A roof rack is the best way to ensure you get the most out of your car’s storage. From camping to mountain biking, a durable roof rack is the way to go for transporting the bulky items most outdoor sports require. However, it’s crucial to choose a roof rack that fits your car well so that your items stay secure during travel. This roof rack fit guide will help you ensure your roof rack fits your car.
Check Your Make and Model
Roof racks are designed with a particular style of car in mind. Because of this, your car’s make and model is one of the first pieces of information you’ll need to know. The great news is that this information will narrow your search down quite a bit, so you won’t be overwhelmed by the different styles and sizes of roof racks.
Check Your Vehicle’s Year
Because vehicle styles can vary from year to year, roof racks are designed for a range of years. Verify that your vehicle’s year falls within the range specified by the rack you’re looking at, and you’re well on your way to choosing a great-fitting roof rack for your car.
Note that some truck roof rack sizes differ from generation to generation, so you’ll want to know which generation your truck is as well. For example, a 1st Gen Toyota Tundra requires a rack with a 43" crossbar, while a 2nd or 3rd Gen Tundra needs a 48" crossbar.
Wind Fairing: Half or Full?
Wind fairing parts reduce drag on your vehicle. When choosing a roof rack from Sherpa Equipment Co., you’ll be asked whether you want half height or full height. The only difference here is the capability to install a light bar on your roof rack. Our half-height rack is constructed a little differently than other roof racks on the market, allowing you more options when choosing which light bar to install.
If you’re not interested in installing a light bar on your vehicle, simply choose a full-height rack. There is no other difference between the racks besides the light bar cutout.
Purchase a Heavy-Duty Roof Rack
A quality roof rack is an investment. While it may cost less, a lower-quality roof rack is more likely to fail. When transporting expensive gear like your skis, surfboard, or mountain bike, you don’t want to cut corners where it counts. If your roof rack gives out on the freeway due to poor construction, it could damage your gear or even cause an accident. Even small bends in the frame can cause the roof rack to fit poorly on your roof. Our recommendation? Play it safe and invest in a great-quality, durable roof rack.
Our heavy-duty roof racks are designed for adventure. They will give you the best fit for your vehicle and won’t give out when you need them most. Some of the toughest on the market, our roof racks are constructed with industry-leading ¼" thick aircraft-grade aluminum side panels and stainless steel hardware. Choose a durable, high-quality roof rack, and you won’t have to worry about damage causing your roof rack to warp.
Unique Vehicle Requirements
Some vehicles have unique requirements to keep in mind for your roof rack install. Keep these in mind to ensure that your roof rack fits your car. Some vehicles, such as a Toyota RAV4, require you to remove the headliner during installation. The headliner is the foam “ceiling” of your vehicle. You can replace this once you’ve installed the roof rack.
If your vehicle has a panoramic sunroof, confirm that your roof rack is compatible with the sunroof before purchasing. Some roof racks are incompatible with this type of sunroof, so you’ll need one specifically designed for your vehicle’s style of roof.
If you’re looking to put a roof rack on your truck, you may need an additional measurement. Certain styles of roof racks are sized based on truck bed length as well as make, model, and year. You’ll want to measure your truck bed to ensure the best fit.
Load Your Roof Rack Appropriately
Once you get your roof rack selected and installed, be sure to double-check its weight requirements. Overloading your roof rack can cause warping and damage, making it dangerous to use at high velocities, such as on the freeway. Our racks have static and dynamic recommended load capacities. The dynamic load capacity indicates the recommended weight load while in motion, while the static load capacity indicates the recommended weight load while stationary.
When loading your roof rack, estimate the total weight of any luggage, such as boxes or bags, plus any heavy equipment you may be transporting. If going for a drive, confirm that the total weight is below the dynamic load capacity.
You should also confirm your vehicle’s roof capacity before loading up your roof rack. Be sure to include the weight of any heavy gear plus the weight of your roof rack. It’s wise to round up rather than down when approximating the weight of your items, just to be on the safe side.
It’s also important to distribute the weight of your gear appropriately. Placing all the heavy items to one side, for example, will throw off the equilibrium of the car. This can affect your ability to drive safely and can damage your roof rack.
Buy the Correct Accessories for What You Need
When preparing to transport certain types of gear (kayaks, bikes, skis, cargo boxes, etc.), it is best practice to purchase the correct racks and mounts to attach these items to your roof rack. Our crossbars easily attach these items using drop-in T-nuts.
Cargo boxes are also a great option to make storing small, loose items simple. Our durable, waterproof cargo boxes are designed to keep your gear safe no matter what terrain you’re traveling through.
Regardless of how you customize your roof rack, be sure to choose accessories that are compatible with your roof rack. Incompatible accessories could damage your roof rack or vehicle.
We hope our roof rack fit guide gave you some insight. Finding the perfect roof rack for your vehicle can be tedious, but it’s well worth the effort for a durable, high-performance rack that will keep up with you, no matter where the adventure takes you.