Installing the Thule 575 Universal Snowboard Rack on a Jeep Patriot

I haven’t yet been able to get to the mountain this winter, but I did find an hour to install the Thule Universal Snowboard rack I got for Christmas. (Thanks Mom and Dad!)  As always, the first thing I did was make sure I had all of the parts and tools needed for the job.

Thule-snowboard-rack-575-jeep-patriot001After organizing the parts, and double checking that I had not lost the special star key allen wrench,  I took a look at the instructions.  I was actually really surprised to find that the complete installation had only 6 steps – the first of which included turning the mount to the side.  Luckily, the whole process was as simple as the instructions suggested.  Step 2 instructed me to install the board supports by squeezing them until they snapped into place.

Thule-snowboard-rack-575-jeep-patriot002Once you’ve got those in place, you can start to prep your bottom mounting brackets as shown above.  Thread the bolt through the top brackets and into the bottom just enough to keep them in place.  At this point, your assembly is complete, and you can move on to mounting the racks on your roof rack.Thule-snowboard-rack-575-jeep-patriot003

The rack will work with Thule square bars, Thule aero bars, and likely any other similar crossbar – mine fit nicely between the first faring mount and the end of the square bar.  Make sure that the angled snowboard holders are pointing towards the outside of the vehicle – it could be quite tricky the other way.

Thule-snowboard-rack-575-jeep-patriot004Once you have the racks positioned, simply tighten down the bolts and repeat for the rear mount.Thule-snowboard-rack-575-jeep-patriot005

Once all 8 bolts are tightened down, you’re all set to grab your board and get the lock cables installed.  The instructions suggest different positioning for one or two boards, but I found that I needed to play around with different adjustments to get it to fit properly with my Ride Snowboard.  The included key locks not only prevent theft, but are used to lock the cables in place so you’re board doesn’t get any air without you attached to it.Thule-snowboard-rack-575-jeep-patriot006

I took a quick drive with the board mounted to get an idea of the driving dynamic with it up on the roof – and to take a few poser pics of course.Thule-snowboard-rack-575-jeep-patriot009

The universal rack has its good sides and its bad sides.  The good:  the angled sides make it super easy to load and unload two snowboards, and doesn’t take up much room on the cross bars.  You could easily use this rack with another flat rack, or cargo box if need be.  The bad:  the mounts don’t fold down when not being used, even though they look like they would.  Overall I’m pleased with the looks and functionality of the rack and would recommend it if it suits your needs.Thule-snowboard-rack-575-jeep-patriot008