If it’s too big to fit in your Ford, it can probably still fit on top of your Ford, right? While that solution seems great on paper, in theory, there are a few problems that can arise. Let’s talk about these problems and find the solutions that will allow you to carry all of your gear or equipment wherever you go.
Problem #1 – Weight
Scroll on some outdoor adventurer’s Instagram site, and you’d be led to believe that you can just go out and put a rooftop tent on your vehicle. Most vehicles aren’t designed to carry heavy loads on their roofs, and they have a roof weight limit, no matter what type of rack system you use.
Even a camp chair and loaded cooler can exceed that limit, and putting a lot of weight above your vehicle’s ideal centre of gravity will affect its heavy braking, crosswinds and ability to safely navigate high-speed turns. And that’s just on the road. Loading up your roof and venturing off the beaten trail can cause a rollover or just overburden your suspension.
Problem #2 – Aerodynamics
Carrying a lot of stuff on top of your Ford can also impair its aerodynamic performance, which can result in more noise inside your car, and a greatly reduced fuel economy. That may be bearable for a trip to the nearest Home Depot, but if you travel with your roof rack all year round as most people do, you’re going to pay the price every time you drive.
So, if you really have to carry stuff on your roof, then you’re going to need to start looking at some Ford roof racks. But figuring out which one will work best for you is half the work.
If you already have rails and a crossbar on your Ford, then you might only need some equipment that can strap the crossbars. If you have rails, then you’ll need crossbars on top of the equipment that connects to them. If you have a vehicle without rails, like most sedans, then you’ll need crossbars and towers, plus the equipment to connect all that to your vehicle.
When making such modifications to your vehicle, prioritise ease of installing and removing the product. Again, you want to pull those Ford roof racks off your vehicle whenever you’re not using them to save yourself some money on fuel. Also, consider the accessorisation and modularity potential of whichever roof rack system you go for. Some manufacturers make crossbars that are available for most vehicles and can take any gear basket, roof box or bike rack made from the same manufacturer, ensuring easy compatibility and use.
If your Ford is your workhorse, and you’re going to be driving around with your roof rack packed with tools and equipment, then you’ll want to look at some of the permanent Ford roof racks. This will provide you with the most load potential, versatility and space, plus the ability to permanently mount other accessories like working lights, etc. But keep in mind, installing a permanent rack means paying more at the fuel pump every time. For that reason, look for a low-profile roof rack that minimises the fuel economy losses.
No matter which direction you go, your first priority should always be strapping your load securely. there are purpose-designed mounts that make it easy to do so. if you plan on doing everything yourself, make sure you find the stablest way to place whatever you’re trying to carry on the bars. If you don’t have a mount, bicycles, for example, are best-loaded upside down with the seat on one handlebar and the handlebars on the other. If you can place something on the crossbars with decent stability, then your chances of safely and successfully transporting it on your roof are much higher.
I personally use ratcheting tie-downs for the best possible security. Pull-to-tighten straps and knots never get as tight and stand a higher chance of loosening. Use one strap per crossbar and ensure your load is secure when braking and cornering. If you don’t want to get your vehicle’s paint messed up, make sure nothing comes in contact with it. Twist, shake and bounce the load once you’ve secured it, and adjust it accordingly.
Also, you have to consider theft, especially if you’re going to drive around expensive equipment and items like skis, bikes and boards. Many mounts feature or give you the option for small locks, which are great for preventing casual theft. However, these won’t be good enough to stop a determined thief who has the tools and the time to use them. Unfortunately, nothing you can attach to the roof is going to prevent that from happening, so consider getting your things inside the house or hotel, and try to park in places where you can see your vehicle when you’re away from it.