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Car racks for 2002 Prius

6212 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  johnson487682
Not sure this is a technical question; sorry it's not posted in general. I have Thule racks and the Thule dealer said they don't make footers for this car. Does anyone use racks with their Prius? What brand, etc.? I contacted the Parts/service department at the Toyota dealer but I have not heard back yet?

Previous posts were great reading (as far as "car talk" can go anyway!) Sorrry about the break in.
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past messages

I'm going to work on restoring all of the past messages that were on I'm hoping that the database containing it was not erased on the old server. Unfortunitly I will need physical access to the hard drive(all remote access was blocked) to see what is still on it, so I have to wait for it to be shipped back to my location. If I can't get the old messages from the database, I will at least be able to get everything that was sent out by email back.
Prius Racks

I also had Thule racks for my old car (96 Olds Achieva):
177 fit kit, 400 feet, 50 bars

I did some thorough research and discovered Thule is test marketing a new rack for the Prius; however, I couldn't find anyone who could sell it to me, because it's apparently only available in limited locations and numbers. Here is the plan, if it survives the test market:
1103 fit kit, 750 feet, 762 bars

These bars will apparently be compatible with all Thule accessories, but I only have one accessory (load stops), and none of these parts are the same as the parts on my old Achieva, so I have no reason to stay with Thule. Note: these parts are all Prius-specific, so there is no reason to expect they will work for any future car you might buy.

So, I investigated Yakima. I found they advertise a set of their standard parts to work on a Prius:
Q towers with 48" bars and clips Q31 and Q32 (I think it was a pair of Q31s on the front bar and a pair of Q32s on the rear bar)

These are available now in stores and are standard parts, so they should be portable to any future vehicles. I'm not as happy with their equivalent of Thules's load stops (I use my rack primarily for transporting lumber and other building supplies home from the hardware store), because Yakima's are much shorter than Thule's, so I don't think they'll hold 2x10s very securely (for example). I may have to make some modifications... :wink: I haven't bought Yakima yet, so I can't report on how well it works, but that's my current plan.

I also have a trunk-mounted bike rack that I used on my Achieva. It's a Rhode Gear Speedster Shuttle 3, and it fits well despite the Prius' spoiler and short trunk lid. The only potential problem is the lower bar sits right on the Prius' license plate, partially obscuring it. So far, I haven't been pulled over, but if a trooper or officer ever complains, my plan is to just unscrew the plate and put it in my back window for the rest of the trip! (I keep a screwdriver in the trunk with my other tools.) This rack is nice, because it is mounted entirely to the trunk lid, allowing you to open the trunk even with bike(s) (up to 3) attached, and it goes off and on very quickly and easily.

I've also heard of someone (I think it was who had a trailer hitch mounted to the metal rings (attached to the rear corners of the underbody) so he could use one of the post-mounted bike racks.

Note: when I took my Rhode Gear rack on the highway recently, I noticed a dramatic drop in fuel economy (6 or 7 mpg less than normal), and I suspect roof racks will cause similar drops, so whatever you choose, make sure you only carry it when you need it.

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Yakima Rack

We put a Yakima rack on our prius, with 3 copperhead racks for our bicycles. The road noise was pretty bad without the optional fairing. It helped alot, as well as helping out the gas mileage loss.

We figure it dropped us about 4mpg. <sigh> But everything is a compromise, now isn't it?
Thule car rack for Prius

I had old foot pads from my old 1989 Ford Probe which are nice and flat. They sit nice and flat on the Prius roof and the bars tighted up quite securely.

According to what I have is the "#400 Aero Foot Pack"
with the "#9 Fit Kit." The foot pack has the parts that grabs the
square cross bar and hooks onto door. The #9 fit kit is the black
rubber pad that contacts the roof.

If you use a roofbox expect a major hit on mpg on order of at least 10mpg
Thule rack

Well, I procrastinated long enough (on buying the Yakima rack) that Thule has developed a better solution. I don't know how long this has been on the market, but now you can get a fit kit for their standard aero foot and load bars. This means I could buy a simple $47 fit kit and keep all my existing accessories! :D

You can double-check Thule's web-based fit check, but the following should work for 01-03 Prius: 400 Aero Foot, 50 Load Bars, 2124 Fit Kit. This fit kit was a special order at my local REI, but any retailer can get it from Thule, so some locations may stock it.

My fit kit arrived Saturday, and I put it on my car on Sunday, and it works great! One thing wasn't clear from the installation instructions: you have to lightly screw the fit kit's clamp to the aero foot before you put it on the car. I was trying to hold the clamp and foot in position on the car and then screw it down. This doesn't work, because the clamp has to be under tension on the car, and the screw isn't long enough to reach without the tension.

I haven't taken it onto the highway yet, but I'm sure there will be some noise and drop in mpg. This is true of any rack. I am interested to hear that some people have seen a noticeable improvement with the fairing. I will consider getting one.

Douglas (2002 Silver, Wisconsin)
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