Car Roof Racks
Cargo Carriers (aka mounts)
Roof Rack - Base Rack Systems Depend of Roof Type
To find the roof racks available for your car, please checkout the CargoGear roof rack configuration page. If you are uncertain what type of rack mount is right for your car, give us a call or email us a picture of your car roof: info@CargoGear.com.
Choosing a Roof Rack
Rack on all the time? or take rack "on and off"?
Square and round rack crossbars may (most likey) make a HOWLING NOISE when not loaded with cargo or cargo carriers. So, if you are going to leave racks on all the time you would most likely want to get a wind fairing. If you will be putting the rack on the car and loading it up for a trip, and then taking the rack off after the trip, you may be able to tolerate the noise while you are at your destination or use a short term solution like wrapping the bars with a bungee cord which stops the howling.
Aerodynamic and wing bars are much quieter and more aerodynamic. These are a great choice if you will be leaving your roof rack on all the time, they minimize wind noise and add less drag to your car. They are more expensive. A small group of cargo carriers mostly older ones may not have been designed to accomodate the width of aero bars.
Which rack should I get, How much should I spend?
What is important to consider when choosing a roof rack:Bottom Line Recommendations:
- Noise - Aero systems make almost no wind noise, square and round bars systems without cargo or fairings might be too noisy for daily driving.
- Load Capacity - The load capacity of roof racks typically depends on the load rating and shape of the car roof, but the installation location and amount customization of the fit are also important factors. So, the load capacity may vary among the different roof racks. For carrying large cargo, like a canoe or 2 big kayaks, choose steel square (Thule or Inno), steel round (Yakima) bars or rugged alumnium aero bars (Thule or Rhino).
- Ease of Install - Many Inno racks and carriers have tool free installs. Many Thule, Rhino and Yakima include torque indicating wrenches so you know when the rack are tightened properly. SportRack Frontier Rack Systems are semi-custom, so getting them safely installed to your car takes care and effort. In many cases deciphering the instructions is the hardest part, but you can call or email us here at CargoGear and we will help you out, or call the rack manufacturer.
- Security - SportRack, Inno and Rhino-Rack base racks include locks, while Thule and Yakima do not. RhinoRack, Thule and Yakima each use the same interchangeable lock cores in all their gear so if you purchase enough lock cores you can use the same key for your rack and your rack accessories.
- Appearance and Durability - All the racks CargoGear sells will last for years. After years in the sun, colors fade, plastics chalk, things get scratched scraped and dented. For example: Thule and Inno square bars have thick slightly resiliant force fit plastic sleeves, the sleeves are really tough and durable and as one with the crossbar, Sportrack Frontier racks have slip-on slightly thinner plastic sleeves, while very durable, they are not tight and they do squish a little and not pop back so you can see dents and dings, so over time if you install different carriers and a variety of cargo, they will look more banged up than Inno or Thule square bars. Not all paint and plastic are created equal.
- Compatibility - Most cargo carriers will NOT require adapters for square bar systems. Very many cargo carriers will NOT require adapters for round bar roof rack systems. Some current and older cargo carriers MAY require adapters for aerodynamic bar roof rack systems. CargoGear carrier adapter cross reference.
- Customization/Quality of Fit - Thule fit is legendary. Rhino and Inno have highly customized fits. The semi-universal SportRack Frontier rack SR1002, made by Thule, fits over 100 different car models with flat rectangular rubber feet.
- Brand, brand is important...Thule, Yakima, Inno, RhinoRack and SportRack are all good brands, they all care about their brands, and they all want their brands to stand for great gear.
- Want Everything: Get Thule or Yakima, they are expensive, you get the best in all categories, and you pay a little more for the brand, but that is what great brands are all about, you get the best and spend a little more on detail, trust and support.
- Racks "On and Off" or Want the Cool Fairing Look: Get an Inno or RhinoRack square bars system. Get a somewhat clunkier SportRack Frontier, save $100 and work a little harder on the installation.
- Want a Nice Aero Rack that should cost more: Get a RhinoRack 2500 Vortex Aero system or a RhinoRack Vortex RS.
- Carrying Big Canoes and Kayaks - For carrying large cargo, like a canoe or 2 big kayaks, choose steel square (Thule or Inno), steel round (Yakima) bars or rugged alumnium aero bars (Thule or Rhino). No matter what rack you get always tie the bow and stern to the car anchor points are available.
- Check Out our car-roof rack decision matrix