AURORA, Colo. — Roof racks are a great way to carry extra gear on a weekend adventure, however, when it comes to carrying recreation equipment and luggage, or any loads for that matter, there is a right and a wrong way to do it, the staff at Rhino-Rack noted today.
The wrong way can lead to damage to a vehicle, unnecessary fuel consumption, and can create unsafe conditions for drivers, passengers and others on the road, the firm noted in a press release. In many states, drivers are legally responsible for your loads being safely secured.
Rhino-Rack offers the following tips to ensure a drama-free adventure.
Three-point tie down — As a general rule, rooftop loads should have three to four tie-down points on the vehicle to avoid shifting.
Overhang — People should avoid too much unnecessary overhang at the front of a vehicle as the wind can rip the roof racks right off a car.
Check load — Always check a load at regular intervals, pushing and pulling on the load in every direction to ensure it is snug and has not loosened during the drive.
Adjust speed — Loading a rooftop with weight changes the dynamics of a vehicle, so adjust the speed to avoid “lift,” to counter the new higher center of gravity, and to ensure the vehicle will stop in time when braking.
Clearances — Take note of overhead clearances, like in underground parking garages. It is surprisingly easy to forget, and will result in a bitter end to a weekend adventure. One idea is to put a post-it on the window screen with an arrow pointing up.
No bumper — Avoid attaching the loads to a bumper because it can rip it right off.
Weight limits — Make sure a rooftop load isn’t too heavy. The vehicle and roof racks will have a maximum carrying weight, which is always determined by the vehicle manufacturer.
Use straps — Tie-down straps are best, while bungee cords should be a no-go as they allow shift. Ratchet or rapid locking straps are a variation of tie-down straps and are easy to use and allow tension to be created easily.
Flag — If there is an overhang at the rear of the vehicle, then attach a red flag to the load to bring people’s attention to it to avoid accidents with cars and pedestrians.
Special carriers — Special items, like recreation equipment, require special rack attachments for kayaks, bikes, boats and similar items.
For more information on the Rhino-Rack range, visit www.rhinorack.com.
SOURCE: Rhino-Rack press release