Installing a Roll Cage in Your Street Car Could Be Dangerous

If you’re planning to modify your car, then you’re likely planning to modify the engine for more power and the suspension for better handling. But have you considered adding more safety equipment? If so, then you may have considered adding a roll cage. However, you may want to think twice as it could be dangerous.

Why is adding a roll cage to your street car dangerous?

2010 Porsche 997 GT3 roll cage
2010 Porsche 997 GT3 roll cage | Wikimedia commons

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While installing a roll cage in your car is meant to add more rigidity to the chassis and increase its overall safety, you can potentially hit your head on it in an accident. Chris Platt of Safety Devices International told Road and Track, “If you’re going to have a roll cage in your car, you really need to have a harness. You really need to have a helmet on as well. As far as we are concerned, you shouldn’t be driving a vehicle with a roll cage in it without the correct protection for yourself.”

Of course, driving your street car around wearing a race helmet and harness just so that can have the added safety of a roll cage sounds like a bit much. However, that’s what the car would need in order to be deemed safe for any type of accident that can happen on the street.

A roll cage can do more harm than good in an accident

A roll cage in a race car
A roll cage in a race car. | Unsplash

While you might think that dressing up like a full-on race car driver for the sake of having a roll cage in your car is excessive, consider that the roll cage itself can become a weapon in some types of accidents. Road and Track notes that the roll cage “can deform in an accident.” The shock of the impact travels through the bars on the roll cage. At that point, the tubes can bend if the welded joints are up to par.

If the welds aren’t to par, however, then the roll cage won’t do its job properly. Also, if the welds make the roll cage too strong, then the bars can sheer and end up becoming “spears in your interior.” This is why it’s a good idea to have a roll cage professionally installed in your car as the type of welds is extremely important.

However, if you would rather build the roll cage yourself, then Platt recommends buying a kit with pre-bent bars to make the process easier and safer.

Don’t install a roll cage in your car solely for aesthetic purposes

Richard Petty sits in the cockpit of his NASCAR Cup car, which shows the roll cage.
Richard Petty sits in the cockpit of his NASCAR Cup car, which shows the roll cage. | ISC Images Archives via Getty Images

Given what we know now about installing roll cages in streetcars, it’s important to note that you should refrain from installing one for aesthetic purposes. Sure, it may look cool and have some added safety aspects, but installing a roll cage just for the look of it is unnecessary. Again, it could end up being dangerous in a crash and it will also cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 to get it installed. In both regards, it’s definitely not worth it.

But if you’re the type that brings your car to the track regularly, then installing a roll cage can make sense. If you primarily drive your car on the street, then you may be better off spending your money and time on other modifications for your car.

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