Can Thule Bike Racks Get Wet? (Will They Rust?)

Thule adheres to rigorous testing standards. However, it’s stated on the Thule Test Center webpage that their bike racks are water-resistant and not waterproof. Therefore, the Thule bike racks need reasonable maintenance and care to prevent rust. 

The Thule Test Program ensures that Thule products maintain the highest quality standard. These assurance procedures comprise 25 Thule Standards. Each, exacting and thorough, have proven that Thule Bike Racks can get wet and are water-resistant. But, unfortunately, they’re not waterproof.

As a consumer, it’s essential to know the impact rust has on your product. Corrosion and rust result from moisture in the atmosphere and occur at different rates across the globe. 

Rust will weaken the bike rack’s integrity, increase risk, and create unnecessary inconvenience. In addition, be aware of the preventative measures available to your product.

Can Thule Bike Racks Get Wet? 

Yes, your Thule bike rack can get wet. Thule goes to substantial lengths to test the quality of each product. Sustaining damp weather and advancing water resistance are concerns for all outdoor sporting gear. 

Thule’s 25-standard product assessment surpasses recognized ISO testing criteria.

International Organization for Standards (ISO) is a universally agreed set of standards that determine product quality. The ISO is administered by an independent, non-governmental body that investigates, manages, and publishes quality testing procedures. 

Governed by severe control mechanisms, the results of ISO are reliable and guarantee product value. 

Will Thule Bike Racks Rust?

Rust and corrosion are foreseeable consequences of water in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, Thule bike racks can’t tolerate sustained water exposure for prolonged periods. 

It’s safe to presume that any product’s life expectancy has an increased expiration date when too frequently, they’re open to the elements.

Thule works hard to prevent their bike racks from corroding and rusting. They use time-tested measures to ensure water resistance, including vinyl coating and painting. 

A vinyl finish is a powder coating built from artificial resin and a substantial variety of plastic chemical compounds. Unfortunately, a powder coat finish doesn’t guarantee longevity. 

Unfortunately, Thule bike racks will rust if they aren’t properly maintained. Moisture corrosion and rust are inevitable components in any bike rack design. Therefore, take proper care of your bike rack. 

Caring for your bike rack includes wiping away excess water before storage. Additionally, it’s advisable to detach the frame from your car and store it after use. 

There are good reasons to unhinge and store a bike rack routinely. As well as conserving fuel, removing the extra weight prevents susceptibility to damage (scratches and dents). 

Parking and general movement are eased without the additional weight. Additionally, you prevent prolonged exposure to corrosive forces in the environment.

The Thule Aluminum Bike Rack Range and Rust

Thule bike racks are built from both heavy-duty metals and aluminum. The more recent Thule’s newer bike rack model consists of aluminum. 

Generally, aluminum fares better than other metals as it’s light, strong, and durable. In addition, aluminum is a refined metal and won’t rust like heavier metals- iron and steel. However, aluminum is highly reactive, which is an advantage. 

Aluminum, like stainless steel, can withstand moisture-ladened environments. However, comparatively aluminum has an intense affinity for oxygen. 

Therefore, it oxidizes more rapidly than steel. When exposed to oxygen in nature, aluminum reacts by producing a fine sheet of aluminum oxide that chemically binds to the metal. 

The sheet of aluminum oxide appears grey-whitish and powdery, unlike rust which features a reddish-brown color. 

This chemical binding hardens and provides extra strength to the surface; unlike rust, it doesn’t deteriorate. Essentially, aluminum oxide protects the metal from corrosion. 

The coating is very resistant and automatically restores itself if scratched or damaged.  

As a result, Thule’s newer aluminum bike rack collection is much more rust-resistant. However, corrosion can still weaken the metal over time if it’s not taken care of properly.

Measures to Prevent Your Thule Bike Rack from Rusting

Regular inspections and maintenance are simple to do and require minimal effort. Primary care, like cleaning and drying, will immediately promote the longevity of the Thule bike rack. 

Surface finish application will strengthen the defense against stressful environments. 

In regions where snow is prolific- salt is frequently used to control ice accumulation. However, salt is highly corrosive to metal. Therefore, wash the bike rack regularly where there’s salt and snow. 

Use warm water and non-abrasive soap. Afterward, polish with waterproof wax. 

If there’s rust lining the surface of your bike rack, removing it is simple. Use a sandblaster, wire brush, sandpaper, or angle grinder to break up the rust. 

Then wash with warm water. Once the rust is removed, apply rubbing alcohol to the entire rack. Following that, spray every inch in Rustoleum. Finally, routinely use a penetrating oil or corrosion inhibitor. 

If you want to paint your aluminum, thoroughly sand off the aluminum oxide exterior coat. A clean exterior will adhere more faithfully to the paint. Painting on an aluminum oxide surface will not last. 

Before you start painting, you’ll need to buy a metal primer explicitly made for aluminum. Standard primers and paints won’t work on this surface. 

A clear coating protectant will uphold the natural aluminum appeal. In comparison, a paint coat could enhance a high-tech appearance—for example, IronArmor safeguards and options for color preferences. 

Additionally, a powder-coating finish will provide an enduring solution to the color and protection of your bike rack.

Powder coating sprays your metal surface with minuscule plastic drops. 

The powder is charged with electricity, which makes the paint adhere to surfaces. In addition, you need a heating agent, like an oven, to melt the powder onto metal surfaces.

Final Word

Thule doesn’t promote waterproof bike racks. Their webpage overtly states that their bike racks are water resistant. Therefore, their product specifications state that they can get wet and resist dampness yet will rust or corrode under prolonged exposure. 

Be sure to maintain and care for your bike rack regularly.

Over time, Thule bike racks will rust despite different methods used to protect them from water, air, salt, and other exposure. They can only hold up against short-lived water damage. 

The more recent aluminum range is rust-resistant due to aluminum’s oxidization process.

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