Why are roof racks so expensive


  • Roof racks are used to transport luggage on the vehicle roof and thus save storage space inside the vehicle.
  • Roof racks are available as railing and fixed racks, as well as racks that are attached to the roof gutters of the car.
  • The use of a roof rack has an impact on the driving characteristics of your car and fuel consumption, which depends on the weight of the luggage.

Most drivers know the problem: When it comes to larger transport projects, there never seems to be enough space in the car, not even with a station wagon. Renting a replacement vehicle with more storage space may help with moving, but what do you do when you are on a multi-day or even weekly ski holiday?

So that, for example, the rental costs of a replacement vehicle don't eat up your vacation budget, we would like to recommend the roof rack. In our roof rack comparison 2021 we have summarized what is important when buying a luggage rack.

So that you can find the best roof rack for you, we also offer purchase advice, in which we give you introduce the most important roof rack types and provide information on the load-bearing capacity of roof racks.

1. When your car roof becomes a packhorse….

Roof racks can usually be used universally. Another category is the ski and bicycle racks, the purpose of which is limited.

Roof racks or roof racks provide one Type of luggage rack that is attached to the vehicle roof. There it is used, for example, to transport roof boxes or long pieces of luggagethat have no place in the vehicle interior.

In addition to the roof boxes already mentioned, this also includes skis, snowboards, surfboards, bicycles or other bulky objects whose weight must not exceed the permissible roof load and which can be safely stowed on the vehicle roof.

Most carrier systems exist consisting of two separate carriers, which are mounted at different distances from each other depending on the vehicle typeto allow an optimal weight distribution of the piece of luggage.

Depending on the load on the roof rack, there may also be a Change in cornering stability, driving characteristics and vehicle dimensions come:

  • Shifting the vehicle's center of gravity upwards
  • Increase in sensitivity to crosswinds
  • greater overall height of the vehicle

Tip: Another aspect is an expected increase in fuel consumption, depending on the load type and weight, which is due to the increased aerodynamic drag.

2. What do I have to consider when buying a roof rack?

What does the StVO say?

Roof racks do not need a general operating permit (ABE), but according to Section 30c of the STVO they must not pose a risk to road traffic, as is the case, for example, when transporting very long and pointed objects.

The Stiftung Warentest cannot yet present a roof rack test, but the test institute does offer a test on bike racks in its 07/15 issue.

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So that you can still find your personal test winner among the roof racks, we have summarized the most important criteria such as rack type, compatibility with the vehicle and load capacity.

2.1. Vehicle type - not all models are compatible

On some car models, the roof rack is attached to the roof rail.

When buying a roof rack for your car you should First and foremost, it should be checked for which models this is suitable.

A carrier type can be approved for several models from one and the same manufacturer and at the same time only offer limited vehicle compatibility with other vehicle brands.

The structure of your vehicle must also be taken into account. The roof of station wagons is often constructed differently than that of limousines. The same applies to the number of doors, since the installation of a roof rack on three-door vehicles can be different than on five-door vehicles, for example.

2.2. Beam type - railing, fix or gutter

In the following we would like to show you which different types of carriers there are and how to assemble them. If your vehicle has no roof rails, for example, you must check whether a fixed or rain gutter support can be installed.

Roof rack typeMounting type
Railing carrierInstallation on the roof rails on the car roof (if present)
Fixed beamInstallation at the fixing points in the upper section of the door frame
Gutter supportInstallation on the rain gutters running along both sides of the car roof

2.3. Material - aluminum is easier to assemble

To safely stow the load, you need lashing straps in certain cases, which you can see for yourself in a personal roof rack test.

When it comes to the choice of materials, you basically have it two materials to choose from: steel and aluminum.

The main advantage of steel is that it is very stable and can therefore withstand higher roof loads. On the other hand, it has a weight disadvantage compared to aluminum beams. Since aluminum is lighter, the assembly or disassembly of a roof rack made from this material also requires less effort.

2.4. Length - adjustable straps are rare

With regard to the length of roof racks, you should make sure that these are matched to the width of your car roof. As our comparison has shown the length of most roof racks is 120 to 130 cm, although adjustable length racks are also available. The corresponding models usually have adjusting screws provided for this purpose at both ends of the beam.

2.5. Load capacity - 60 kg is the minimum

When loading the roof rack, the permissible roof load should be checked.

The resilience of roof racks indicates the maximum load in kg that the wearer can withstand. The roof racks we compared offer a maximum load of 60 to 100 kg.

Please note, however, that this information always in relation to the maximum roof load noted in the vehicle documents as well as, for example, the weight of the roof box mounted on the carrier. For example, it may be that the maximum load capacity of the girders cannot be used.

Basically, we advise you to always keep an eye on the maximum permissible roof load when loading the carrier or roof box, because not only damage to the vehicle roof in the event of overload, but also unpredictable effects on driving behavior are possible.

3. Which roof rack manufacturers are there?

Depending on the purpose, you can rent or buy roof racks.

If you are now looking for a recommended roof rack manufacturer, we can help you recommend the Swedish manufacturer Thule, among others. This offers a wide range of transport solutions for vehicles, including roof racks and bike racks as well as roof boxes.

Also the manufacturer Atera often comes from in manufacturer and leaderboard lists Carrier systems for the car in front. In addition to roof racks, bike rack solutions for the trailer coupling, tailgate and the roof, you can also get roof boxes from this manufacturer.

In addition to Thule and Atera, there are other manufacturers whose products can also meet your requirements for high-quality roof racks. These include, for example, the Bicycle specialist Fischer and Menabo, whose comparatively cheaper roof racks can be purchased from the discounter Lidl, among others.

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4. Questions and answers about roof racks

4.1. How fast can you drive with a roof rack?

Safety is the key here. The faster you drive, the more wind resistance your luggage offers on the carrier. This in turn increases fuel consumption. In addition, the porters and luggage vibrate, which can cause the load to fall. To avoid this risk, you should do not drive faster than 130 km / h, if you are traveling with a loaded roof rack.

4.2. How far can a roof rack protrude?

The permissible overhang is in the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations set. The car and the roof rack may not be higher than four meters in total. The roof rack must not protrude at all at the front and the maximum permissible protrusion at the rear is 1.5 meters.

4.3. How do I attach my roof rack to the car?

How the roof rack is mounted depends on which model you have chosen. There are three various possibilities to attach a roof rack. Either it is mounted on the railing of the car (Railing carrier) or clamped in the rain gutter (Gutter support). Is it your model on the one hand Fixed beam you have to screw it into pre-assembled fixed points or clamp it to the door frame.

You may need specific tools for safe assembly.

What grades did the individual roof bars receive in our comparison?

You can choose your personal roof rack test winner from the following list:

  • First place - very good: WingBar Edge from Thule - exemplary internet price: 230 euros
  • Second place - very good: L120 -R-005-120 from VDP - exemplary internet price: 60 euros
  • Third place - good: L124 from Hengda - exemplary internet price: 42 euros
  • Fourth place - good: 83754-1212-761-01 from Thule - exemplary internet price: 166 euros
  • Fifth place - good: TopLine XL railing carrier from Fischer - exemplary internet price: 80 euros
  • Sixth place - good: roof rack from Custo - exemplary internet price: 82 euros
  • Seventh place - good: 000085000000 Tiger by Menabo - exemplary internet price: 89 euros
  • Eighth place - satisfactory: J Sportstourer from Opel Astra - exemplary internet price: 199 euros
  • Ninth place - satisfactory: Tema by Menabo - exemplary internet price: 100 euros

In the comparison table for the roof rack comparison, all grading groups are represented equally. In descending order you can consider 2 "very good" roof bars, 5 "good" roof bars plus 2 "satisfactory" roof bars. The price-performance winner L120 -R-005-120 from VDP, which costs a total of 59.95 euros, may help in making a decision.

In the roof rack comparison, two manufacturers excelled with an increased number of "very good" and "good" roof racks. Thule and Menabo are known for their variety of products among roof rack manufacturers.

More information "

From how many different manufacturers can the best roof rack model be chosen?

In the roof rack comparison, we present a total of 9 roof racks from 7 manufacturers, from which you can choose the best model for you. More information "

Does the roof rack comparison also contain cheaper but still good roof racks?

Unless you want to spend 229.99 euros on the most expensive product from our comparison, you can also use our price-performance winner L120 -R-005-120 from VDP or an average of 116.37 euros for a roof rack from another manufacturer our product table. More information "

Which of the roof racks can stand out with a particularly high number of customer reviews?

Our editors also looked at the number of customer reviews in the roof rack comparison: The WingBar Edge from Thule received a total of 663 reviews. More information "

Which roof racks particularly stand out with the rating "VERY GOOD"?

2 of the 9 roof racks from our roof rack comparison received the rating "VERY GOOD": WingBar Edge from Thule and L120 -R-005-120 from VDP. More information "

What similar articles have consumers who have added a roof rack to their shopping cart to look at?

Before buying a roof rack, customers often looked at other Thule roof racks, roof racks and Thule roof racks. More information "