How do I Install a Passat Roof Rack?

Written by christina shepherd mcguire
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How do I Install a Passat Roof Rack?
With a new sports rack on your car, getting your gear to the trail will take half the time. (mountain trail image by Danuta Kania from

A Thule rack makes it simple to mount your recreational equipment to the top of your Volkswagon Passat. Installing the recommended foot pack and bars allows your car the capability to carry bikes, skis, surfboards and much more. The Thule 480R foot pack has the patented MaxClamp technology, making installation a breeze. Once outfitted, your new rack will make it easier to transport your gear to the slopes, the trails or the ocean.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Thule 480R Rapid Traverse Foot Pack
  • Thule Rapid Aero Load Bars
  • Car sponge
  • Bucket with soapy water
  • Buffing cloth

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  1. 1

    Unbox your rack and locate all four of the Thule feet.

  2. 2

    Pull up on the inside lever of each foot.

  3. 3

    Position the guide on top of the foot into the track on the underside of each load bar. Slide two feet onto the ends of either load bar.

  4. 4

    Snap the end caps onto your load bars.

  5. 5

    Position the feet on the load bars so that the bars are centred at the appropriate width to mount to your roof. Snap the interior feet levers into place to lock.

  6. 6

    Open all four of the car doors.

  7. 7

    Affix the included rubber shims to the bottom of all four of the feet.

  8. 8

    Pull open the outside window of each foot, exposing the mechanics. Slide the metal foot clamp into the bottom of the exposed bracket until it clicks into place.

  9. 9

    Wash and buff dry the four areas of the roof where the rack will sit.

  10. 10

    Place each foot evenly above all four open car doors. Hook each foot clamp underneath the car's door frame.

  11. 11

    Tighten the nuts on the outside of all four feet, using the Allen wrench, so that they clamp securely to the car.

  12. 12

    Close the windows on the outside of the feet.

Tips and warnings

  • The manufacturer's instructions illustrate four load bar profiles that the 480R foot accommodates. If you use Yakima load bars, you will have an oval profile. If you use the bars recommended in this article, the profile will be square.
  • It is always advised to check the tightness of the rack upon embarking on your journey. After travelling dirt or washboard roads it can rattle loose and need tightened with the Allen wrench.
  • This rack can be used with or without locks. However if you choose not to purchase and install locks, your precious recreational items could be subject to theft.

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