How to Properly Install a Roof Rack on Your Car

How to Properly Install a Roof Rack on Your Car

The roof rack system on a car has many functions that allow us to travel with our gear and luggage to our chosen destination. To use the roof rack feature effectively, you must have the best installation. With a proper installation, you can avoid mistakes and give your vehicle more capabilities.

Prepare Your Tools

Most cars, especially trucks and jeeps, come with roof racks already installed. However, it is possible to install them yourself. You'll need the proper tools to install your roof rack system. Every roof rack comes with an instruction manual for installations, and you should always have the manual available if you need a quick guide.

Lay the screws and other pieces of the roof rack out neatly so that they are visible and you can access them easily. Set aside the necessary tools such as a screwdriver, hand drill, and level.

Measure Your Vehicle

When buying a roof rack, you'll need to know the measurements of your car so that you know which roof rack to buy. The roof rack will need to fit your vehicle. It cannot be too wide or too long. It must have the ability to take the weight off the car when placing items on top.

For the width, measure the car's roof from the lining of one window to the lining of the other. Measure the length of the roof from the top of each windshield. Use these results to determine which size roof rack you should use.

Clean the Car's Roof

You will have a more challenging time properly installing a roof rack on your car with a dirty roof. The dirt, grime, and particulates will make installing fixtures and screws difficult. The dirtiness will add an extra layer that the screws need to go through. Dirt will also loosen a mounting tower’s stickiness to a car. The roof racks may become loose over time.

Learn About Your Roof Rack

Knowing your roof rack will help with its installation and maintenance. Roof racks come in many variations and shapes. Bulkier roof racks sustain a lot of weight, while others secure more gear.

Some vehicles won't fit specific roof racks due to features decided upon by the roof rack manufacturer, such as the mounting style and size. Please pay close attention to the roof rack you choose and its capabilities.

Evaluate the Type of Installation

Each roof rack has a different installation process. They vary depending on their mounts, the installation of the bars, and whether or not the car already has points established. You need to evaluate and inspect each part of the roof rack to determine how to go about properly installing a roof rack on your car. And don't feel reluctant to rely on the instruction manual—it's there to help you get the best results.

Installing Raised Rails

Many roof rack systems have raised rails that allow your luggage to remain elevated without putting pressure on the car's roof. These racks are easier to install and cost less because they attach easily to the raised rail system already built onto vehicles.

To install a roof rack with raised rails, you'll need to put the base together by assembling the feet, mounts, and crossbars. This base will most likely have clamps attached to the vehicle's mounts. The clamping locations will depend on the placement of each mount, so make sure you look in the manufacturer's manual for more information.

Naked Roof

A naked roof is a bare car roof without mounts or any way for clamps to attach. Instead, the roof rack will connect via raised bases with a roof rack installation kit with attachable feet.

This installation will involve using clips that attach to the feet and secure the roof rack to the upper lip of the window. The crossbars install and connect with openings on the bottom. Make sure you place these bars in places with the strongest point on the roof for maximum carry efficiency.

Raised Rail Side

Specific vehicles have naked roofs, and some have small points where roof racks attach. But some have two large rails on top of the roof that runs along the vehicle. These rails are great for an even taller roof rack that distributes pressure evenly. The feet of the roof rack will hook to the rails, and the crossbars will attach to the feet on each side.

Factory Flat Tracks

This roof rack attaches to a naked roof and has a lightweight but sturdy frame. The attachment is the same as any other rack attached to a naked roof with clips, feet, and crossbars.

But the clips align with the feet. They go straight into the track that separates the car from the car door. This roof rack will supply you with a less bulky look with more versatility as far as strapping cargo to the rack.

Test the Rack

Once you've finished setting up your roof rack system, you'll want to test the weight and stability of the roof rack. Every roof rack system has multiple attachments used to secure items. Despite all these possible accessories, not all roof racks are equally strong.

Test the weight of the roof rack by packing standard cargo for travel such as a cooler, suitcases filled with clothes, and some fishing gear. Drive around for a while and make multiple turns on clear streets to see if the car has more weight on one side while turning. If it feels like it's pulling in a particular direction or seems to make steering uncontrolled, you have too much weight on one side or throughout the whole car.

If you feel anything shift, such as an item or the roof rack itself, you should inspect the rack to ensure it is tight enough. Check the crossbars and make sure they are not loose as you may lose items because of this,

The proper installation of a roof rack is complex and requires extensive consideration. But with the right tools and knowledge, you will have the means to get the job done.

How to Properly Install a Roof Rack on Your Car

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