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What To Consider When Buying a Roof Rack

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If you’re a fan of more activities than you can fit in your car it is possible to purchase an roof rack.

Every weekender is faced with the same issue of finding space for everything in a car with limited storage. If you enjoy playing outdoors and have a roof rack that is versatile, it is almost a must.

Imagine your vehicle’s roof rack as a mobile storage unit which can be used to carry everything that would otherwise not fit in your car. Roof racks are the most efficient way to carry outdoors gear as well as large DIY items especially when you don’t have an trailer hitch. Learn what you need to be aware of.

What is what is a Roof Rack?

A roof rack comprises two crossbars and a base which allow you to securely store various kinds of equipment. Most vehicles are equipped with side rails that are raised on the roof which can be customized to suit the requirements of your. However, you can also purchase foot packs that are attached onto the gutters of rain or fix connections to the roof. It’s crucial that the foot pack you buy match the vehicle as well as the crossbars you’ll use.

The crossbars are attached perpendicularly to the feet or side rails which allows you to attach accessory mounts to fit your equipment.

The most popular roof racks are:

Cargo box/bag/basket;
Bike rack
Kayak/surfboard/paddleboard rack;
Ski/snowboard rack;
Rooftop tent.

Thule as well as Yakima are two of the most well-known brands in the market for aftermarket roof racks however, there are cheaper alternatives too. Be aware that you’re buying into a manufacturer-specific system. For instance the Yakima bike mount will typically not work with Thule crossbars and vice reverse.

If your car comes equipped with crossbars, you could be stuck with the manufacturer’s exclusive system, or you may be required to purchase adapters that allow you to make use of different equipment.

Selecting the Best Roof Rack to suit the Task

Meet with people who own the same vehicle, or the roof rack system you’re thinking of. I’ve asked strangers at trailheads to load their vehicles what they think of their racks. They generally talk enthusiastically about their whole setup with regards to the advantages and annoyances I’ve never thought about.

What to consider when purchasing the Roof Rack

When purchasing a roof rack system the majority of people opt for the least expensive model that will fit their car. There are other aspects to think about:

What are you looking to travel?

Your main goal could be to transport your bikes however, are there other things you regularly participate in or may be involved in down the road? If yes, consider the mounts for accessories that can be used on each compatible rack , and select the most flexible option.

A very commonly neglected aspects is the ability to transport multiple equipment items at the same at the same time. Are you planning to paddle kayak and mountain bike on your way to your location? Can you fit both atop your roof? What about your luggage boxes and your skis?

For families who participate in many outdoor activities, you should consider the possibility of having a slightly wider crossbar to carry more of your stuff. The key word here is slightly larger. Your crossbars shouldn’t be as wide as the largest portion of your vehicle including the mirrors.

If you’re considering using the roof rack to use it for DIY home improvements for instance, transporting lumber or other items think about a rack that is rated for larger weights and sturdy anchor points for attaching ratcheting strap hooks.

How simple can it be to unload and load?

There’s a chance to score a fantastic bargain on a rack and the mount but, if the setup is complex or confusing, you’ll feel uncomfortable the idea of using it. Consider “Will me be able to mount my gear and remove it once I reach where I am going?”

What is the best way to attach your bike to it?

Do you need racks that require you to unhook the front wheel in order to transport it or one that latches directly to the frame? Furthermore there are a few modern bikes that come with quick-release front wheels therefore you must ensure that your rack can be used with the bicycle you currently own or plan to purchase in the near future.

If you have a big electronic bike and don’t have an Olympic power lifter, then a roof rack isn’t an ideal choice for you.

Do you have the option of locking the rack?

If a criminal is desperate enough, they’ll figure out a way to capture it. Don’t make it simple for them.

Roof Rack Safety and Maintenance

Roof racks may fail and spill your goods all over the road, if they’re not properly installed and maintained.

Be careful when installing

Even though it’s against the majority of DIYers the way they think If there’s an opportunity for installation free of charge then take advantage of it. In my job at an old-fashioned bike shop I set up many racks for customers. I also led them through the procedure. A lot of them admitted that they would have done it wrong should they had done it themselves.

Who knows the best method to set up your rack? The manufacturer. If you’re looking to do it yourself by watching a five-minute installation video on the manufacturer’s site on their YouTube channel could help you avoid several hours trying and failing on your driveway.

Do routine checks

When loading bikes or other equipment make sure you give the various components an effort to ensure that everything is secure and tight.

Be aware of obstacles that are low-hanging.

You can easily forget that that are sporting expensive equipment that’s on the roof of your car. Pay attention to windows in drive-throughs and bridges that are low-hanging, as well as covered parking areas. If the garage is your own home garage, put up an announcement or another warning that you must unload your equipment prior to getting into. This is a costly mistake the majority of roof rack owners — including me – have made.