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

Focus On Roof Bars: A Buyer’s Guide

Focus On Roof Bars: A Buyer’s Guide

Most campers have been there: you pack up everything (including the kitchen sink), only to realise that it just isn’t all going to fit in your car. Roof bars offer a huge amount of flexibility by allowing you to safely and easily transport a host of equipment, from luggage to bikes and surfboards.

You can even fit a fold-out tent to your vehicle! However, not all roof bars are fit for all purposes. In this series, we look at the different types of roof bar that you can get, and aim to provide you with information to help you to decide which ones are best for you.

What are the different types of roof bars?

There are three main types of roof bars:

  • Square roof bars which are the traditional roof bar, usually made of back-coated steel.
  • Aero bars which are normally made from aluminium, which makes them lighter, and are more aerodynamic to help reduce the drag and, hence, mpg.
  • Wing bars are exclusive to Thule and offer next level aerodynamics as well as being the quietest (because of their aerodynamic qualities).

How do I know if a roof bar will fit my car?

Vehicles usually have a set of small panels in the roof, which can be popped out to fit roof bars. Many roof bars are universal, which means that they have been purposefully designed to fit almost any vehicle. However, before you buy roof bars, it is a good idea to check to see if they are compatible your vehicle. Most online roof bar retailers will have some kind of online tool to help you to confirm whether specific roof bars will fit your vehicle, but your local garage might be able to help, too.

Does weight limit matter?

Yes! The weight capacity of a set of roof bars can vary from as low as 35kg to more than 100kg. This capacity is dynamic weight; i.e. the amount of weight that the roof bars can take, and carry, whilst moving at speed. Your vehicle will have a weight limit, too, so double check that before you pile 75kg of kit on top of it.

Will roof bars impact my fuel consumption?

Anything that impacts the air flow around your vehicle can affect fuel efficiency; this includes roof bars. Roof bars tend to whistle when you are driving at speed and will make your mpg slightly less. If you choose more aerodynamic roof bars, the impact on mpg will be lessened.

Does it matter what I will carry on my roof bars?

Which roof bars are best for you will depend on a variety of factors, including what you want to use them for. If you want to fit a roof tent, you will need strong bars with a higher static weight capacity; for roof boxes or sporting equipment you may want bars with specialist attachments that allow you to easily install the kit.

Roof bars have the potential to dramatically increase the amount of kit that you can take; once you have decided which roof bars are right for you, you need to make sure that they are fitted properly. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for our guide to fitting roof bars.


Was this useful?

See more articles