Do Roof Racks Damage Your Car?

Do roof racks damage your car? Of course, it is possible that a roof rack can cause damage to your car. This is usually the result of a badly installed roof rack, rather than the product itself being faulty.

The most common problem is the roof rack not being tightened properly. This will lead to sagging and can increase the likelihood of accidents. This can also occur if you are lifting heavy items using your vehicle.

Wet weather and driving at high speeds are other common causes of damage to your vehicle from roof racks.

If you are mounting a roof rack on your vehicle, you have to get it right. It needs to be installed properly. And you will have to properly secure it before adding any weight onto the car. All loose objects should be taken off the vehicle.

Let’s take a more in depth look at exactly how you can prevent damage to your vehicle from a roof rack, and our ‘Golden Rules’ of roof rack usage.

How Does A Roof Rack Damage Your Car?

A poorly installed roof rack that is not firm will easily damage your car. It can easily create a twisting force. This force is usually located between the racks, the nuts, and the bolts. This will easily affect the loading and stability of the roof cargo/bag and other loads on your vehicle. This can cause damage or accidents during a journey.

All of these problems can be avoided if the roof racks are correctly installed.

Steps To Installing A Roof Rack Properly

Before you install a roof rack, you should check all the parts. This will ensure that none of them is damaged, or neither do they have nails that stick out. This can scratch the car if placed at the top.

bikes attached to the roof of the car. Travelling with bikes by car.

You should know that there are various mounting systems for roof racks. Roof rack installation depends on the nature of the mounting system.

These are the following steps to properly install a roof rack for yourself.

Step 1: Try To Understand The Nature Of The Mounting System

The right way to install your roof starts with knowing the type of mounting system that you have. For instance, some roof racks are fitted straight to the roof of the car. These can be done using simple accessories like fit kits, crossbars, etc.

Step 2: Connecting The Roof Rack Frame

Next, screw up the crossbar and the rail sides. Attach this frame to the vehicle. Ensure that the roof rack is placed at the center of the car. A simple measurement can get this done.

Step 3: Create The Holes For Mounting

Now, you should drill holes. You can also try to uncover the holes for mounting. Cars that have naked roofs (i.e., no roof rails) will need you to drill holes into the roof. This will be used to insert the roof rack. Some vehicles come with mount holes that are factory-issued. This means that there will not be any need for drilling.

Step 4: Fix The Frame Base By Tightening The Roof

The next thing to do is to get the screws tightened up. This can be done by inserting the screws through the rails. This should help fix the roof base on the car.

If there are roof rails on your vehicle, you should keep an eye out for the thumbscrews. This will help loosen up the rails. This will ensure that their location will be changed whenever needed.

Step 5: Clamp Down The Mounting System Anywhere Necessary

Start clamping the mounts onto the crossbars. Begin from the rear and towards the front. The location of the clamps will depend on the nature of the items you plan to carry. After completing all of these steps, you need to confirm the capacity of the roof rack.

This is for you to know exactly what can be carried on the roof. Knowing the roof capacity will prevent possible overloading. Prolonged overloading of your roof racks can cause a lot of damage.

Golden Rules Of Roof Rack Installation

Roof racks are meant to be durable and function optimally. If you install one on your car, you must know these Golden Rules, enabling your to properly maintain your roof racks:

Ensure You’re Using The Right Installation Dimension

This is the number 1 essential for preventing damage: The dimensions of the roof and roof rack should be equal. Never try and install a roof rack that does not fit the dimensions of your vehicle.

Read Up On The Installation Manual

The roof rack manual acts as an installation guide. It should come with the roof rack’s maximum weight capacity. You also get a long list of installation guidelines and instructions. Instructions aren’t for whimps; use them!

Regular Greasing Is The Way To Go

If you have used the racks for quite some time, they will start to wear down. This is accelerated if the roof rack is exposed to bad weather and rain, such as being left parked outside throughout the year. You should treat your roof racks with care, regularly applying grease to the mounting bolt threads. This helps to prevent rust and corrosion.

Ensure That You Check The Weight Limit

Checking the weight carrying capacity of the car should be done at the very beginning. This helps you know the weight limit of items to be loaded onto the car. You can check for this limit in the vehicle manual.

If you ignore the weight limit, it could be incredibly dangerous. Your load can get loose during movement and hurt you and other road users, not to mention the wear and tear on your cars engine when it’s carrying a grater load than it was designed for.

Take Off Your Roof Rack If Not In Use

Roof racks affect fuel consumption in vehicles. Even though the roof rack materials are made from light materials, they should be taken off when you do not require them.

Leaving the roof rack or any cargo boxes on your vehicle when not in use increases the aerodynamic pull and weight of the car. This will make you consume more fuel. Taking this off will also minimize wind noise during movement.

Never Ignore The Height

You should be aware of the height of the roof rack. For SUVs and pickup trucks, you may be restricted from passing through some places. Adding a roof rack to your vehicle means that the general height of the roof will be increased. Be aware of this increase and choose your routes wisely; underground car parking can be a bad idea!

Do Not Speed

If you have installed a roof rack onto your vehicle, driving within the speed limit is important. This is to ensure your safety and that of other road users. Check your product’s specification as many roof racks come with recommended speed limits.

Ignoring the speed limits of a particular roof rack can be dangerous. Keeping to the speed limit helps you enjoy your ride and help with fuel efficiency. It also keeps you and other road users safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will a roof rack affect your car?

Adding a roof rack to your car can have both positive and negative effects. On the positive side, a roof rack can increase your car’s storage capacity, allowing you to carry more luggage, sporting equipment, or other items. Additionally, a roof rack can create more space inside the car, making long road trips with friends or family more comfortable.

However, there are also some potential negative effects to consider. A roof rack can increase wind resistance, which can decrease your car’s fuel efficiency and make it harder to drive in high winds. It can also add weight to the roof of the car, which can affect its center of gravity and make it more difficult to control on the road.

Before adding a roof rack to your car, it’s important to ensure that it’s compatible with your vehicle and that it’s installed correctly. You should also check with your car manufacturer to see if adding a roof rack will void your warranty. Overall, a roof rack can be a useful addition to your car, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

Do roof bars damage your car?

Roof bars, when installed and used correctly, should not damage your car. However, improper installation or use of roof bars can potentially cause damage. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and weight limits and to regularly check that the bars are securely attached. Additionally, it is a good idea to remove the bars when they are not needed to avoid any potential damage from exposure to the elements or low-clearance obstacles.

How will a roof rack affect your car?

A roof rack can affect your car in a few ways. First, the added weight on the roof can increase wind resistance and decrease fuel efficiency. Additionally, the added height of the roof rack and any cargo on it can increase the overall height of your vehicle, which can impact clearance and maneuverability in certain situations. It’s important to make sure that your roof rack is securely and properly installed to avoid any safety hazards. Additionally, be aware of any weight limits and load restrictions for your specific car and roof rack to prevent damage to your vehicle.

Can you go through a car wash with roof racks?

Yes, it is possible to go through a car wash with roof racks, but it depends on the type of car wash and the type of roof rack you have. Some car washes have height restrictions, so it’s important to check with the car wash first to ensure that your vehicle with the roof racks will fit.

Additionally, some types of roof racks may not be suitable for car washes, such as those that are not securely attached to the vehicle or those that are made of materials that could potentially damage the car wash equipment or other vehicles. It’s always a good idea to remove any loose or detachable items from the roof rack before entering a car wash to avoid the risk of damage or injury.


Final Thoughts on Roof Racks

We hope this guide has given you the confidence to purchase roof racks for your car, knowing that it is poor installation and misuse that lead to damage from roof racks.

When installed correctly and used within manufacturer specifications, a roof rack can be a real benefit to car owners, increasing cargo carrying capacity ready for your next family adventure on the road.

© Family Road Trip

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