Do you have Yakima roof racks or other car accessories installed on your car? To ensure you get the most out of your roof racks, you’ll need to ensure you are properly maintaining them. If you are washing the roof racks incorrectly, you can potentially end up damaging the roof racks.

The first thing you need to do before attempting to clean your roof racks or accessories is to make sure you remove all items from your roof racks. If you leave them on, you not only risk damaging the items but the roof racks and car as well.


When you’re going to clean your roof racks, you want to be using the best products. You want to make sure they are suitable for the material on your roof racks and their ability to actually remove all the grit and dirt. If your roof racks are left in a dirty condition, you risk damaging the paint and pads on the roof rack. To avoid this, you need to make sure your roof racks are maintained and kept free of any dirt. The best way to do this is manually clean the roof racks on a regular basis.

Products to consider using on your roof racks include:

Cleaner: To clean your roof racks, you should consider using Concentrated Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner. This is a non-toxic cleaner and degreaser which is suitable for use on any washable surface. This is a safe cleaner with a biodegradable formula.

Protectant: 303 Aerospace Protectant is great to use to make surfaces look as good as new. This is suitable to use on any plastic surfaces, which makes it a great product for your roof racks.


Once you have the right products, you’re ready to clean your roof racks. But what is the best process to follow?

Remove the roof racks: for the best clean, remove the roof racks from the car. Use warm and soapy water for a thorough clean. Ensure your roof racks are completely dry before mounting them back on the roof of your car.

Lubricate: over time your roof racks can become loosened as a result of the vibrations from the car. Make sure you lubricate the bolts and tighten any knobs, locks and washers.

Wear and tear: Inspect the roof racks and roof accessories for any wear and tear. If any of these pieces have become corroded make sure these are replaced before using the roof racks again. Ensure you also check the tie-down straps you’re using - if they have become frayed or have loose buckles it’s best to replace them to avoid any danger occurring.


To properly look after your roof racks, it’s best not to constantly leave them on your roof. Instead, you should occasionally remove them. This gives you the opportunity to properly wash both the roof racks and the roof of your car. If you wash the roof racks while they are still attached to your car, dirt can be pushed underneath the pads of the racks, making them lose functionality over time.

When you take a roof rack off your car, you want to ensure you stand them on edge or upside down, rather than upright. The pads from the roof racks are soft and are able to easily get covered in grit. This grit then marks the paint, leaving you with unsightly roof racks.

When you’re reinstalling the roof racks to your car, ensure both the racks and the roof of your car are clean. If your car's roof is dusty, this can also stick to the pads and damage the paint of the roof racks. Use a cleaner spray and a clean cloth to wash your roof racks and roof before reinstalling the roof racks.


If you’re going to take your car through a car wash, you must remove your roof racks before doing so. Roof racks and any accessories can be damaged going through a car wash. Brushes from the car wash can get stuck in the roof racks and cause the roof racks to be pulled off your car.

Need to get roof racks for your car? Check out Yakima’s range of roof racks LockN’Load.

Last updated: 9th August 2017

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