Looking for a better deal on your insurance? Get a quote
Become a registered garage - Join us

Car Roof Loads Part Two: What to Carry

Car Roof Loads Part Two: What to Carry

If you are planning on getting away for a few days (or weeks!) during the warmer months, packing may be an issue. If you are taking a vehicle with you, you have the opportunity to take more, but this can be both a blessing and a curse. Knowing what – and how much – you can legally and safely carry on your roof is a good place to start.

Last time, we talked through the range of roof racks and boxes that are now available. These can be loaded with well-secured luggage, roof boxes or sports equipment. Legally, you can carry a range of sports equipment including bikes, kayaks, paddleboards, surfboards and skiing equipment, provided that it is properly secured. Specialised fixtures for different sports equipment are available from sports or vehicle accessory shops.

Understanding roof load

Tempting as it may be to load everything (including the kitchen sink) onto your roof, you need to be aware of the recommended maximum roof load for your vehicle. You will notice that your car manual has two different recommended weights: one for dynamic roof load and one for static roof load.

Static roof load is the maximum load that your vehicle can safely carry when it is not moving. You may think that there is no point in knowing static roof load, but in an era where more and more people are investing in roof tents, static roof load is a very important bit of data! If you get it wrong, you could end up compromising the structural integrity of the vehicle.

Dynamic roof load is the maximum weight that you can carry whilst in motion. This figure accounts for the fact that when you are driving, added pressure is put on your vehicle. Unsurprisingly, the faster you go, the greater impact that speed will have on your roof load.

Adjust your driving

It is very easy to forget that you have a bike on your roof! Try to avoid areas with height restrictions and if in doubt, find a different car park.

Driving with a roof load doesn’t only impact your height; it makes your vehicle less aerodynamic. This of course means that your energy consumption will go up slightly and there will be greater drag. As you drive faster, this drag will increase, not only burning more fuel but adding more pressure on your roof load. If your roof load is not secure, it is at much greater risk of coming loose the faster you drive.

If you are planning a trip and you are concerned about how to pack, you could consider investing in a small trailer instead of loading up the roof. Most garages can fit a tow hitch relatively quickly and easily – or recommend someone that can - and a trailer affords lots of extra space for those all-important items.

At Trust A Garage we are committed to keeping you safe by connecting you with garages that you know you can trust. For more advice, follow us on Facebook or X.

Was this useful?

See more articles