Outfitting Your Vehicle with a Roofrack

by Byron Jonas

If there is one thing that is true about our country, it is that we are a nation of motor vehicle fanatics. The great American dream (other than the part about having one's own home) is in large part embodied by the notion of the eternal road trip-a journey out into the unknown of unforeseeable duration. Of course, if you're heading out on a major road trip then you'll need to figure out a way to fit in a good amount of luggage and equipment, which is where installing a roofrack on your car comes into play.

Most cars out on the road today are typical sedans and other passenger cars, all of which have one thing in common: extremely limited and minimal storage area. Based on that reality, somebody at some point had the marvelous idea of developing an alternative storage cabin on their roof, thus giving birth to the roofrack. Through the use of a roofrack it is possible for drivers to travel with more of their personal items as well as allow for more space inside the car which provides for greater comfort and safety while driving, not to mention the ability to bring along one's unwieldy sporting gear (such as kayaks, surf boards, skis, etc.).

Obviously, the sort of roofrack to be employed for a certain car or a certain trip will be to a large extent determined by the kinds of things that are intended to go in it, or on top of it, depending on the scenario. In certain cases, very basic and minimal roofracks will be employed which are ideal for merely lugging around a few extra bags or a suitcase or two, ultimately petty objects. Then, for a person to be able to bring along really big and bulky items such as the kind of gear used for extreme sports, etc., a really sturdy kind of roofrack will be in order for mounting such colossal items.

In addition, your specific model of car will end up determining exactly what kind of roofrack you can and cannot have installed atop your car, with the precise nature of your car's roof being a decisive factor here. Whereas older model vehicles usually came equipped with the roof gutters that served as ideal places for mounting a roofrack, most cars built today do not come with these features built into them on the factory line. That's no reason to despair, however, as even the barest of roofs can be outfitted with a safe and secure roofrack.

Cars that come with roof ribs or gutters save drivers half the effort of course, as the base is already there for mounting a roofrack. For cars without such features, the door frame is used to house clamps or hooks that will be the roofrack's base.

The basic necessary set up for any roofrack consists of two roof rails that run parallel to the sides of the car and a minimum of one (the most common amount) cross bar-the cross bar is absolutely crucial, literally serving as the foundation for a sturdy and safe roofrack.

If you do not have any roof rails on your vehicle, there happen to be do-it-yourself kits that allow you to bolt sturdy rails onto your roof all on your own...though you have to get over the fear of drilling a hole in your roof before you can do so! When done right, there are no safety or aesthetic concerns related to such an operation.

Of course, there are roofracks and roofracks: you won't want to use the same thing to ride with your entire family's mountain bikes that you use to store your spouse's extra suitcase, so be sure to make a wise decision and get some advice before choosing what kind of roofrack to buy.

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