If you’re a car owner, you know that whether it’s upgrading a car radio or refilling the windshield washer fluid, the right parts are essential in keeping your car looking and running like new. But is it the same when you choose roof racks?
One often overlooked but no less important accessory is the roof rack. Whether you need more storage capacity for your family vacation or a way to transport a surfboard for your weekend getaway, the right roof rack can make all the difference.
With the perfect roof rack, any car can be transformed into an intrepid explorer’s car or a multi-tasking wonder vehicle. But with the immense variety of roof racks available, how do you choose one that fits your needs?
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the different types of roof racks available and go over their various uses, so you can make an informed decision about the right roof rack for your vehicle!
Table of Contents
Quick Review of Key Points
What Vehicle is it For?
Choosing the right roof rack for your vehicle involves taking into account the size, type, and specific needs of your car. Before selecting a roof rack, it is essential to understand what vehicle it is for to ensure a proper fit. Many roof racks are designed for specific makes and models so researching the available options for your vehicle is essential.
When selecting a roof rack for your vehicle, consider the level of strength required. If you plan on transporting heavier loads above the weight limit recommended by the manufacturer then you should pay close attention when selecting the most suitable option.
Additionally, when considering what vehicle it is for you should also take into consideration other customization options including things like paint color and finish.
Lastly, paying attention to any additional features or hardware that comes with the roof rack will add to its usability, such as adjustable crossbars or removable attachment points. Selecting a roof rack with these features can help save time and money in the long run by allowing it to accommodate different types of vehicles or be used with multiple vehicles over time.
These considerations when choosing a roof rack are especially pertinent when attempting to select one that will fit multiple types of vehicles throughout life. Understanding these necessary details before making a purchase will ensure the utmost satisfaction from your purchase.
Now that you have an understanding of what vehicle is best suited for a roof rack, the next step is to determine what size and type of vehicle it is for.
When choosing a roof rack for your vehicle, it is essential to first understand its make and model in order to ensure a proper fit.
Additionally, consider the strength of the rack required for heavier loads and any additional features or hardware that could add extra usability.
Lastly, select a roof rack that will last throughout life and can accommodate different types of vehicles if needed. Finally, understanding all the necessary details before making a purchase will ensure maximum satisfaction.
Size and Type of Vehicle
When it comes to choosing the right roof rack for your vehicle, size and type of vehicle are two crucial factors that must be considered. Roof racks are typically sold in one-size-fits-all packages, but that doesn’t mean they’re appropriate for all types of vehicles.
Cars and small SUVs with low roofs will probably require different bars than larger SUVs. Smaller vehicles may have their own unique way of mounting a roof rack system, so make sure to check what’s available ahead of time. In addition, some models may only be compatible with certain models of roofs as well.
For those who find themselves limited by size or type constraints, there are alternative options available such as integrated systems. Integrated systems are designed specifically for a particular vehicle model and integrate into the existing roof structure. While this option may cost more than the standard packages, they tend to offer a much better fitment and look while also eliminating any aerodynamic penalty that could occur from an inadequate fitment.
On the other hand, there are some vehicles that may be just large enough for a universal kit to get the job done. In these cases, extra attention needs to be paid to aligning the bars properly on both ends before attempting to load any cargo onto them. Poorly aligned bars can put undue stress on the supporting structures of the vehicle, leading to potential damage down the road.
To ensure you get the most out of your investment in a roof rack system, make sure you find something that fits securely and is designed specifically for your make and model of car or SUV. Once you’ve determined which type is right for your vehicle, the next step is determining how much weight it can support. This will be discussed in more detail in the following section about “How Much Weight Can The Rack Support?”
How Much Weight Can the Rack Support?
When it comes to choosing the right roof rack for your vehicle, one of the most important factors is determining how much weight it can support. In some cases, the amount of weight a rack can hold may be all you need for your items, while in other scenarios where you’re carrying heavier loads or gear, it’s important to consider the maximum recommended weight limit so as not to compromise the structural integrity of your vehicle and risk causing an accident.
The maximum weight capacity will vary depending on whether your rack is mounted with permanent hardware or if it uses rack-specific hardware; both styles differ in terms of the amount of weight they can safely hold. Additionally, many Roof Racks come with a built-in safety feature that allows them to lock up when exceeding a certain weight threshold.
When adding extra storage components, such as kayak holders or bike racks to your roof rack system, make sure to consult with your manual or manufacturer website to determine how much extra weight they can handle without damaging either the rack or your vehicle.
Finally, it’s extremely important to never exceed the rated capacity mentioned in the user manual and remember to remain mindful of the overall weight distribution when loading items onto your roof rack. Evenly distributing heavy cargo across your roof rack helps preserve its overall integrity and keeps you safe on the road.
Now that you have a better understanding of how much weight a roof rack can support, let’s move onto what type of roof rack is right for you!
What Type of Rack is Right For You?
Understanding what type of roof rack you need is essential to selecting the right one. Generally, there are two main types of racks: those with a crossbar/rail system and those without any bars and simply consist of feet that attach to the roof. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Crossbar/rail systems are the most familiar type of rack since they are the most popular and often recommended for the versatility they offer. These can be adjusted for different size cargo, can easily be extended for more carrying capacity and can carry virtually anything from luggage and bikes to kayaks, snowboards, ladders, and other gear. The downside is that installation may be more time-consuming than other options, as you must first ensure a secure fit by correctly aligning all components properly and then tighten them securely.
In addition, these racks do not provide access to the interior of your vehicle like some of the alternatives do so extra care should be taken to store delicate items in a safe way inside your vehicle if necessary.
Racks with feet may not offer the same capabilities as the crossbar/rail system but they do provide plenty of features that make them desirable. These racks pros include easier installation than a crossbar/rail system as they don’t require all components to be precisely aligned or tightened.
Removing them is just as easy – it often only takes a few seconds to detach them from your car, no tools required – making these ideal for people who prefer convenience over versatility. However, these types of racks often have limited carrying capacity and may not support certain types of cargo like kayaks or ladders so best verify this information before purchase.
Overall, both rack types have their pros and cons depending on what you’re looking for so deciding which type to choose comes down to knowing your wants and needs when it comes to transportation options. With this knowledge in hand, readers will be better informed when choosing the right roof rack for their vehicle. Now let’s discuss cargo, bikes, kayaks, and ladder storage in greater depth in our next section…
Cargo, Bikes, Kayak, and Ladders
When deciding on the right roof rack for your vehicle, it’s important to consider the types of items you plan to transport so the best mounting method can be chosen. Cargo boxes, bikes, kayaks, and ladders are all popular items that need to be transported but they each carry their own set of considerations when choosing a rack.
Cargo boxes require crossbar accessories like a fixed point foot pack, towers, and clamps that are specific to each model. Depending on the size and weight of your cargo box and vehicle, your weight capacity will vary. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully to ensure proper installation.
Bikes can easily be transported with specialized bike-specific racks such as locking trays, upright steel supports and frames. While more expensive than basic bike racks, these racks offer added stability for heavier bikes and higher speed driving.
Kayaks require specific carriers that hold the boats securely onto the rack while also allowing easy loading and unloading. Soft cradles mount directly onto crossbars or upright towers to cradle the boat while open or closed rail systems feature adjustable arms that sit atop the crossbar railings to balance the boat in place.
Ladders come in a variety of sizes and can become cumbersome without support mounts. Specialized ladder holders are designed with adjustable bars that fit onto crossbars or towers while safely holding bulky materials up to 200 lbs in weight. Whether you choose ladder hooks, tie downs or straps is ultimately up to you; it should depend on how heavy or large your ladder is along with what fits your vehicle’s roof space best.
Given these considerations for transporting cargo, bikes, kayaks, and ladders, installation and mounting is essential for proper safety prior to hitting the road. The next section will address installation and mounting processes for optimizing your roof rack’s features for safe transportation of goods.
Installation and Mounting
The installation and mounting of your roof rack is an important factor when choosing the right one for your vehicle. There are a few things to consider, including the difficulty of installation, the size and shape of the mounting components, and how firmly the rack will be fixed to the car.
In some cases, you may need to perform some modifications to the vehicle or add in some additional mounting hardware to fit the rack properly. The more complex the installation process, the longer it may take to mount your rack onto your vehicle, which could be a problem if you know you’ll need it often. That being said, having a difficult yet secure installation might be worth it in exchange for having assurance that your gear won’t come off with just a bump on the road.
Another thing to consider is how well the mounting hardware fits into your car’s frame. If it does not fit correctly, it could potentially damage your car or weaken its structural integrity over time. Additionally, look for click-in designs that require minimal manual effort on your part yet still provide a tight grip. Make sure any straps used for mounting are heavy duty enough for all types of terrain that you plan on driving through.
When it comes to installing a roof rack onto your vehicle, each situation will have its own particular challenges and tradeoffs; finding the right balance between difficulty and security is essential. When deciding what type of rack is best for you, make sure to consider these factors before making a purchase.
After you install your roof rack, there are certain accessories which can help make using your roof rack easier and efficient. The next section will discuss what accessories you may need to make your roof rack experience as convenient as possible.
What Accessories Do You Need?
Choosing the right accessories for your vehicle’s roof rack is an essential part of ensuring its effectiveness and longevity. Many rooftop racks come with limited extras, so you will need to consider what additional items you might need to purchase in order to make the most out of your setup. The best way to determine which accessories you should invest in is to consider how often and for what type of activities you typically use the rack, as well as the details about your specific vehicle’s model.
For example, if you are using the roof rack for a wide variety of activities, such as carrying bikes, luggage and even kayaks, then picking up some additional cross bars or wind fairings may be essential. Cross bars provide extra support for heavier items and reduce wind noise while driving, while wind fairings allow air to flow more evenly over large objects like kayaks and surfboards. In addition, investing in some cargo nets or bike trays can keep your items secure during transport.
On the other hand, if you plan on using your roof rack primarily for short trips and don’t need any extra support or security measures, then simply purchasing the basics may be all that’s necessary. There are plenty of cost effective options with fewer add-on pieces available on the market. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide exactly which accessories you need based on both your budget and demands.
Now that we have discussed what accessories are necessary for various roof rack setups, let’s move on to look at bags, parts and gear options available for purchase that can further optimize your rooftop car system.
Bags, Parts and Gear
An important element of selecting the right roof rack for your vehicle is to factor in the type of bags, parts, and gear suggested by the manufacturer for use with it. In most cases, you will want to purchase the appropriate bags, parts, and gear that are recommended by the manufacturer so that you can ensure a secure fit and avoid any potential damage. It’s important to note that some roof racks can accommodate different types and sizes of bags, parts, and gear.
When purchasing these items for your roof rack consider their weight capacity versus the weight of your items. You also need to determine if your items need protection from harsh weather conditions such as rain or strong winds. If this is the case, then you may need to purchase items such as crossbars with rubber stripping or wind fairing which will help keep your items securely fastened while allowing air to flow over the area.
On the flip side, some roof racks require additional mounting brackets when using certain types of bags and parts. This could add up in cost and time depending on the type of items purchased. Also, certain types of bags (i.e. kayak bags), often require specialty bars specifically designed for that item in order to maintain a secure fit while driving down the road.
In conclusion, selecting the right bags, parts and gear for your vehicle will depend largely on the type and size of your vehicle, as well as its specific needs when it comes to carrying extra cargo. The next section provides further guidance on how to make an informed decision when selecting a roof rack store or going with a DIY option for installation.
- According to a survey by AAA, over 25 million Americans have installed racks or carriers on their vehicles.
- A 2017 article published in Thule revealed that 63% of people use their racks/carriers most often for leisure activities such as camping or skiing.
- A study conducted by Kuat Racks in 2018 found that almost half (45%) of owners who use racks opt for security features such as locking mechanisms to protect their cargo.
Buying Guide - Store Vs DIY
When it comes to choosing the right roof rack for your vehicle, there is the option of buying pre-made products from a major retailer or building your own custom roof rack. It’s important to consider both options to determine the right fit for you.
For those who want to buy already made roof racks off the shelf, retailers such as Amazon offer multiple brands and types of roof racks to suit a wide variety of needs. Common benefits include ease of installation and immediate availability. Additionally, these ready-made racks typically come with warranties if something should happen to them during use. This route also offers competitive pricing on models that often have increased load carrying capacity than DIY setups.
On the other hand, customizing and building a one-off roof rack can yield some unique benefits. With this approach, you have complete control over the design and style of the finished product. You can also personally evaluate materials for quality assurance, choose better mounting hardware for sturdier installations, and opt for special features like interior padding or added accessories such as specialized mountings or brackets.
Maintenance and repair can be done yourself instead of having to find a qualified mechanic or taking it back to a retailer. Plus building your own roof rack allows you greater flexibility in terms of aesthetics which can be a key feature when designing a rig that precisely meets your needs.
At its core, choosing between buying a store bought model or building one yourself is largely relative to personal preference. Regardless of what type of roof rack you select, each option has pros and cons so take into consideration which best suits your individual budget, need for customization and timeframe before making a decision.
Now that we’ve taken an in-depth look into the different ways to acquire a roof rack let’s move on to the next section: Conclusion: Just the Right Roof Rack for Your Needs.
Conclusion: Choose Roof Racks for Your Needs
When it comes to selecting the right roof rack for your vehicle, it is essential to consider every factor that could affect its performance, safety and efficiency. There are numerous types of racks available on the market today so it is important to make sure you select the one that best suits your needs. Hard shell racks offer a secure fit and durability while soft shell models provide a more lightweight option.
Both types have their own merits and limitations, so it is important to carefully weigh all of the pros and cons before making a purchase. Additionally, take care to ensure that whichever product you choose fits securely to your vehicle and can withstand the weight of whatever cargo requirements you may have. Safety should always be top priority when dealing with any vehicle part or extensive equipment, particularly those exposed to strong winds or hazardous conditions like bike racks.
Lastly, by considering all factors, budgeting accordingly and researching what is right for your individual needs, anyone can find just the right kind of roof rack for their particular requirements.
Common Questions Explained
Are there any safety considerations to keep in mind when installing a roof rack?
Yes! Safety should always be your top priority when choosing and installing a roof rack. Make sure that the product you are selecting is rated for your specific vehicle, and double check any weight restrictions specified by the manufacturer.
Additionally, be sure to use quality fasteners that won’t come loose easily and always read and follow the installation instructions carefully. Be aware that incorrect installation of a roof rack may adversely affect the handling of your vehicle, so take great care when setting it up. Lastly, take a few moments to ensure that everything is secure and sturdy before driving off with your new roof rack.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of different types of roof racks?
The benefits and drawbacks of different types of roof racks really depend on the type of vehicle, the size and weight of the items that need to be carried, and how often the roof rack will be used.
For example, welded roof racks are typically made from ultra-durable materials such as steel or aluminum that are designed for heavy-duty use in all kinds of weather conditions. These are great for carrying large, heavier items but they can be costly to install and remove, require a professional installation, and may cause additional drag on your vehicle, reducing its fuel efficiency.
Bolted roof racks offer a good balance between ease of installation and secure mounting so they are easier to attach than welded racks while still providing strength suitable for carrying larger items. They generally come pre-assembled and provide a strong connection point, but they do require frequent re-tightening to ensure a secure mount.
Soft roof racks are usually an economical and easy-to-install option provided you have adequate headroom inside your vehicle when storing them. Made from waterproof fabrics or materials such as vinyl or canvas lashed onto crossbars, these can fit almost any vehicle with enough space for them, but they also may not handle heavier items very well due to their lack of durability.
When choosing the best type of roof rack for your vehicle there is no one size fits all answer; rather it comes down to considering your unique set of needs and preferences before making a decision about which type will work best for you.
How do I know which roof rack is the best for my vehicle?
The best roof rack for your vehicle will depend on a few factors, including the size and weight of your cargo, the type of vehicle you have, and your budget.
If you plan to carry heavier cargo, such as boats or recreational equipment, look for a strong roof rack with high load capacity. Most modern cars will have mounting points on the roof where cross bars can be attached that help to secure the load. If there are no built-in mounting points, look for an adjustable clamp-on design that can fit securely around your roofline.
If you’re carrying bikes or skis, decide how many you need to fit on the racks and choose a system accordingly. Many bike racks are designed with adjustable arms to secure different frame sizes and wheel configurations. Ski racks come with either two bars or four bars, so accommodate enough space if you plan to transport multiple pairs of skis at once.
Finally, factor in your budget when deciding which roof rack is best for your vehicle. Many top-of-the line systems are quite expensive but may provide additional features such as an aerodynamic design or durable construction materials. On the other hand, more basic options like a bar-style model can still get the job done while costing much less.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your needs and preferences – but with so many excellent choices out there, you’re sure to find the perfect roof rack for your vehicle!