Car racks save precious car space by moving cargo to the outside. These are the most important factors to consider when investing in this new storage option.
Types of car racks
Choosing a rack depends on what you’re carrying, what kind of vehicle you’re driving and where you want it to attach.
Roof rack: For extra storage space or items that are too long for the car, you’ll need a roof rack. These racks can hold all sorts of items, from skis to camping equipment, and are great for road trips or big shopping trips.
Strap rack: Strap racks are an affordable option for anyone who wants a convenient rack for occasional use. They’re easy to attach and detach but fairly singular in purpose, designed to hold up to three bicycles.
Hitch rack and trunk rack: These racks attach to either the trunk of your car or the back hitch. They’re easy to access, install and can handle frequent use, but the cheaper models can also prevent access to the vehicle’s trunk or rear cargo bay.
Truck rack: While truck beds provide plenty of space, truck racks can expand or securely fasten precious cargo. Truck racks either attach to your tailgate or inside bars of the bed, giving you a little extra cargo space or an entire new level to put bigger items.
Factors to consider when buying a car rack
The right car rack depends on the kind of cargo you’re carrying, but there are lots of style and safety considerations to consider as well.
Cargo type: Smaller hitch racks and trunk racks are good for shopping trips, especially the kind with a flat surface, but camping vacations will need the extra space you’ll get in a large car top carrier. If you’re concerned about damaging sports equipment, consider a bike rack or ski rack that’s designed to carry one specific type of item.
Cargo weight: Vehicles can safely hold a maximum amount of cargo, so always check your owner’s manual to see how much extra weight you can put on the roof or hitch of your car without compromising safety.
Pre-existing racks: SUVs and other vehicles sometimes come with a basic rack installed so you can load items without scratching the paint. Many extra racks can be attached to them, but, before purchasing one, make sure that the new mounts will fit around the existing mounts.
Colour: Most cargo racks come in black, but dark colours absorb sunlight and heat that can harm sensitive items. Although sometimes more expensive, lighter racks will stay cooler.
When you have determined what type of rack you need, purchasing a roof rack is easy. It’s a great way to expand your cargo space outside your vehicle, so you don’t have to pack lightly on your next adventure.