Are Thule Roof Racks Universal? Can Thule Roof Racks Fit On Any Car?

Roof racks offer an ideal platform for motorists to transport extra cargo. Thule manufactures various rack types, ensuring you can transport your bikes, kayaks, cargo boxes, and so much more. However, most people ask if you can use Thule bike racks on all vehicle types or change them from one vehicle to another.

The below article will address the topic ‘Are Thule roof racks universal?’ and the options available for you if you wish to acquire one. Read on for a detailed review.

Are Thule Roof Racks Universal?

Thule roof racks are not universal because Thule does not manufacture a rack system for all types of vehicles. The company designs different roof rack types that match the model of your vehicle, make, and year. There is no universal rack that can get used by all vehicles.

While Thule roof racks may work on roughly 98% of vehicles, you require specific parts that fit your car. If your vehicle possesses rain gutters, most rain gutter roof racks have a high probability of working. However, you may have to change the foot height and bar width.

Most modern vehicles do not have gutters. Therefore, roof rack manufacturers like Thule manufacture racks for cars without them. The resulting rack systems feature permanent and removable designs, rails, clamp mount, and fix-points systems.

Also see: Are roof racks bad for bikes?

Therefore, your gutter-less roof rack system consists of the fit kit and the feet. Attach the fit kit around the upper end of your door jamb to ensure the roof rack holds onto your vehicle. The feet can fit many car models, but each kit gets specifically designed to complement a particular vehicle.

The Requirements Needed to Have a Complete Thule Rack

For you to successfully install a Thule rack, you need the following itinerary;

  • Secure and safe rack feet. The bars rest on the rack feet.
  • Aerodynamic and heavy-duty bars. The bars run across the width of the roof of your car.
  • All-inclusive pre-assembled racks
  • Roof rack accessories – a fitting kit for that specific vehicle.

Are Thule Roof Racks Interchangeable?

Thule roof racks are not interchangeable between cars because car manufacturers do not make roofs of the same size. For example, crossbars come at different lengths, and you will have to either adjust or acquire one that fits your car.

 Are Thule Roof Bars Universal?

Thule roof bars are not universal as they cannot fit all car makes and models. They feature a variety of styles that meet different requirements for a wide variety of vehicles. There exist four main types of roof bars, all differing in how they get attached to the car. Various vehicles have different attachment mechanisms.

  1. Raised Roof Rails

Raised roof rails get often integrated on estate cars and SUVs. They start from the front to the back of the roof. They get fitted by the car manufacturer often as an option or standard equipment for some models.

They get the name ‘raised’ roof rails as you notice a gap between the rail and the roof.

  1. Solid Roof Rails

Solid roof rails are a modern version of the raised roof rails. They are also found in estate cars. However, there is no gap between the roof and rail.

  1. Roof Bars for Vehicles with Fixed Points

Fix points often get integrated on any vehicle body style like a hatch, saloon, MPV, and many more. A fixpoint is an area on the car roof specifically designed for attaching a roof rack. There are usually four and hidden under a cap on the roof.

  1. Roof Bars for Vehicles without Fix Points or Rails

If your car does not have rails or fixed points, a door jamb is ideal for attaching your roof rack. It gets incorporated in the interior side of the door, and you will need to adjust the clamps before you close the door.

Why Are Thule Bike Racks Not Universal?

Thule bike racks are not universal because they get made in various styles. They can get mounted on the roof of your car, the rear hatch, or in the hitch receiver. The type of vehicle you ride identifies the bike rack options available. After determining the options that fit your car, narrow down your preferred style based on the number of bicycles you wish to carry.

Also see: How to carry a bike without a  rack

What to Consider before Buying a Roof Rack

There are variables to consider before you acquire a roof rack for your car. They include;

  1. Does The Roof Rack Fit Your Car?

Most roof rack systems have similar components. However, the make, model, and year of your car determine the specific options. Thule has one or two solutions for most vehicles. Visit Thule and choose a rack that perfectly fits your vehicle.

  1. Cost

Price is the most significant factor when choosing a roof rack. The higher the price, the better the quality. A top-quality rack can support more gear and weight than other standard factory racks. Complete roof rack systems start under $150 for an already used rack to $500+ for a new setup.

  1. Load

The type of load you wish to carry should be a guiding factor when choosing a viable roof rack. The mounts may be kayak carriers, cargo boxes, bike racks, and so much more. The load you carry may be compatible with various crossbar types. However, others require you to incorporate adapters, which are purchased separately.

  1. Aestheticism

Your personal preferences also play a part when choosing an ideal roof rack. You may prefer round crossbars over square ones or a low-profile rack instead of a tall one. The color of the rack system is also your choice. Make sure you explore the various options before arriving at a final decision.


The above piece sheds light on ‘are Thule roof racks universal?’ there is no specific roof rack that fits all vehicles. You have to choose a specific one that matches your vehicle model, year, and make. If you already have a roof rack, it may fit your car, but you may get forced to adjust the crossbars or acquire adapters to attach the roof rack.