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Choosing the Ideal Roof Rack for Your Toyota & What You Should Know Before Installing

Are you looking to increase your Toyota’s storage space so you can carry all the camping gear you need on your next camping trip? Or maybe you plan on going skiing or boarding this upcoming season, and want a secure and safe way to transport all your equipment? Either way, Toyota roof racks are the best 4×4 accessory for the job, and here’s everything you need to know so you can get the ideal one from your local 4×4 accessories store.

If you need to transport a lot of items or materials from one place to another, you can probably benefit from a roof rack. Even if you have a spacious Toyota like the HiLux, it’s best you don’t place any equipment or gear inside the passenger cabin, as that’s unsafe, and it can make the trip for your passengers uncomfortable.

There are many different types of roof racks, and the ideal one for your Toyota will depend on your current roof setup, what you need to carry on it, and whether the roof rack will be mainly for on or off-road use. The material also plays a role in how suitable a roof rack is for the job. Of course, the brand can also play a role, especially in terms of the warranty. Reputable brands will provide a lengthy warranty so you can have peace of mind knowing no matter what happens, you can always rely on professional help and compensation.

Know Your Toyota’s Roof Weight Limit

The most popular types of Toyota roof rack setups are roof bars, roof baskets, platforms/trays, and cargo carriers. No matter what type you choose to go for, it’s important to know what your vehicle’s roof weight limit is. Without knowing your vehicle’s roof weight limit, you can’t know what you need to look for. For most vehicles, including your Toyota, the weight limit is somewhere around 100kg. To be sure, you should refer to your owner manual, or look up the information online. Keep in mind that those 100 kgs will include the roof rack, plus everything you plan on placing on it. So, if the Toyota roof racks you’re considering weigh 25kg, then you only got another 75kg to work with.

If the roof rack says it can carry up to 150kg, it doesn’t mean that you should put 150kg worth of gear or equipment on it, as the roof weight limit of your Toyota trumps the weight limit of the roof rack. For this reason, most roof racks are made using aluminium. While there are steel options, steel is considerably heavier, reducing the number of things you can carry. Either way, you still want to keep the heaviest gear in your boot. Items like camping chairs, tables, gazebos and tents are ideal for carrying on your roof.

Consider What Types of Items You’ll Be Hauling Around

Speaking of items you’ll carry on the roof, it’s important to consider what you’ll be storing in the rack most frequently. Bulky, yet lightweight items, or items that release odours are ideal for storing on top of your vehicle. However, what you actually can store on top of your roof will depend on the type of rack you have. For instance, roof top baskets are best suited for storing smaller items, whereas platform racks are great for items of most shapes and sizes. Simply put, before you choose a roof rack, consider what will go on it so you can make the best choice.

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Ways You Can Install Your Roof Rack

Next, you have to consider how the roof rack will be attached. Most of the time, you won’t have a choice, as it will depend on your car’s roof setup. Generally, there are four basic ways to attach a roof rack.

  1. Raised Side Rails – This setup is commonly found on SUVs that feature raised rails on both sides of the vehicle going front to back. The rails have a gap between the roof and the rail.
  2. Flush Side Rails – This setup is similar to the side rail one, except there are flush side rails on both sides of the vehicle that are flush with the vehicle’s roof. This means that there isn’t an opening between the roof and the rail. Flush side rails setups are commonly found in modern vehicles.
  3. Fix Point Setup – This setup is found on vehicles that don’t have any rails, but rather feature fixed points that are tucked away. The points are found either inside the door jamb or the car roof.
  4. Bare Roof Setup – Pretty self-explanatory. Some vehicles don’t feature fixpoints or rails, so you can only get door jamb roof racks. These racks are simply clamped onto the door jamp.

The Types of Roof Bars Explained

Once you know the type of setup your Toyota features, you can start looking for a roof rack from a reputable 4×4 accessories store. As briefly aforementioned, the different types of roof racks include roof bars, baskets, platforms and cargo carriers.

  • Roof bar roof racks are the most affordable option, and they’re easy to install and remove. They run from one side of the roof to the other, and generally come in pars. You can get either flush roof bars or overhang roof bars. Roof bar setups are lightweight, but they can’t carry a lot, simply because there’s not much surface to tie items down to.
  • Basket racks feature a metal basked with sides and a flat base. You can store items of all shapes and sizes on them. Some models don’t have sides or a front and back so you can overhang larger and oddly-shaped items. On the downside, you might have to install crossbars before attaching the basket, which could reduce your roof’s weight limit.
  • Platform, also known as tray racks are ideal for tying a wide range of gear onto. They’re extremely versatile, and you can carry specific items like panels, kayaks and other odd-shaped items on them. Just like basket racks, platform racks will usually require crossbars.
  • Cargo carriers are hardshell suitcases that fit on top of your roof. There’s no limit to what you can store in them, unless it can’t fit in them. You won’t have to tie anything when using cargo carriers, and you can rest assured your belongings are safe from theft. Again, cargo carriers need to be installed on top of crossbars.


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