The vast majority of roof racks on the market nowadays are designed for maximum convenience and efficiency.
What’s more, you’ll be able to find a suitable roof rack for your car relatively quickly – no matter what type of vehicle you own.
But, what about installation? Just how easy is it to fit a roof rack to a vehicle? And can this be done by just one person?
With this in mind, our guide will take a closer look at the most effective way you can fit a roof rack to a vehicle by yourself.
We’ll also look to answer a number of the frequently asked questions related to the process.
Table of Contents
How Simple Is It To Install A Roof Rack?
Fitting a roof rack on a vehicle is a relatively simple process in itself, but there are several important considerations to take into account first.
For example, you need to make sure that you’ve bought a suitable product for your vehicle and the type of load you intend to carry.
If your vehicle already comes equipped with roof rails, a safe choice might be universal roof rack crossbars.
However, while there’s nothing wrong with a one-fits-all roof rack, it’s often best to look for a product which is specifically designed for your vehicle’s make and model.
The most effective roof racks for transporting sports equipment like surfboards and kayaks are crossbars as they provide plenty of space.
On the other hand, if you need your roof rack to store multiple bags of luggage, it’s best to opt for a roof rack which comes equipped with a cargo carrier.
As explained above, fitting a roof rack is relatively straightforward when armed with the correct tools and information.
With this in mind, listed below are five simple steps to follow.
Clean The Surface Of Your Vehicle
Before fitting your new roof rack, it’s essential that you make sure there’s no visible dirt or debris on the surface of your vehicle.
This is because, once the roof rack is attached, it’ll be considerably more difficult to properly clean this area.
Inspect Roof Rack Components
A typical factory roof rack comes equipped with three standard components: crossbars, towers or feet mounts, and fit kits.
Before doing anything with these components, it’s a good idea to carefully inspect each item and check for any potential damage.
Simulate Position Of Crossbars
It’s important to keep in mind during the installation process that the exact positioning of your crossbars will depend on where you want them to rest.
Once they’ve properly been set up, make sure you unscrew any mounting towers, so they can be inserted into place.
Then, using either the inside edge or foot mount, measure for the length of rack needed based on the size of your vehicle.
Attach Pads And Caps For Protection
If you want to keep the roof of your vehicle in the best possible condition, be sure to attach a pad and cap on every crossbar for added protection.
These handy attachments will help to preserve the paint and bodywork of your vehicle.
Adjust The Final Position Of Roof Rack
Finally, once all the components of your roof rack are successfully joined together, you’ll need to finalize its position.
The most important thing to check is that it isn’t too close to the windshield. If you’re happy with the placement, screw the bolts in.
Other Key Points To Remember
As the step-by-step guide above demonstrates, the installation process is pretty streamlined.
However, despite these five simple steps, there are still some other critical points to keep in mind when fitting a roof rack to your vehicle. These include:
- Make sure the roof rack is centered on your vehicle
- Lubricate all screws and bolts in order to prevent corrosion
- The attachments need to take after the shape of your vehicle
- Stick closely to the manufacturer’s instructions
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Possible To Put A Roof Rack On A Car Without Rails?
Yes, even if you don’t have any rails on your vehicle, it’s still possible to install a roof rack.
Just make sure you attach padded hooks or clips – these can be found in stores such as Amazon and Walmart.
Do Roof Racks Make A Noise?
Sometimes it’s possible for roof racks to create a whistling noise, which is caused by the wind passing over them on top of your vehicle.
This is mainly due to the fact that roof racks with a consistent shape allow the airflow to develop a tone, hence the whistling sound.
Needless to say, this is nothing to worry about, although it might become a little annoying after a while.
Do Roof Racks Damage Your Car?
No, a well-fitted roof rack will provide you with years of trouble-free use without any damage to your vehicle.
However, if your roof rack is badly fitted, over-torqued, or under-torqued, there’s every chance that it might cause some damage as a result.
Why Is It Good To Fit The Roof Rack Yourself?
Perhaps the biggest advantage of fitting a roof rack yourself is the fact that you’ll save a fair amount of money.
Instead of paying someone else to do the installation process, you can complete it yourself in less than an hour.
Furthermore, you’ll also be able to take pride in your own work. This can be a productive use of your spare time and certainly a good skill to learn.
The Bottom Line
To conclude, installing a roof rack isn’t as daunting or complicated as you might think.
All it takes is some preparation and the ability to follow a few simple steps.
Hopefully, after reading the information in this guide, you’ll be in a much stronger position to attempt fitting a roof rack by yourself!