How to Reduce Roof Box Noise

People use roof boxes for their vehicles for a number of reasons, including carrying around bikes, snowboards, skis, surfboards, and kayaks, among others. 

Roof boxes are specially made to go on the top of your car or truck and carry numerous items safely and securely, but often they are also very loud and noisy items.

If you’re the proud owner of one of these boxes but wish to know how to reduce roof box noise, the good news is that it is easier than you think.

To understand how roof box noise occurs, you have to first understand how the box is attached. There are several parts of a roof box, and they include the following:

The Fit Kit

The fit kit, which you’ll need to purchase if you have a flush roof that comes with no factory roof rack or built-in gutters. If you do have these items on your vehicle, you won’t need to purchase a fit kit. If you purchase one, however, keep in mind that they are specific to your vehicle and are not universal.

The Towers

The towers, which are attached to the fit kit and are universal. These are the items that keep your gear from flying away while you’re driving.

The Crossbars

The crossbars, which hold everything together and can be circular, aero, or square. Square bars are the least expensive kind, but can also make the most noise since they aren’t aerodynamic; circular bars are a happy medium between square and aero bars; and aero bars, although they are the most expensive, provide the best results: less noise, better fuel efficiency, and a more attractive design.

To connect the roof box to the base system, you need to purchase either T-track adapters or U-bolts, and here are the main differences between them:

T-track Adapters

T-track adapters: these adapters spread your load and, therefore, cut back on noise; they can even be used with aero crossbars and look sleek once they’re installed.

U-bolts

U-bolts: these are universal and can be used with all types of roof boxes; however, they are not usable with aero bars and they can sometimes scratch bars made of softer aluminum.

Once you’ve purchased everything you need, you can go ahead and fit the roof rack and box to your vehicle. In most cases, you can install everything yourself, but some large roof boxes may require two people to install correctly.

What Makes Roof Boxes Noisy?

Many people notice wind noises once their roof boxes are installed, especially when traveling at high speeds. Most of the time, this noise is caused because there are gaps between the bars and the base, and when the wind goes through these gaps, they cause a whistling noise that can be quite loud at times. 

Learning how to reduce roof box noise is simple once you learn a few tricks, including:

Take some rope and wrap it around the crossbar in the front. Then, wrap it around the length of those bars and tie it to the other side at the end. This causes a disruption in the airflow and, therefore, reduces that annoying whistling sound.

Move the crossbars around some; in other words, reposition your rack. You can move the bars forward or backward, which won’t offer a permanent solution, but will likely make the problem a little more bearable.

Try some airfoils, which snap onto your crossbar to create a smoother airflow. Inexpensive and easily available, Yakima makes great air foils that are known by the name WindJammer.

Consider purchasing a fairing. This is expensive, but also the most effective solution when you’re discovering how to reduce roof box noise. Not only does it streamline your vehicle a lot more and reduce the noise level, but it also reduces drag and, therefore, makes the vehicle more fuel-efficient.

All of these are great ways to reduce the noise you hear as you’re driving along and have a roof box attached to your vehicle. However, there are other things you can look for as well.

What Can You Do to Reduce Roof Box Noise?

If you’re sure your towers and bars are secured the right way and your roof box is still making noise, there are a few things you can check on and change to eliminate that noise. The roof box has to be secured the right way as well, but here are a few suggestions when you’re looking for ideas on how to reduce roof box noise:

Check the items you’re keeping on your roof to make sure they are secure. If they are mounted incorrectly, that could be the source of the noise. Straps and mounting points should be adjusted if needed so that the bike or other items are tight and don’t move. Gear can be secured with zip ties or cords if needed, as long as it is enough to keep them tight and secure.

Since the base rack goes in between your vehicle and the gear, it should be checked as well. If you pull the crossbars from side to side, it can give you an idea of how secure that rack is. You may have to secure your support towers or tie down your mounts or straps to get the rack where it needs to be.

Check your contact points to determine if any of them are rubbing against the surface of your car. You can apply weather stripping to these points to subdue the problem, and even if there is no noticeable noise, the stripping helps protect the surface of the vehicle from then on.

Quick Tips on How to Quiet Down A Roof Rack: A Video

When you’re trying to research how to reduce roof box noise, most of the suggestions you find involve making sure everything is installed properly and tight and secure enough so that there is no chance of air moving through it. Everything that is permanently attached to your vehicle needs to be secured, as does the roof box itself.

If nothing works, you can always take your vehicle to a dealer so the professionals can make sure everything is attached and secure enough to keep your gear and your roof box as quiet as possible from then on.

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