7 Pro Tips to Unlock the Thule Roof Rack without a Key (2024)

How to Unlock the Thule Roof Rack without a Key

Thule roof racks are generally a cost-effective and sturdy way to carry big and heavy items on top of a car. A lot of vehicles come with factory-installed Thule racks as an option. Although you are supposed to get the keys to unlock the Thule roof racks when you buy the car, sometimes you may find that the keys have been misplaced or lost. Thule roof rack removal can be a bit of a hassle. This blog aims to show how to unlock the Thule roof rack without a key.

How to Unlock the Thule Roof Rack without a Key

Here are some different Techniques to Unlock the Thule Roof Rack without a Key:


Unlocking the roof rack with a T-bar is the easiest method for taking off the top of the Thule roof rack:

  • Find the T-bar in the front of the front seat. Pull the T-bar out and put it on the top of the roof rack.
  • Pull the Thule key out of the handle on the T-bar. Turn the key clockwise to unlock the Thule roof rack from the car.
  • Take the Thule key and lift it, opening the top of the Thule roof rack.

Power Drill and Metal Bits

  • You’ll need to measure the length of your roof with a measuring tape.
  • You’ll want to find the middle of the top and the halfway point of each roof side. Make sure that your rack won’t be too long or too short.
  • It would help if you used a power drill and bit to remove the bolt holding your Thule roof rack on.

Make sure the bolt is loose before removing it. The bolt can also be a few different sizes, so you need other metal bits to fit.

Philips Head Screwdriver:

Unlock the Thule roof rack with a Philips head screwdriver. 

  • First, open the roof rack box and take out the roof rack assembly. 
  • Unlock the roof rack and take it off the roof by removing the screws. You can do this by using the Philips head screwdriver. 
  • Remove the existing roof rack assembly. 
  • Install a new roof rack into your vehicle by following the above steps in reverse order.

Paper Clip

Here’s how to unlock the Thule roof rack with a paper clip: You’ll need a paper clip and a flathead screwdriver. Attach the paper clip to the hole in the keyhole. It will put pressure on the lock and release it. Then all you have to do is urge the wave up with a flathead screwdriver. Voila! The lock should be removed, and your rack will be fully open so you can add your gear!

Hex Wrench

A hex wrench might sound like a strange answer to a question about unlocking a roof rack, but it’s the proper way to deal with the issue at hand. The rubber-coated metal key with the Thule rack will open the lock, but it doesn’t provide the leverage you need to get the job done.

The hex wrench will give you the power you need, and you can use it with the key that approaches in the box with the unit.

The best way to break the lock open is to insert the hex wrench in the keyhole as though you were going to turn it to open the lock and then apply pressure to the end of the tool with the palm of your hand. It should be enough to get the bolt in the wave to pop loose, and the whole thing opens up.

Brute Force Method

If you’re confident that your Thule roof rack is securely locked and fastened, you can try a brute force method. It’s going to ring a bit silly, but here it is: Get a big sledgehammer and hit the end of the crossbar right where it attaches to the car’s base. You don’t have to hit it hard. Just plug it enough to make the base of the car jiggle a little bit.

Then bring in the auto and attempt to carry the crossbar. If it moves, you’ve got it. If it doesn’t, try hitting it again, and so on. Make sure you don’t have any soft stuff in the car that could be damaged from the vibrations if you miss with the hammer!

Cable Ties

To unlock the Thule Roof Rack with cable ties, you will have to cut the cable ties. You oughtn’t to terminate the cable connections altogether. Just cut them enough to make them loose. You can also use heat to loosen the cable ties. Use a hairdryer set on high heat and warm enough to melt the plastic. 

The plastic will go back to its original shape when it cools off, so you must apply heat several times. When the cable ties are warm, they will become more pliable. 

Popular Concerns

What do I do if I lose my Thule key?

Contact Thule customer support for assistance in obtaining a replacement key.

How to unlock a luggage lock without a key?

Use a paperclip or pen to manipulate the lock mechanism, or contact the luggage manufacturer for guidance.

How to change the lock on a Thule roof box?

Refer to the Thule roof box manual for specific instructions on changing the lock or consult Thule customer support for assistance.

How do you unlock a Thule hitch lock?

A Thule hitch lock can unlock by finding the necessary code, which is located on the lock’s back. A complex academic jargon for this is essential to identify the alphanumeric code on the reverse of the wave.

How Do You Get A Broken Key Out Of A Thule Lock?

To get a ruptured key out of a Thule lock, one must use an Allen wrench and a small wire to remove the broken bit. The wire should be inserted into the keyhole. Holding it with the Allen wrench, turn to the right to push the broken key out.

Are Thule Keys Universal?

It is important to note that Thule keys are not universal; they only work with specific makes and models of vehicles. The key’s structure and several teeth can vary depending on the car manufacturer, and it is impossible to make a one-size-fits-all key for all cars.

My Opinion

If you have lost your key for your Thule roof rack, there are a few things that you can do to get it off the car. One option is to call a locksmith. They will be able to cut the lock to get the rack off your car. Another course of action is to drill out the lock. It will require some additional tools, but you will need these anyway if you choose this method.