3 Reasons Why You Should Never Say Yes to the Factory Roof Rack When Buying a New Car

Finding a vehicle you love with all the right accessories can be difficult, especially when you want to make sure you have accessories that meet a specific purpose. A roof rack is a necessary accessory for those who wish to travel or carry large objects. However, getting the optional factory-installed roof rack may not be the best option for your needs when it comes to roof racks.

Aftermarket roof racks can be a better option for those who have specific needs when it comes to the cargo they haul, such as kayaks, bicycles, or other heavy equipment. Choosing between a factory-installed roof rack and an aftermarket rack system for your specific needs comes down to comparing compatibility, price, and weight limits so you can find the system that works best for your needs.

Weight limits on factory roof racks are not for everyone

Luggage on roof racks on a red vehicle.
Roof racks | MotorBiscuit

For most factory-installed roof racks, the aesthetics are often more important than the function. Many factory roof racks have weight limits far lower than other roof rack options available. If you intend to use your roof rack to carry any cargo, you will need a weight capacity to handle what you want to use it for.

The total weight capacity of a roof rack should exceed what you plan to carry. You must also consider the types of storage you will be using. If you are using a cargo box on your roof rack, you have to consider the weight of the box plus the weight of the cargo that you plan to put in it. It is the same with those who use roof racks for sports equipment, such as kayaks, skis, or bicycles.

The cost of a factory-installed roof rack vs. other options

If you are shopping for a new car or SUV and want to include a roof rack that is factory installed, you may find it hard to get this option alone. Instead, most vehicle manufacturers package roof racks with other accessories and features that you may not want. This raises the total cost of your vehicle and makes the roof rack more expensive because of the additional accessories you have to purchase with it.

Aftermarket roof racks are typically less expensive and provide you with many more options in terms of weight capacity, accessories, and other features. The biggest downside to a factory rack is that it is made for one specific make and model of vehicle—you won’t be able to transfer it to another vehicle if you want. An aftermarket roof rack gives you the flexibility to transfer part of all of a roof rack to a different car, saving you time and money when you want to transport a variety of cargo on your vehicle.

Compatibility of accessory attachments


Here’s the Right Way to Tie Things to Your Roof Rack

A factory roof rack is often not compatible with aftermarket roof rack systems for the specific accessories you need for different types of cargo. When it comes to what a manufacturer offers for factory racks, you will find that many accessories are not available.

Some accessories from aftermarket systems may work on a factory rack but often don’t fit quite as well or give you the security you need to make your cargo safe. Aftermarket rack systems provide a wide range of accessories that fit a specific base rack system, giving you the option to switch out accessories that work best for different types of cargo you want to carry.