A Comprehensive Guide to Purchasing Car Roof Boxes
Car roof boxes are a practical and versatile accessory that can greatly enhance your travel experiences. Whether you need extra storage space for camping gear, sports equipment, or luggage, a roof box can provide a convenient solution. In this guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know before buying a car roof box, including key considerations, types of roof boxes, installation, and maintenance tips.
A car roof box is a cargo storage container designed to be mounted on the roof of a vehicle, providing additional space for transporting various items. A car roof box expands your vehicle's storage capacity, allowing you to carry more items comfortably. It keeps your interior clutter-free, ensures passenger comfort, and offers an ideal solution for long journeys or outdoor activities.
Are car roof boxes compatible with all vehicles?
No, car roof boxes require roof bars or a roof rack system for installation. Ensure that your vehicle has the necessary infrastructure to support a roof box before purchasing.
What factors should I consider when buying a car roof box?
Key factors to bear in mind include capacity, aerodynamics, ease of installation, security features, material durability, and compatibility with your vehicle's roof rack. The first thing to consider is how the roof box will connect to your vehicle.
If you don’t own any roof bars yet, you will need to ensure you get the correct set for your vehicle before doing anything else. Once you know what roof bars you will be fitting to the vehicle, or if you already own a set, most roof boxes will be compatible straight away, however it’s always best to check the details in any listing to see how the box will fit. Most modern roof boxes come with quick fixing systems that fit around roof bars up to 80mm wide, meaning they should fit almost any set of roof bars on the market. Although it can look good to match, you won’t necessarily need to buy the same brand of roof bars and roof box as most will be cross-compatible.
What are the weight limitations for a car roof box?
Weight limitations vary depending on the model and your vehicle's roof rack capacity. Roof boxes will have a volume figure displayed, with most somewhere between 350-450 litres but some going up beyond 600 litres! However, it can be hard to imagine the size of the box based on the volume figure alone, so it’s best to check the exact measurements too. Boxes will also have a load capacity listed, usually between 50-100kg.
It can be tempting to cram as much into the box as possible, but the car itself will have a load limit and it’s vitally important to not overload the roof. Remember to count the weight of the roof box as part of the overall load too! When loading the box, it’s best to keep an even weight distribution and heavier objects at the bottom and middle of the box. Straps can be used to keep items in place and secure during the journey. Check the specifications provided by the manufacturer to determine the maximum weight the roof box can safely carry.
How do I choose the right shape/size for a car roof box?
How do I install a car roof box?
Installation procedures may vary, but typically, you will need to secure the roof box to the roof rack using t-track adaptors that attach to the bottom of your roof box and slide through the middle of your fixed roof rack systems or by using u-clamps that attach to the roof box and wrap around the roof bars in a loop. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for specific guidelines.
Can I access my roof box while it's installed?
Yes, most car roof boxes are designed with dual side opening systems, allowing convenient access to your stored items without removing the entire box. Basic boxes will likely have a single-side opening, or perhaps even a rear opening. Whilst this works as a way of loading and unloading items into the box, a rear opening may not be suitable for a long vehicle and is best suited to small hatchbacks.
A dual-side opening box offers the best solution and is especially useful for travelling abroad, as you can access the contents from either side of the car. If you can reach your vehicle roof to lift the lid up then access should not be a problem, otherwise a handy stool or perching on your car door trim may provide an added boost.
Are car roof boxes secure against theft?
Most car roof boxes come with built-in locks to deter theft. Ensure that the model you choose has robust locking mechanisms for enhanced security. A double centralised locking system which comes with keys tends to be the best solution for most users on the road.
Can I leave a car roof box on my vehicle permanently?
It is generally recommended to detach the roof box when not in use to reduce wind resistance and potential damage. Although modern roof boxes are designed with aerodynamics in mind, they will all negatively impact the fuel economy so it’s best to remove the box when it’s not required. However, some models may be suitable for extended periods of use. Refer to the manufacturer's guidelines for specific recommendations.
Is material an important factor when choosing a car roof box?
Is colour an important factor when choosing a car roof box?
While the colour or material of a roof box may not be essential, it can still be a factor worth considering. Typically, most boxes come in a sleek gloss black finish, which tends to complement almost any car on the road. However, for those seeking a touch of uniqueness, alternative options are available. Shades such as grey, silver, or white offer a subtle departure from the traditional black, providing a sophisticated and versatile look. Ultimately, while the colour may not impact the functionality of the roof box, it can enhance the overall aesthetics and reflect the owner's personal taste.
How do I look after and store a car roof box?
What are the different types of car roof boxes available?
Can I install multiple roof boxes on my vehicle?
In some cases, it may be possible to install multiple roof boxes if your vehicle and roof rack can accommodate the additional weight and dimensions. Consult the manufacturer's guidelines for compatibility and safety information.