Head to Heads & Advice 

Essential Auto 101: Roof Rack Types

So! You’ve decided to make your vehicle your steadfast companion on your outdoor adventures. You know that you need a roof rack for maximum cargo capacity, but there are a plethora of options to choose from. Before you make a decision based only on what’s available on retail shelves, take a look at these roof rack types. Choosing the right roof rack for your vehicle and your needs is a breeze with the right information at your fingertips.


  • Raised Rail Roof RacksThese racks are perhaps one of the most commonly seen on the road and offer a good deal of versatility concerning choosing a cross bar. These racks run from the front to the back on the outer edges of the vehicle’s roof, and are often seen on vehicles like SUVs and wagons. Raised rail roof racks are typically factory-installed and look as sleek and utilitarian as they actually are.


  • Flush Rail Roof Racks – Flush rail racks have only newly been introduced and do not have any space between the rail and the roof. They give you the ability to choose your cross bar through the use of a groove system, and boast an innovative style that will attract attention as you embark upon your travels.


  • roof rackRain Gutter Roof Racks – While the flush rail roof racks may be new, the rain gutter roof racks have been around for decades. These racks are great for full-sized cargo vehicles or passenger vans. Running parallel from front to back in strips, these racks look the way you would expect them to, and have evolved marvelously with the changing advancements in roof rack technology.


  • Fixed Point Roof Racks – If you’re looking for a roof rack that can only be seen when you want it to be seen, fixed point roof racks feature the style for you. Usually found on the outer edge of the roof with two points on each side, these racks are subtle and professional.


  • Track Roof Racks – Also a type of roof rack that stays true to its name, tracks run from front to back on the outer areas and look and act much like a regular track. Some cars and some camper shells come with these racks installed already, but they are relatively easy to custom-install for those that are looking to add them on.


  • Bare Roof Racks – Ideal for cars without factory-installed racks of any sort, the bare roof rack is extremely popular and very common on both cars and trucks alike. Bare roof racks come in a variety of sizes and shapes given the different contours of different roofs.

Every AutoNation dealership location is committed to providing you with not only the accessory that you require but also the information you need. When you start exploring your choices for roof racks, stick to OEM racks available from dealerships specific to your car brand to ensure the roof rack safely works with the OEM engineered mounting points. Make sure that you’re getting the correct roof rack for your vehicle by using AutoNation’s helpful and knowledgeable parts staff. Call or stop by at any time to see your available options and get them installed.

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