How Do Roof Racks Work

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Last Updated on May 12, 2022

A roof rack is an accessory that you install over the roof of your vehicle. The only purpose of a roof rack is to give you some extra space to carry cargo. It is better to know all the necessary things, or clear out all the doubts about a product before buying it. In this article, we are going to explain exactly how a roof rack works.

What is a roof rack?

A roof rack is a set of crossbars (usually two), that helps you to carry extra cargo over the roof of your vehicle. These bars are attached to some towers that hold them in their position. Usually, these are the two main parts of a roof rack.

The towers (or feet) are installed right on the roof of your vehicle and hold the crossbars in their places. If your vehicle has raised side rails, you can install the towers right on those rails. Almost all the other vehicles will require some clips or clamps (depending on the vehicle) to attach the towers.

The crossbars are the simplest parts of a roof rack. All the cargoes are carried over these crossbars. There are various types of crossbars. Most inexpensive roof racks come with some basic crossbars and those aren’t capable of carrying too much weight.

How does a roof rack work?

We’ve already explained the main parts of a roof rack. You already know that the main purpose of a roof rack is to carry some cargo over the roof. The combination of towers and crossbars works as a roof rack.

All the cargos are loaded right over the crossbars. As these crossbars bear the weight of the goods you carry, it is better to choose better quality crossbars. If you are planning to carry small things over the roof rack, any crossbar is ok for that. But, for a heavy load, you’ll need crossbars made out of metal like aluminum or steel.

Crossbars come in different shapes. Most affordable roof racks come with rectangular crossbars. This type of crossbars can create air vortices behind the bars and create noises. That’s known as roof rack noise. To avoid roof rack noise, you should choose aerodynamic crossbars like the wing-bars or the aero-bars.

The towers or feet hold the crossbars and bear the entire weight of the crossbars (including the weight of the cargos over those crossbars). As the towers bear so much weight, you should always choose the best possible towers.

You should choose towers that have some sort of locking mechanism for the crossbars. If your tower doesn’t have any locks, thieves can easily remove the crossbars.


A roof rack is a very useful accessory if you often carry a lot of cargo. It is simple to understand how a roof rack works. You can install a roof rack on almost all vehicles. You just need to know which one will work for your vehicle. The better the roof rack is the more weight you can carry over it.

Author: Charles King

Charles King is an automotive enthusiast with a keen interest in the latest technologies and products. He likes to educate himself and help other car lovers by sharing his knowledge. This website is a place for him to share his thoughts and experiences.

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