Many modern vehicles have preinstalled roof rack systems for carrying large cargo. Since each vehicle is different and manufactured for various purposes, there are several different types of roof rack systems. Each has different feet and bars specifically tailored for the vehicle to carry large items.
These components bear most of the weight when carrying gear on top of the vehicle. These pieces come in different heights and designs to support the crossbars and to carry more weight.
The feet on this system are higher, allowing the driver to place items both over and underneath the bars. This elevated roof rack can also prevent items from scraping the roof of the vehicle.
These feet attach through a single point determined by factory manufacturing. They lack the general versatility and possible placement compared to other feet, but they’re immobile and sturdier.
This mount type fits with padded clamps that attach to the door. There’s a risk of paint coming off, and this type of foot can’t handle as much weight. But it is a more convenient option in comparison to others.
The crossbar is the part of the roof rack system that holds the items you wish to carry. Crossbars come in different styles and implementations, depending on what you plan to move.
This crossbar is more convenient for space on the vehicle’s carapace. The grooves at the end of the bar don’t create an overhang, giving a little less room for more comprehensive items. However, the sleek design gives the vehicle a smoother aesthetic.
The through bar goes through the vehicle’s rails and the ends of the feet. This crossbar form works best with luggage that needs more room if it moves around. And given its general thickness, it will reduce wind noise when there’s little to no luggage.
The platform bar is a tray of interwoven bars, giving your gear better stability throughout the trip. This is a heavy-duty roof rack system, so it does weigh more—it can weigh down the car when combined with the weight of the items on top.
Creating a Roof Rack System
You can mix your roof rack parts with others to create different types of roof rack systems. If you want a system that can support a large number of items while keeping weight off the car, then a raised foot with a platform bar will be a good combo. But some combinations, such as a platform crossbar and a door mount, wouldn’t be a good idea. Play around with a few different systems and see which one will help you in your travels.