Rhino-Rack Unsuitable For Off-Road Use

There is growing concern about Rhino-Rack platforms being unsuitable for load carrying. Besides the misinformation posted around the web on this subject at present, there is a problem, and that problem to me is that Rhino-Rack is downgrading the off-road load limit regardless what fixing method is used to fit a platform to the roof (rivet, gutter mount, existing rail clamp, etc).

A YouTuber called Tyler Thompson posted his experience with overloading his Rhino-Rack, it coming off his roof when off-road. Another YouTuber Ronny Dahl was promoting his latest Rhino-Rack install, overloaded unbeknownst to him with a combined weight of 80kg. A further YouTuber, auto expert John Cadogan explained his engineering take on this very issue. This was primarily about the rivet fixing method.

The information discussed in these three videos is one thing, but many of the comments attached to these videos is entirely a different read. Go read for yourself. A lot of nonsense and misinformation for sure, mixed with some good content.

The Problem

Rhino-Rack has a small caveat within their platform fitting instructions that outline an off-road limit. You have purchased the rack typically at this point. People initially associated this to the rivet fixing method, however, if you search Rhino-Rack for any vehicle that has sill clamps, rail mounts, etc, the same applies. This renders the very expensive $1500 – $2000 cost of these racks totally useless off-road, with a load limit typically around the 30 – 50kg mark, depending on your roof OEM load rating.

Rhino-Rack had pictures on their website with vehicles off-road according to their terms and conditions for off-road load limit, loaded with jerrycans, gas bottles, and much more. These very things would rate their rack overloaded by their own definition. They have just changed many of these images due to the recent YouTube exposure of this issue.

Some are asking whether Rhino-Rack is being thrown under the bus. Well… not really. How many people get their roof-rack professionally fitted and would not read these installation instructions where this information is contained. Let alone, the information was not straight-forward, nor blatant at the point of sale. “Hey, you’re 100kg advertised roof-rack really can only carry 30kg off-road, but shhhhh!”

You buy a roof-rack to carry stuff on your roof, on-road or off. Every other manufacturer seems to be able to warrant their similarly priced products for static and dynamic load ratings only, and not down-grade their product with a ridiculous off-road lower rating. They further place the load limits on their products typically clearly viewed.

I’m sorry, but Rhino-Rack is selling a misleading, defective product from point of sale.

I honestly believe that those affected by this have a reasonable case with consumer affairs as the product they purchased at the price point purchased for, was unsuitable for the task sold. There are laws, regardless of warranty or what a manufacturer tells you when trying to cover their backside and not pay damages to you. Just start with the Internet Archive captures of their website advertising overloaded racks as though this is what you can do with their product if you buy it.

Every owner affected by this should contact consumer affairs, regardless how old your rack is, the fact is that you were sold a roof-rack under misleading advertising. If this gained enough traction, I can nearly smell class action.

1 thought on “Rhino-Rack Unsuitable For Off-Road Use”

  1. The more research I do on this subject, it seems that the “fixed point” method is the only one that manufacturers tend to have 0% weight reduction off-road. I was looking at the Yakima systems, and they too have adopted the off-road downgrade, though with far more detail and variation compared to Rhino-Rack. I’m starting to find a common theme amongst many manufacturers, whether this was present already, or they’ve just started adopting this in recent years.

    Basically, they’re charging exorbitant outlay for nothing more than a paperweight for your 4×4. I can think of better places to put my MaxTrax than spending $1500 for a rack that can barely carry two sets of MaxTrax and a lightbar. Hell, if you stick an awning on there too, probably lucky to meet off-road load ratings for an awning plus MaxTrax.

    Just not worth the cost IMO. I’m going to run no roof-rack on the roof, and just one on the tub instead, which I can load and actually use as the mounts are not rubbish.


Leave a comment

The maximum upload file size: 5 MB. You can upload: image. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here