I once saw a car driving ahead of us with hands functioning as the roof rack: a double or queen mattress was on the roof, and hands were extended from the car’s interior and held it down. You’ve probably seen similar tactics in use. Not only is this dangerous, but it’s also illegal and unnecessary. Getting a roof rack, even for occasional use, solves this issue. In this blog post, I’ll cover the basics of both buying and using a roof rack.
What Do You Plan to Use Your Roof Rack For?
Do you need a roof rack for your bikes? A kayak? Luggage? You’ll need to decide before you start shopping. With so many options out there, this will ease the selection process.
What Kind of Roof Do You Have?
Your roof may already have raised side rails, or it may be bare. When you’re shopping online, pay attention to what kind of car roof you have and select from roof racks designed for it.
Roof Rack Safety Basics
A roof rack expands the storage space available for your vehicle and also gives you more space inside. That can make family road trips more enjoyable. However, they’re one convenience you can just learn by doing.
Start with proper installation. The instructions aren’t there for recreational reading before bed. They include not only the steps needed to properly install your roof rack on your car but also the weight and speed limits you need to follow. If you’re nervous about installation, pay for a professional to do it: your peace of mind will far outweigh the cost, and you’ll reduce the risk of damage to your vehicle.
Mind the Gap
With a load on your vehicle, you’re now taller. Whereas you probably rarely if ever need to worry about maximum height signs when traveling under bridges and entering parking garages, you may need to now. Once you’re all packed up, measure your new height, write it down on a note, and keep it where you can safely see it while you’re driving.
And read those signs.
The load on your roof rack will affect how you drive: Too much loaded at the front, and your rack and luggage will lurch forward when you brake. On the other hand, a load weighted toward the back will make teering more difficult.
In addition, the higher you are, the more susceptible you will be to strong winds. Adjust your driving as needed.
And last: the weight and height of your load will affect your gas mileage. Be prepared to pay more for gas on your trip.
Wherever your travels take you, you should be able to enjoy years of fun travels with your roof rack. Just pack properly and safely, and drive appropriately.