Roof Rack Information

Custom Fit Roof Rack

Roof Racks

Whether you simply don't have the space inside your car or you would rather not clutter your cargo area, a roof rack will provide you with a space-saving alternative for carrying cargo and equipment. You can mount large and unwieldy items that will not fit inside your car or SUV. You can fill a rooftop cargo carrier with wet or dirty gear to ensure that your trunk or cargo area remains clean and dry. And you can quickly and easily get your sporting gear to the trail, beach, lake or mountain.


With a roof rack you can securely transport:






How to Choose a Roof Rack


What Do You Want to Carry?

The first step when choosing a roof-rack system is determining what it is that you want to carry or, more precisely, how you intend to use your rack. If you're a contractor, for example, and you may end up using your roof rack for work equipment, then Rhino-Rack's Heavy-Duty square crossbars will likely be a good choice. If, on the other hand, you wish to carry only a couple of bikes, then any bars will suffice.


Most roof-rack-mounted carriers and accessories will fit nearly all square, round, aero and elliptical bars on the market. But if you have a specific idea of what you want to transport, then you may want to consider choosing your carrier first so you don't run into any compatibility issues.


To learn more about the different types of racks and accessories, click on the following links:


Roof Rack Accessories

What Is a Roof Rack Able to Carry?

The type and amount of cargo or equipment that you can carry with your roof rack is largely dependent on your specific application and the type(s) of carriers that you choose. To a certain extent, you can estimate how many or how few carriers you can fit onto your rack based on the crossbar length.



Typically, if your crossbars measure up to 50" long, you can carry the following:


If you use bars that are between 53" and 60" long, you can carry approximately:


If you use bars that are longer than 60", you can carry approximately:


Always be aware of weight limitations. The maximum capacity of your roof-rack system will be dependent on the lowest-rated part of the system. So, if you have a roof-mounted cargo box that has a weight capacity of 150 lbs, roof-rack crossbars that are rated at 200 lbs, and these are on a roof rated at 100 lbs, then you cannot load more than 100 lbs.


To determine your roof's maximum weight capacity, check your vehicle's owner's manual. Typically, your vehicle will be the limiting factor.





What Type of Roof Rack is Right for Your Vehicle?

The other factor that will certainly affect what you can carry on your vehicle's roof is the roof itself. We have an in-house Roof Rack Application Guide that will help you determine which rack systems are best suited for your vehicle. Most setups are vehicle specific, from the recommended length of the crossbars to the custom foot packs.


Typically, you will have a few choices in roof-rack systems so that can you pick your crossbar style. One area in which you will not have as many choices, though, is the mounting kits, most of which are vehicle specific. Our fitguide will walk you through the process of finding the perfect rack for your application, but before looking up your vehicle, you need to be able to differentiate between the different roof types. This will help to ensure that you get a kit that offers a perfect fit.


Your vehicle's roof should fall into one of the following categories:



Roof Racks for Vehicles with a Naked Roof

Naked Roof-2008 Honda CR-V Naked Roof-1998 Ford Taurus

Vehicles with naked roofs have no tracks or rails. With a naked roof, you need a fit kit, foot pack and crossbars to create a complete roof-rack system. The etrailer.com fitguide will automatically group these items together for you to make choosing and ordering your roof rack easy.


These pictures detail the components required for a naked-roof vehicle.

A. Each fit kit is custom-designed to create the best, strongest fit for your specific vehicle. These kits include pads that contour to your vehicle's roof and sturdy clips that fasten to the outer edges of your roof, either by connecting to pre-drilled holes (as seen in the first image) or by clamping around the door jamb (as in the second image).


B. The podium-style foot pack includes four feet that connect to the custom fit kit and provide attachment points for the roof-rack crossbars.


C. The crossbars (or load bars) are the last part of the system to be installed. These provide the usable portion of your roof-rack system where any carriers or accessories will be mounted.


Roof Rack Components-2003 Volkswagan Jetta Roof Rack Components-2001 Dodge Neon
Roof Rack Short Roof Adapter

Occasionally, certain naked-roof vehicles require a short-roof adapter. This item is most commonly used on small two-door vehicles with short or curved rooflines. A short-roof adapter:


Short-roof adapters are custom fit. Adapters are available for the following crossbars:


Shop Custom-Fit Roof Racks



Roof Racks for Vehicles with Factory-Installed Raised Side Rails

Round Side Rails-2007 Nissan QuestSquare Side Rails-2006 Saturn Vue

Raised side rails are most common on minivans and SUVs. They run from front to back on your vehicle and can provide attachment points for an aftermarket roof-rack system. To mount a roof rack on a vehicle with this type of roof, you will need a foot pack and crossbars.


Roof Rack Components on Side Rails

The pictures above detail the components required for a vehicle with raised side rails.

A. The foot pack for factory rails includes four feet that clamp onto or wrap around your vehicle's side rails and provide mounting points for the roof-rack crossbars.


B. The crossbars (or load bars) are the last part of the system to be installed. These provide the usable portion of your roof-rack system where any carriers or accessories will be mounted.


Shop Custom-Fit Roof Racks



Roof Racks for Vehicles with Factory-Installed Flush Side Rails

Flush Factory Rails on 2012 Jeep Cherokee

Factory flush rails run from front to back on your vehicle and may provide attachment points for an aftermarket roof-rack system. To mount a roof rack on a vehicle with this type of roof, you will need a fit kit, foot pack and crossbars.


Thule Podium Feet on 2012 Jeep CherokeeThule Fit Kit on 2012 Jeep Cherokee

The pictures above detail the components required for a vehicle with flush factory rails.

A. Each fit kit is custom-designed to create the best, strongest fit for your specific vehicle. These kits mount to your factory rails.


B. The podium-style foot pack includes four feet that connect to the custom fit kit and provide attachment points for the roof-rack crossbars.


C. The crossbars (or load bars) are the last part of the system to be installed. These provide the usable portion of your roof-rack system where any carriers or accessories will be mounted.


Shop Custom-Fit Roof Racks



Roof Racks for Vehicles with Factory-Installed Flat Tracks

Tracks-Mercury Villager

Factory flat tracks run from front to back on your vehicle and can provide attachment points for an aftermarket roof-rack system. To mount a roof rack on a vehicle with this type of roof, you will need a fit kit, foot pack and crossbars.


Tracks-Mercury Villager

The pictures above detail the components required for a vehicle with flat tracks.

A. Each fit kit is custom-designed to create the best, strongest fit for your specific vehicle. These kits mount to your factory track rack.


B. The podium-style foot pack includes four feet that connect to the custom fit kit and provide attachment points for the roof-rack crossbars.


C. The crossbars (or load bars) are the last part of the system to be installed. These provide the usable portion of your roof-rack system where any carriers or accessories will be mounted.


Shop Custom-Fit Roof Racks



Vehicles That Have Factory-Installed Roof Racks with Crossbars

Factory Crossbars-2001 Subaru Outback

If your vehicle came equipped with a roof rack that has crossbars, you may not need an aftermarket roof-rack system. Most roof-rack-mounted carriers and accessories on the market will fit factory load bars. If the carrier that you would like to use does not fit your factory bars, adapters may be available.


Be sure to check your owner's manual for the capacity of your factory roof-rack system. Many OEM racks are designed more for aesthetics than utility and, therefore, are not built to support much weight. If you intend to use your roof rack for heavy loads, you may want to add aftermarket crossbars to boost the carrying capacity of your system. To do this, follow the instructions for Factory-Installed Raised Side Rails.





Types of Roof-Rack Crossbars

The fun part of choosing an aftermarket roof rack is picking the type of crossbars that you want your system to have. Sometimes this will be determined by the application or what you intend to use the rack for. For example, if you want to carry lumber or ladders with your system, Rhino-Rack's Heavy-Duty bars might be a good fit. There are multiple accessories that cater more to contractors and fit only these bars.


For the most part, roof-rack-mounted accessories and carriers that clamp onto or wrap around load bars will fit all types of bars. There are always exceptions though, so be sure to read accessory product descriptions carefully when determining compatibility.


Crossbar TypeShapeWind NoiseDragTop SlotsConstruction
Thule AeroBlade BarAero/Kamm-tail-likeLeast of all barsMinimalYesAluminum
Thule Rapid Aero BarOval/EllipticalMinimalMinimalYesAluminum
Rhino-Rack Aero BarOval/EllipticalMinimalMinimalYesAluminum
Yakima Round BarsRoundFairing recommendedFairing recommendedNoVinyl-coated steel
Rhino-Rack Heavy-Duty BarSquareConsiderableConsiderableC-channelsAluminum
Thule Square BarSquareFairing recommendedFairing recommendedNoPlastic-coated steel

Thule AeroBlade Bars

Thule AeroBlade Load Bars

Thule Rapid Aero Bars

Thule Rapid Aero Load Bars

Rhino-Rack Aero Bars

Rhino Rack Aero Cross Bars

Yakima Round Bars

Yakima Cross Bars

Rhino-Rack Heavy-Duty Bars

Rhino Rack Heavy Duty Cross Bars

Thule Square Bars

Thule Square Load Bars




Questions and Comments about this Article

Knute R.

I have a 2020 Toyota Highlander Limited with factory installed Raised Side Rails that have a notch area to opens to connect the foot packs to. Which systems are compatible with the 2020 Highlander Limited rails? Looking for an aerodynamic set and will eventually attached a basket to it for luggage and christmas tree delivery. 101909

Reply from Jon G.

As of right now there are no fits for your current setup. It does look like some of our manufacturers are working on fits though so it should just be a matter of time before we have something for your vehicle. 75147

Chuck R.

Putting bar racks on roof of a 2019 Promaster for a solar shower system. It appears the Rhino Rack is the most compatible. I need 3" between roof and bottom of rack feet to clear the small portion of the solar panels already installed. What is the clearance from the bottom of the feet to the bottom of the bar. Thinking of using the aero bar. Thanks, 101853

Reply from Jon G.

The Rhino-Rack system will be close. I know the legs are 2" tall and then you'll get some of the height of that tall bracket depending on where you are measuring from for your 3". If you're measuring at the top of the dips on your roof then I don't think you'll have quite 3" of clearance, but if you are measuring at the bottom of the dips in your roof then you should be just fine. It's also worth mentioning that this roof rack system has both of the bars towards the back of the van so if your solar is at and in front of the sliding door you won't have to worry about roof rack clearance. 75139

Reply from Chuck R.

@JonG Jon, Measuring from the mount location to the top of the solar panel=3" tight. Maybe to close for comfort? Thanks, 75146

Reply from Jon G.

@ChuckR It will clear 3" but I'm not sure by how much. If you're wanting significant clearance then I don't think this option will work for you. 75149

Keelie C.

My 2020 CRV currently has a naked roof, and roof rails from Honda are on an indefinite back order, so I am interested in some aftermarket cross bars. I was looking at the Thule WingBar Evo Crossbars. Am I correct that these will fit my naked roof and attached to my roof rails? (Whenever I'm able to get them). I have an existing Thule Ski rack, so I thought going with Thule Crossbars was a safe bet to ensure they'll fit. 100358

Reply from Jon G.

The 53" Thule WingBar Evo Crossbars # TH711420 will definitely work for your application. Since your 2020 Honda CR-V has a naked roof you're going to need the Evo Clamp Feet # TH710501 as well as the Fit Kit # TH145046 . The parts that you need for the flush mounted rails are a little different though so you will need a whole new setup if you plan on installing the flush rails. 73858

Reply from Keelie C.

@JonG Hi Jon, a whole new set up meaning I'll need different feet #TH460R and fit kit #THKIT3166? But I won't have to replace the Thule WingBar # TH711420? 74864

Reply from Jon G.

@KeelieC You'll actually need the 47" WingBar Evo Crossbars # TH711220 instead because the Rapid Podium Feet # TH460R and Fit Kit # THKIT3166 will sit further in than the legs and fit kit needed if you have a naked roof. 74869

Reply from Keelie C.

@JonG Okay, this helps a lot! Thank you! 74885

Reply from Jon G.

@KeelieC No problem, happy to help! 74887

Cooper

I have a 2019 Dodge Gran Caravan. I want to install a roof basket so I can attach my ARB 8' awning to it. The awning is 35 lbs. Will a roof basket that attaches to my OEM cross bars work ? Will my OEM cross bars support the roof basket ? 99170

Reply from Jon G.

Your OEM crossbars should be sufficient enough to support a roof basket. The real question though is how does your awning attach to the roof? Most awnings have T-Slot accessories to mount inside a channel or clamp-style mounts to attach to the crossbars - neither of which usually attached directly to a roof basket. If you can give me some more details about your awning I can help you find out what will work best. 73752

Reply from Cooper

Thank you for your quick response. The ARB awning does come with the T slot bolts. I intended to somehow attach the ARB awning with ARB "L brackets" (that I have) designed for the T slots, directly to the basket. The brackets are L type brackets made especially for ARB awnings. The brackets have 3 holes to accept the awning t nuts and 2 holes to attach to the basket. I would need a flat surface (on the roof basket) on the side of basket to securely attach them to. 73762

Reply from Jon G.

@Cooper From the way you are describing things it sounds like you're looking more for a roof platform rack as opposed to an actual basket. For your application I'd check out the Rhino-Rack Pioneer Platform Rack which can install directly to your crossbars and comes as the part # RR42114BF which is 48" long x 38" wide or the part # RR42115BF which is 58" long x 47" wide. 73778

Jeffrey F.

i have a 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee looking for good set of roof racks what would you suggest Would like Black I have the factory runners Anything used? Also would like to hall fishing poles and paddle boards 98893

Reply from Jon G.

Since there are a handful of roof rack styles for your 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee I am linking our selection of roof racks for you to filter through. The Inno and Rhino-Rack brands are middle-of-the-road while Thule and Yakima are on the higher end of quality and ease of use. I've also attached links to our selection of fishing rod carriers that mount to crossbars as well as paddle board carriers. I like the Lockrack # 339LRUNISETA for this but you can filter through our selection if you'd like. 73611

Vince

I have a 2001 hyundai elantra. What are the measurements from the center pillar between the front and rear crossbars? 98833

Reply from Jon G.

That depends on what roof rack system you're looking at getting as this can vary between manufacturers. For the Rhino-Rack roof rack you're looking at 25-19/32" between the centers of the crossbars with the center of the front crossbar being 9-27/32" in front of that pillar. For the Inno system you're looking at 11.7" for both the front and the rear in regards to that center pillar. 73471

Karan

I have a 2013 GMC Yukon Denali. Is there any aftermarket crossbars that will fit my vehicle? It has flush rail front to back. 98660

Reply from Jon G.

We do have a handful of roof racks that will fit your '13 GMC Yukon Denali! Attached is a link to our selection for your flush mount rails, but out of that selection I recommend the Yakima JetStream system which uses parts # Y00426 , # Y00148 , and # Y00221 . 73470

Robin B.

I have 2020 Kia Sorento EX with panoramic sunroof. Will the Thule AeroBlade 11200 allow my sunroof to open? 97500

Reply from Jon G.

The Thule roof racks usually have about 3" of clearance under the crossbars. This is typically enough for a moonroof or sunroof to open up but Thule doesn't recommend doing this just to make sure that nothing gets damaged. Opening up the sun/moonroof also means that you will likely get some of that wind noise since you'll be changing the airflow. 72656

Terry F.

On my 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Which front bolt should I install the foot onto? The very front or the one about 3.5 inches back from the very front one? We are putting a Thule roof top tent on. 97364

Reply from Jon G.

I'm thinking you'd use the one further up but I can't find anything showing 2 different locations for that front crossbar. Could you possibly take some pictures to show me? 72655

John H.

Currently have a 2014 Mazda CX-5 touring with a naked roof. I am looking to add roof storage - mainly for luggage - possibility of bag, box, or cage ? I was thinking I would obviously need roof rails and crossbars but see that might not be the case. However I really don’t like the type that connect thru around the actual passenger doors with those metal padded clips. I am wondering what options you recommend towards the value end of spectrum. Are rails only available from Mazda? Not sure how much weight capacity I need , but it looks like factory rails rated Only up to 100lbs. Not sure why but prefer 165lbs just in case. Interested in what options you folks might have available or direction to go on the actual rails. Thanks 97254

Reply from Jon G.

For your application I recommend going with the Rhino-Rack Vortex roof rack which uses the following: 46" Bars - # RRVA118B-2 2500 Series Legs - # RRRLKVA Fit Kit - # DK289 Then for a cargo box/tray I'd say to use either the Inno Shaper 100 # INXA569 or Platform Rack # INA510 because these will look really clean and sporty on your Touring. If you still wanted to use a bag you can use the part # RL100R20 . 72654

Reply from Gunjan S.

@JonG I had an identical question for my CX5 2016 witha naked roof (plastic covered tracks). The Thule Evo clamp seems unreliable despite the claims. I want to install a cargo box mostly for luggage and camping gear career. Appreciate a response and recommendation for roof rails, tracks, raisees 72924

Reply from Gunjan S.

@JonG I had an identical question for my 2016 CX5 with a bare roof. I am unsure about the clamp systems (Thule Evo) and find the screw on to be more secure. Need recommendation for rails rack and cargo box (~16cuft) systems that is good long term spend. 72926

Reply from Jon G.

@GunjanS If you don't have the raised rails then the clamping system is the best way to go. Thule honestly has one of the best systems (alongside Yakima) so you may have installed them incorrectly if they didn't feel that secure. If the problem is just the clamping system in general then the only way that you can use something else is if you install a system that makes you drill into your vehicle roof. That kind of system would be much more weak compared to the clamps so I really can't recommend going that route. 73172

Reply from Gunjan S.

@JonG thanks that assures me a lot. Gift the Thule Evo wingbar(Clamp on). Drove 2 hours to my campsite- almost no noticeable wind noise. So far looks like a great purchase 73205

Brian M.

I am looking at the Malone AirFlow2 Roof Rack - Aero Crossbars vs. the Thule for my QX80. Can you provide any insight? 96904

Reply from Jon G.

The Malone AirFlow2 is more of an entry-level roof rack while the Thule roof racks are higher quality and will feel a little better once installed. With that being said, the AirFlow2 has become super popular and a lot of people really seem to like it so I think you'll be happy either way. 71016

Reply from Brian M.

@JonG Thank you for your response. Will Thule attachments work with the Malone Air flow? 71018

Reply from Jon G.

Yes, as long as they are designed to fit around an aero-style crossbar or have the T-Slot fitting they are compatible. 72653

Raz

I'm looking for a set of side rails that will fit into the holes already installed by the manufacturer. These are covered by the black rubber strips that run the length of the roof. I've looked at the the set in which the cross bars are built in and opened up when needed, however I don't think they would allow for the crossbars I already own from a previous set-up. I have a set of low profile Thule locking crossbars that clamp over the side rails. 95361

Reply from Chris R.

Roof side rails aren't really offered as an aftermarket product - that is something that generally has to be installed at the factory or obtained from the vehicle dealer. Can you tell me what model vehicle you have? 70476

Reply from Raz

@ChrisR I have a 2019 Toyota Tacoma double cab. 70509

Reply from Jon G.

We don't have roof rails that run the length of the cab but we do have the Yakima roof rack that will fit using those mounting points you're talking about. Here are the parts you need: 50" JetStream - Black # Y00425 or Silver # Y00428 SkyLine Towers - # Y00148 Landing Pad 24 - # Y74FR 71015

Rex G.

Need a complete roof rack for a 2014 Sonic hatchback. Will carry a 110 pound rooftop tent. recommendations 84709

Reply from Chris R.

The best roof rack system we have available for your 2014 Chevy Sonic hatchback is the Rhino-Rack Vortex setup that consists of parts # RRVA118B-2 , # RRRLKVA , and # DK399 . 67852

Deleana S.

I have yakima control tower landing pads on a 2011 Honda Element with cross bars that do not extend 4 inches past the edge of the vehicle. what crossbars do I need to use hullavator racks? 84428

Reply from Chris R.

You can simply go with longer Yakima bars. I'm not sure what length you currently have, but I would think 60" bars # Y00426 are plenty long enough to provide the needed overhang for the Hullavator. 67548

Robert P.

I have Thule square bar system. Will the Thule square bars fit the Inno stays for factory side rails? 82239

Reply from Chris R.

I believe you're asking if Thule square crossbars will fit Inno mounting feet. As long as you have the older Thule bars (which do NOT feature a channel on the bottom of the bars) they will work just fine. The older Thule square bars and the Inno square bars share the same dimensions, so they're interchangeable. 67547

Melanie C.

Interested in setting up my 2014 Kia Rondo for adventures. Kayaking, snowboarding, biking, camping, gear, etc. Can you assist me with learning more about these systems and buying the proper gear? 81927

Reply from Chris R.

As long as your Kia Rondo has factory flush rails that run front to back, we have a nice selection of Thule setups that will work perfectly. I specifically recommend the WingBar system that consists of parts # TH711220 , # TH460R , and # THKIT4036 . From there it's up to you what kind of accessories you need/want to add to transport all your adventure supplies. I've linked our selection of roof kayak carriers, bike carriers, and cargo baskets that you can look through below. 67312

Melanie

I have a 2018 Hyundai Tucson Value. What rack could support 2 kayaks? 79211

Reply from Chris R.

If your 2018 Hyundai Tucson Value has the factory flush side rails that run front to back, I highly recommend the Thule WingBar system that consists of parts # TH711220 , # TH710601 , and # TH186013 . This will provide you with a quiet, sturdy setup more than capable of supporting a couple kayaks. For the carriers themselves I recommend a couple of the etrailer # e98878 . 64168

Dave H.

I have a Forest River NoBo 19.7 with the roof rails, literature says Rhino system. What do I need for Aero-Bars? Assume 4 risers and two bars? Rails are about 64" apart on roof of NoBo travel trailer. Do you have set? What is cost? Thanks 76927

Reply from Chris R.

It looks like that camper is equipped with the Rhino-Rack Track System, so you can use the Mounting Feet # RRRLT600 (includes 4 feet) and a set of Vortex Crossbars like the 71" # RRVA180B-2 . Pricing is listed on the product page. 62519

Glenn S.

I have a 1997 Toyota landcruiser, and want to put a Freespirit Odyssey Hard tent on top. The unit weighs 154 pounds... and the specs show the tent can hold up to 750 pounds. My question, is by adding crossbars to my existing Factory siderail/rack bars on the land cruiser.... will the new side rail support the tent and weight? Can you suggest which rail to use? 76668

Reply from Chris R.

You'll want to add aftermarket crossbars to the factory side rails on your Land Cruiser (it looks like the Odyssey does clamp around the crossbars) for proper support. The Thule WingBar setup, parts # TH711420 and # TH450R will work perfectly. I actually recommend checking with Toyota directly regarding capacity - weight applied from a tent (and its inhabitants) is a bit different than what would otherwise be listed as a capacity in the owner's manual, since the vehicle isn't moving when the tent's being used. The roof (and rail's) capacity when parked is much higher than its dynamic capacity, which is what is normally looked at when adding roof top accessories. 62518

Larry K.

I would like a rack to hold 2 Kayak for a Sorento Kia. What do I get. 76032

Reply from Chris R.

I would be happy to get you set up to transport 2 kayaks on your Kia Sorento. Can you tell me what model year the Sorento is? 62134

Bethany H.

Would the rhino rack rs 2500 aero roof rack fit a 2018 Ford Fusion se ecoboost? 72565

Reply from Chris R.

The RS system has actually been replaced within Rhino-Rack's line with the ROC25 series, which still offers that sleek flush design. For your Ford Fusion you will need part # RR52SR . 59588



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