Paul Andrews

Thule responds: No recall planned

In Equipment reviews, Mountain Biking on October 28, 2009 at 1:35 am
Thule's T2 on our Eurovan

With a few mods, we'd love our T2

Thule’s communications manager, Karl Wiedemann, has gotten back to us re our recent reports on T2 rack failures. Essentially what happens is that the outer most tray (spar) slides off the rail (backbone) while the car is in motion, potentially creating all kinds of havoc, from bike damage to collisions with trailing vehicles.

As Wiedemann notes in an email: “We have heard of a few instances regarding the issues you have described with the T2. Our quality testing team has been unable to replicate this scenario in our lab or on our road tests.

“As always, testing is carried out with correctly assembled and installed products. Thule is committed to making products which have the highest safety and quality. Even though we were unable to duplicate the problem, as a precaution, we started installing a bolt on the underside of the T2 last year. This bolt helps to keep the T2 trays on the rack even if the tray bolts were not secured correctly during the installation.
“As with all Thule products, the T2 comes with a lifetime warranty and we stand behind the product 100%. If anyone has an issue with any of our products, they can call our customer service 800-238-2388.”

At Bike Intelligencer, we still think Thule should recall the T2. If we were confident the fix worked as described, we might let the situation stand. But the “bolt” referred to is, on our recently purchased rack, a small Phillips screw. If the bracket is loose and carrying a bike, the screw will do little to prevent the tray from sliding off.

Recalls are expensive. At this point there obviously have been few enough failures, and the failures have caused little enough damage, that it’s been cheaper to warranty the racks and replace or repair damaged merchandise than to issue a recall.

In the case that prompted our initial investigation, the victim reported good response from Thule. The company agreed to pay for approximately $635 worth of bike repairs and replace the rack.

We like the T2. If Thule made the modifications we’ve suggested, we’d love the T2. We hope there will be no more rack failures, and that if there are, damage will be minimal. We’d rather Thule did not take the risk.

  1. Used T2 for years, never had one slide off. But if i wasn’t observant & never realized when i was loading that the bike rack was loose, i might have lost once or twice. tighten your bolts every once in a while. If you dont check your lugnuts every once in a while you can lose a wheel on your car. It’s true!

  2. I have a Eurovan Camper and am needing a good bike rack for it. Is there something you would recommend over the T2? It looks like you have it mounted on a camper as well. Can you open the back door with no bikes mounted on the rack? Thanks in advance for any thoughts or suggestions and the great blog.

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