A Complete Guide To Installing A Roof Rack On Your Car

A Complete Guide To Installing A Roof Rack On Your Car

When it comes to ensuring that your vehicle has adequate cargo space for your needs, there are a few things that you will likely want to account for. First off, you will want to ensure that you have a large enough vehicle in the first place, but this is only something that you can consider if you don’t have a car yet.

If you have already purchased a vehicle and you find it lacking in cargo space, you may find that some steps will need to be taken so that you can improve your vehicle's carrying capacity. There are many reasons why you may need extra cargo room for your car, from long family trips to a new job.

One of the best options you have available when it comes to augmenting your vehicle's cargo room is a roof-mounted rack or storage unit. Many cars will be compatible with a roof rack, and some even have them equipped out of the factory, but when they don't, some issues may arise.

Bike on a roof rack of a car.

It is understandable that not everyone is proficient with cars, as some of us are more artistically than mechanically oriented. Regardless of your preferences, however, you are going to have to get your roof rack up there somehow, but you don’t have to worry because we’re here to help you out.

In today’s guide, we’ll be covering everything that you need to know about how to mount a roof rack on your vehicle, so you won’t have to do it alone. We’ll also be going over some of the equipment that you may need to do so and the vehicles that won’t be compatible with these kinds of racks.

How To Install Roof Rack

Before you install your roof rack, you will need to consider what kind of roof rack you have or need to purchase, as not all of them are created the same. Before we get into the details, we’ll describe the different roof rack types and then explain their mounting processes one by one.

Naked Roof Mount Rack

This is the most common type of rack that can be mounted to the roofs of vehicles because it is compatible with the widest range of vehicles. As you may have guessed from the name, a naked roof mount does not require pre-existing mounting points so that it can be installed to your car.

Instead of interfacing with attachment points, a naked roof mount will use a system of clamps to be fastened to the roof of your vehicle, often hooking in near the windows. To use these roof racks, you will first have to install feet that stick to your roof, a fit kit, and then some crossbars for lateral support.

Naked Roof Mount Rack.

Of course, the exact process of mounting these components to your vehicle will depend on what kind of car you have. These kinds of roof mounts are often an excellent option for sedans and cars with a more substantial amount of surface area on their roofs while compacts may have a harder time with them.

While roof rack installation for naked roof models takes more work, it will work with nearly any vehicle, which also makes it the most versatile choice available. Keep in mind that the primary reason for purchasing a roof rack of this type is because your car doesn’t have existing mounting points.

Factory Mount Rack

The next type of roof rack installation that we will be looking at is the mounting of racks which are meant to slot into factory threads. You can check whether or not your car is equipped with mounting points at the factory by looking for some small circular or rectangular covers on your car’s roof.

Factory Mount Rack

You can use any tool to pry these covers open, and you will find that they uncover holes into which your roof racks are meant to be mounted. This system is usually the easiest to install your roof rack to since it requires the least amount of work and it is already prepared to accept racks of many kinds.

Of course, the issue with this kind of mounting system is that you aren’t guaranteed to find it on every vehicle. Sometimes, you will have to request rack mounting points as an option when you are purchasing your car, and it is understandable if it is overlooked in the chaos of a car purchase.

If you have yet to purchase your car, however, you will find that a vehicle that comes with mounting points straight out of the factory is immensely helpful. Of course, this isn’t the only style of mounting point that you can find installed on your vehicle by default, as we still have our final type to look at.

Raised Roof Rack

This kind of rack is usually found on SUVs and minivans, and the attachment points consist of two rails that are raised above the roof of the vehicle. This mounting style increases the clearance between the bikes and the roof of the car, making either of them less likely to be damaged or scratched.

Raised Roof Rack

Racks can be installed on raised roof rails by attaching a foot pack above and below the rails and then providing support for the rack with crossbars.

What Do You Need for Installation

There are a few tools that will come in handy over the course of your roof rack installation:

  • Multi-head screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Mallet

What Vehicles Are Not Compatible With Roof Racks

As you can guess, the most common type of vehicle that won’t work with a roof rack is a pickup truck, because there won’t be enough space on the roof for mounting. Of course, having a bed negates the need for a rack much of the time. Some super-compact cars will also be incompatible with roof racks.

Conclusion

When it comes to installing a roof rack, things don’t have to be as complicated as they may seem. Thank you for taking the time to go through our guide to installing a roof rack to your vehicle, we hope that it has been both helpful and concise.

Resources:
FMCSA
NTC
NT

Leave a Comment: