubber base pad. This allows you to add locks for safety and an attractive visual appeal on top of it all!

With this particular part in place, there are two crossbar options available, one which provides ample room when storing bulky items like camping equipment or gardening tools while still being compact enough not to interfere too significantly during transportation;

another design is tailored toward securing just about anything, including bikes - though they take up more space than other types, so keep that in mind if traveling light. The following passage discusses different aspects of using a roof rack without rails on a car, and it's conveniently available on Amazon. you can see their current prices by clicking here

So, you have three different options for crossbars, depending on your preferences.

The Thule Evo Square Bar

The Evo Square Bar is slotted and constructed of galvanized steel with an outer plastic coating.

That slot lets you attach your foot pack to the bar in just two places, which means it's super easy for anyone who isn't afraid or banned from using tools!

There are numbers on both sides of this bar, so make sure they match up before putting them together for the front and rear bars. and it's conveniently available on Amazon. you can see their current prices by clicking here

The Thule ProBar

And then another option, The ProBar, is an extruded aluminum bar. It, too, has a slot on the underside. It also has a slot on the top side for certain compatible accessories.

It even has an additional slot on the back of the bar, also for compatible accessories.

Now what's unique about this bar is that it is considered a stiffer, stronger bar. However, keep in mind that the fit kit determines the overall weight carrying capacity of any given roof rack system.

So it is vehicle-specific. But another thing to know about this bar is that it does come in very long lengths. and it's conveniently available on Amazon. you can see their current prices by clicking here

The Thule WingBar Evo

The WingBar Evo is an aluminum bar with a BoxBeam construction. You can purchase this in either powder coat granular finish or anodized silver finish; comes with the bar is a rubber strip that needs to be inserted into the top of the bar.

It comes with two pieces that need to be separated, the piece with the texture needs to be positioned at the front of the track, and the back section needs to snap the piece into place.

And now you have the track covered up, and air, as it flows over, will have very little to no wind noise that you'll hear inside the cabin.

You need that's slotted to be in the middle because you can attach certain accessories directly into the bar like kayaks, skis, roof boxes, bikes, etc.

Lastly, you can put your cover on, and you have the option to insert a lock in place of this plastic plug to act as your theft deterrent. and it's conveniently available on Amazon. you can see their current prices by clicking here


An SUV with cargo carriers, without roof rails

The Yakima System

the Yakima system. And very similar. It has a selection of bars to choose from.

So you will need something like YAKIMA's BaseLine towers are the perfect solution for vehicles without roof rails or gutters. The Intelligent design easily adjusts to a wide range of roof shapes for a secure hold, and the built-in SKS system (sold separately) locks the towers to your vehicle for added security.

The high-capacity BaseLine can carry a maximum load of 165lbs (75kg), depending on your vehicle and bar rating - making it ideal for carrying bikes, canoes, and more.

And the advanced tower architecture is not only strong but also quiet - making your drive even more pleasant. In addition, installation is super simple and can be done in just 60 minutes. and it's conveniently available on Amazon. you can see their current prices by clicking here

The Yakima RoundBar

It, too, is galvanized steel. This one, in this case, is round. There is no slot or anything on this bar. And it's also covered in plastic material for good looks and durability. 

To use this and the other bars on their tower, I noticed I moved the terminology from Thule, a foot pack, to Yakima, which they call theirs a tower. 

So to put their bars on their tower, you have to use a connection piece and adapter. So, in this case, with the RoundBar, there is a RoundBar Adapter. 

Then the next choice you have here is a more aerodynamic version of the same type of construction. So again, galvanized steel with outer plastic coating. But now, this one has an aerodynamic shape to help with aerodynamic performance: low-wind noise and low-wind drag. 

And it requires the adapter, which in this case, this adapter is included with the bar. And so, the adapter would allow for the attachment of this to your baseline tower. So now you have another bar, similar to the bar That we looked at here for more heavy-duty purposes.  and it's conveniently available on Amazon. you can see their current prices by clicking here

The Yakima's HD Bar 

So it, too, has a slot on the underside. It's aluminum construction with a firm overall profile. It has the rubber on the top also options to connect to the top. 

You have a unique end cap with a tie-down point on that end cap, but it, too, does require its own sold separately adapter to fit onto the tower. 

Now, this is, again, the most common. So here, you have your aluminum bars with the aerodynamic shape available in black or silver, anodized in the silver, black powder coat on the black. 

Now we'll go ahead and show some of the differences here. With this one, you have pre-installed rubber, and the way this rubber works to accommodate a particular accessory is you would have to remove the end cap. 

So, there's a tab where you lift the tab, and you tug on that end cap to remove the end cap. Now, I can demonstrate how you would insert a particular carrier. You push down on the rubber And slide that into place. 

So, it accomplishes the same attachment method, just with a different approach. Now Yakima also includes the tool. And so, as I tighten this fastener, you'll hear the clicks that also will ensure that you've tightened it to the correct tension. and it's conveniently available on Amazon. you can see their current prices by clicking here

The Rhino-Rack

The Rhino-Rack

So let's move on to the final system; this is Rhino-Rack from Amazon, Okay, so when it comes to Rhino-Rack, they have their primary bar. 

The Rhino Vortex Aero Bar

We've got similar construction, extruded aluminum, and BoxBeam extrusion. This one is silver anodized and black anodized versus black powder coat. So it's an anodized finish on whichever one you choose. 

Now, some unique features to this. First, we have an end cap that is simply press-on. However, it comes with a tamper-resistant key to lock that end cap. 

So it can't easily be removed without this unique tool. So rubber strips are not pre-installed; they're housed inside the bar. So when you pull this bar out of the box to unpack it, make sure you take these out first. 

The same thing with measuring strips, those are inside the bar. And as a matter of fact, the key is inside the bar. So essentially, this is what you can expect when you pull it out of the box. 

You'll have the end cap you remove, The key you remove, the measuring strip you remove, and the rubber strip you remove. So you put that rubber strip into the top. 

If you similarly add accessories to put that fastener in there, this rubber would have to be segmented and tailored around whatever accessory you put into the top of the bar. Okay, and then, so we touched on this strip. 

So let's go ahead and demonstrate. We'll go ahead and take their leg. So Rhino-Rack likes to call their leg. Yakima likes to call their towers, and Thule likes to call their feet. 

So those are the significant manufacturers of base roof rack systems for bare roofs. Rhino-Rack, Yakima, and Thule. and it's conveniently available on Amazon. you can see their current prices by clicking here


What is the Difference Between Roof Rails and Roof Racks?

Roof rails are tow pieces on the sides of vehicles run along by the length of the rooftop of the cars. In addition, roof rails provide the attachment points for aftermarket roof racks or crossbars.

Roof racks go by the width of the vehicles and are often included from the factory and provide a convenient location to attach cargo carriers, bike racks, kayak carriers, and more.


Can I Add Roof Rails to My Car?

Some cars come with factory roof rails, while others don't. You can usually add aftermarket roof rails yourself; Some people might call the roof rail the "roof rack," and that's perfectly fine. You can get a roof rail from your car dealer or buy one from an independent car parts supplier.

Adding roof rails to your car will give you more options for carrying things on top of your vehicle.

For example, roof racks provide a convenient place to attach cargo carriers, bike racks, kayak carriers, etc.

They also make it easy to add crossbars, providing additional support for heavier loads.


Now that you know, it's possible to add a roof rack to your vehicle without factory roof rails.

And also, If you don't have factory roof rails, you can get aftermarket roof rails and install them yourself or have someone do it for you.

Thanks for reading!

About the author 

Vieira Babeker

Hi! I'm Vieira. I've always been interested in different Auto Accessories

My passion here at is to provide helpful straight forward clear advice and tips for Automotive Accessories.

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