With so many vehicles on the road today, it's not surprising that many people have forgotten how to open their Thule roof boxes. While the days of manually unlocking your car's storage cabinet are long gone, it can be challenging to remember how to open a Thule roof box without a key. So here's everything you need to know about opening a Thule roof box (or any other) without a key.
Items you need to open the roof box.
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Rubber mallet (or another soft striking tool)
Opening Thule Roof Box
The first thing you should do is check if there's a safety keyhole on your Thule door panel. Many older models were outfitted with this unique lock that only releases once the inside of the door has been locked with a special keyed unlocking device.
If you don't have a safety keyhole, you may still be in the luck-the majority of newer Thule roof box models only require that you unlock it from within the vehicle by manipulating a lever or sliding a switch. Locate these controls on your car; they may be in different places depending on whether you have a hatchback or sedan. Once located, try turning them to see if they open the roof box for you.
If none of these methods work for unlocking your roof box, worry not. You may still be able to access what's inside without damaging it by taking off one of its footplates and using "bump keys" (or "bumping" keys) to open it. Bump keys are nothing more than a series of sharply-pointed metal rods - often of varying sizes - attached to a locking device that can bypass the lock on the door, usually by engaging the locking mechanism in the tumbler. A few light taps with one of these bump keys and your lock should start working again.
Using bump keys may be intimidating at first, but they're not hard to use once you master them. You can buy them online or in a hardware store, and they're usually very reasonably priced. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for safety purposes.
How To Remove A Roof Box
Fitting your Thule roof box properly on your vehicle is often one of the most frustrating parts of owning a Thule, so it's no surprise that removing it can be somewhat tricky, too. For instance, some models require you to take off both footplates at once and lock them in place before you can begin locking the roof box down to the vehicle. Others have inconveniently placed latches that are hard to reach and lock. However, if you have either of these problems with your roof box and aren't keen on replacing it, there are still some solutions that may work for you.
If your Thule roof box is equipped with footplates that necessitate removing both at once before putting it down onto the vehicle, try taking off one at a time if there's enough room between them and resting each down on one side of the car while you complete each latch. That will leave one side partially open while still allowing access to the rest of your car space.
Some Thule roof box latches are placed in difficult-to-reach areas, making it impossible to lock them down while your roof box is resting on the vehicle. If you have a Thule roof box, you have likely run into this problem before. If this is the case for you, there are still some ways to get around it.
If you have a Thule roof box that's especially difficult to latch on one side of the vehicle, try turning your vehicle around while still attached so that the latch on that side faces away from you. That will give you more room to maneuver inside your car space and allow easier latching and locking your roof box.
Some Thule roof boxes allow too much play between their latches and the vehicle for locking mechanisms to work, correctly-especially in older models with stiffer ratchets or similarly stiffer mechanisms overall. In these cases, don't feel like your only option is replacing the whole box. It may just be defective-and even if it isn't, Thule has some excellent replacement parts.
In either of these cases, you also can purchase a second set of locking mechanisms for your Thule roof box. That will make it easier to secure your vehicle even when the latches are misaligned or not fitting quite right.
What sort of Thule roof box do I need?
Thule puts an incredible amount of thought and engineering into the designs and features of their roof boxes.
If you have a general idea of what you have and your usage, then here are some tips and suggestions.
If weight is your primary concern, like carrying lots of kayaks or bikes, then go for something like the Thule Pace 55 as it requires less mass for more capacity for weight. On the other hand, if wind noise is your thing, go for the Traverse 35, which has significantly less noise than any other Thule roof rack unless you go with the same model in addition to an AeroBlade. That is because the aerodynamic design of the AeroBlade doesn't generate much drag from wind resistance compared to its square tube predecessors and because it doesn't introduce as much noise from rattling parts into the wind.
If aerodynamics is more important than extra space for gear in other models, go for the Traverse 70 or Traverse 120, depending on how much your roof will be loaded and where you're carrying a kayak. If you're going to load more than ten kayaks, go with the Traverse 90 instead, which is the only model that can comfortably fit up to 15. The same goes for other Thule roof racks: The Traverse 120 is less aerodynamic than the Pace 55, but it's also 1.5 inches wider and requires less mass for extra capacity. So, if you have electric bikes or buggies that are in your way, get something like the Traverse 80. It has an even lower profile than their default 60, which means it clears most except skinny road bikes and upright cycles and tricycles.
If you happen to lose your Thule roof box keys, there are different ways you can still access the box and its content. This article also helps you easily remove a roof box from the top of your car and even suggests the type of roof box you would need for several tasks.