Why is There a Crossbar Spread Difference Between Rhino-Rack, Thule, and Yakima Brands


2013 Prius Rhino and Thule 26.5 inches, Yakima 32 inches. How important is this distance?


Expert Reply:

The crossbar spread difference that you are seeing between different brands of roof rack systems has to do with the way that the racks are built. Each manufacturer tested their specific roof rack on a 2013 Toyota Prius and based the placement of the crossbars off of the data that they gathered. The specific spots are the best spots for weight capacity and performance.

All manufacturers have great roof rack systems and I would have no hesitation recommending any of them. I do recommend going with an Aero style crossbar though because the aerodynamic design reduces wind resistance and noise.

For a Rhino-Rack system I recommend the Vortex Aero Crossbars, part # RRVA118S-2 for Silver or part # RRVA118B-2 for Black, the 2500 Series Legs # RRRLKVA, and the DK Fit Kit # DK195. The legs and crossbars come with locks but you may consider upgrading the plastic locks on the crossbars to metal lock cores # RRVA-LEC4 - the legs come with metal lock cores. It has a crossbar spread of 26.5 inches and a weight capacity of 110 lbs.

For a Thule system I recommend the AeroBlade Load Bars, part # TH711400 for Silver or part # TH711420 for Black, the Evo Clamp Feet # TH710501, and the Fit Kit # TH145001. This system doesn't come with locks, but you can easily add the locking cylinders with part # TH450400. It has a crossbar spread of 26.5 inches and a weight capacity of 130 lbs.

For a Yakima system I recommend the JetStream Crossbars, part # Y00429 for Silver or part # Y00426 for Black, BaseLine Towers # Y00146, and the BaseClip Fit Kit # Y06117. This roof rack doesn't come with locks either, but again, they can be added using part # Y07204. It has a crossbar spread of 32 inches and a weight capacity of 125 lbs.

All three systems will fit all 2013 Prius bare roof models excluding the V with no existing rails or crossbars. They all come with a limited lifetime warranty, and all of the manufacturers do not advise installing them on glass roofs or opening a sun or moon roof while the roof rack is installed.

Even though they are all similar, they do have a few differences like the inclusion of lock cylinders, the crossbar spread, and the weight capacity. If you let me know what you are wanting to use your roof rack for and any accessories that you might be using with it I can make a recommendation for you.

I have also attached some review videos for you to check out.

expert reply by:
Jon G

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