Are you looking to purchase a roof rack and want to know how wide it can be? Maybe you have a roof rack and are wondering if there is a certain width it should be?
Or are you simply curious and want to know more? Whatever your reason might be, we have the answer for you!
When it comes to roof racks we know that you are bound to have lots of questions. After all, there are so many roof racks out there, that it can be tricky to know which one is right for your car, especially when you are looking at the width of it.
Before you know it, you can find yourself in a sea of conflicting advice and suggestions, not sure who to believe. You find yourself stressed and overwhelmed, without a roof rack in sight!
Well, no more! Today we are here with the answers that you need. Just keep reading to find out how wide a roof rack can be and everything else you need to know about them!
Table of Contents
How Wide Can My Roof Rack Be?
Let’s dive straight into it! How wide your roof rack can be will vary depending on a few factors, but the first and most important factor to note is that your roof rack should not be wider than your car roof.
You do not want your roof rack to be wider than the widest part of your car (usually the front where your mirrors are located).
If your rack is wider than the widest part of your car then there is a good chance that items like bikes or surfing gear could be hanging over the sides of your car.
Not only could this be an obstruction for other drivers, but it could cause an accident if you get too close to a pedestrian or a wall.
The weight hanging over the roof of your car could also be incredibly dangerous, causing items to fall off the roof or impact your ability to drive carefully.
Be sure when you are placing items on your roof rack that they are not hanging over the side of your car and are secured in place.
When selecting the roof rack for your car, you will want to measure your roof and ensure that any roof racks you purchase are not wider than the width of the widest part of your car.
You will also want to consider how many roof racks you want to put on your roof. If you are looking to add multiple racks, then you will need to carefully measure the width and length to ensure you have enough space.
Wider roof racks and crossbars can hold more, but it means you will have less of them. We also recommend measuring the items you want to load onto your roof rack and using that to determine how wide the roof rack needs to be.
Having a good idea of how wide your items are will help you select the right width of roof rack for your car.
Along with the width of your car and the weight of your items, you will also want to consider how easy it is to load and unload the items.
Sure, having a wide roof rack is great, but if it’s incredibly challenging to load and unload, or you struggle reaching everything loaded onto the rack, then what is the point in having it?
Here you will want to read lots of reviews from other customers, checking to see if they found it easy to load and unload or not.
The review section on Amazon is always worth reading, or you can check out Trustpilot to see what people think about the roof rack. Alternatively, you can always pop in-store and ask for some advice.
Usually, you can get a recommendation for a roof rack that will suit your needs perfectly. You might even be able to try it out on your roof before buying to see if it is the right width for you!
How wide a roof rack you need will vary depending on your needs and the width of your car. However, we recommend that the width of the roof rack is not wider than the widest part of your car to ensure the safety of yourself and other road users while you are driving.
Is It Illegal For A Roof Rack To Be Wider Than Your Car?
No, in most states it isn’t illegal for your roof rack to be wider than your car roof. However, the rules do vary from state to state, so we always think it is best to check before purchasing a roof rack.
You can contact your local DMV or check the driving laws online for your state.
While in most cases it won’t be illegal for you to have a roof rack wider than your roof, you could still find yourself facing a penalty or a fine. Any items secured to your roof need to be secured safely and don’t obstruct your view or anyone else on the road.
The same applies to when you are tying things to the roof of your car, it needs to be done securely and without posing a danger to other road users.
Be sure to check that all items are secured correctly on your roof rack before you set off on any journey.
It is always worth making the first journey with items on your roof rack a short one, so you can stop and check on your roof rack.
You might need to make some adjustments the first few times you load the rack, especially if it is a new rack, but once you are familiar with it, it will become second nature.
Do Roof Racks Fit All Cars?
Generally, yes. Roof racks fit around 98% of vehicles, so the chances are you can easily find a roof rack that will fit your car. In some cases, you might need certain parts to fit your roof rack to your vehicle.
However, if you need additional items this will be specified in the user manual for the roof rack or by your car manufacturer.
For most vehicles, you can add a roof rack with your existing roof bars, you might just need to adjust the height of them. Thankfully, you can do this pretty easily and shouldn’t require any additional help.
The ability to add roof racks to almost any car is wonderful and allows more people to transport their items with ease!
And there you have it! Your roof rack can be as wide as you want, providing it is not wider than the widest part of your car. This is usually where your mirrors are located, making it super easy for you to measure your car and get the right width roof rack for you!
When choosing a roof rack be sure that you check not only the measurements but the maximum weight too so that you don’t cause any damage to the rack or the car when loading heavy items.
You will want to secure the items before driving to keep you and other road users safe.