Rooftop carriers come in two basic styles – the box design and a bag design – and it is up to you to decide which one you prefer.
Having a rooftop carrier will change the aerodynamics of your vehicle and may even use a little more gas, which can decrease your mileage somewhat because it usually slows the vehicle down.
However, it doesn’t slow it down enough to make a huge difference in the amount of money you’ll pay in gas, so having a roof box is still a smart thing to do.
What is the Maximum Speed you can travel with a Thule Roof Box? – Thule recommend that you don’t travel any faster than 90 MPH, which is probably more than your local speed limits anyway.
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The Basics of a Roof Box
Roof boxes can be attached to your vehicle either with or without a rack of some sort, but you’ll know this ahead of time because the manufacturer of the carrier will include detailed instructions on how to install the product.
Depending on the size and design of the carrier, you will likely notice an increase in drag that you’ll definitely feel as you are driving.
Companies such as Thule make a variety of high-quality rooftop carriers that will fit nearly any vehicle out there, and they each differ when it comes to how fast you should drive after it’s installed.
As a general rule, Thule does not recommend a roof box maximum speed, but instead, they simply suggest that you adhere to all posted speed limits so that you can be safe while driving with your carrier.
Many drivers find that the faster they drive after the carrier is attached, the worse their gas mileage is, so you can definitely increase the number of miles per gallon if you slow down a bit.
This doesn’t mean you need to creep along just to improve your miles-per-gallon number, but driving at or a little below the recommended speed limit will cost you a little less in gas.
Some Important Tips for Traveling with a Rooftop Carrier
Tip #1: Don’t overload the carrier
Although most manufacturers don’t mention a roof box maximum speed for their carrier, they do have a maximum weight amount, which should always be respected. If the maximum load is 150 lbs, never try to carry 200 lbs. worth of equipment. If you do, it can damage your vehicle and make it even more difficult to drive with the carrier on top.
Tip #2: Always keep in mind the height of the carrier
Driving into a parking garage when you can’t remember how tall the box is can be disastrous. So can driving under low bridges, so make sure you always remember how tall your rooftop carrier is before you travel anywhere.
Tip #3: Make sure the carrier is tied down and locked properly
The last thing you want is to have your things start flying out of the vehicle as you’re driving, so it’s important to make sure your rooftop carrier is both tied down properly and locked at all times.
Tip #4: Always read the instructions thoroughly
This may sound like an inconvenience, but it is an important suggestion. It’s easy to miss something important when you’re installing your rooftop carrier, so making sure you read all of the instructions before you get started can save you a lot of worry and headaches over time.
Tip #5: Remove the carrier when you’re not using it
Even if your carrier is empty, it still adds weight to the vehicle, which can mean less gas money in your pocket. If you remove the carrier when you don’t need it, it can save you a lot of money over time.
A Few of Thule’s Best Rooftop Carriers
Thule makes a top-notch rooftop carrier for your car or SUV, and whether you prefer a bag or a hard-shell box, they truly offer something for everyone. Below are just a few of their best-made rooftop carriers:
1. Force XT Rooftop Carrier (Box):
Great for bikes, skis, and kayaks, this box carrier is easy to install because you don’t even need tools to do so.
The dual-side openings make getting items in and out a lot simpler and quicker, and it will even fit most vehicles. You can add 11 cubic feet of space to your vehicle with this carrier, and it sells for under $500.
2. Sidekick Rooftop Carrier (Box):
This is a bit smaller than other models, but also very reasonably priced. It doesn’t mention a roof box maximum speed, but it does accommodate 75 lbs. worth of equipment and accessories.
It offers passenger-side loading and unloading, which is convenient, and it even comes with two locks for extra safety.
3. 869 Interstate Rooftop Carrier (Bag):
This is a heavy-duty carrier made out of durable, water-resistant PVC material that holds up to 16 cubic feet worth of supplies.
Its double-stitched straps keep the bag securely on your vehicle every time, and its design makes for a very smooth and quiet ride.
4. Ranger 340-Liter Rooftop Carrier (Bag):
This carrier is easily folded up whenever it isn’t in use, making it portable enough to carry with you from one location to the next. The materials used are waterproof, and you can even install it without using any tools.
There is even a storage bag for convenience, and the sealed zipper and lock keep your items safe at all times.
Although some Thule rooftop carriers may list a roof box maximum speed, the company has a general policy that states that drivers should simply obey safe driving speeds, maybe even going below the recommended speed limit so that you can improve your gas mileage.
All of Thule’s products are made to provide the ultimate in safety, wind resistance, and drag, some even being aerodynamically designed for the best effects.
Paying attention to posted speed limits is the best thing you can do when you have a rooftop carrier on your vehicle, in part because safe driving will ensure that the items inside of your carrier are safe and secure at all times.