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Car roof ski box question

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi all,
At the end of last season, ( can you really call that a season?), I bought a Toyota Avalon. The back seat does not fold and the pass-through is too small for two pairs of skis. I'm looking at buying a roof box.

How easy is it to remove if I want to go to the car wash? The only rails that fit this car are from Yakima. My shop said I could get the Yakima rails and use the Thule box. They say the Thule box removes from the rails easier.

Opinions from roof box-experienced people?

Thanks!!
CB
post #2 of 18

I've been through a couple different brushless car washes with mine on and it fit just fine.  I mostly just use the self service suds n brush and sprayer bay when I'm not hand washing the vehicle at home.  It's not that hard to take the box off, but it does risk wear and tear scratches banging it around on the roof every time you take it off or put it on.  It's much better to just alter your washing location or procedure. 

 

post #3 of 18

The roof boxes come off pretty easily (with 2 people, they're rather unwieldy to do yourself but it's doable), however yakima also says you shouldn't go through a car wash with even just the rack on the car.  Taking that off and on again is definitely more of a pain.  I leave my box on all winter and either hand wash in the driveway or go to the self-wash places.  And yes, you can use a thule box on yakima crossbars and vice versa with no problems.

post #4 of 18
I had an Avalon, and put Thule Bars on it. I tried using a box on it, and also regular ski racks for short runs. The bar ends stuck out and sometimes heads got whacked on them. I also had Hakka dedicated snow tires for my Avalon, on a second set of alloy wheels. The basic problem was that the car still sucked so bad in the snow that it made a really poor ski car. That it was so well weight balanced for dry roads (wasn't front heavy like so many other FWDs) was its weakness in the snow. It was very comfortable and quiet inside, and gave me 192k of pretty good service, but I dreaded it every winter - and was soooo happy to finally replace it. BTW, my Avalon had a pass-thru in the rear seat armrest for two sets of skis but not the poles which just went in the trunk.

It is not easy to take off any box because they are unwieldly, and take 2 people to handle. You will be better off pressure washing the car with it on.
Edited by CHRISfromRI - 11/15/12 at 3:40pm
post #5 of 18

I never had an issue using "touchless" car washes with the rack and with the box. I'd never take any car through a car wash with those spinny things or rags. They just fill up with gritty dirt and scratch the paint.

 

The newer Thules use a pincher-like attachment that opens and close with the twist of a knob. Takes about 5 minutes if the racks are on.

post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeroGravity View Post

I never had an issue using "touchless" car washes with the rack and with the box.

 

FWIW, there was a thread I was just reading this week either here or on TGR asking about how to best repair a box because it got cracked by a touchless car wash.  They didn't go into specifics on how it happened but I'm assuming there wasn't enough clearance and the arm/mechanism of the car wash hit it.

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

 

FWIW, there was a thread I was just reading this week either here or on TGR asking about how to best repair a box because it got cracked by a touchless car wash.  They didn't go into specifics on how it happened but I'm assuming there wasn't enough clearance and the arm/mechanism of the car wash hit it.


I had the 21 on top of a Trooper with A/T tires and BARELY cleared most standard things (parking  decks, drive thru window eaves) including the brushless car washes.  If I had any lift at all added I could see lots of potential damage opportunities.  The Subaru dealer won't take the Forester through their car wash with the box on.  Like I said though, it clears every brushless one I've been to with at least a foot to spare.

post #8 of 18

A cheaper alternative to Thule is Car-rite - made by Thule and some of them look identical except for the name plate.  Boxes are a pain in the ass to take off and on, especially if it is cold and or wet.  Perhaps some of the newer boxes with better attachments systems might not be bad but to take it off and on just to wash - man you have more time and energy than I do.

I have my Carrite(thule) box on top of my RAV 4 - lots of room inthe touchless car wash I use.

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

 

FWIW, there was a thread I was just reading this week either here or on TGR asking about how to best repair a box because it got cracked by a touchless car wash.  They didn't go into specifics on how it happened but I'm assuming there wasn't enough clearance and the arm/mechanism of the car wash hit it.

 

 

Clearance would be the only way I could see it getting damaged. I don't think that the water pressure is much more than a hose, maybe a home pressure washer. It had to have hit the mechanism somehow.

post #10 of 18

If the manufacturer says don't take it through car wash just don't. Who knows more about your new $400 box and $300 rack system - people on this forum or the people who made the equipment?

That doesn't even consider possible damage to the roof of your new car. If you wash the car in the middle of winter either do it by hand or take the racks and box off as a unit. If you wash by hand and get the box wet it may require serious lock thawing depending on the box. I have had two boxes, both Thules, and one was a notorious lock freezer and the other was no problem. Also be prepared to have a place to store the box off season and if you live in or near NYC be sure your insurance will cover it and it's contents if it is broken into or stolen.

post #11 of 18
Over the years I've seen a couple of boxes fly off vehicles on the highway and get demolished, especially when the following traffic drove over the debris. I'm not sure what brands they were, and I would bet they were driving too fast. My Thule box subtracts around 1-2 mpg when it's installed so there is quite a bit of drag - but still too much trouble to take on and off except putting it on at the beginning of ski season and taking it off at the end.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Castle Dave View Post

If the manufacturer says don't take it through car wash just don't. Who knows more about your new $400 box and $300 rack system - people on this forum or the people who made the equipment?

That doesn't even consider possible damage to the roof of your new car. If you wash the car in the middle of winter either do it by hand or take the racks and box off as a unit. If you wash by hand and get the box wet it may require serious lock thawing depending on the box. I have had two boxes, both Thules, and one was a notorious lock freezer and the other was no problem. Also be prepared to have a place to store the box off season and if you live in or near NYC be sure your insurance will cover it and it's contents if it is broken into or stolen.

 

THIS. 

post #13 of 18

the boxes come off easily.  Especially the newer ones...  Both of mine have been through the car wash just fine.

post #14 of 18

Pressure wash in winter.

1000

post #15 of 18

I squirt lithium grease in the lock keyholes to repel water and prevent freeze ups.

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hmmmmmmm, maybe I should drive my gas- guzzling 4x4 pickup and save the $700:D!

I hate to support the oil companies any more than I already do, but maybe this ski box thing isn't worth it. I have to admit, I was dismayed to hear the Avalon sucks in the snow!

Thanks for the replies!
CB
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by C.B. View Post

Hmmmmmmm, maybe I should drive my gas- guzzling 4x4 pickup and save the $700:D!
I hate to support the oil companies any more than I already do, but maybe this ski box thing isn't worth it. I have to admit, I was dismayed to hear the Avalon sucks in the snow!
Thanks for the replies!
CB

Keep your finger at the ready to turn off your Avalon's Vehicle Stability Control when you come to the slightest slippery hill, since you probably won't make it up with it turned on. If it's any consolation my '02 lasted 192k miles, and apart from seizing 3 calipers gave good service. Oh yeah, the heater motor died too - all out of warranty.
post #18 of 18

You could do it like I do and just not wash the car during ski season.  It'll just get dirty tomorrow, anyway.

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