Can You Drive With Empty Rooftop Carrier?

Every roof cargo box has its maximum weight capacity. So you have to make sure that you are not loading too much load in the box. 

If you load items in the box more than its capacity, then it can damage your roof box or the roof of your car.

But if you are not loading anything in the box and your box is full empty, but you still want to keep the box on the roof of your vehicle, there some questions rise like can you drive with an empty roof cargo box, is it safe or not?

No. Driving with an empty roof box is not safe at all. If you want to know more details, then you can read this article. Here we are describing why driving with an empty box is not safe.


The first reason you should remove the box from your vehicle’s roof after using it is roof boxes increase your car’s drag, and the drag increases your fuel economy. Like the roof boxes that are fully loaded with stuff, the empty roof box still affects your vehicle’s mileage. So if you want to lessen your fuel economy and want to get good mileage, you have to remove the box from your vehicle’s roof every time after using it.


Most of the roof cargo boxes of the market are easy to install and remove. So you do not have to do so many things to remove the box when it is not in use. Moreover, removing a box can save you a lot of money by increasing your vehicle’s mileage because having anything weighted down on top of your car will cause you to use more gas or diesel to operate your vehicle.

Weights of roof racks are not so much to increase your fuel economy. Moreover, often these are permanently attached to the vehicle, so you can’t remove them. The roof racks may have some small impact on your fuel economy, but these are not so noticeable at all.

What About a Spare Tire in Your Carrier?

Many people claim they’ve read the recommendation of placing a spare tire in the roof box when it isn’t being used. But this technique is useful in reducing the noise of an empty box because empty roof boxes often make Whistling noises when you are driving. So putting something heavy such as a spare tire can help you to reduce that annoying noise while driving. Moreover, placing a spare tire in the roof box is also recommended so that your roof box does not stay so light.

So removing the roof box from the roof of your car is far better than leaving it with a spare tire inside the box. It also makes the look of your vehicle aesthetically pleasing, especially if you don’t like the shape and color of your roof box.

Some Practical Suggestions

But still, if you want to drive with an empty roof box, we are recommending you to make sure that all of the bolts are tight enough to keep the box secured with the roof of your car. Moreover, you have to make sure that your roof box is fully closed so that water cannot leak into it and damage the box’s interior.

rooftop bag carrier

These suggestions are for roof boxes only. Because roof boxes are hard and you can’t fold them. But roof bags are super easy to install and remove. They are flimsy and lightweight. Even they are very easy to store. Storing a roof bag does not require so much space. You can fold a roof bag and store it anywhere you want. Because of being so light, these roof bags does not create so much difference in the fuel economy as roof boxes.

But after all, it is best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations about empty roof cargo carriers. By doing this, you will not have to worry about what you did – if it was right or not, and you can rest easy.

-our editorial board has reviewed this article and has been approved for publication according to our editorial policy.

Best Seller Rooftop Cargo Boxes:

Bestseller No. 1
Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box, X-Large, Black
  • A versatile roof-mounted cargo box for everyday use
  • Provides 18 cubic feet of additional packing space
  • Designed to fit a wide range a vehciles with maximum space efficiency
  • Quick-mount system "clicks" when roof box is secure and properly mounted
  • Dual-side opening for easy access to all areas of the box, from either side of the vehicle
Bestseller No. 2
JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier | Hard Car Top Large Luggage Box | Waterproof Storage | Heavy Duty Solid...
  • SECURE & PROTECT YOUR GEAR in this 18 cubic ft. HDPE plastic hard shell car top cargo carrier; high-capacity interior dimensions 57 L x 38 1/2 W x 17 3/4 H inches; aerodynamic design for fuel efficiency
  • WATERPROOF STORAGE FOR YOUR LUGGAGE with a four corner locking system, front latch, and weather-tight seal for ultimate car rooftop protection and security
  • EASY & CONVENIENT LOADING AND UNLOADING from either side of the car make for smooth travel and hassle-free storage
  • NO TOOLS REQUIRED, EASY ASSEMBLY AND INSTALLATION. All mounting hardware and simple instructions are included to get you safely on the road quickly
  • MADE IN USA, LIMITED LIFETIME GUARANTEE. The JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier’s high-quality construction and performance give you peace of mind
Bestseller No. 3
Waterproof Vehicle Roof Top Mount Travel Storage Box Rooftop Luggage Cargo Carrier w/Lock + Keys 53"...
  • ▶️ Heavy Duty ABS Plastic Construction
  • ▶️ Overall Dimensions: 53" L x 34" W x 15" H
  • ▶️ Opens to 14" Wide to Store Bulky Items
  • ▶️ Capacity: 10 cu. ft.
  • ▶️ Opens from the Side and Stays Open Til you Close It
Bestseller No. 4
Thule Sidekick Rooftop Cargo Box Grey, One Size
  • Compact roofbox, ideal for small loads such as camping gear or golf clubs
  • Sturdy U-bolts with reinforcement plates and adjustable brackets provide a secure fit to rack
  • Compact design leaves room for other roof mounted accessories
  • Passenger side opening for easier loading and unloading
  • External dimensions: 54 x 25 x 15.5 inch
Bestseller No. 5
Thule Motion XT Rooftop Cargo Carrier, XXL
  • External dimensions: 91.5 x 37.5 x 18 inches | Internal dimensions: 84.5 x 33 x 16 inches
  • Roof-mounted cargo box provides 22 cubic feet of additional packing space
  • Fits 5-7 pairs of skis / 3-5 snowboards
  • Load capacity: 165 pounds | Product Weight: 55 pounds
  • Designed for optimal space efficiency, aerodynamics, and vehicle fit
Bestseller No. 6
SportRack Horizon Cargo Box (Alpine, 11 Cubic Feet)
  • Rugged construction made from impact resistant ABS material
  • Quick release attachment kit included for easy installation and removal
  • Passenger side opening for access away from traffic
  • Fits sport rack roof rack systems, square, round and most factory racks (check fit guide)
  • Holds 3-5 pairs of skis (up to 210 cm) or 2-3 snowboards
Bestseller No. 7
DNA Motoring PT-ZTL-8095-GY Pair Aluminum Roof Rail Cross Bars+Cargo Box Baggage Carrier w/Lock+Keys
  • Cross Bars: Aluminum Bar Construction; ABS Plastic Mounting Brackets
  • Cargo Box: Heavy Duty ABS Plastic Construction
  • Capacity: 12 cu. ft. / Dimensions: 68" L x 31" W x 16" H
  • Opens to 14. 75" Wide to Store Bulky Items
  • Opens from the Side and Stays Open Till you Close It
Bestseller No. 8
Thule Vector Rooftop Cargo Box, Medium, Titan Matte
  • Full trunk access with minimal risk of contact with the cargo box, thanks to its forward position on the vehicle roof
  • Easy to mount thanks to the PowerClick quick-mount system. The integrated torque indicator clicks when it’s properly mounted, ensuring fast and secure fitting
  • Reinforced lid makes for a smooth, effortless dual-sided opening and closing
  • An elegant, sporty design with seamless integration of the lid and the base that adds a distinctive look to any car
  • A premium interior with integrated lighting and a felt-lined base for increased gear protection that enhances the user experience
Bestseller No. 9
MENABO Diamond 500 Liter / 17.6 Cubic Feet Roof Box, Black
  • One of the top cargo boxes available due to its safety and quality of materials. Compatible with all roof carriers.
  • Mounts safely and quickly to roof bar slots with standard 20 mm T-System screws or an universal fitting system is available.
  • Max load of 165 lbs or 75 kg
  • Duo means the box can open from both sides
  • Capacity of 500 liters/132 gallons/17.6 cubic feet
Bestseller No. 10
DNA MOTORING PT-ZTL-8139-BK Roof Top Cargo Box + Pair Universal Aluminum Side Rail Cross Bar, Black
  • OEM Style Cross Bars: Aluminum Bar Construction; Connects to Factory Roof Rails
  • Cargo Box: Heavy Duty ABS Plastic Construction
  • Overall Dimensions: 67" L x 30" W x 13" H
  • Opens from the Side and Stays Open Til you Close It
  • Includes Mounting Hardware & (2) Keys

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Last Update : 2021-07-10