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Installing the official Tesla model 3 roof rack

Alarming news installing the roof rack on my model 3. Tightening it up to less than 3nm or 20 in-ft which is the minimum my torque wrench would go, I hear some cracking noise and decide to stop and let the service center finish the installation. They found out one of the clips connecting the front rail of the rack to the roof snapped. Later in the evening I hear a loud crack and one of the back clips snaps as well.
Chatting with Tesla they will send replacement clips, but it makes me think if this setup is reliable enough and we won't be seeing racks flying off cars in the near future. One thing I'm sure of, the 8nm torque spec in the instructions is too high.

I signed up just to add this exact same thing happened to me at around 50 in lbs. Hoping Tesla can quickly replace the clips and provide better guidance. I am curious if somehow the clips weren’t aligned properly given where clips broke I’m surprised that was force was applied in that direction during tightening.

I guess everyone should be hand tightening the nuts for now and stopping as soon as you hear cracks.
 
I signed up just to add this exact same thing happened to me at around 50 in lbs. Hoping Tesla can quickly replace the clips and provide better guidance. I am curious if somehow the clips weren’t aligned properly given where clips broke I’m surprised that was force was applied in that direction during tightening.

Ouch that sucks!

Definitely going to be doing mine at lower than 8Nm with all the reports of clips breaking
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
18,024
44,378
Oregon
I guess everyone should be hand tightening the nuts for now and stopping as soon as you hear cracks.

Yeah, so the stressing event that causes them to break can be once you have the rack loaded up and you accelerate on the highway to pass someone? :eek:

I hope the people that have this happen are reporting it to Tesla ASAP. They will likely need to issue a recall if it is more than just the couple we have seen.
 

sroh

Member
Supporting Member
Sep 10, 2017
951
4,352
Bay Area, CA
Yikes! I tightened by hand and then added one revolution with the hex wrench. I think I'll go and loosen that one revolution. The way the nut gets locked down by the lock, I'm not concerned about the nut loosening.

Driving up to Tahoe tomorrow morning for the first trip with the roof rack and skis attached. Will report back.
 
Are you sure your torque wrench was appropriate? 20 in ft isnt a unit of torque. 3 Nm is 2.21 Ft lbs or 27 in lbs.

20 in lb is what I meant which should be 2.26nm, given I have a simple click type torque wrench, and it was at the lower end of the range where it is less accurate, it might have been a bit more than that but definitely less than 3nm. To tell the truth I didn't even get to this torque level, I stopped as soon as the cracking started. Coming to think of it maybe the cracking sounds we are all hearing is the stretching/tearing sound of the clip and not the load on the glass roof as I originally thought.

I hope the people that have this happen are reporting it to Tesla ASAP. They will likely need to issue a recall if it is more than just the couple we have seen.

They just asked me to mail them back the entire rack for a full review, so hopefully someone there is taking this issue seriously.
 
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westaf2000

New Member
Feb 15, 2019
2
0
WA
I just received my roof rack yesterday, and also had the clips broken during installation.

I used a torque adapter while tightening the Wingnuts. All 4 Wingnuts were hand tightened before I started to use the wrench on the front rack. There was a loud crack and I was quite frightened to think the glasses was broken. Turned out both the clips on the front rack broke. My torque adapter had a minimum 4 Nm before it can show the actual measurement, so all I can tell is that the clips broke at less than 4 Nm.
 
I just received my roof rack yesterday, and also had the clips broken during installation.

I used a torque adapter while tightening the Wingnuts. All 4 Wingnuts were hand tightened before I started to use the wrench on the front rack. There was a loud crack and I was quite frightened to think the glasses was broken. Turned out both the clips on the front rack broke. My torque adapter had a minimum 4 Nm before it can show the actual measurement, so all I can tell is that the clips broke at less than 4 Nm.

The one I bought goes all the way down to 1Nm... I'm installing tomorrow and will let you guys know how it goes
 
My torque adapter had a minimum 4 Nm before it can show the actual measurement, so all I can tell is that the clips broke at less than 4 Nm.
Yow. When these break, the hook part of the clip is pretty far down in the channel between the glass and the car frame -- how hard is it to get the broken piece out?

[Edit] actually, from the photos it looks like the actual break is above the channel, so maybe that's not a concern.

But this isn't an isolated problem, so I'm thinking something is wrong with the material being used for these clips/bolts.
 
Last edited:
One of my clips snapped too. Had not seen this thread before I posted one on this very problematic safety issue.
Looks like they need to revisit the design/composition of these clips given how critical they are to road safety.
There are only four clips, they are relatively small and simple. It should be easy to make a rock solid clip. Not sure what's going on here. I didn't have any problem with mine but I am going to re-examine my clips for any signs of problems. I didn't seem like the metal was substandard in any way.
 
This is troubling beyond belief. That isn't much torque! I still can't figure out who is manufacturing these for Tesla.... and why Tesla didn't insist on a product that's at least a cut above "looks good, but simplistic engineering." And now... sub-quality clips??

Thanks for the reports, guys. Sorry you're dealing with it. Would be tough to trust this at speed. From the very first install that I heard about, that "cracking" was mentioned, and the concern of course was the glass roof. Seems like this has been going on since the get-go.
 
Good question. Especially those who mentioned the concern over the cracking sound! Please check those clips.

Yeah I heard a couple very loud cracks when installing mine at around 5nm. I should probably check them. Honestly I don’t see the need for 8nm of torque, that just seems excessive. Hand tightening seems to work just fine and with the locks engaged there is no way the nut could loosen and come off.
 
Yeah I heard a couple very loud cracks when installing mine at around 5nm. I should probably check them. Honestly I don’t see the need for 8nm of torque, that just seems excessive. Hand tightening seems to work just fine and with the locks engaged there is no way the nut could loosen and come off.

Let us know how it looks after you check them...

Have you driven with it yet?
 

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