How to Install Thule Rack Locks

Updated March 28, 2017

Thule racks are used to haul bicycles, skis, kayaks and cargo. The Thule rack system is designed to be modular, meaning you can add to it as needed. One of Thule's aftermarket products is the lock cylinder. These cylinders operate with a single key and lock down your valuable sporting gear. Installing the Thule cylinder locks is designed to be a quick and simple procedure.

Go to the left side of the Thule rack crossbars or hitch receivers. Look for the black end cap covering the rack barrels. Pry this off using a quarter or flathead screwdriver.

Insert the cylinder lock-bore mechanism into the rack tube. Tighten the lock-bore mechanism into place by screwing the locking screws on the underside of the mechanism.

Insert the universal Thule cylinder key into the metal cylinder and insert the whole unit into the lock-bore mechanism. Turn the universal key to insert the lock into the bore. Remove the universal key when the bore is in the rack tube and locked into position. Note that the universal key may not be used in the lock again once the lock cylinder has been inserted into the bore.

Insert the cylinder key into the cylinder and turn to lock the unit down on the rack. Keep the key on your key chain.


You can buy up to six bores that use the same key. This allows you to lock down all aspects of the rack without having to carry a load of keys.


Do not insert the cylinder into the bore with the universal key until you are positive it is in the correct position. Once the universal key has been used to set the bore, it will not work again. This is done as a precautionary measure by Thule.

Things You'll Need

  • Flathead screwdriver
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About the Author

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.