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Small issues with 2005 Ford Focus
on January 18, 2012
First of all, Yakima makes great products, en par (if not better) than Thule. That's why I bought their towers, clips and the corresponding cross bars for my 2005 Ford Focus ZX4 ST, in conjunction with their FatCat 6 ski/snowboard mount.
The only two issues I had were as follows:
1) Both crossbars, when installed according to the exact specifications, display a slight downward warping/sloping between each two towers. I reached out to Yakima's excellent customer service, and after they checked with their fit team, I was assured that this is quite normal for some car models, depending on a variety of installation variables. This put me at ease, and, functionally, there is nothing wrong with them and the sloping doesn't bother me anymore.
2) The recommended distance between the front towers and the rear towers is only 20 inches for my car model. This is quite a short distance, and it makes putting long skis on the ski mount difficult. No problem for snowboards, but skis have been an issue for me. Yakima customer service insisted that I should not deviate from the recommended 20 inch distance, and recommended that I should be using their stretch kit if I require a wider space between the front and rear. This kit costs upwards of 100 dollars and looks a little bit like a kludge to me.
My recommendation is to download the installation and fitting instructions for your car model first to see what the distance between the front and rear towers (and, consequently, the crossbars) will be, to see if it fits your needs. I would say that 20 inches is the absolute minimum, and doesn't work for all purposes.
Hope this helps someone. Rest assured that whatever issue you might be having with Yakima products, their superb customer service will be getting it right for you. At least that was my experience.