How to Make Roof Racks More Aerodynamic

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Do you feel heavy restrictions when your roof rack is attached to your vehicle? Or perhaps you hear a constant wind and whistling sound while traveling at high speeds? Trust me, we've all been there, and it's frustrating. However, there are ways in which you can fix this, and that's by considering aerodynamics. But how do you make a roof rack more aerodynamic?

To make a roof rack more aerodynamic, there are various solutions. Most notably, by using a wind fairing attachment on amazon or aerodynamic-specific crossbars on amazon. Investing or creating DIY versions of these can dramatically reduce the adverse effects that non-aerodynamic roof racks can encounter.

When transporting goods with rooftop carriers, you need to consider aerodynamics before you start traveling. Having basic knowledge about how you can achieve this will dramatically improve fuel consumption, help with acceleration, and improve the vehicle's handling. To better understand this, you should become knowledgeable on the below.

How can you tell your roof rack isn't aerodynamic?

Before we jump into how to enhance your roof racks aerodynamics, let's first discover if your roof rack needs improvement. Remember, installing a roof rack to your vehicle will increase fuel consumption and the car's overall weight.

We mentioned this because many people may believe their roof rack isn't aerodynamic for this reason. However, aerodynamic or not, you'll have an increase in fuel consumption when you have a roof rack equipped. But, what an aerodynamic roof rack will provide is a decrease in these negative effects. Here are some indications that your roof rack isn't aerodynamic:

  • Noise - The most prominent and annoying signal is noise. This is usually indicated through a stiff wind or whistling sound while you're reaching speeds of around 40+ MPH.
  • Resistance – Additionally, if you feel a heavy resistance when traveling with your roof rack, it could be another sign. The roof rack alone shouldn't cause masses amounts of resistance unless you have a cargo carrier installed. Therefore, when you have your roof rack installed, you may need to make it more aerodynamic if you feel a heavy resistance when driving.
  • Shape – A visual clue is the physical shape of the roof rack. For something to achieve the best aerodynamics, it must "cut" the air. Therefore, having aerodynamic-specific roof racks and crossbars means they're generally slim to decrease the amount of restriction caused by the wind.

When determining whether or not you need to make your roof rack more aerodynamic, you'll need to understand your vehicle. Try to feel the vehicle's performance, analyze the shape, and make a rough judgment if you believe the below aerodynamic techniques will be beneficial.

How to improve your roof racks aerodynamics

How to improve your roof racks aerodynamics

Now you've evaluated your vehicle, I'm sure you're eager to start making improvements to your roof rack. There are three different methods to decrease the effects that roof racks have on your car's aerodynamics. These are with additional equipment, new aerodynamic-focused cargo carriers, or the way you load your cargo on the roof.

1. Equipment

If you're happy with your roof rack, there isn't any need to change it. Because of this, you'll want to consider purchasing a wind fairing attachment or aerodynamic-specific crossbars. Either of these attachments is superb and undoubtedly worth the investment. The wind fairing attachment isn't a necessity to purchase, as you can create DIY designs. However, if you want to guarantee better aerodynamics, it's always worth investing in a brand rather than making it yourself.

The reason they work so well is because of their design. The fairing attachment changes the direction of the incoming force in a comparable way in which a bonnet and windscreen shield does. Instead of having the wind travel underneath your crossbars, it pushes the force upwards and away from the cargo, dramatically reducing pressure from the wind.

Aerodynamic-specific crossbars look fabulous, sleek, and well-presented, which is something a wind-fairing attachment doesn't achieve. However, although they improve the aerodynamics of the roof rack, it doesn't accomplish this as well as the wind fairing attachment.

2. Cargo carries

Additionally to the above, you could purchase a cargo carrier that has been designed aerodynamically. Typically, most cargo baskets and boxes are created with this in mind. For cargo baskets, we highly recommend this one from Thule. For boxes, whichever of the ones suggested on this blog will reduce the number of aerodynamic issues you may encounter.

3. Loading

The mentioned improvements you can make on your roof rack to increase its aerodynamics are excellent. However, for cargo baskets, you may want to revaluate the loading process. With baskets, it can quickly get messy when it comes to aerodynamics, and that's because of the way people load them. But from looking at your load and considering how aerodynamics work can drastically decrease the force you feel during transportation.

You can follow a rule of thumb by placing the smallest item at the front of the cargo and the largest at the back. This allows the wind to be pushed upwards and away from the vehicle. However, during this, you'll still want to consider weight distribution, etc.

Those improvements mentioned above are superb at increasing the overall aerodynamics of your roof rack. But, what are the actual benefits behind implementing these?

Benefits of having an aerodynamic roof rack

To increase your knowledge about aerodynamics' importance, we thought it would be best to add this section. Below are three of the main benefits you'll receive by improving this feature on your roof racks, crossbars, and cargo carriers:

  • Fuel consumption – When you have a roof rack and cargo carrier installed, you may have noticed a dramatic increase in fuel consumption. This isn't ideal for anyone, especially if you're traveling long distances. When your vehicle isn't aerodynamic, it increases drag coefficiency. However, less drag coefficiency means less resistance, and ultimately, less fuel needed to drive the vehicle forward.
  • Speed and acceleration – Because of the decreased amount of restriction pushed onto the vehicle, you'll notice a much faster acceleration and top speed. Acceleration is key here, but top speed isn't anything you'll be reaching while transporting a cargo carrier.
  • The vehicle's handling – Including the above, you'll also notice improvements in the vehicle's handling. Less force on a particular area means that the vehicle has more even force distribution. From this, you'll notice much better handling as the vehicle isn't off-balance.

After becoming knowledgeable on the above, I'm sure you're excited about evaluating your roof rail, crossbars, and cargo carriers to hopefully make some changes and receive the mentioned benefits. Without a doubt, by implementing something like this you'll receive some tremendous advantages, which will help you on your travel days.  

About the author 

Vieira Babeker

Hi! I'm Vieira. I've always been interested in different Auto Accessories

My passion here at is to provide helpful straight forward clear advice and tips for Automotive Accessories.

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