So you’ve been planning to go on a camping trip for a while, or planning to go away on a road trip to somewhere in your country or outside of your country and you’ve been wondering how you can fit everything into your car right?
Typically, when we go away in our car for a holiday, or for a roadtrip, we’ll cram everything into the interior of our car, or be fighting for minutes on end trying to close the car boot…
And then there’s that moment where you get to a service station to use the facilities, you’ll get back and then need to try and find that packed lunch that you packed somewhere amongst your camping chairs or maybe inside the tent you packed earlier thinking everything will be okay…
Well, thanks to car roof boxes, you can stop having those troublesome moments of trying to pack everything into your car, and actually make use of the additional space added by a roof box.
And in this article, we’re going to look at some of the things to consider when fitting a roof box to your car, and just how to fit one exactly…
Are you interested? Then let’s jump straight into these…
Do You Need Roof Bars To Fit A Car Roof Box?
The simple answer to this question is… yes. You absolutely do, you can’t just be throwing some ropes around a roof box expecting it to stay in place for your 200 or 300 mile journey can you?
Fitting roof bars to your car might seem challenging, and you might not feel very comfortable fitting them yourself, especially if your car is on finance, such as a lease, PCP or HP contract.
You can either buy a new or used car with car roof bars already fitted (unlikely), or buy some aftermarket car roof bars in order to allow you to correctly secure your roof box to your car.
When searching for roof bars to affix a roof box, make sure that the quality and material you go with is durable, long lasting and not cheap. Ideally you’d want to use some sort of high quality, lightweight carbon fibre, or some metal ones.
And get them fitted professionally unless you’re a seasoned pro in car mechanics and car accessories!
Research is key!
You’ve probably been looking for purely just roof boxes online right?
Roof bars are likely an after thought right now? We strongly suggest doing some basic initial research into this area, ask yourself the following when looking for car roof bars to fix your roof box to:
- What material are the roof bars made from?
- Is there any drilling required? For instance, will I need to amend the current body of my car, if so, and if it’s on PCP or HP, check with your car dealership first.
- Am I currently on any form of car finance?
After asking these questions, it’ll help you figure out more about whether a car roof box is suitable for you as ultimately, there’s no point in buying a roof box if you can’t fully know if you can fit it to your current car.
And then you’ll have to find an alternative approach to getting extra stuff into your car!
Will My Car Roof Box Overhang?
You’ve done your initial research into roof boxes, and car roof racks right?
The next thing to consider, is whether your roof box will create some form of overhang…
What do I mean by this?
Simply… is the roof box going to overhang the back of the car, or the front of the car, or will it be too large that it simply just won’t fit.
Positioning of your roof box is pretty important, as we’ll get onto in the next section.
- The ideal position for your roof box is to be centred in the middle of your car’s roof.
When you’re driving, you don’t want your car roof box to overhang too much otherwise it could cause some damage to the roof rails of your car.
Correctly Balance Your Car Roof Box
Balancing your roof box is super important right?
Because if you don’t you’ll be creating extra natural forces when you’re driving around a corner which could put some cheaper roof boxes at risk of coming loose, or breaking all-together, and although this is unlikely to happen, it’ll be a serious problem if it does happen whilst you’re driving on a long road unable to pull over anywhere safely!
Essentially, what we recommend you do here is when you’re loading your roof box with camping essentials or extra luggage, try to keep the heavier items evenly distributed along the bottom of the roof box and lighter items on top of these.
You don’t have to completely fill a car roof box, in fact, we don’t recommend storing valuable items in a car roof box or expensive camping items as these are likely to be easier stollen…
A car roof box is, at the end of the day something that is fixed to the top of your car and secured typically by either straps, where no locks are involved, or a padlock.
Will Roof Boxes Fit Any Roof Bar On A Car?
Car roof boxes and car roof bars are typically fairly universal, it’s of course always worth checking the product’s description just to double check whether they are or aren’t universal…
But what I can say, cars tend to be a regular width unlike vans, 4x4s and larger vehicles, and also…
A car’s roof is typically going to be narrower on the top 1/3rd anyway.
But generally speaking, yes.
- Car roof boxes should fit most cars, they’re mostly all universal!
We’ve looked at a couple of roof boxes recently, and have done quite a bit of research into the best ones, we’ll link to that article at the end of this blog post when that post goes live, so check back here soon to find out more about those.
Any Damage To My Car?
A very, very common concern about roof boxes is whether they’ll do damage to your car right?
The short and sweet answer to this is… it depends.
Ask yourself the following:
- Will you be fitting car roof bars to your car?
- How does the car roof box fit to the car?
- How patient are you when something goes wrong?
Especially with the third point, if you’re fitting a roof rack to your car by yourself and aren’t very experienced in doing DIY and following instructions, then you could very easily end up doing a bit of damage to your car’s roof…
And that won’t be very good for the resale value of your car.
When fitting a car roof box to your car, you’ll want to take your time…
To assist with this, I’d recommend not buying a car roof box and fitting it a few days prior to when you plan on using it, you’ll feel in a rush, in a hurry to get things done, and if something goes wrong you won’t have much time to resolve that problem.
Take a few weeks prior, purchase the roof box, and then see how it goes during installation, if everything goes okay, it feels secure, and stable, and you’re happy with the product, feel free to then proceed.
Take your time when installing the roof box onto your roof rails.
An Important Step… Mind Your Back!
So here’s the thing… You’ve purchased your car roof box, and you’re ready to install the thing onto your car…
Some car roof boxes can be pretty heavy, some can be 40kg, 50kg, 60kg, and so on…
Even the lighter car roof boxes that are made out of durable fabrics instead of hard plastic can weigh upwards of 3kg or 5kg, and whilst this might not seem like a lot…
When you’re trying to lift these kinds of weights beyond waist level, especially in hot weather conditions, it can be challenging…
What we suggest is to try and get someone to help you initially if you can… once you’ve got your car roof box onto your car, and correctly secured, the majority of the hard work is then done, all you then need to do is load it with the items you’re taking on your camping trip or elsewhere.
What’s The Best Position For My Car Roof Box?
Although we’ve already discussed this in a little detail, we thought it would be worthwhile just to briefly explain this again…
Your car roof box ideally should be centred in the middle of your car’s roof, whereby it should be in the longest position going from the back of your car, to the front of your car.
What About Security?
Car roof boxes come with all different kind of security mechanisms right?
The most popular forms of security though, are the following:
- Straps that go over the car roof bars
Regardless of what security method you go with, it ideally needs to be secured at more than one point…
If your car roof box comes with a mechanism that relies on straps to go over and around your roof bars, then this shouldn’t be too much of a problem and should be pretty easy to do!
Otherwise, if it’s some padlocks, you might only have one point of security.
Some manufacturers such as Kamei have developed systems such as ‘pull to click-shut’ mechanisms whereby you’ll pull down on each point of the roof box until it shuts, and you’ll hear a ‘click’ sound!
Weight Considerations, and How Much Can They Carry?
Something we haven’t discussed much in this article, despite its length, is the weight considerations of a car roof box…
- When shopping for a car roof box, look at the weight metric and capacity!
It’s too easy to try and load more than the recommended weight into a roof box.
Not only do the roof boxes themselves have a weight limit, but your car also has a weight limit…
And this means that you could easily be exceeding your car’s weight limit by adding a car roof box.
Check your car’s handbook first!
We recommend checking your car’s handbook first before purchasing a car roof rack to make sure that your car is capable of carrying the extra weight.
If not, then consider trying to purchase a budget car roof box instead that’s a little cheaper, and smaller, and utilise the storage space in your car.
This way, you’ll be able to search for that food that you packed for your ‘packed lunch’ when you arrive at a service station right?
Car Roof Box Opening Options
When it comes to car roof box opening options, you have really only a few options…
Either they’ll open from one side, or the other.
They might even open from both sides, however, whichever the option may be, you’ll want to think hard about this one as it likely will influence the price that you pay.
If you’re looking for a car roof box that opens from both sides, be prepared to pay more, if you’re satisfied with a car roof box opening on just one side, then you should be able to get away with paying slightly less.
What About Fabric Roof Boxes When Fitting To A Car?
Fitting a fabric roof box to your car shouldn’t be a problem, it will likely be on the cheaper side of roof boxes, but this isn’t really a bad thing as it will likely offer a great level of flexibility.
If you’re really going to go with a fabric car roof box, consider what will happen if you’re in an area that’s prone to car theft or anti-social behaviour!
How About Wind Noise?
Fitting a fabric car roof box to your car shouldn’t really introduce that much wind noise, however, it might…
It might also introduce a slightly lower fuel economy figure if you’re fussed about the metrics of your car, either way, just know that if you’re in it for the long run, a hard roof box is likely going to be the better option for you!
Final Tips when Fitting A Car Roof Box
We’ve covered a fair bit of content in this article about fitting a car roof box.
We’ve looked at weights, we’ve looked at security, budgets, and covered where’s best to fit a roof box and also roof bars to your car as this is also very important.
We’ll be sure to come out with a few new articles about roof boxes very soon, so hope that you’ll stick around for those, be sure to check out our follow up review on car roof boxes if you’re interested in purchasing one!