Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Roof Rack

Home » Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Roof Rack

Getting ready to go on a trip, whether a lengthy vacation or a trip around the outback means packing a lot of things to bring along. If you’re going with your family, no matter the type of vehicle you have, cargo space will be scarce, and you’ll need to pay attention to a lot of small details if you want to ensure you can bring everything you need. 

Even a spacious vehicle as the Toyota HiLux may not have the cargo space you need, which is why a lot of people install roof racks. You can find roof racks in a 4wd accessories online store near you, and choose one that’s made to fit your particular HiLux make and model. However, besides fit, there are a couple of other things you need to pay attention to, in order to make sure you get the most suitable roof rack.

How Will You Use the Roof Rack?

You shouldn’t just buy the first roof rack you come across. There are two important questions you need to find the answer to before you spend your hard-earned money. First, you need to figure out what the purpose of the roof rack will be. Then, you need to figure out your budget. Defining these two things will help you narrow down your choices and find the product you need.

Furthermore, you need to think about how you want to install the roof rack, and whether you want the roof rack to be made for carrying specific items, such as bikes, kayaks, water sports equipment, etc. Toyota Hilux roof racks can come with additional accessories that will make it safer and easier to carry different types of sports equipment or cargo boxes. As for installing a roof rack, you need to decide between a permanent roof rack or a removable one. If you want a permanent one, you should consider a model that is drilled into your roof for added security. 

What Material Should the Roof Rack Be Made of?

The material the roof rack is made of can make a huge difference in how much it costs and how much cargo you can carry with it. Most Toyota Hilux roof racks on the market are made of either aluminium or steel. Before you visit a 4wd accessories online store, you should know what the key differences between the two materials are.

Steel Roof Racks

Steel roof racks offer more longevity, as they’re generally tougher. They’re also more affordable, so they’re better suited for people who are on a limited budget. On the downside, steel roof racks are heavier, so they create more drag, hurting your fuel economy in the process. Additionally, there are higher chances of steel roof racks “whistling” when driving against the wind.

Aluminium Roof Racks

Aluminium roof racks are lighter, so they won’t add as much weight to the overall GVWM. This means that you can carry more items on top of your roof. Moreover, the lighter weight means less fuel consumption and less drag when moving. The only downside to aluminium roof racks is that they’re generally more expensive.

Can You Put a Roof Rack on Your Car?

If you have a Toyota Hilux, chances are it comes with factory-installed roof fittings or rails. If it doesn’t, you can find and install everything you need to securely attach a roof rack. There are different fitting systems based on what your roof setup looks like.

For instance, if your Hilux features a bare roof, then you can get clip fit racks that are designed to fit on such roofs. These kits will come with rubber pads and coated metal brackets. You can clamp the clip fit rack to the outer edge of the roof. If you want a complete system, you’ll also need to get roof bars. This setup is easy to install and you can remove the roof rack whenever you want to.

On the other hand, vehicles that come with built-in fixpoints only need base towers to install a roof rack. These base towers fit into the built-in fixpoints and let you add the roof bar on top of them.

Lastly, if your vehicle comes with a raised roof fitting, it means it’s already equipped with parallel bars that can support a whole system. In that case, the roof rack can easily be fitted on top of the vehicle, again, through the use of the base towers. You’ll need to make sure the base tower fits around the raised roof fittings. However, you still need to be wary about fit, as not all base towers fit any car model and make.

How to Install and Use a Roof Rack?

First and foremost, you need to make sure you get the right torque settings on the roof rack, as a poorly fitted one can impact safety and drag. Read the instructions before you fit so that you don’t damage your roof rack and ensure a proper fit. Furthermore, make sure you have all the necessary tools. If your roof rack is going to be a permanent fixture, it means that it will be exposed to corrosion and the elements. For that reason, you should use copper grease on all of the attachment points. 

To further improve safety, make sure you tie down your large items such as canoes, kayaks, etc., as they create a lot of drag. The drag created by these items can literally rip the roof rack off the roof when you’re driving at high speeds on the highway. Additionally, these items can pose a serious threat when driving in high winds. Also, when you’re loading heavy items, you should always get an extra set of hands to help you. This is done to prevent injury and damage to your vehicle.


To summarise, buying a roof rack for your Hilux can be a great investment, as long as you make sure you make the right purchase. With so many different types of roof racks and roof setups available, you need to pay close attention when shopping. A proper fit will go a long way in ensuring the safety and longevity of not just the roof rack, but your vehicle and all of your belongings you’ll carry on top of it.

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