Why does it seem our vehicle is never quite large enough? Some of us have trouble fitting everything in for just a weekend away, never mind all the luggage for a week-long vacation. One answer is a roof rack to carry extra luggage, a kayak or a special rack for cycles. Even a few 2x4s from the local home improvement store.
If your vehicle has a rack which came from the factory, your owner's manual will give you all the proper information about loading and maintaining it.
If you don't have a factory-installed luggage rack, there are many options for adding one. There are "universal" models that can be moved from vehicle to vehicle, as well as racks that are specifically designed for your make and model. Check with your manufacturer's dealership parts department, auto parts store or on the internet.
When shopping for an aftermarket rack, check if it is bolted to the vehicle roof (permanent) or attached with clamps (universal).
A top box fitted to a roof rack will keep things dry and most can be locked. You can get special boxes for skis.
When loading a roof rack, load larger items towards the back, but try to distribute the weight evenly. Secure the load carefully with rope or elastic bungee cords.
Don't exceed the car's maximum permitted roof rack load. You'll find this in the owner's manual for the vehicle (factory installed) or with the instructions that accompanied the rack you purchased.
Insure that your tires are properly inflated when carrying an additional load. The Maximum Tire Pressure will be molded into the sidewall of your tires.
Last but not least, remember that even an empty roof rack will increase fuel consumption. The rack will create additional wind resistance, and fully loaded, the cargo on top may make a noticeable difference on a long trip. But that's the trade-off for being able to stretch out inside.
Back to Tips from the Pros