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Can You Cut Yakima Crossbars? (Revealed)

It can be tempting to try and save a few bucks by DIY-ing your car rack setup.

But can you cut Yakima crossbars without ruining the whole system?

The answer may surprise you.

This blog post takes an inside look at the do’s and don’ts of cutting Yakima crossbars – and whether it’s worth saving that money in the first place.

Can You Cut Yakima Crossbars?

You can cut Yakima crossbars. If you make clean cuts, you won’t have any problems re-installing the bar end caps. The best way to cut Yakima crossbars is with a hacksaw, SAWZALL, or a pipe cutter, depending on the shape of the crossbars. Make sure you use a guide, so your cuts are straight, and take your time to avoid damaging the crossbars. It is not recommended to cut JetStream or Core bars because it is hard to cut them clean enough to re-install the end cap.

The Yakima Crossbar is one of the most popular choices for car racks, thanks to its durability and easy-to-use design. But one downside of the Yakima Crossbar is its price tag, which can deter some shoppers.

One way to save money on Yakima Crossbars is to cut it yourself, but is this a good idea? Keep reading to find out.

Reasons To Cut Yakima Crossbars

There are a few reasons why you might want to cut Yakima crossbars.

Maybe you’re looking to save money on a roof rack by buying used crossbars. Or maybe you need to trim the crossbars to fit a specific vehicle.

Or, maybe you bought a Yakima rack for a car, and now you have a different vehicle but don’t want to spring for new crossbars.

Whatever your reason, it’s important to know that it is possible to cut Yakima crossbars in certain situations.

But there are a few things that can go wrong, and if you’re not careful, you could ruin the whole system.

What Can Go Wrong When Cutting Yakima Crossbars

Before we get into how to cut Yakima crossbars, let’s first look at some things that can go wrong.

Yakima doesn’t recommend cutting JetStream or Core bars because it’s hard to get a clean cut.

One of the biggest dangers of cutting Yakima crossbars is that you could cut too much, which would cause the crossbars to be too short. 

It is recommended to leave at least one inch past the tower.

Cutting the crossbars too short can be a significant problem and make your car rack unusable.

If you don’t cut the crossbars the same length, this can be a problem when you are hauling kayaks or other gear on your roof rack.

According to eTrailer, Another issue is the cuts may not be perfectly straight, and you can’t get the end caps back on.

Another danger of cutting Yakima crossbars is that you could damage the crossbars themselves if you are not careful, making them weak.

How To Cut Yakima Crossbars

Now that we’ve looked at some things that can go wrong with cutting Yakima crossbars let’s look at how to cut Yakima crossbars the right way.

If you’re going to attempt to cut Yakima crossbars yourself, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

There are no second chances when cutting Yakima crossbars. You only get one shot.

First, make sure that you have the right tools.

You can use a hack saw, SAWZALL reciprocating blade, angle grinder, chop saw (with the right blade), or pipe cutter, depending on the shape and style of the crossbars.

Second, you need to measure twice and cut once. This may seem like common sense, but it’s essential to make sure that you know exactly how much you need to cut before you start cutting.

Then wrap the crossbars with masking tape at the correct measurement, so you can follow the tape line as you cut.

You also need a vice or other way to steady the crossbars so you can make a clean and accurate cut.

You can also put the crossbar on a step and put your foot on it to hold it in place as you cut.

You might need a helping hand to support the crossbars and keep them straight so you can make a solid cut.

Finally, be careful you don’t damage the crossbars as you are cutting.

You might want to sand the ends of the bars after you cut them to get rid of the rough edges, which can make it easier to get the end caps back on.

The Consequences Of Cutting Yakima Crossbars Incorrectly

As we’ve seen, there can be some serious consequences to cutting Yakima crossbars incorrectly.

If you cut the crossbars too short, you won’t be able to use them, and you’ll have to buy new ones.

If you can’t get the end caps back on, you might be unable to use the crossbars with sharp, exposed ends.

So, while it is possible to cut Yakima crossbars, it’s important to be very careful and ensure you know what you’re doing. Otherwise, you could end up doing more harm than good.

Alternatives To Cutting Your Own Yakima Crossbars

The best alternative to cutting Yakima crossbars is to buy the correct size. That defeats the purpose if you are trying to save money by reusing old cross bars on a different vehicle.

If you don’t have the right tools to cut Yakima crossbars, you might need to ask around and see if anyone can help out.

Final Thoughts

While it is possible to cut Yakima crossbars, it’s important to be very careful and make sure you know what you’re doing. Otherwise, you could end up doing more harm than good.

The best alternative to cutting is to buy the correct size. In any case, be careful when cutting Yakima crossbars, so you don’t end up damaging them or making them unusable.

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About the author
Steve
Steve is the owner of Paddle About, a blog that's all about helping people get out and enjoy nature. He loves to kayak, camp, hike and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not out exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.