Whether you’re hauling some building materials home or need a way to get your surfboard to the coast, use your roof rack for this task.
It’s also worth noting that roof racks aren’t just for work; they can also help your family enjoy more interior space and comfort on your next major road trip.
Of course, loading gear, luggage, materials, or anything else on top of your car comes with some safety risks. The last thing you want is to lose valuable items that weren’t secured to your roof rack.
Before you load up your rack and hit the road, here are five ways to best utilize your car’s roof rack:
1. Just Because It Sits Doesn’t Mean It Fits
If you purchase a vehicle that already has a rack installed, you’re in good shape. Many drivers find that they have to add the rack long after they bought their car. It’s critical that you get a rack that fits your car.
Every rack uses a series of attachment points to hook to the vehicle. If these points don’t line up with the shape of your car, it could turn into lost items or damage to your car’s body. If you’re not sure, check with a professional and get that rack installed correctly.
2. Overhang In There
It’s pretty easy to ignore low overhand signs when traversing through tunnels, under bridges, or through the drive-through. When you load up your roof rack, it’s like the size of your vehicle changes.
Make sure you measure how tall your rack sits when fully loaded. Make a note and keep it by your steering wheel so you won’t forget. Missing this critical detail could mean an unwelcome meeting with something overhead.
3. A New Way To Defy Gravity
When you add your stuff to your rack, it raises your car’s center of gravity. That means the way you load the rack could impact the way your car handles the road. Too much weight forward, and you’ll have a harder time coming to a quick stop. If the weight’s in the back, it could make steering a little more challenging.
Even if the weight is distributed well, you might experience more swaying at high speeds. In extreme cases, having the weight off-balance could make it easier for your car to tip over during sharp turns.
4. It’s Better To Weight
The first step to proper packing and loading is to know your roof and rack’s limits. You might want to start with a list of everything going up top and approximate weight. Overloading your rack could result in more wind resistance, which means worse gas mileage or even damage to your vehicle or an accident.
5. Proper Planning Is Everything
Part of properly planning how you’ll load your roof rack is to think about which items you may need during your trip. Packing a rack may feel like a game of Tetris, but it’s not just about putting items where they fit.
If you’re going to need something during your journey, make sure to pack it in a way that you can get to it. There are few nightmares worse than having to practically unpack an entire rack to find a single item.
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