use roof racks on your car with these tips

Should I Put A Roof Rack On My Car?

Why do you need roof racks on your car? If you would like to load more luggage on your vehicle, you probably need roof racks because they can create a platform on the car roof and hold rooftop cargo carriers for transporting belongings between locations.

Most enthusiasts wish to enjoy a road journey during their weekend holidays, so they want to bring enough equipment or gear to make their outdoor life fun enough. Most people like to travel with friends, so most of us would like to leave the car cabin room for passengers, especially on road trips.

A roof rack is not a single item but a set of accessories you can mount on the car roof for transporting belongings. In most cases, roof rails, crossbars, and roof-mounted cargo carriers are what you usually can see on car roofs. If you are new to this topic, you can refer to another article to learn the relationship between roof rails, crossbars, and roof racks; furthermore, you can get a clear thought about how to build rooftop cargo systems for most vehicle types after reading through articles on our site.

what you should mount on rooftop roof racks

What you can mount on crossbars:

What do you need to load on the car roof?

What do you need to transport on the car roof? If you want to take more luggage or equipment on a road trip, a roof cargo boxbag, or cargo basket can help. When it comes to transporting bikes, you can think about using bike racks; however, there are different types of bike racks that you can compare to find the most suitable options for your specific car model.

Kayak or watercraft carriers are common choices when you want to carry a canoe, kayak, or other types of watercraft; additionally, any watercraft carrier needs to stand and lock on rooftop crossbars. If you don’t care so much about your old car, you probably can use straps to tighten things on the car roof without having any protective accessories; however, you should utilize more straps to ensure items are safely and tightly sitting on the car roof.

If you like winter sports so much, you can use ski or snowboard carriers to deliver your gear between your favorite skiing playgrounds. All ski carriers must mount on top of roof bars, so you must have crossbars before getting roof-mounted ski carriers for your car. Otherwise, you also can load skis or snowboards in a roof cargo box, but you should know if the cargo box is long enough to carry your skis.

use roof racks without crossbars with straps

If you like camping very much, you probably need a rooftop tent that you can use to create a temporary home above the car roof; however, roof tents require standing and locking on crossbars. These roof tents are expensive, so you should think twice before getting one. They also need proper maintenance for better enjoyment during your camping holidays.

Types Of Car Roofs

Bare Roof

Can you find rails or anything else on your car roof? If you cannot, your vehicle has a naked car roof. Most modern vehicles have naked car roofs, so you are not alone. When purchasing roof racks from an outdoor company, you can communicate with the manufacturer to order specific fit kits to work with your car model. Those fit kits have metal brackets with protective rubber coating to prevent damage to the car roof. 

Raised Rial

raised roof rails and other types of car roofs

SUVs, wagons, and minivans often have raised rails on both sides from the front to the back. It is a simple process of mounting crossbars to a pair of raised side rails, and you don’t need to get another set of foot fit kits for the installation.

Flush Rail

Flush rails are the newest style of roof rails on modern vehicles, especially on SUVs. You cannot find space between the rails and the car roof, so flush rails lower the entire height of the rooftop cargo. Most crossbars have fit fits to mount on flush rails, so it is not a worry. Flush rails are easy to maintain and use, and they are also versatile, functional, and look fancy.

Fixed Points

You can find two fixed points on each side of the car roof for mounting crossbars or other rooftop accessories. When roof racks are not in use, these fixed points are hard to see; as a result, most luxury cars use fixed points to hold roof racks, like Porsche 911. These fixed points make the bar spreads not adjustable, so you should confirm the distance between front and back clamps when buying rooftop cargo carriers for cars with fixed points.

Should you use a roof rack on your vehicle?

Roof racks can increase your cars’ loading capacity and free up the cabin and trunk space for passengers and road-needed items, but roof racks can cause some problems:

Safety Concerns:

After using roof racks on a car, they can increase the height of your vehicle and make the loading and unloading more difficult; thus, we find some accessories that you can use to simplify the process of operating roof racks. If you want to step up to reach the rooftop cargo carriers, you should be careful and keep your balance to prevent falling and getting hurt.

When mounting roof racks to a car, you must ask someone else to help for better security and accuracy. You must read the installation manual several times to fully understand the entire process and avoid potential risks from mistakes during the mounting process. You must know how to self-testing the installation results by manually shaking the roof racks in different directions for minutes. You better check the installation several times during a road trip.

You can operate most roof racks from both sides of your vehicle, so you should use the passenger side for loading or unloading when driving on the highways. It is the best option to avoid the risks from coming traffic.

After having roof racks on your vehicle, your car becomes higher in places like underground parking or the garage gate; consequently, you must remind yourself of the extra height when entering zones with height limitations.

Wind Noise and Effect on Gas Mileage

Roof racks can cause wind noise and waste gas mileage. Different rooftop cargo carriers bring high or low volumes of wind noise, but most of the results are ignorable. If you feel that is a problem for your lifestyle, you can follow another article to find solutions to deal with wind noise. We also have an article explaining the theory about how roof racks affect gas mileage, so you can refer to that content and find more ideas.

Laws and Regulations

We don’t know where you live and which country you are living in, so you better communicate with your car’s insurance issuer about these concerns. If roof racks can avoid the insurance or the car warranty? You must call the insurance company or the auto dealer to get clear answers before adding roof racks to your vehicle. You may also need to consult with the license issuer about newly added roof racks to check if there are specific regulations that you require to follow.


should i use roof racks on my car?

You take your vehicle to the auto shop for maintenance every year. It is the right action to keep your car in good condition. As well as the roof racks, you need to maintain them monthly or every time after use.

When roof racks are not on duty, you better store them in the garage with proper protection from the elements. A plastic cover is good enough.

Most roof racks have lock mechanisms on them, so you should lubricate the lock sore regularly for smooth working in the future.


Free Up More Space

Roof racks can create extra loading space on your car, so you can load as much as possible without occupying the passenger or trunk space. After using roof racks, you do not worry about where to pack extra luggage with your vehicles. Most rooftop cargo carriers are spacious enough to carry up to 3 or 4 people’s luggage; thus, you can take more belongings and bring more friends on a road trip to enhance your relationship and experience memorable outdoor activities.

Long-Term Durability

Most manufacturers use durable materials to build roof racks to make these carriers super-sturdy, ultra-light, and long-lasting. You can use roof racks in four seasons throughout the year because most cargo carriers are anti-elements; consequently, you can use a roof cargo carrier to carry almost everything.

Simple to Use and Install

These roof racks on the markets are friendly to everyone because they are easy to operate and assemble. After reading the user guide or installation manual, you can follow the steps to accurately mount most roof racks to your vehicle in 20 minutes without tools.

The Look Of Your Vehicle

Roof racks can make your vehicle look cooler, stronger, and fancier, especially those premium-material-made racks; therefore, luxury SUVs or sports cars become even more eye-catching after having roof racks. When choosing roof racks, you should focus on color matching and pick those racks that have a close color to your vehicle for style matching.


Most roof racks are waterproof, but only those carriers with lids can protect your belongings from rainy days. 



You have heard that most roof racks can cause wind noise, and it is true. You can follow the link above to find solutions to the annoying wind-whistling affair. 

Wear and tear

After using roof racks for a while, you can see significant damage on the printing where crossbars connect to roof rails because of the friction when your car is in motion. You can use several rubber mats to prevent further damage to the touching area between roof rails and crossbars.

Gas Mileage

You can find tiny differences in gas mileage after adding roof racks to your car because of the added weight on the car roof. The added weight affects gas consumption and changes your driving habits, especially when turning and braking. There are more tips about driving with roof racks.


Should you put a roof rack on your car? After reading this article, you may come up with new thoughts about using roof racks. If you need roof racks, you must have a car. You should know if your car can use roof racks by confirming what type of car roof your vehicle has. After that, you can contact the local dealer to order factory crossbars or find compatible options on Amazon or Ebay. After adding roof racks, you can mount other rooftop cargo carriers to your vehicle for carrying different things, like kayaks, canoes, fishing rods, skis, snowboards, camping tents, clothes, and more.

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