A full-length roof rack allows drivers to expand their vehicle's cargo space without spending a fortune. Roof racks are no longer one-size-fits-all, as car designs and roof contours can vary significantly. The designs have evolved to suit modern motoring requirements. Full-length roof racks are generally heavy-duty accessories for 4x4 vehicles.
Before buying a full-length roof rack, learn about the types of products available and how they are mounted on cars. Take the manufacturing material into account, as its weight can affect the capacity of the roof rack. Measure the roof to ensure that the rack fits properly. In addition, consider factors such as installation costs, height and clearance, and the driver's cargo needs. Roof racks are available from auto stores and online from eBay.
Types of Full-length Roof Racks
As car roofs come in a number of different designs, roof racks also have different shapes and sizes. The table below lists and describes the most common types of roof racks available.
Type of Roof Rack
Attaches to the car's rain gutters
Crossbar system with load bars and gutter foot packs
Varying heights, depending on the clearance requirements
Common modern vehicle roof design
Rubber feet and rubber coated metal brackets are used for installation
System is designed according to the profile of the roof
May not be suitable for off-road cars
Can be removed and stored when not in use
Usually factory installed
Rails run from the front to back of the vehicle along the full length of the roof
Easy to install as it is made up of load bars and foot packs
Crossbars can be placed at desired intervals, so a versatile option
Flush or through rail
Usually factory installed
Rail runs from the front to the back of the vehicle along the full length of the roof
Sits flush with the roof, so no space between the rails and roof
Inner and outer groove allows connection of the crossbar system
Usually factory installed
Runs from the front to the back of the roof along the full length on the outer edges of the roof
Similar to flush rails
Versatile as the crossbar placement can be adjusted
Factory-installed threaded fastening points on the outer edge of the roof
Points are covered by panels or trim and are nearly invisible when the rack is not in use
Custom fasteners usually required
Tracks can be installed on a bare roof for some vehicles. However, this requires drilling and is best left to professionals to avoid problems, such as leaks and rusting, in the future. If major modifications are required to install a full-length roof rack, always factor the cost into the price of the roof rack. Where a pre-installed rack or mounting system is in place, a full-length roof rack and additional mounting hardware may be required.
Materials for Full-length Roof Racks
The material used to make the roof rack is important for its functionality, durability, and suitability for drivers' requirements. Steel, aluminium, and plastic are popular options. While steel is durable, it is heavy. Take the weight of the roof rack and the roof load capacity into account.
Steel Roof Racks
If a full-length steel roof rack weighs half of the roof load capacity, the rack's cargo carrying capacity is severely reduced. Never exceed the roof load capacity as this can damage the vehicle and cause safety hazards. Ensure that the steel is treated or coated to reduce corrosion. Rust weakens the roof rack and can stain the vehicle.
Aluminium Roof Racks
Aluminium full-length roof racks offer a good balance of durability and weight. Aluminium is a strong lightweight metal that is relatively corrosion resistant. Although these roof racks tend to be more expensive than steel models, the weight saved allows drivers to pack more on the rack without exceeding the roof load capacity. In addition, this metal's corrosion resistant properties means that rust is not a problem. The roof rack lasts longer and there is little danger of damage to the paintwork of the car.
Plastic Roof Racks
Plastic roof racks and mountings are considerably cheaper and lighter, but not as durable as steel. Avoid plastic if the roof rack is used while driving off-road.
Factors to Consider when Buying a Full-length Roof Rack
When shopping for a full-length roof rack, use the vehicle's make and model as a guide to choosing the ideal product. If necessary, measure the length of the roof and compare this to the measurements of the full-length racks available. Take the existing fittings into account. Several additional factors should be considered when choosing a full-length roof rack. Installation costs, the height and clearance of the rack, and ease of use play an important role in the functionality and practicality of the roof rack.
When carrying cargo on a roof rack, it is essential to secure the load properly and safely. The full-length roof rack should be easy to install with the available mountings, or professional installation should be considered. This is especially important where a permanent system is installed. Add the cost of installation and additional mounting accessories to the price of the roof rack to calculate the total cost and ensure that it is within the desired budget.
Height and Clearance
A full-length roof rack, even without a load, adds height to the vehicle. If the vehicle is driven in areas where clearance is an issue, such as underground parking garages, consider the maximum height requirements. Remember to take low-hanging branches and road bridges with low clearances into account. This is especially important if a permanent system is installed. If height and clearance is a problem with the roof rack fitted, consider a system that can be removed and stored when not in use. Roof racks come in varying heights, making it easier to choose the perfect product for a particular car.
Practicality and Ease of Use
The main reason why people buy full-length roof racks is because they offer practical cargo space. The model chosen should be practical. Look for additional features, such as dedicated places for awkwardly shaped items. If the roof rack will be used off-road in dense shrubs, look for high sides that protect the cargo from catching. Removable roof racks should be easy to install and remove. Ensure that adequate storage space is available to make this a viable option.
How to Buy a Full-length Roof Rack on eBay
eBay is a great place to shop for roof racks as you can take your time, browse the selection available, compare products and prices, or simply search for the exact item you want. To find a specific roof rack, type a phrase, such as "full-length Land Cruiser roof rack", into the search field, which can be found on every page. Remember to check eBay Deals for bargain vehicle accessories.
Before you buy, learn about the item and the seller. Read the full item description and ask the seller questions if anything is unclear. Consider buying from a local seller to eliminate postage costs. Check the seller's feedback information to see whether he or she provides excellent products and customer service.
A full-length roof rack can add a great deal of cargo space to any car. Choose a model that matches the vehicle's factory-installed mountings or have an aftermarket roof rack fitted. Remember to add the cost of installation to the price of the roof rack if it is to be fitted professionally.
The full-length roof rack should be made of a durable material. Plastic is inexpensive and can be used while driving on roads. For off-road driving, consider steel or aluminium. Aluminium is lightweight, strong, and corrosion resistant. Have the vehicle's make and model available while shopping to ensure that the full-length roof rack chosen is a good fit. Roof measurements and dimensions are also handy. eBay sellers stock a range of full-length roof racks.
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