How To Unlock The Thule Roof Rack Without A Key

How To Unlock The Thule Roof Rack Without A Key

Thule roof racks are the trusted companions of outdoor enthusiasts, adventurers, and travelers. These rugged, reliable racks serve a crucial role in transporting everything from kayaks and skis to camping gear and bicycles. However, as indispensable as they are, even the most seasoned adventurers occasionally find themselves in a frustrating predicament – the loss or misplacement of the key to their Thule roof rack. In this article, we will guide how to unlock the Thule roof rack without a key.

Imagine being all set for your next great adventure, only to discover that the key to your Thule roof rack is nowhere to be found. It’s a scenario that can quickly turn excitement into exasperation. The inconvenience of such a situation is undeniable, leaving you stranded with your gear and nowhere to go.

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Common Reasons To Unlock The Thule Roof Rack Without A Key:

Common Reasons To Unlock The Thule Roof Rack Without A Key:

Losing or misplacing the key to your Thule roof rack can happen to anyone, and the frustration it brings is all too familiar. Let’s explore some of the common situations where people may find themselves needing to unlock their Thule roof rack without a key, highlighting the inconveniences and headaches that can arise:

Key Misplacement: 

It’s an ordinary morning, and you’re ready to hit the road for an exciting outdoor adventure. You reach for your Thule roof rack key, only to discover that it’s nowhere to be found. This is, perhaps, one of the most common scenarios. Misplacing the key can occur due to a rushed departure, an oversight, or even a simple memory lapse.

Key Damage or Breakage: 

Over time, keys can wear out or become damaged. A bent or broken key can leave you locked out of your roof rack, making it essential to find an alternative method for access.

Key Sharing or Handover: 

If you’re sharing your vehicle with a friend or family member who might not have the key readily available, you may need to unlock the Thule roof rack to accommodate their equipment. This situation often arises on group trips or when sharing vehicles among multiple users.

Emergency Access: 

In some cases, you might need access to your roof rack for emergency purposes, such as retrieving important documents or equipment. Being able to unlock the Thule roof rack without a key can be invaluable during unexpected situations.

Lost or Stolen Key: 

Unfortunately, keys can also be lost or stolen. If you’ve experienced this unfortunate event, regaining access to your roof rack is crucial, especially if you have valuable cargo secured on the roof.

Key Duplication Delays: 

Ordering a replacement key from the manufacturer can take time, and you might not want to wait for shipping. Unlocking your Thule roof rack without a key temporarily allows you to access your equipment until the replacement key arrives.

These common scenarios emphasize the need for practical solutions to unlock your Thule roof rack without a key. No one should be kept from their adventures or face undue frustration due to a simple key misplacement or damage. In the following sections, we’ll explore methods to help you regain access swiftly and efficiently.

How To Unlock The Thule Roof Rack Without A Key

How To Unlock The Thule Roof Rack Without A Key

In this section, we’ll explore various methods for how to unlock the Thule roof rack without a key. Whether you’re facing an unexpected lockout or you’re simply looking for alternative solutions, we’ve got you covered.

Method#1: Using a Universal Key to unlock the Thule roof rack

Universal keys for Thule roof racks can be a lifesaver when you find yourself without your original key. These keys are designed to work with a range of Thule roof rack models, providing a convenient solution for unlocking your gear. Here, we’ll explain the concept of universal keys, guide you on how to use them, and offer tips on where to obtain or purchase these invaluable tools.

Explaining Universal Keys:

Universal keys are specially designed tools that can fit a variety of Thule roof rack locks. They are engineered to have a similar profile or structure to the original Thule keys, allowing them to engage with the lock mechanism and unlock it effectively. These keys are versatile, making them a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts who may encounter lock-related issues.

Using a Universal Key:

Unlocking your Thule roof rack with a universal key is a straightforward process. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Identify the Lock Cylinder: Locate the lock cylinder on your Thule roof rack. It’s usually situated on the housing of the rack, close to where the key is inserted.
  2. Select the Appropriate Universal Key: Universal keys come in various shapes and sizes to match different Thule lock cylinder profiles. Choose the key that closely resembles the shape of your lock cylinder.
  3. Insert and Turn: Carefully insert the universal key into the lock cylinder and turn it just as you would with the original key. Apply gentle pressure while turning to mimic the action of the actual key.
  4. Unlock the Roof Rack: As the universal key engages with the lock mechanism, you’ll feel it turning smoothly. Continue to turn the key until you hear or feel the lock disengage. This signals that your Thule roof rack is now unlocked and ready for use.

Method#2: Power Drill and Metal Bits

To use a power drill and metal bits, you need a drill with a metal bit suitable for drilling into the lock cylinder. Position the bit carefully within the keyhole area of the lock cylinder. Be cautious not to damage the surrounding area while drilling.

Once you’ve successfully created a hole in the cylinder, insert a screwdriver or a similar tool into the hole. Turn the tool to release the lock mechanism and unlock the roof rack. However, be aware that this method is a last resort due to its potential to damage both the lock and the roof rack structure. It should only be used when all other options are exhausted.

Method#3: Philips Head Screwdriver

Using a Philips head screwdriver as an improvised tool to unlock your Thule roof rack is relatively simple. Find a screwdriver tip that fits into the lock cylinder.

Insert the screwdriver gently into the cylinder, ensuring it reaches the back of the cylinder. Apply firm but gentle turning pressure to mimic the action of a key. Avoid using excessive force, as it could lead to damage.

Keep in mind that while this is a straightforward approach, it may not work for all types of lock cylinders, and the success of this method depends on the lock’s design.

Method#4: Paper Clip

The paper clip method requires bending a paper clip into a hook-like shape, with one end designed to fit into the lock cylinder.

Insert the paper clip into the cylinder and attempt to manipulate the pins inside the lock. This process simulates the key-turning action.

Picking a lock with a paper clip can be challenging and may require some skill and patience. It’s a less intrusive method compared to some others, making it a relatively low-risk option.

Method#5: Hex Wrench

Similar to the paper clip method, a hex wrench can be used to manipulate the pins inside the lock cylinder. Carefully insert the hex wrench into the cylinder.

Try to mimic the turning motion of a key to unlock the roof rack. Like the paper clip method, using a hex wrench is a non-destructive approach.

Just be aware that success with this method may also depend on your familiarity with lock-picking techniques.

Method#6: Brute Force Method

The brute force method involves attempting to force the lock open through pressure on the lock core. You can use pliers, a wrench, or other tools to apply pressure to the lock core.

While trying to turn it, keep in mind that this method is extremely risky and may lead to permanent damage to the lock or the roof rack itself. Only resort to this method as a last-ditch effort when all other options have failed.

Method#7: Cable Ties

The next method to unlock the thule roof rack without a key is cable ties. Some lock cylinders can be manipulated using cable ties to create tension. Insert a cable tie into the lock cylinder and apply pressure while attempting to turn the core to unlock it.

This method is a non-destructive option and may work for some lock types, but it’s essential to understand that it might not be effective in all situations. It’s a method worth trying if you want to avoid potential damage to your lock or roof rack.

How to Find Your Thule Key Number

If you’ve ever owned a Thule roof rack, you’re likely familiar with the importance of the key number. The key number is a unique code associated with your lock core, and it’s an invaluable piece of information. Here’s how you can find your Thule key number:

  1. Check Your Original Key: The easiest way to find your Thule key number is to check the original key that came with your roof rack. Thule keys typically have the key number etched or engraved on them. It’s a series of numbers and/or letters that uniquely identify your lock core.
  2. Inspect Your Lock Core: If you don’t have the original key or it’s missing, look at the lock core itself. The key number is sometimes etched or engraved on the face of the lock core. You may need to remove the lock from the roof rack to see it more clearly.
  3. Consult the Documentation: Thule often provides key number information in the product’s documentation or user manual. Look through any paperwork that came with your roof rack, including the packaging or instruction booklet. The key number might be printed or labeled there.
  4. Contact Thule Customer Support: If you’re unable to locate the key number through the above methods, don’t worry. Thule’s customer support can be a valuable resource. Get in touch with Thule’s customer service, provide them with your roof rack’s model information, and they may be able to assist you in retrieving your key number or ordering a replacement key.

Finding your Thule key number is essential for key replacement or ordering additional keys. It ensures that you receive the correct key that matches your lock core. Keep this number in a safe place, so you’re prepared for any future key-related issues and can enjoy your outdoor adventures without interruption.

How To Install Thule Roof Rack

How To Install Thule Roof Rack

Installing a Thule roof rack is a straightforward process, and it’s an excellent way to enhance your vehicle’s carrying capacity for outdoor gear, luggage, or equipment. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or simply need extra space for a road trip, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to install a Thule roof rack:

Tools and Materials You’ll Need:

  • Thule roof rack kit (contains crossbars and foot packs)
  • A measuring tape or ruler
  • A Torque wrench (to ensure proper tightening)
  • Vehicle-specific Fit Kit (included in the Thule kit)
  • Clear installation instructions are provided in the Thule kit

How To Install Thule Roof Rack; Step By Step Guide

Check Compatibility

Ensure that your vehicle is compatible with the Thule roof rack system you have. Thule provides fit guidelines and compatibility information for various car models, so make sure your vehicle is on the list.

Position the Crossbars

Measure the distance between the front and rear roof edges according to the instructions in your Thule kit. This measurement will determine the proper placement of the crossbars. It’s essential to achieve the correct spread for your specific vehicle.

Install the Foot Packs

Attach the foot packs to the crossbars, following the provided instructions. Make sure they are securely fastened but not over-tightened.

Position the Roof Rack

Carefully position the assembled roof rack on your vehicle’s roof, making sure the crossbars are evenly spaced and parallel to each other.

Attach the Fit Kit

Thule provides a vehicle-specific Fit Kit that ensures a secure fit between the roof rack and your vehicle’s roof. Follow the instructions in the Fit Kit to attach it to your roof.

Secure the Roof Rack

Once the Fit Kit is in place, securely fasten the roof rack by tightening the foot packs. Use a torque wrench to ensure that they are properly tightened to the recommended specifications provided in the Thule instructions.

Test the Installation

After installation, perform a stability and security check. Gently shake the roof rack to ensure it’s firmly attached to your vehicle. Make sure there is no movement or play in the system.

Load Your Gear

Now that your Thule roof rack is installed, you can load your gear or equipment onto the crossbars. Make sure your load is evenly distributed and within the recommended weight capacity of the roof rack.

Final Check

Before hitting the road, give your roof rack and the loaded gear one last check to ensure everything is secure and properly fastened.

Frequent Ask Question

Q1: What is a Thule key number? 

A Thule key number is a unique code associated with your lock core. It serves as a crucial identifier for your roof rack’s lock mechanism. Having this number is essential for ordering replacement keys or ensuring the correct fit for additional keys.

Q2: How do I get a new Thule key?

To obtain a new Thule key, you have several options. The ideal method is to refer to your original key, where the key number is usually engraved. You can use this number to order a replacement key through Thule’s official website or by contacting a Thule dealer. If you don’t have the key number, you can also contact Thule’s customer support for assistance.

Q3: How do you remove a Thule roof rack lock?

Removing a Thule roof rack lock typically requires a change or removal key specific to the lock cylinder. You can insert the removal key into the cylinder and turn it to release the lock. If you’re unsure or having difficulty, it’s advisable to consult the Thule roof rack’s user manual or contact Thule’s customer support for guidance.

Q4: What is a Thule universal change key?

A Thule universal change key is a tool designed for removing or replacing lock cores in Thule products, such as roof racks and carriers. It allows you to easily switch out lock cores and keys without the need for professional assistance, offering greater convenience and security.

Q5: How much does it cost to order a replacement key for a Thule roof rack?

The cost of ordering a replacement key for a Thule roof rack can vary. Typically, the price depends on the type of key, the specific lock core, and the distribution source. Replacement keys can range from a few dollars to more, and it’s best to check the Thule website or consult a Thule dealer for the most accurate pricing information.


In the realm of outdoor exploration, your Thule roof rack is more than a travel companion—it’s the key to seamless adventures. Whether tackling lockouts or mastering installations, this guide empowers you to maximize your Thule roof rack’s potential.

From unlocking without a key to expanding your vehicle’s capacity, let your Thule key number be the portal to effortless replacement. As you embark on stress-free journeys, armed with Thule mastery, may your travels be limitless. Unlock the freedom to explore confidently with your trusted Thule roof rack by your side.


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