The roof rack is an essential part of your vehicle. It carries all your large equipment to wherever you’re going. Yet for something so important it’s amazing how much people neglect it. People have this habit of completely ignoring any proper maintenance. It’s only when something goes wrong they start to pay attention to their roof rack. You should inspect it every six months at least.
You Get What You Pay For
Like with most things in life, you get what you pay for. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money and you opt for the cheapest roof rack you can find, you’ll find it breaks regularly. The ironic thing about it is by going for the low cost option you can actually end up paying more in maintenance fees because you have to keep dealing with problems.
You also need to consider the stability of your items. It’s not just the cost of your rack you have to take into account. If a poor quality rack suddenly breaks down and releases whatever you’re carrying, you could have to pay quite a significant amount for the equipment. Overall, this can cost you much more than if you had just settled on a slightly more expensive rack originally.
Go for the bigger brand names. They didn’t gain such a positive reputation for no reason. It’s because they constantly deliver quality through longevity.
Removing and Cleaning the Rack
You don’t need any specialist cleaning liquid to clean your rack. An old rag and some warm, soapy water is enough. Give it a clean every so often. If you’re using it on a regular basis you should clean it more. And if you keep it in storage for the winter you should clean it before fitting it to your vehicle again.
During your cleaning, you should inspect the rack for any signs of rust and corrosion. If it’s damaged you’re putting your equipment at risk.
The Bolts and Locks
The immediate problem with the majority of these racks is the bolts and locks. These tend to start to deteriorate before anything else. If you can see any signs of corrosion it’s time to replace them. You can find the correct size bolt from your local hardware store or the manufacturer themselves. Have a supply of these in your car with you when you travel just in case.
Tighten them each time you detach the rack for cleaning. They tend to come loose over time.
The Straps and Buckles
Another vulnerable part of your rack is the straps and buckles. These can easily fray and wear away. Since they’re so important for the stability of your bike or kayak, you should inspect these each time you use them. Again, if you’re travelling you should have some replacements just in case you need to replace something.
Roof racks are like most things with cars, they don’t take any time at all to maintain. It’s just a matter of avoiding carelessness. Get into the habit of inspecting your rack every time you use it and you won’t have to replace it for many years.