A Beginner's Guide to Making Use of Your Roof Racks

Carrying cargo on the roof of your car can be scary if you've never done it before, but it can save you money, time and hassle when it comes to transporting sports equipment or even just luggage for a holiday. This quick guide will give you an overview or just a few of your options for making use of your car's roof racks.

Roof racks are just about the only way to transport longer objects like Christmas trees or kayaks with your car, so you need to make sure you're tying them down right! Cam straps are your best bet, with the buckles doing all the work. First you'll want to put the object on top of the vehicle, in the centre of the roof racks. This is obviously easier with someone to help you. Once the object is on top of the car, go to one side and hold the buckle of one of the cam straps against the side of the cargo, towards the front of the roof. Throw the other end of the strap across the roof. Don't throw the buckle, or you might damage the vehicle or whatever you are loading. Go to the other side where you just threw the strap and loop it under the roof rack and then throw it back across towards the buckle. Go back to the buckle and feed the strap through. Make sure it's tight, but not so tight that it could break the object on the roof. Repeat this on the other cross bar, or towards the back of the car. 

For carrying other luggage on top of your vehicle, you may want to look into a roof box. Roof boxes allow you to store luggage inside and tend to be easier and safer to install on top of your car. The first step will be checking the maximum load weight of your vehicle to make sure you buy the right roof box and don't overload your car. Many roof boxes are easy to install by simply bolting them on to your roof rack or roof bars. While this can typically be a do-it-yourself job, you can always take it to a professional who can install it for you. 

If you are trying to transport bikes on the roof of your car, a specialised attachment may be best. Bike carriers can attach to the roof racks of your car easily and allow you to quickly clamp your bike in and take it down as needed without having to untie and re-tie ropes or straps. It's also the safest way to make sure that the bike is securely attached, especially if you have any concerns about wind or rough terrain.