What is a roof rack and how to choose yours?

Updated Aug 09, 2022 | Same topic: Best Advice for Car Buyers

Understanding what is roof rack and its uses, benefits and why your vehicle needs one.

There are a number of accessories that one can add to his vehicle, but not everyone really knows what each is called or what each is for. One of these accessories is what we call a “roof rack”.

Whether or not you don’t know what this is, we bet that you’ve already seen one. If you’re not sure what a roof rack is, or whether you really need one; check out Philkotse.com's tips below.

1. What is a roof rack?

A roof rack is a useful car accessory that you can attach to the top of your four-wheeled vehicle. This can be made from a variety of sturdy materials and can come in different types and sizes. A roof rack is typically used to carry big or bulky items that one needs to bring but can’t fit inside the vehicle.

It is usually a set of bars arranged intelligently to accommodate different types of cargo. Good-quality roof racks are commonly weather-proof so you won’t have to remove it when it’s raining or if the sun’s glare is too hot.

You can basically put anything and everything on a roof rack. Whether you’re moving out and want to load up your cabinet drawers and mattresses or if you’re going for an out of town trip and want to bring your kayak, speed boat, and mountain bike; a roof rack will let you take all your precious must-haves with you!

a car roof rack

A roof rack is a useful accessory that you can attach to the top of your four-wheeled vehicle

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2. Choose a roof rack for your car: 4 tips

2.1. Consider checking the weight

You would evidently want a roof rack strong enough to carry all your stuff and then some. However, this doesn’t mean, that you’d have to pick something thick and heavy just because it seems a lot tougher.

Although heavy materials like steel are durable and tough, you don’t necessarily have to go for something so heavy that it adds a dramatic amount of excess weight on your vehicle. Adding too much weight on your ride can contribute to tire wear and lifespan as well as performance.

That’s why it’s essential that you consider the “weight’ factor when it comes to picking out a roof rack. Instead of going for heavy-built steel roof racks, consider getting a high-quality aluminum rack instead. It’s lighter than steel by at least 30% and it also boasts a competitive weight-capacity and a high level of durability.

roof rack

It’s essential that you consider the “weight’ factor when it comes to picking out a roof rack.

>>> Related: How to fit a bike into a car [Philkotse guide]

2.2. Pick out a versatile rack

Whether you’re into sports or just plain backpacking, you’d need a roof rack that can securely keep whatever it is that you want to bring. There are different designs of racks in the market but not all have the same level of quality.

To get the best value for your money, pick a rack that can carry all your needs with just a few tweaks. You may want to buy a roof rack that’s made specifically to carry bikes, especially if you often go out of town for this sport.

However, you may find it difficult to stack your luggage, rooftop tents, and other supplies when you decide to go camping.

Get a versatile rack instead where you can stack most (if not all) of the things that you may need to load on your vehicle in the future. There are available models that let you load almost anything by just winding a screw or moving a hinge to adjust the carrier.

You’ll find that these are priced a little higher than your usual roof rack, but these are definitely worth it especially if it’s the durable kind.

roof rack

Get a versatile rack instead where you can stack most of the things you may need to load on your vehicle

>>> Worth to note: Top 3 Tips on Getting the Best Deals on Car Accessories in Banawe Street

2.3. Check your budget

If you’re not really one who can allow a limitless amount of money on a roof rack, then you better check your budget. Caring for a four-wheeled vehicle is not a cheap responsibility and buying things for it can be a lot more expensive.

When you first walk into an auto-supplies store, focus your mind on a price and make sure you tell yourself just how much you can go beyond that under acceptable reasons.

If there is a sales attendant then that could be both a good thing and a bad thing. You can get a lot of info about the product in the presence of a sales attendant but, you may also get overwhelmed and you may not get to check out other brands thoroughly.

If you think you found the “perfect” roof rack but it’s above your budget, try to re-think. If you can’t afford the price in full but you think it’s really worth it, you can consider other payment terms like via installment if the store allows it.

budget when buying roofrack

You better check your budget

2.4. Fit to your vehicle

If you think that roof racks are like caps or earrings, then you got it all wrong. Roof racks aren’t a “one size fits all”. The differences in the dimension of the diverse types of four-wheeled vehicles make it almost impossible to get a roof rack that can fit all types of vehicles.

To make sure that you get a roof rack that suits your vehicle, make sure to bring your car to the auto-supplies store the day you decide to buy one. Most sales attendant and store supervisors would be happy to show you how to attach a roof rack.

You can also ask them if your chosen style actually fits your vehicle’s rooftop. You’ll most likely be introduced to roof rails as well. These are a form rack but instead of being a stable carrier, they’re two rails that sit on the left and right sides of your vehicle’s rooftop.

Woman and the car

Roof racks aren’t a “one size fits all”

3. What Makes the Roof Racks Differ in Price?

There are several factors that make the prices different in each kind and variety of roof rack. Other elements that affect it are the brand name’s reputation and their product’s durability.

For starters, aluminum roof racks are what a lot of experienced vehicle owners suggest. These are more expensive than steel and can even have a higher price depending on the style and building of the model.

There are also roof racks that are manufactured with aerodynamic principles in mind. These are usually roof racks that bear a particular shape and design that’s intended to cut through the wind. Aerodynamic roof racks are a lot pricier because it’s usually light-weight; and unlike regular roof racks, they reduce drag so the vehicle can go faster.

Hanna Sanchez

Hanna Sanchez


Hanna is one of the most competitive swimmers in the country during her day. It was not long before she discovered her passion for the automotive industry as well. Nowadays, she balances her passion through writing as well as coaching.

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