How to Correctly Install a Roof Rack on Your Car?

To install a roof rack on your car correctly, first, identify the mounting points on your roof. Then, securely attach the rack’s feet or brackets to these points according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Finally, tighten all connections and ensure the rack is stable before loading any items onto it.

How to Install a Roof Rack on Your Car?

Many people think that installing a roof rack is an arduous and lengthy procedure. However, it’s a wrong perception. Yes, the installation process can vary depending on the type of vehicle and roof rack’s style, but the exact procedure is almost similar for all the roof racks.

Since roof racks became an essential part of traveling, the use of roof racks has increased significantly recently. People realize their usefulness. Hence, they’re now an integral part of the automobile.

The roof rack system allows us to take more equipment without any hassle. Moreover, you can also take sporting gear, such as skis, kayaks, snowboards, etc., on the roof rack. The roof rack is a great way to maximize a vehicle’s cargo capacity.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can set up your roof rack on the car perfectly. Let’s go –

Roof Rack Installation

Our Guide on Roof Rack Installation – Step-by-Step Guide

The term “roof rack” can be applied to different types of vehicles, including cars, bikes, etc. However, the primary purpose is almost the same. A roof rack is mainly a cargo carrier that could assist you in conveying a variety of household products, luggage, and sports equipment.

The most common types of roof racks are –

  • Cargo box
  • Ski rack
  • Kayak rack
  • Bike rack

The use of roof racks has increased significantly in the past decade. It’s an excellent asset for travel or camping. Besides, people have been used to taking more equipment with them. The car’s trunk isn’t enough to take all the accessories. For this reason, the popularity of roof racks has intensified in modern times.

A roof rack can productively decrease the pressure on the car’s trunk and make the journey more convenient. Therefore, travelers and sports enthusiasts are using roof racks more than ever.

Before installing a roof rack, you need additional equipment to make the procedure simple and perfect. These gears are –

  • Allen wrench
  • Ladder
  • Sticker
  • Screwdriver

Let’s check out the roof rack installation procedure –

Know about the Roof Rack

If you can learn about your roof rack thoroughly, it will help you properly install and maintain the rack. Generally, roof racks come in different types of variations and shapes. Bulky-type racks can endure more weight, while narrow ones possess more equipment.

You should closely check the roof rack you select and its overall capabilities. This is how you can learn properly whether the rack is suited for your vehicle or not.

Measure the Transportation

Before purchasing a roof rack, it’s necessary to learn the actual measurements of a car. This is the best way to know which roof rack you should buy. The rack must suit the vehicle. It will be a total waste of money if it doesn’t fit the car appropriately.

Further, it shouldn’t be too wide or too long. It should be adequately adjusted. It must possess the capability to take the vehicle’s weight while you put different types of equipment on top.

Regarding width, please take a scale and measure the car’s roof from the lining of one window to the lining of the other. Calculate the roof’s length from every windbreak’s topside.

This is how you’ll get accurate data on roof width and use these outputs to get a fair idea of which roof rack size you should use.

Arrange the Vehicle

It’s time to prepare the vehicle. Roof rack crossbars are a must-install roof rack on a vehicle. Nowadays, most vehicles are now coming with raised rails. Nevertheless, if your vehicle has a bare roof rack without crossbars, you should install crossbars there.

In the case of installing crossbars, I’ll suggest you use Clamp-on crossbars instead of permanently installing crossbars. Clamp-on crossbars are compatible with a variety of automobiles. Anybody can install it and there’s no need to call a DIY professional for this task.

Set up the Vehicle’s Roof Rack

Closely follow the instruction manual given by the roof rack manufacturing company. If you can’t understand anything, take assistance from a professional. During assembling the rack, do it slowly. Don’t rush.

Moreover, ensure that all the pieces are safely fastened before installation.

Clean the Vehicle’s Roof

If your car’s roof is full of dirt, residues, grime, or dust, clean it immediately with a microfiber cloth. This will make sure that the roof rack will adhere correctly. Moreover, proper cleaning can successfully resist any scratches or roof damage.

You should complete the debris removal task thoroughly.

Fasten the Stickers

Fasten the Stickers

Attach two stickers to the places where two crossbars will be fastened. This is how the fastening process will be simple and more accurate.

Place the Roof Rack

Now, it’s time. You should place the roof rack on the car’s roof per the instructions provided by the rack’s manufacturing company. Make sure that it is aligned suitably and placed in the roof’s center. The crossbars should be attached perfectly to the stickers.

Fasten the Mounting Brackets

Fasten the Mounting Brackets

You’ll get keys from the roof rack manufacturing company. By using the keys, it’s possible to fasten the mounting brackets to the roof rack and secure them to the vehicle’s roof. Now, tighten the bolts safely. But, don’t over-tight them. Otherwise, they could be a break and it will be disastrous.

Test the Roof Rack

Since the main task is nearly complete, it’s time to recheck it. You need to ensure whether the rack has been locked perfectly or not. To make sure, make the pull on the roof rack gently. If it feels loose or wobbly, tighten the bolts further.

On the other hand, you also need to check the weight of the roof rack by packing some cargo for a trip or camping. You can carry some sports equipment or luggage full of clothes.

Now, drive around on the street for at least half an hour and make several turns to check whether the automobile has more weight on one side while twirling.

Immediately tighten the crossbars with a screwdriver if you find anything shifted. This is how you could be sure that the rack won’t fly free on the highway street.

Installing Accessories

Once the installation procedure is over, you can attach any accessories, such as a cargo box, kayak carriers, or bike racks, according to the instructions provided with each accessory.

Our Recommendations on Choosing the Best Roof Rack

Since so many brands are available on the market, it’s pretty hard to choose the best roof rack for your vehicle. Moreover, the whole thing also depends on what you need to use it for and which kind of automobile you’re installing it on.

For instance, what type of gear do you need to convey? Is it a snowboard, a kayak, or a ski? Contrariwise, which vehicle you’ve targeted to install the roof rack? Is it a Toyota, Mitsubishi, or Sedan?

I can assure you that brands like Thule, Yakima, RockyMounts, Saris, Curt, Rhino Rack, etc., are the best. You can easily choose your desired rack from these brands. Indeed, you won’t be disappointed.

They’re highly durable, heavy-duty, and sophisticated roof racks. These racks can last for many years and provide the best service. If you ask me more specifically, I would say that Yakima Universal Roof Rack is currently the best rack on the market.

It can adjust to any vehicle and is super sturdy. Further, it can carry a high amount of gear without a hassle. Apart from this one, you can also choose Thule AeroBlade Edge Raised Rail Load Bar or Leader Accessories Folding Kayak Rack for your vehicle.

Why Can You Trust Our Opinion?

Every year, we tested so many roof racks in our testing lab. Our researchers are top-notch experts. Besides, I’m also using a roof rack for nearly a decade. Currently, I’m using the Yakima Universal Rack for my Mitsubishi Xpander 2022. Our experts always try to do in-house testing and provide a report to us.

Since I also have an in-depth idea of the roof rack and its installation process, I can assure you that this review is nearly correct, and you won’t feel betrayed by this roof rack installing guide.

Roof Rack installed on Mitsubishi Triton L200


How much money do I’ve to spend to install a roof rack on my car?

The roof rack installation charges aren’t the same everywhere. It depends on the region. By the way, installing a roof rack isn’t a complex task. You can do it by yourself if you follow our instructions above. But, if you still need to hire an expert or take your car to a repair shop, you can do it. It’s up to you.

The fees generally vary from $40 to $100 according to various regions.

Do I need any special tools to install a roof rack?

Yes, you’ll need some special tools to install a roof rack. The tools you’ll need are – screwdriver, a wrench, a drill, keys, etc. The required tools will depend on the specific roof rack you purchase and the installation instructions.

What’s the best way to load a roof rack?

Follow the weight limits and load capacity guidelines provided by the manufacturer. Distribute the weight evenly across the roof rack and secure the items using straps. Now, hope for the best. At least, this is the best possible way to load a roof rack.

Can I install a roof rack without roof rails?

Most roof racks need roof rails to get installed. So, it is very much needed. However, if your vehicle doesn’t have roof rails, you can get them from a car parts shop. It’s not that hard to find.

Bottom Line

So, this is it. I hope you’ve got a proper guideline on how to correctly install a roof rack on your vehicle. Further, I hope if you have any tension regarding installing a rack, it will go away. After all, it’s not a difficult task. However, if you still have questions, you’re most welcome to do so in the comment box.

Thanks for reading. Good luck with installing the task!

Automotive products are like an addiction to me. Years ago, I started my job at a Roof Box installation co. Then I realized that I have a passion for cars. It is a perfect scope to share my different experiences about automotive products.