Everything You Need To Know About Roof Racks

There isn't a country with a greater range of vehicles than the United Kingdom, and you will find cars from all over the world on its roads. There isn't a universal roof bar or roof racks that fits them all. Whether you are planning a staycation or a trip to the seaside, you must choose the correct set of roof bars for your vehicle. 

How many parts make up a roof rack system?

There are usually three parts that make up a roof rack system, and there is a bar that stretches along the width of the roof, the supports on which they rest and a specific fitting kit for the car.

Will I be able to get roof bars for my vehicle?

The chances are that there is a roof rack that will fit on your vehicle, but there will be specific parts required to make them fit.

Find what roof bars fit your brand of car HERE

What about older vehicles?

Older vehicles can be fitted with a rain gutter mounted set of roof bars. They are versatile, and whilst you may need to change the width and height, they come off one car and be used on another.

And modern cars?

The bad news is that nearly all modern cars don't have gutted mounted roof racks. Most modern vehicles are designed to have roof bars that are fitted via permanent and removable mount designs. It could be that they have rails, fixpoints or a mounted clamp system.

What does a standard roof rack kit consist of?

A standard roof rack kit consists of the bar, feet, and the 'fit kit', which attaches around the upper edge of the door to hold the roof rack onto your vehicle. 

What are roof rails?

Roof rails run from the front to the rear on each side of the roof of the car. They are usually a standard factory fit, but they cannot be used as roof bars on their own.

Will I need to fit roof rails?

You won't need to fit a set of roof rails to your vehicle, it wouldn't be cost-effective, and there will be a set of roof bars that will work for your car.

What is a fixpoint, and where can I find it?

Your vehicle may have a roof-mounted fix-point. A fix-point is a recessed, roof-mounted fixture point on a car. It is usually a threaded hole, hidden by lift-up covers, slide back covers or plastic plugs.

Are clamp mounted roof bars any good?

Clamp mounted roof rack systems have been unfairly criticised, but they are perfect for vehicles that don't have a fixpoint or rails. They are a very secure and cost-effective roof rack solution that only need an occasional check to ensure the fit remains tight and secure.

What if my vehicle doesn't have rails or fixing points?

When a vehicle doesn't have rails or fixing points, it is common for the bars to clamp on - one bar at the front doors and one bar at the rear doors. Fixing points can be hidden, so check thoroughly behind the rubber door seals etc. If you are struggling to find your roof bar fixing points check the vehicle manual or the roof bar supplier. Don't panic if you see the steel roof bars bend slightly when tightening the clamps, and it is entirely normal won't damage the roof bars, clamps or your car.

Can you fit a roof box to your roof bars?

Once the roof bars are fitted, it is possible to attach a roof box to your car, check your vehicle's load capacity. Still, a roof box is an economical solution for increasing luggage space and keeping the contents dry and secure.

Are roof racks easy to fit?

Most roof racks are easy to fit and do not require special tools to fit them to your vehicle, and everything you need should be supplied by your roof bar supplier. You shouldn't need to drill holes.

Will my roof bars damage my vehicles paintwork?

If your roof bars have been fitted correctly, they won't scratch your vehicles paintwork. Ensure your car is clean and free of road grime before fitting. We recommend that you remove your roof bars if you see a build-up of road grime.

Can I buy locks for my roof bars?

Roof bars can be secured to protect against theft by buying locks from your roof bar supplier. They are inexpensive and effective.

Should I buy a set of roof bars?

Roof bars and roof racks are becoming increasingly more popular among drivers of small cars and SUV's due to their lack of cargo space. More and more of us are taking our holidays in the UK and need to utilise our vehicles. Modern vehicles are designed for passenger comfort, safety and reliability, with space for luggage, not a priority. A good set of roof bars is an economical way to adapt your car for trips away with your family and friends.


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