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Car Accessories: Roof racks – what do you need to consider?

Posted by Bob Newman on Mar 24, 2014 - 0 Comments

There’s more to buying a roof rack than you may have originally thought.

Don't be deceived by the sepia tone and vintage suitcases - this is definitely the unsafest method of securing cargo to your roof rack. Image via Shutterstock.

Don’t be deceived by the sepia tone and vintage suitcases – this is definitely the unsafest method of securing cargo to your roof rack. Image via Shutterstock.

It doesn’t matter how much space you’re packing in the back of your vehicle, there just never seems to be enough for what you want to bring – or take back. Especially if you’re going to be out of Sydney and on the road for a long time, you’ll need some form of storage solution, and roof racks are touted by many to be the best.

However, it’s not as simple as going out and buying the first one you see – you should consider whether or not to go second-hand, what size (a full-length rack holds more but also costs more and weighs more), what material? Aluminium is lighter than steel but not as strong.

Deciding on a roof rack

You should answer the above questions with your potential cargo and budget in mind: for those trailblazers in 4WDs who enjoy a bit of off-roading, you’ll need to think about stability, as a top-heavy vehicle can become a dangerous vehicle on rocky terrain.

Are you going to leave the racks on top of your vehicle as a permanent fixture? If so, aerodynamics and aesthetics are vital considerations. You may also consider a rack that features a pod and the ability to lock it securely. Pods are also much more aerodynamic than soft luggage. On the other hand, if you’re only planning to use the rack on some shorter trips, you should find a piece that is easy to both put on and remove.

How do you pack a roof rack?

Yes, a roof rack is designed for ease of use, but there are still important issues to consider every time you tie something down.

First things first – check the load rating of both your vehicle and roof rack and ensure that you never exceed either. Though it may seem tempting at times, it’s really not worth the risk. Remember that adding luggage to your roof rack raises the overall centre of gravity for the vehicle, therefore reducing stability, especially on rough terrain. Packing your roof rack properly will ensure safe travel.

Pack lightly and secure the load tightly – a load shift mid-drive could cause you to rapidly lose control of your vehicle: a load heavy at the front will dive under brakes, a back-heavy load will cause the steering to become too light and vague.

Remember to consider your vehicle’s new height, especially when entering underground car parks or underpasses.

and tagged in Accessories, Car, rack, road, roof, safety, Travel

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