What Is A Headache Rack? Save Your Noggin!

  • A headache rack is a metal frame that attaches to the front of your truck and provides protection for you, your passengers, and anyone else on the road

  • A headache rack with bars is a great choice if you want to carry heavy equipment such as ladders, lumber, or other cargo that requires support

  • Headache racks received their name because they keep tools and materials from breaking into the cab through the rear window or even crushing the truck cabin

Headache racks received their name because they keep tools and materials from breaking into the truck cab through the rear window or even crushing the truck cabin. By preventing items from coming through the rear window, they also protect passengers in the cab from being struck in the back of the head, which would cause a massive headache.

With some workers in industries, headache racks are vital. They have saved many lives and will save many more. They can be the first accessory bought for some trucks. Their utility also extends to storage, mounting for additional lights, radios, or signaling equipment. I break down what exactly is a headache rack if you need one, and how to buy one.

Source: CL7 Metal Works

A headache rack is a metal frame that attaches to the front of your truck and provides protection for you, your passengers, and anyone else on the road. They are also known as bull bars or brush guards.

The purpose of these trucks racks is to stop debris from getting thrown up on the windshield during off-roading or other types of driving conditions. They can also protect you in case another vehicle crashes into you by absorbing some of their momenta.

You can choose between many different styles, shapes, and finishes for your truck. Headache racks are usually metal, but some builders use high-density plastic to lower the cost of manufacture. Some designs allow you to hold lights or mount extra gear to the truck rack itself. Larger racks might even have room for a spare tire underneath them.

You might be wondering where you can get one of these racks for your truck. The best option is to shop online. It’s cheaper, and you will have more choices in terms of style, design, and materials. When you purchase a rack through an impartial third-party site like Amazon or eBay.

The prices are usually better than they would be at a brick-and-mortar store. At some retailers, you may end up paying more for the rack than you would pay for your truck!

What Is A Headache Rack?

A headache rack, cab protector, or cab guard is a rack or grill that sits just behind your pickup truck cabin in the truck bed. They design it to protect the truck cabin from your stuff sliding forward from the cab. Also, you can attach and load things to the rack for storage or secure cargo to the truck bed.

Commonly used with tow trucks or repossession (repo) trucks to protect the driver and passenger from the towed vehicle. vehicles are attached with straps and chains, but they are not 100% failsafe. There have been instances where the straps came loose, failed, or were simply not attached and the vehicle being towed has crashed into the truck cabin.

With a truck headache rack, there is added protection from serious injury. No one wants to get a car bumper to the back of the head when slamming on the breaks. Talk about a real headache.

Backrack’s is a brand that offers similar units that mount above the truck bed that give you more room if you have a pickup truck toolbox or a bed cover.

Do I Need A Headache Rack?

Source: Spyder Industries

You need a headache rack if you commonly carry large and heavy cargo in your truck bed. Cargo is never 100% safe and it can shift when in motion. There is not a lot of protection between the truck bed and the truck cabin so a headache rack can really protect the driver and passengers.

When dealing with a potential injury a headache rack can be very cheap insurance. A worst-case scenario could be a piece of heavy cargo jostling loose while driving and then applying the brakes the shifting cargo moves quickly and hits the driver in the head and then loses control of the vehicle. That is not a scenario anyone sane would appreciate.

Headache racks also provide an additional source of support to attach and secure belongings. You can store items frequently used tools in convenient locations that otherwise need to be stored loose in the bed, inside the truck, or forgotten at home.

Are Headache Racks Universal?

There are custom headache racks that can fit a wide range of trucks. With some modifications, you can get a generic truck headache rack to fit any truck.

You can find many options that are designed for your specific truck. But there are universal options available that will fit most if not all trucks. The best option is a custom option that fits all your needs but you should look for a headache rack to fit your specific pickup truck. This will provide the best function and look.

Headache racks are generally the same style. They feature horizontal support bars that attach to the front of your truck bed. The biggest differences are the material used, weld quality, and design.

The materials used are steel and aluminum. They use (stainless) steel for the more economical models and for higher-end models they use aluminum.

Weld quality will obviously vary depending on price. More economical models will have less than ideal welds which will contribute to bending and cracking around seals and intersections.

Design can vary more than the other previously mentioned features of the headache racks. Some have lights, some have bars or punch plates, some extend down into the truck bed, and some rest above the truck bed if you want to use a truck bed cover or a truck toolbox.

How To Choose The Right Type Of Headache Rack

Chrome headache racks are stylish and attractive so they come in a wide range of colors to match any decor. These sleek additions keep your vehicle looking great while also protecting your cargo. If you are looking for a custom headache rack that sports style, then this is the one to go with!

Chrome racks are made of durable stainless steel racks so they last through heavy use without bending or breaking. They are easy to attach and detach if needed because of their custom-fit design. You can find these types of headache racks for your vehicle online and in most automotive retail stores.

A headache rack with bars is a great choice if you want to carry heavy equipment such as ladders, lumber, or other cargo that requires support. Truck headache rakes with bars include an attachable gate so you can easily open and close it when not in use.

These racks also come in a variety of colors and finishes so you can find one that matches your pickup truck. If the look and feel of these headache racks for trucks appeal to you, then all you need to do is search through different models until you find one you like.

Heavy Duty Headache Racks

Diamond plate headache racks are strong and sturdy so they provide excellent support for heavy loads or equipment. They come in different colors and designs so you can find one that matches your style.

Heavier loads require stronger racks, which is why diamond plate racks for trucks are a great choice. They attach to the top of your truck pickup bed and provide superior support while also protecting the interior from accidents or spills when carrying cargo. Diamond plate headache rakes are also very durable so they will last for many years.

The designs are endless when it comes to headache racks for trucks. If you are looking for something that is more modern or sleek then chrome pates will be the perfect addition to your truck. You can find one that matches your vehicle or just choose one that looks great and fits your needs.

If you want a headache rack that is practical and stylish, then chrome racks for your truck are a great choice. They look great and come in a variety of colors so you can find one that matches your style perfectly. They provide excellent protection from the elements as well as keep out any unwanted eyes or peeping toms.

If you need a headache rack that will hold a lot of cargo then diamond plate racks are a perfect choice. They attach with ease and provide maximum support for your truck’s bed. Be sure to choose one that suits your needs and doesn’t forget to search for a discount code before you make your purchase!

Can You Use A Tonneau Cover With A Backrack?

Yes, you can. Backrack is a brand that makes headache racks that are compatible with certain covers. These racks do not reach into the truck bed. The Backrack truck rack installs on the back of the truck’s cabin and site above the bed giving room to install them.

Fit is not perfect and compatibility is not 100%. Backrack.com has a page to spec out each model with all the major truck models. But Backrack will offer an option for each truck with a Tonneau cover or tool box.

For example, Backrack offers a “low profile” installation kit that will work on the Safety Rack 10500 model with a 31-inch tool box for the 2014 Ford F-150 with a 6.5-foot bed. You should be able to find an option that works with your setup.


Are Headache Racks Required On Some Trucks?

There are no federal or state laws that dictate the public use of a headache rack though it is a common and wise option. I have stated before that it is cheap insurance as you can spend a few hundred dollars on one and never have to use it at all.

Or, possibly you can skip buying a headache rack and have a large object come and give you an unhealthy concussion while driving your truck at freeway speeds. It is your life and you are in control of it. Decide on what is the best option for your daily use.

There are many options for headache racks on the market. They all can offer a lot more safety and protection from outside objects. Most people do opt for them. But what is a headache rack? Maybe the name is just a warning. Without one, you may get a very bad headache, and with one, you can easily avoid a headache.

Main Takeaways – Purpose Of A Headache Rack

Headache racks are a great way to protect the interior of your truck from items you might load up on top. If you’ve ever had an item fly off and hit someone, or if something has fallen through the bed onto your front seats, then this is for you!

You can find headache racks in many different styles depending on what type of pickup truck you have. There are also some that will help with storage by adding shelving below it.

I love headache racks and they are starting to make a comeback. They come stock on a lot of trucks, especially on a work truck. I have had my headache rack for many years now and it’s like brand new. Before I bought the headache rack, let me tell you about the things that would fly off of my truck!

I had an old aluminum ladder that I used for my work. This particular day it was windy, so of course, it didn’t want to stay on the truck bed. Halfway through my morning job, I look in my rearview mirror or out the rear cab window and see the melting remains of my once new ladder lying in pieces on the highway behind me. I was so mad! There were very few pieces left because it went from 75mph to 0 in a second.

Thanks for reading and stay dirty


Heavy Duty Truck Racks
CL7 Metal Works