What do you need to know before buying a roof rack? 

Roof racks are a convenient thing to attach to the roof of your car to carry almost everything that you are not able to fit inside of your car. Those things are mostly sporting gear such as surfboards, kayaks, bikes, hockey equipment or camping gear.

Many car manufacturers pre-installs a rack system in their cars. However, some do not come with pre-installed roof racks. This is where the need to buy an aftermarket roof rack comes into place if you are up for travelling and sports.

The roof racks come with different accessories, and there are specific types of roof racks as well. These include bike racks and kayak carriers, and these come with universal fitting mechanisms for pre-installed factory bars. However, first, you need to know about your car roof and what purpose you will be using your roof racks. Thus, the foremost thing to start with is installing the rack system. 

What is a rack system?

The roof rack system consists of crossbars and support. These can be of different materials such as steel, aluminium and plastic. However, you first need two crossbars for a basic rack system to fit across your vehicle’s roof. The components for attaching those bars include:

  • Load bars: It is mainly the two crossbars.
  • Foot packs or towers: The support for the two crossbars.
  • Fit kits: These are vehicle specific footpads or brackets, which help attach the food pack onto your car. 

The crossbars come in various sizes depending upon the type of load you want to carry on the roof of your car. In general, the basic bars are round or square-shaped. They can be upgraded later on to wide or flatter bars with a touch of aerodynamic aeroplane-wing style for less noise. 

What type of roof rack system do you need to consider?

In general, there are four main types of roof rack, from which you can consider the best suitable and depend upon your vehicle and type of load. 

  • Naked Roof: Cars that do not come with anything on the roof needs a foot pack and fit kit. These are designed to clamp into the door jamb. 
  • Fix Points: Some of the cars come with pre-fitted points for mounting a rack into them. You can buy a rack and fit right onto it.
  • Raised Rails: Most of the cars have raised rails along the side of the car roof. Raised rails generally have a gap between the rails and the roof. Thus, you need only a foot pack for this type of roof that will clip right onto it. There will be no need for a vehicle-specific kit. 
  • Solid Rails: These rails do not have a gap alongside the roof of the car. Hence, they are called solid, flush or continuous rails. Solid rails need a specific foot pack and fit kit. 

Cost of Roof Racks

The cost of roof racks generally depends on the type and materials. Hence, the price can be around $90 and can go up to $700.