Prius Yakima Landing Pads


OK, I couldn't take the clip-on racks any longer. I've permanently installed Yakima pads on my last several vehicles so it was only a matter of time before I put them on the Prius. I started with the clip-on racks, but I'm just never happy with those. Call me crazy - most folks love 'em! But then most folks don't try using the Landing Pad solution, so who ya going to believe?

Parts used as follows. (please note that these are affiliate links. They cost you nothing extra, and help offset some of my hosting expenses if you purchase):

** Hmmm. Well, Amazon yanked all my links, and I'm too lazy to figure them out again.

Note: I'm often asked about the mileage hit when I'm carrying gear on the roof or pulling it with the trailer. And my answer is quite blunt: Don't worry about it. I hear this worry all the time, and I don't really understand it. What are you going to do about it? Leave your boats and bikes and camping gear behind because you never want your car to get 35 mpg? Your mileage will suffer as long as the rack and gear is up there. You will NOT get 50 mpg with stuff on the roof! It is the cost of carrying extra gear. The worst you'll do is better than the best SUV can do when empty - so aren't you happy to have an unloaded Prius the other 50 weeks out of the year? With the racks off the car, you still get great mileage. Just turn off the MFD while hauling gear and be happy. Or stay home, sell your boats and bikes and camping gear, and save ALL your gas! To throw you a bone, I will mention that though it is quite variable, I generally see 38-40 mph when I'm towing or carrying a load on the roof. While it does bother me to use more gas, I don't lose sleep over it. I usually go the same places and bring the same gear that my SUV and truck-driving friends go - and they're happy when they see 15 mpg.


So let's get started. After first checking under the headliner to make sure there are no obstructions on the underside of the roof, the front pads are measured (oh, about a million times) and marked. I did all this on masking tape to avoid scratches and to more easily erase initial lines. The front of these front pads were placed 5.5" from the front edge of the roof, and about 1/8" in from the seam crease. I chose this position so that my rear bars (positioned 32" behind the fronts) would be about 1" higher than the front. Since I'll be carrying sheet goods on these racks, I want down-pressure, and no lift!

Holes are center-punched and drilled with a 1/8" twist bit. Suddenly, there's no going back.

Widening the holes and making them round with a step bit.

Yup. Real-live holes through the roof. Some of the metal shavings are still stuck to the rubber seam gasket. I blew these off with a compressor before washing the car at the end.

The holes and Landing Pad ready for installation. The special Yakima "Turnuts" can be seen sitting in the roof seam.

Installed with cover off.

With cover on.

All the black warts ready to go.

Final step was to shorten the bars a bit. The shortest bars Yakima sells are 48". The next size is 58". They cost the same. 48" is just a wee bit too short (plus there's nothing to strap to if you want to carry 4' sheet goods) and 58" sticks out enough to look a bit dorky, and you risk bonking your head when getting in or out of the car. So the solution, of course, was to buy the 58" bars and lop off a few inches. Great excuse to use my horizontal 7x12 band saw too!  :) I think I took off 7", to leave me 1.5" sticking out from under 4' sheet goods.

Cross bars in place, carrying cargo.

Carrying canoe to Lake Siskiyou, near Mt. Shasta, CA

Crater Lake, OR.


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