How to Attach Cargo Carrier to a Roof Rack

cargo carrier on roof rack

Be it stowing the luggage, mounting a bike, or a pair of skates, cargo carriers always come in handy! These storage boxes give you a lot of space to pack the luggage while you get ultimate cabin space to reward your friends and family with comfort.

However, installing a rooftop cargo box can be pretty challenging, especially if you haven’t done it before. Here is a step-by-step guide to mounting the cargo carrier on the roof rack.

You don’t need any professional help, just follow the steps one-by-one, and you have the carrier securely attached to the roof rack.

An Important Note:

A lot of drivers don’t pay attention to the load limit of their car’s roof, but it is of utmost importance. You should only get a rooftop cargo box that has lesser load capacity than the load your car’s roof can bear.

Also, you need to keep in mind the type of roads you will be travelling on. If you are planning to do some off-roading, it is indispensable to secure the cargo carrier properly using ratchet straps and bungee cords.

Step 1: Gather All Required Items

Before you start installing the cargo carrier, it is essential to gather all required items in one place. Here are the following things you’ll need during the process.

  • A rooftop cargo carrier
  • Ratchet straps or cam straps
  • A bucket of water
  • Cleaning cloth

Step 2: Inspect the Roof and Clean It

It would be great to inspect the roof before you go ahead with the installation. Check for any dents and damages that can get worse with the rooftop cargo carrier.

Furthermore, cleaning the car’s roof is essential for a hassle-free installation. Dip the soft cloth into a bucket full of water, and then wipe off the roof properly. Some drivers even consider using a mat on the roof to protect it from any scratches caused by the cargo carrier.

Step 3: Place the Carrier on the Roof Rack

Carefully place the cargo carrier on the roof, and ensure it gets secured inside the crossbars. The benefit of keeping the bag within the crossbars is added safety. Also, the load will not protrude, and you can safely drive to the destination.

The carrier’s zipper side should face upwards so that you can pack and unpack it conveniently.

Step 4: Pack the Carrier Full

Packing the carrier is important to install it properly! If you have a soft-type cargo carrier, you won’t be able to install it without packing since the bag is not in a definite shape.

Take all heavier and bigger items, and pack them at the bottom so that you get plenty of space, and it also helps the bag take shape.

Place cushions at the side to fill up the empty spots, and it will help protect the load from any damages. Lastly, zip the bag, and follow step 5.

Step 5: Secure the Straps

String the straps through the carrier, and wrap it around the crossbar. Make sure to pull the strap so that it firmly holds the cargo carrier.

Thread the strap through the buckle, and pull it down tightly, thus tightening the rooftop cargo box. Follow this step for all four buckles, and tighten the straps properly so that they do not open when you are driving on the roads.

Step 6: Inspect the Carrier, Before You Hit the Road

A roof cargo carrier has to withstand extreme wind drag, so it should be secured properly. Pay attention to every strap and buckle assembly to ensure it is tight and secure.

In addition, make sure the crossbars aren’t bent and are able to hold the roof cargo carrier in place. If you don’t have a waterproof cargo box, it would be great to wrap it with a rain cover.

Put the rain cover on the carrier, and use bungee ropes to secure it. After you are done inspecting the carrier, it’s time to roll, and you can safely drive to your destination.

Safety Tips to Keep in Mind When Driving with a Rooftop Cargo Carrier

Driving with a rooftop cargo carrier is a lot different from driving your car without it. You have extra pounds on the roof, plus the huge dimensions of the carrier make your ride less aerodynamic, which means it has to bear more wind drag.

Here are a handful of tips that will help you drive safely:

Drive Slow

If you are used to driving at 90 miles per hour, you need to reduce the speed to 70 miles an hour when driving with a rooftop carrier. Driving slowly helps you maneuver the vehicle better, and you can avert accidents.

Check the Tire Pressure

The tires have to withstand more load than usual, so it is important to have optimal tire pressure before you drive. Check the tire pressure using a tire pressure gauge, and you are all set to drive with the cargo box.

Make Stops and Check the Load

It is highly recommended to check the load while you are on your way to the destination. Check the straps and zippers to ensure the load is securely packed.

Don’t Overload

Never overload the cargo carrier since it can result in damaging the carrier, or you may end up with a bent roof rack. For example, if the roof rack can carry 100 lbs, you should only pack 80 lbs or a lesser load.

Final Thoughts

A rooftop cargo carrier has plenty of benefits, and you can carry the load without compromising the cabin space. Plus, these carriers enhance safety, and you can bring more things on a road trip with you.

Follow the steps, and you can quickly install the cargo carrier with the roof rack. Always use good-quality straps, use cushions to fill the empty space, and secure the straps firmly to keep the load in place.

Lastly, read and implement the safety tips as well, and make your journey safer and enjoyable.

Bon Voyage!