Did you just buy a rooftop carrier because you’re heading on a trip and are packing more stuff than you thought you would? Car top carriers can be a dream for a growing family. So all is going well except you found out that none of the reviews disclosed the dang car top carrier wind noise!
Arghhh! The annoying noise of the wind hitting the carrier. Or maybe there are some straps that always seem to come loose no matter how you strap them down. We have all been there and it can be a royal pain in the butt. This can happen if you are hauling something more awkward like bicycles or kayaks. Luckily there are things that can be done to minimize or even eliminate the sound altogether.
Let’s Understand How Does The Wind Noise Occur
Driving your car will create wind hitting the front of your car creating drag and turbulence. Carmakers try to minimize this drag to maximize MPG, create a smoother ride, and reduce car top carrier wind noise. There are many benefits to each of these things and it is well worth maximizing these benefits.
But when you add a car-top carrier it dramatically increases the drag. Think when you stick your hand out of the window while you are driving on the freeway. Now think if you hold a cup outside the window. It may slip out of your hands instantly and fly away. This drag is easily increased with even minor changes.
So when you put a cartop carrier on your roof you are adding a major wind block. That is why some people opt for a teardrop-shaped rooftop carrier, or they may add a fairing. These can really reduce the wind drag.
The turbulence generated by the nonsmooth lines of your vehicle will increase drag as well, and turbulence can contribute more to road noise than increased drag. The air is violently trying to move past your car and it can create quite a bit of noise in the process.
So now that we know why a car-top carrier causes more road noise to your vehicle let’s see how we can minimize this annoyance.
Check Your Rooftop Carrier Mounting System
If you purchased a generic “one size fits all” type roof rack you may have some trouble getting it to fit correctly. Make sure there are no loose parts or connections that seem to be installed correctly but may not fit right.
There are different types of fittings and you should only buy a square fitting if you have a square rack. Oval is more common and the fit of the rooftop rack connectors can vary wildly. Some of the higher-end car top carriers will have multiple connectors to give you the best options for getting a reliable and quiet rack.
Once you are confident the installation is 100% correct and there are no manufacturer’s defects with the rooftop carrier then you should move to the next troubleshooting step.
Can You Fit Roof Bars To Any Car?
You can fit rooftop bars to any car as long as they are designed for a universal fit and the right mounts are used. On cheaper rooftop carriers the mounting hardware can be cheap plastic that can break easily, or may not provide a secure fit. This means you may have some movement with your racks and this causes rattling or vibrations.
If you buy a rooftop carrier then you may want to look into buying some mounts separately if you cannot get a great fit. Mounts designed for your car will work much better than a generic fit.
How Do You Stop A Roof Bar Making Noise? Tips & Tricks
- Buy an aerodynamic cartop carrier
- Using proper fit mounting hardware
- Install a front fairing or wind deflector
- Test the positioning of the rack and adjust back and forth
- Make sure the carrier does not have loose articles sliding around
- Lower set cargo makes less noise and a shorter carrier will help
Buying a teardrop-shaped cartop carrier can make the biggest difference. A square carrier is much noisier than a teardrop shape because the air moves smoother around the roof than being hit more straight on with a flat-faced square carrier. If you are buying a rooftop rack then one set lower may be a better buy. They install lower and will create less drag.
Using the right mounting hardware can be the cheapest and easiest fix. If your carrier does not come with the right ones then Amazon has many that should fit any car.
A front fairing is the easiest fix but it isn’t the cheapest one. If you have an older rooftop carrier and it makes a racket then a wind deflector, or front fairing, may be your best shot. It can add years of life to your cartop carrier and greatly reduce road noise. The reduced wind contact can reduce the normal wear and tear with a fairing.
You will want to play with the position of the cartop carrier as well. If there are ways to adjust your personal carrier then you will want to try out all the different settings until you are able to lock in the best positioning that will cause the least car top carrier wind noise.
Pro tip: The more noise your cartop carrier makes the more gas you are wasting. Noise is an indicator of the amount of drag you are creating.
When you are packing you will want to start with packing the nonessential things in the rooftop carrier. This way you are sure to fill the carrier up full and prevent anything from moving around.
Remember what they say every time you fly during the pre-flight instructions. This way you will minimize the amount of stuff you have down below inside your truck so you can have the most room possible. Comfort is second to none.
How Do I Stop My Roof Rack Straps From Vibrating?
If you can, pull the straps inside your door and shut it. They will stay taut and eliminate vibration. The reason straps vibrate is because the wind is hitting them and they are moving back and force rapidly causing a really annoying sound. If the straps don’t fit then try to secure them from moving while driving. Some people twist them together. Others wrap them to another strap until they run out.
Buying a rooftop carrier can be a wonderful upgrade. Its function is sometimes worth its weight in gold. But all that is negated if the damn thing is buzzing and moving and causing all sorts of noise. This can be the worst thing when taking a road trip with the family. Luckily there are things you can do to reduce or eliminate car top carrier wind noise and it is easier and cheaper than you think.
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Thanks for reading and stay dirty