So, you’re thinking of getting a roof rack for your car. But in the middle of your back and forth, you begin to wonder if the value really justifies the cost considering it can be a substantial investment.
But if you ask those who have had installed roof racks in their cars ahead of you, you would know that they have never regretted their decision - at least those who went for the right choice.
Buying a roof rack is totally worth it. You will not have to pay too much for Getting it, in fact that roof racks are highly functional as carriers already suggest their usefulness for a long time.
It is even more beneficial if you are into outdoor sports where you have to bring your sports equipment to different places.
Moreover, if you love traveling with family, you can stop worrying about bringing lots of stuff on the road since you can be confident that they will have a space in your car.
While all of these are simply the overview of what you can expect with roof racks, the next few lines will provide you with details on the true value of this highly functional car accessory.
What Is a Roof Rack?
A roof rack is a functional car accessory that carries extra luggage, cargo carriers, and large items deemed to be unfit to load inside the car.
As its name suggests, the roof rack is installed at the very top of the car’s exterior. It’s mainly made of bars placed or clipped on a mounted system.
Most roof racks can be detached from the car roof given how you can just fasten or screw in the bolt in the mount. This resolves the aesthetic issue of having a roof rack before.
Since the accessory is not permanent, you increase the versatility of your car using it both on the road or off-road.
Nevertheless, one of the main appeals of the roof rack is the simplicity of its primary parts.
Parts of a Roof Rack
A roof rack has three standard components.
Crossbars (Load Bars)
A regular roof rack would contain two crossbars positioned parallel to each other. Together, they support the weight of the load and provide ample space and anchorage.
Check out some of the roof rack crossbars you can find online when you click here.
Foot Mounts (Tower)
The foot mounts or towers primarily carry the weight of the load. They are placed on the strongest part of the car roof then securely locked in place. The crossbars are inserted into the mount and fastened tightly.
Without the fit kit, your foot mounts cannot be strenuously attached to the car. In addition, this kit contains components like clamps or clips and pads that ensure sufficient protection against detachment or internal water exposure.
Fit kits are designed specifically for vehicles to which the roof rack is intended.
Types of Roof Racks
The types of roof racks can be identified based on the mounting system of the car roof. So, here are your different options when it comes to roof rack designs and types.
1. Naked Roofs
The naked roof on amazon basically lacks the rail or gutter where you can attach the towers or mounts. So instead of fastening the mount on the roof surface, you can clip the tower on the door frame or a nearby attachment point.
2. Side Rails
Siderail roof racks on amazon, in general, are attached to the rails positioned on the side parallel to the length of the car. They can be further classified into the following.
The flush rails run from the front to the back of the roof. It leaves no space on the surface and has grooves on the side for attachment.
The raised side rails are considered the most common mounting system, especially among SUVs and other midsized cars. Primarily, the rails located on both sides of the roof have sufficient space to keep the crossbars from touching the surface.
Truck canopies on amazon are more expansive, and relatively larger roof racks are installed on vans and beggar vehicles. This roof rack covers the back of the roof up to near the windshield, maximizing the entire surface space.
Can You Put Roof Racks on Any Car?
Roof racks are now designed with specific cars in mind, which means you can't just buy any rack type and install it on your vehicle.
Before, manufacturers would offer a one-size-fits-all roof rack that could be used in any type of car. However, this idea has long been scrapped due to safety and security issues.
Nowadays, you will have to match the roof rack based on the make, model, year, size, and roof capacity of your car.
Although some owners go as far as modifying their cars to cater to larger roof racks, this is mainly discouraged in many states. One consequence of this decision is putting uneven pressure on the vehicle that can affect its performance on the road.
So, before deciding which roof rack you want for your vehicle, make sure it’s compatible based on design.
Are Car Roof Racks Bad for the Car?
Car roof racks don’t cause any substantial or even minor damage to the car, provided that the rack corresponds to the type of vehicle and the load fits the capacity of the car.
Roof racks are vehicle-friendly as they should be. After all, they are first and foremost car accessories anyway. Hence, manufacturers are keen on producing roof racks that complement the function of the vehicle instead of adding unnecessary stress.
Moreover, installing roof racks is as simple as mounting and screwing the bolts. So, you can expect a pain-free process for both you and your car.
In addition, there’s no need for intensive vehicular services unless you want to put on a permanent carrier with a modified form.
How Much Weight Can a Roof Rack Carry?
The load capacity of a roof rack depends on its type, size, and materials.
But the average weight capacity for standard roof rack crossbars is 165 lbs or about 75 kgs. The weight corresponds with the standard weight limit for vehicles which is between 100 to 220 lbs or 50 to 100 kg.
Nevertheless, the weight capacity of the roof rack heavily depends on the strength of the crossbars. So, naturally, the more crossbars there are, the easier it is for the weight to be distributed on the rack.
For example, truck or canopy toppers are relatively more extensive than any other roof rack. They often have multiple crossbars and can stretch up to the front of the windshield.
Due to these factors, the average capacity of the truck canopy rack is between 170 to 200 lbs or 77 to 100 kgs.
Do Roof Racks Affect Performance?
Yes, adding a roof rack can significantly affect your car’s road performance in a good way.
The aerodynamic design of roof racks improves the wind resistance of the car. In addition, it adds to the structural integrity of the vehicle, making it more sturdy and fixed on the road.
Moreover, it increases the force that drags the car, which will only make you use a lower gas mileage on the road.
However, this will only be the case if the roof rack’s design corresponds to the aerodynamic profile of the car’s exterior. Otherwise, you will have to deal with wind noises all around or a rather challenging drive on the road.
Furthermore, always stick to the weight limit of both the car and the roof rack. Going beyond will not only lower your speed but will make it difficult to maneuver the vehicle, especially during turns and curbs.
Why Are Roof Racks So Expensive?
Roof racks can cost between $200 to $500, which is not exactly modest.
The reason why roof racks are relatively expensive is due to the type of materials used in making the crossbars, fit kits, lock cores, and other vital components of the accessory.
These items are made to last for as long as the car still exists - or even after that. Therefore, what you’re paying for is both the high-functionality, durability, and long lifespan of the roof racks.
What to Consider When Buying a Roof Rack?
If you’re buying a roof rack for the first time, you’d be interested to know that there are strict considerations when making your choice.
And by strict, we mean sticking to qualities that could determine whether your roof rack is worth it or not.
With that, check out the following factors when buying a roof rack.
1. Weight Capacity
When buying a roof rack, match your choice with the type of load you have.
For example, if you’re planning to carry items like kayaks, skiboards, bicycles, surfing boards, and other heavy equipment, you may want to check the weight limit of the roof rack first.
Otherwise, you may end up with a roof rack that will sustain dents or cause scratches on your roof due to mismatched weight.
The rule of thumb when choosing a roof rack is that you should always go for products with sturdy crossbar metals made of steel or aluminum.
You will find it more worth it to invest in roof racks composed of elements that can sustain both the weight and the harshness of the outside weather.
Both steel and aluminum crossbars are known to resist common external issues such as corrosion or physical damage.
The type of roof racks suitable for your car depends on the presence of mounting systems on the roof of the vehicle.
If you have an existing flush rail on your car, it would be wise to go for roof racks specifically designed for this system. Likewise, consider the type of items you plan to carry on the roof rack.
For instance, if you have a large vehicle and you deliver crates and oversized items, you may want to go for a canopy rail roof instead of the other types. This way, it could accommodate the weight and the number of items you wish to carry on the road.
Bigger loads often mean wider and stronger roof racks. Likewise, it is crucial to match the size of the roof rack with the size of your car.
All vehicles have weight limits. It would be futile to install a large roof rack that can eat up a large portion of that weight limit which lessens the number of items you can load.
5. Other Features
When all roof racks seem to have the same qualities, it would be helpful to check their additional features.
For most drivers, the most appealing attribute would have to be security. A roof rack that offers an extra layer of safety against theft can ultimately determine your best choice.
Is It Hard to Install Roof Racks?
Not at all, installing roof racks is perhaps one of the easiest works you can do with your car.
Before, putting up roof racks will require professional help, especially if you’re going for permanent installation.
Nowadays, roof racks can be your next do-it-yourself project, and it won’t even take you hours to complete the task.
Of course, the installation instructions will depend on the type of roof rack and mounting system you have on your car. Nevertheless, most racks take the following steps for successful attachment.
1. Clear your car roof of any debris or impurities
It all begins with cleaning your car's roof and removing any distractive items. But don’t just manually take out the debris. Clean your car thoroughly.
After you install the roof racks, it could be challenging to do deep cleaning anymore.
2. Prepare all the components of the roof rack
Roof rack elements are only a few, so it’s not too hard to keep track of what’s missing. A standard roof rack has two crossbars and four foot mounts.
Nevertheless, make sure to lay down all the components to check not just its number but potential defects as well.
3. Start unscrewing the bolts.
Installing a roof rack is all about loosening and tightening the bolts. But before you put on the crossbars, make sure all the screws in the foot mounts are loosened to keep the process on the smooth side.
4. Attach the crossbar on the foot mount
Now, you can just insert the crossbars on the mount and measure the appropriate width on both sides of the car roof.
Make sure that both crossbars are distances parallel to one another. If you have raised rails or a gutter, this part would be easier for you.
However, if you have a bare roof, be precise as to the distance of the crossbars, if you’re attaching the mount or clip onto the door frame.
Once you get the right measurements, you can now put the pads and caps on the crossbar. The pads will keep your roof away from scratches, while the caps prevent water from entering inside the mount or crossbars.
5. secure crossbars in their proper position
Take your time with finding the right position for the entire rack. Make sure they are not uneven or potentially covering the windshield.
If you’re sure that the optimum position has been set, simply tighten the screws of the leg or foot mounts.
How to Maintain the Roof Racks?
Although roof racks can remain strong and functional for a really long time, their lives could be short-lived without proper care.
As car owners, you probably know that one essential part of your car’s longevity is regular maintenance. And with that, the roof racks are no exception.
So, to maintain your roof racks, take note of the following tips.
1. Clean the components every now and then
Using water and soap, make sure to remove any dirt or mud stuck on the roof rack. Leaving these impurities for a long time can degrade the components leading to more significant damage.
You can remove the crossbars or the entire roof rack altogether. Afterward, make sure that all the components are dry before remounting the rack on the car roof.
2. Lubricate the screws and bolts
The constant vibrations on the road can loosen the bolts, screws, washers, etc. With that, it is crucial to lubricate these parts to remove residues inside and tighten them back.
3. Inspect the roof rack for damage
Never turn a blind eye to any damage sustained by the roof rack. Whether it's a corroded portion or a deep dent, make sure to replace it as soon as you can.
Also, get the replacement parts from the same manufacturer to avoid any further trouble.
There is no doubt that a roof rack is a valuable accessory for your car.
It improves both the function and performance of any vehicle and ensures that all the items you need for your trip are boarded together.
So, whether you’re into outdoor sports like kayaking, skiing, and bicycling or you are an avid fan of long road trips, consider installing a sturdy, long-lasting roof rack on your car.
You can just mount your equipment or palace a roof box for smaller items.
Nevertheless, it’s one decision you won’t regret as it increases the overall worth of your vehicle.