Add Cargo Space, Convenience With Roof Racks

Published on November 12, 2019 11:43 AM in Safe Driving, Driver Tech, Before You Go
Add Cargo Space, Convenience With Roof Racks

A roof rack is an essential vehicle accessory that never goes out of season.

They are great for day trips and keeping clutter out of the cabin on long road trips. They provide a place to store wet gear after a day on the slopes. And they can be used to secure the expensive set of mountain bikes.

Vehicles without factory-installed racks systems require permanent installation of a rails and crossbars. Modern racks fit snugly and won’t damage the roof’s structural integrity when properly installed.

There are also temporary options, which secure to the door jam or roof rails.

“Permanent racks and carriers can be used for summer as well as winter gear,” said John Bauer, founder of Rack N Road in Sacramento. “Consider all your options and requirements before making an investment. Quality installation and equipment will last the lifetime of your vehicle.”

A note of caution: Rack loads may shift if the driver makes sudden maneuvers or if there are heavy gusts of wind, he said.

“Temporary racks may be removed easily and do not require any alteration of the roof itself,” Bauer said. “Permanent racks, however, offer the safest way to carry winter gear.”

Here are Bauer’s suggestions for winter travelers looking to clear out their vehicle cabin by stowing gear and accessories outside the vehicle:

  • Consider what you want to carry. A clamshell enclosure protects gear from theft and the elements.
  • Cost vs. functionality. Temporary roof racks are the least expensive methods of transporting winter gear. Yet they are less secure and stable than permanently attached roof racks. Gear attached to hitch-mounted racks may flutter and accumulate road grime.
  • Look for carriers or cargo boxes with sturdy locks and heavy duty materials. Stainless steel parts are less likely to rust or break than plastic components. ABS plastic lasts longer and weathers better than cheap polyethylene plastic.
  • Ask about the aerodynamics as well as design. Does it blend with your vehicle and minimize wind resistance?
  • Point ski tips toward the rear of the vehicle to reduce air resistance.
  • Look for experienced installer that guarantees installation quality. Proper installation fits as snugly as a factory-installed rack and provides many options not available on temporary or hitch mounted racks.