When you go on a long journey by car, the capacity of the trunk can quickly reach its limits.
The question of where to put all your luggage quickly arises, especially when traveling on holiday with several people.A roof rack provides a remedy here, because these systems can be used flexibly thanks to their varied superstructures and create plenty of storage space. We urge you to visit our page for buying a universal roof rack here, https://frostfire.co.uk/roof-racks/.
Benefits of roof bars
Sometimes there is just not enough space, despite the large trunk and folded seats. If you don’t want to go on a trip with a trailer right away, the roof rack is a practical and inexpensive alternative.
This allows objects to be transported for which a normal trunk is not big enough. The possibilities are extensive, because once the roof rack has been installed, various carrier devices such as luggage boxes or bicycle racks can be mounted on it.Even skis or kayaks can easily be transported to the holiday destination in this way.The roof rack also offers some advantages over rear racks and luggage racks that are mounted on the trailer coupling.
This means that longer items such as skis or snowboards can be transported much better on it. In addition, roof racks are much more flexible, as the superstructures can be varied and adapted to the respective purpose.A much weightier advantage: When using a roof rack, the view to the rear remains unobstructed, which contributes to safety. Before you start choosing a roof rack, you should determine which carrier system the vehicle is equipped for.Most vehicles use fixed points embedded in the body. With older models, however, there may be deviations in this regard.
Different types of carriers
The term roof rack is a collective term for various carrier systems, each designed for the transport of a special type of load; For example:
- Luggage baskets
- Roof boxes
- Ski rack
- Kayak carrier
- Roof bike rack
Most carriers have in common, however, that they are mounted on a basic carrier, which in turn is attached to the car roof and must match the respective car model.
For example, if you own a VW Passat, you need a basic rack that can be mounted on this model. Depending on your needs, you can then mount a roof box, ski rack or another type of the above-mentioned carriers on the basic rack.The advantage of such systems with a base bracket is that different types of brackets can be attached to a single base bracket as required; For example, a bike rack in summer and a ski rack in winter.The mounting of the carrier system on the basic carrier is usually done very quickly and easily.
Note: Alternatively, there are also roof racks that do not have a basic rack because they are “not firmly” connected to the car and are only designed for one type of cargo. Such carriers are often attached to the car using a magnet system or systems with door hooks.
Assembly of roof racks
The way in which a roof rack is attached depends primarily on the vehicle model and its basic rack. Several methods can be used here:
- Clamp attachment to the roof rails of the vehicle.
- Fixation with hooks and clamping feet in the area of the door frame.
- Assembly at pre-assembled fixed points on the body.
- Magnetic system for the universal assembly of roof racks.
We present all systems in more detail below.
Clamp attachment to the roof rail
If your car already has a roof rail, i.e. a kind of railing in the direction of travel, it can be mounted on this using clamps.Depending on the car model, fastening clips are available for the individual carrier systems, which are attached to the railing and thus provide a secure connection to the car.
Hook for the door frame
A very universal system are hooks and clamp feet for the door frame.When the car door is open, hooks are hooked into the upper door frame and tightened. This means that a roof rack can also be attached to this system without drilling.
Luggage rack with fixed point attachment
Fixed point fastening is a very common system nowadays. The vehicle is delivered from the factory with attachment points that are embedded in the body or integrated into the vehicle roof.
Usually these are under a plastic cover that must be removed before the roof rack is installed. Then the fixed point – usually in the form of a thread – can be easily reached.With the help of screws, the base carrier can now be firmly and securely connected to the car roof without having to drill the extinguisher into the roof.
Roof rack with magnet system
Roof racks with a magnet system may initially seem a bit dubious to many drivers. However, they would not be approved for road traffic if they did not offer as much safety as fixed roof racks. Mostly these are ski carriers, which consequently do not have to hold too much weight. The large magnets are simply attached to the car roof and then hold the skis in place with a combined suction cup technology.
The prerequisite for their use is, of course, that the roof is largely flat and not bulging too prominently. The material also plays a major role, since magnets only hold onto sheet steel, not plastic or aluminum. Before fixing, the surface should be thoroughly cleaned with paint cleaner in order to achieve an optimal hold. In contrast to fixed roof racks, magnetic systems actually only have one significant disadvantage: They are not theft-proof.
Driving with a roof rack
Additional regulations apply to driving with a roof rack, and the driver is responsible for compliance. In addition to the legal restrictions, the manufacturer’s information should also be observed. So it is always important to pay attention to the weight for which the roof rack is designed and how fast it can be driven.
It goes without saying that not everything is suitable for transport on a roof rack and that the load should always be well secured. Falling objects or pieces of luggage are not only annoying for the driver, they also represent a serious danger for other road users. Even if some things seem easy to attach to the roof rack, you should always know and follow the specifications of the manufacturer and legislator.
The legislature has issued guidelines that every road user must adhere to – regardless of the type and model of the roof rack used. The maximum width of the vehicle may not exceed 2.55 meters. With regard to the maximum height of the vehicle including its load, a limit of 4 meters applies. In addition, the load must not protrude more than 2.5 meters to the front and a maximum of 1.5 meters to the rear. If the distance covered is less than 100 kilometers, the load may protrude up to 3 meters. In this case, however, a warning flag must be displayed.
Regarding the nature of the roof rack, the legislator stipulates that these must not have any tips and should have a repellent effect. In addition, no parts of the vehicle’s outline may protrude in a way that would more than unavoidably endanger traffic. How many kilograms can be packed on the roof is not regulated by law. Here you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions and also take a look at the vehicle manual.There are also no restrictions with regard to the maximum speed. However, automobile clubs, manufacturers and TÜV recommend a maximum speed of 130 km/h.
Fuel consumption when driving with a roof rack
It goes without saying that fuel consumption increases the more weight is to be moved. In addition, there are losses in aerodynamics, which are particularly noticeable in the consumption of bulky objects. The air resistance increases the more area is opposed to the wind. Depending on the structure and weight, fuel consumption can increase by between 20 and 50 percent.
If you frequently transport bicycles and the space in the trunk is otherwise sufficient, you should consider purchasing a bicycle rack for the rear of the car, which is mounted on the tow bar.
Changed driving behavior of the car
When driving with a roof box or any other type of roof rack, you should always be aware of the fact that this will change the aerodynamics of your vehicle.Roof boxes with a very aerodynamic design also generate additional resistance, which also affects the driving behavior. In addition, the roof rack offers more surface area for wind coming from the side.
You should pay particular attention to this during overtaking maneuvers, forest lanes, on bridges and wherever you can suddenly encounter gusts of wind from the side.The center of gravity of the vehicle can also change when luggage is transported on the roof. By shifting the axle load, this influences, for example, the body roll in curves.
Before tight bends, the speed should be reduced more than usual. When loading, make sure that heavy items are packed in the trunk and light items in the roof box. If the center of gravity of the vehicle shifts to the rear, you should adjust the angle of the low beam accordingly so as not to dazzle oncoming traffic.If the center of gravity of the vehicle shifts to the rear, you should adjust the angle of the low beam accordingly so as not to dazzle oncoming traffic.Please also note that the additional weight increases the braking distance of the vehicle. So keep more distance from vehicles in front and increase your willingness to brake in urban areas and wherever sudden obstacles can be expected.
Above all, the acoustic perception of one’s own speed can be made more difficult, as structures on the roof increase the noise level of the vehicle both outside and inside.
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