Getting a roof rack for your vehicle may seem very simple. After all, you only have to look around you and see thousands of others vehicle with roof racks to know it is an extremely common vehicle accessory.
However, do not rush out and buy one before you consider the information in this article. For example, did you know that the roof rack you fit will affect your fuel consumption? Did you know there are in fact 7 different types of car roofs? Did you know that some roof racks create more noise than others?
Don’t make the mistake of buying a roof rack that works but is not the best for your vehicle and fully meets your needs. Read on to learn more.
What Type of Roof Do I Have?
The following are the basic roof types:
1. Naked Roof
This is as described. It is a roof with no specific attachment points. A roof rack can be fitted but it must be compatible for your vehicle.
As the name applies, this is like guttering on a roof. It is not on the actual roof surface but located over the doors. It is an edge that extends outward from the doors slightly and provides an attachment point for your roof rack.
3. Fixed Points
These are attachment points that are located on the roof usually at the four corners. They are four submerged points that are usually hidden by a plastic cover. You will need to remove the four plastic covers to expose the attachment points.
These are basically tracks on either side of the vehicle roof that runs along the length from the back to front and is parallel. Your roof rack connects to these tracks.
5. Flush Side Rails
These are similar to tracks but are actually raised and, as such, provide a pinch point for your roof rack to connect to.
6. Raised Side Rails
Very similar to side rails except that they provide greater clearance from the roof for your roof rack to connect to. They are often a design feature on larger vehicles such as SUVs.
These are a sort of combination of raised side rails with crossbar connections. They are often available as an accessory from the dealership. They provide greater strength and stability.
Every roof rack will have some basic components in common. The attachment to the actual roof will have some form of adapter kit to suit your roof type. Make sure you use the guide above to identify your roof type first before you buy the adapter kit.
One of the most important components to your roof rack is the feet or towers. These are the main load-bearing components and attach to your roof at the fixing points.
The next important part is the crossbars. These can come in lots of configurations and shapes from square to rounded and aerodynamic. Remember, it is these components that will face the wind and create noise, especially when the roof rack is unloaded.
Think Before You Buy
A roof rack is a very practical consideration for domestic and commercial vehicles. When buying for a domestic vehicle think about what you actually want to carry with the roof rack.
Give some thought to how often you will use the roof rack. How easy and quick are the attachments to connect and remove? If it is a domestic vehicle then it is best to remove the roof rack if you do not need to use it regularly as it can affect your fuel economy.
If it is a commercial vehicle, you may have customized the color and design of the vehicle. If so, give some thought as to the color of the roof rack. You do not have to accept one color matches all.
The Best Roof Rack
There will be more than one type of roof rack that fits your vehicle but you will only get the best roof rack when you identify the roof type and the specific purpose you want to use the roof rack for.
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