Roof racks or roof bars have been around for many years however there have been some great improvements in form and function over this time. Smaller vehicles may be convenient around the city but they strictly limit how much gear you can carry. Add some roof racks to make that camping trip or trek to the hardware shop possible and easy (and safe)!
Another option available is a “Platform” or “Tray”. These are great for carrying more items on your roof and they provide more tie-down options for securing your load.
There are now many brands and styles and choices on the market which allows for a broad range of options to fit most vehicles. You will largely be limited in choice by what options suit your vehicle.
Here are some things to consider when making your decision:
Quality & Safety
The first thing you need to consider when carrying cargo on your roof is safety. Racks and platforms and the items you carry need to be secured properly and in accordance with the manufacturer instructions to make sure they are safe for travel.
The brands we stock, (Cruz, Thule, Rhino-Rack, Yakima) are tested and rated for use with each vehicle they are matched to.
There are variances in quality between all brands available on the market. The brands we offer are some of the best quality racks on the market. Thule leads the market on quality and finish with Yakima, Rhino-Rack, and Cruz not far behind them. Each of these brands do loads of testing to ensure they are safe and they are built with durability and longevity in mind so you can be confident that by spending a little more on one of these brands you are getting the quality that goes with the price tag.
Function: Racks or a Platform?
Roof racks have been around for years and have lots of great accessories such as bike racks, water sport racks, ski racks, and other accessories. You can even fit a platform or tray to them for even greater load-carrying flexibility. They are simple to install and create the least amount of drag on your vehicle. Generally, once installed, you tend to leave them on the vehicle. For vehicles such as sedans, wagons, and hatchback’s this is the most suitable option.
Platforms can be installed directly onto the roof of a vehicle instead of roof racks. The advantage of this is mostly to keep the overall height down and less cost due to fewer parts. This is most common for Dual Cab Utes and 4x4 Wagons. Platforms offer the most space for carrying large and heavy loads on your roof.
Most platforms also have the option of installing side rails to increase load security and tie-down options, as well as specific accessory mounts great for off-road adventures such as High-lift jack holders, shovel holders, spare wheel holders, Jerry Can holders and corner mounts for bulky items like cooler-boxes, eskies, and tubs.
Remember, you will always be limited by the maximum roof load-bearing weight determined by the vehicles’ manufacturer. This is another reason to mount a platform directly to your roof without the addition of roof racks.
Consider what the roof rack or platform is made from. Aluminium bars will be much lighter than steel construction and normally shaped into a more aerodynamic profile. The aluminium bars and platforms are just as strong as steel as they are normally made from extruded aluminium which is super strong and the manufacturers also test them to ensure they can manage the loads and forces they will endure on the road. All our brands are tested and certified to be safe under normal conditions.
Why would I want an aerodynamic profile for a roof rack or platform? Noise! An aerodynamic profile will allow the air to travel over your racks with less drag. The manufacturers will normally test this to make sure their bar profile does indeed decrease road noise. Noise might not be an issue for your short trip to the hardware store but for long distances at higher speed a constant whistling or humming noise will likely irritate you. Adding cargo to your roof racks or platforms will also increase the road noise. Adding a wind deflector can also help. See the range here.
Adding roof racks and platforms to the roof will increase drag ultimately impacting fuel consumption. Basic aerodynamic roof racks won’t affect fuel economy noticeably but the more you carry (both drag & weight) will start impacting your fuel consumption to varying degrees.
Different rack manufacturers will offer different fitment options depending on the vehicle.
A “fitting kit” or “roof rack foot” or “adapter kit” refers to how the roof racks are attached to the vehicle. You may have different bar options but a fitting or adapter kit will be matched with your vehicle to provide the safest and strongest mounting.
- Clamp mount - involves a metal (usually steel) bracket clamping onto the door frame of the vehicle.
- Track mount or bolt-on mount fits are permanent fits that require the mounting kit to be drilled onto the roof of the vehicle. This is the strongest mount but again - permanent! These are also an option for mounting on a Ute’s Canopy.
- Rail mount - many vehicles in recent years come with “rails” on the roof. These can be “raised rails” that arch above the roof surface or “flush rails” that remain flush against the roof surface. Each rail style creates very different ways for a roof rack or platform to be mounted on the vehicle so the adapters or kits for these types of fitment are NOT interchangeable.
- Fixed Point kits are designed to attach directly to fixed points that the manufacturer has created in the design of the vehicle’s roof specifically for roof racks.
- Gutter mounts - are mounts designed to attach to the rain gutter feature on the side of a vehicle’s roof. This is more common in older vehicles.
Roof Bar Attachment Style/length of bar:
Fitments options for your vehicle may offer you a choice of bar width.
A shorter bar width would have less load carrying capacity however they tend to be more aesthetically pleasing as they sit nicely between rails/fitting kits and may create less drag.
Longer bar width options will allow you to carry more on your roof than a shorter bar and may protrude over the side of a vehicle. This has the advantage of bringing your cargo closer to the side of the vehicle making the load easier to reach. This can be helpful if you are planning on carrying bikes, roof boxes, or watercraft on a tall vehicle. There are limits to how far you can protrude over the side of a vehicle for safety reasons so stick to your recommended fitment options or refer to your local transport department for specific regulations.