Roof Rack Buyers Guide – Winter Edition
Find the best roof racks for your vehicle.
Now that the temperatures are cooling down, the ski fields are beckoning, and your snowboard looks at you longingly from the garage. You’ll want a proper roof rack set up, so follow these few simple tips to make sure yours is the tops.
Your vehicle, despite what you might think, cannot carry everything on top of its roof. Each vehicle has a weight limit that should absolutely be adhered to. Always check with your vehicle’s manual to determine how much it can carry, but standard passengers can typically handle between 50kg to 75kg on the roof, while commercial vehicles can sometimes carry 100kg to 200kg.
Keep in mind, that putting a bunch of weight on your vehicle’s ideal centre of gravity can affect crucial driving elements like stopping, corners, and make you more vulnerable to crosswinds. Plus, it makes you less aerodynamic and fuel-efficient.
While these warnings shouldn’t completely put you off a roof rack, they’re important to consider for your safety, as well as others on the road.
Consider Your Use.
Do you only need your roof rack in winter for downhill activities or are you looking for something that can carry into summer? While ski-specific roof racks are ideal for the mountain, you may want to consider more adjustable options that allow a combination of activities, or roof boxes for trips away.
You’ll also want to consider the access. Is it easy for you to clamber on top of your 4WD in sub-freezing temperatures to fetch your snowboard by yourself? If it’s too hard to use, you may not use it at all, rendering it useless.
What Type Do You Need?
There are two main types of racks to carry your winter gear. Roof bar racks can easily be mounted on most vehicles and work well with most winter sports gear. These sets come with two load bars that can be installed yourself.
This option offers an easy solution that’s quick to install and use. They can be locked to avoid theft, don’t obstruct your view, and affect aerodynamics less than a cargo box. The disadvantages include increased noise at high speeds and the fact that your gear is exposed to the elements.
Roof boxes can carry more gear, and a wider variety. These completely closed boxes sit atop your roof and can deter theft and help protect your items from the elements. They are heavier than roof racks, so you’ll need to consider what exactly you’ll be loading them up with.
Lighter Materials Are Better
You’re going to burn more petrol carrying things on your roof, that’s just a matter of fact. What your roof racks are made of can affect this as well, so choose materials wisely. Aluminium racks are lighter than steel ones, which is great because we’re trying to lighten the load, remember?
Don’t Skimp on Quality.
New Zealand’s windy roads and tight corners are hard enough to manoeuver without a loaded-down roof. From climbing steep ski field roads to fording rivers, you’ll want to keep your eyes on the road ahead, not watching your gear sliding into someone’s windshield behind. This is an accessory that’s not just for show.
If you’re ready to take the plunge, get in touch with our friendly Parts Team who are happy to assist you in finding the right roof rack for you.
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