Roof rack basics
Roof rack safety
Roof rack basics
A roof rack is a great way for you to increase the amount of storage space that your car has without having to sacrifice passenger space and/or views out of any of your vehicle’s windows. A roof rack is most typically used to secure a roof box. A roof box is simply a secure and aerodynamic box that will hold whatever you want so long as the dimensions fit the box. However, roof racks can also be used to secure bikes, kayaks, surfboards, skis and other things.
In order to install a roof rack on your car’s roof, you must first check the compatibility of your specific car’s make, model and year with any roof racks that you are considering using. Not all vehicles are compatible with all roof racks. Once you have found a suitable roof rack, you can move onto the actual installation. Whichever roof rack you get will come with specific instructions on how you can install it. These instructions will depend on which type of roof rack you are using.
The primary three types of a roof rack for a vehicle are:
- Bare roof – “Bare roof” roof racks are designed for vehicles that have no components on their roofs to support a roof rack. Some vehicles will have raised bars or rails and others will have grooves or tracks. Both of these features are intended to support easier installation of a roof rack. With a “bare roof” roof rack, you will have a roof rack that will usually clip on to the edges of your roof using a clamp system.
- Raised rail – Raised rail roof racks can only be used with vehicles that have the raised bars on the roof. These roof racks are almost always the easiest to install.
- Track – A track system roof rack is only to be used with vehicles that have the tracks or grooves in the outer part of the roof itself. The installation is fairly uncomplicated.
Roof rack safety
When you are driving with a roof rack, you will always want to put safety first. The ability to drive completely safely with a roof rack will begin with ensuring you have safely installed your roof rack. If your roof rack is not correctly and securely installed, it can easily slide off while you are driving your vehicle.
Once you are certain that you have correctly installed your roof rack, there are several other measures to take in order to ensure complete safety while you haul something with your roof rack. First, when you are positioning a roof box or anything else, you must be sure that you secure it as close to the center of your roof rack as possible. If you are using a roof box, you should also be sure that you pack the heaviest items towards the bottom of the box so as to ensure proper weight distribution.
Whenever you drive with something attached to your roof rack, you should be aware of your car’s new height. In the case that you are going through a tunnel, drive-thru or under a bridge with a low clearance, the additional foot plus of height can be the difference between making it and disaster. Finally, never exceed your roof rack’s weight limit. In fact, you should try not to come that close to meeting your roof rack’s weight limit either.
Roof racks can be the difference between being able to take everything with you on a trip or having to ship several things. They can also prevent you from having to store too much in your car during a trip which can directly decrease passenger space and comfort as well as negatively impact your ability to see out of your car’s windows which can be extremely unsafe. When you do decide to make use of a roof rack be sure that you do your research and choose one that is compatible with your vehicle. Upon installing your roof rack, ensure that you do so correctly and securely. Once your roof rack has been installed, take all the necessary precautions to remain safe as you drive including properly distributing weight in a roof box and being mindful of your car’s new height.