There is one key aspect of traveling, and that is to carry all our essential items with us. We often take months to pack everything important.

It is so much excitement involved in carefully planning our holidays. Moreover, we need to decide what we should carry and what we need not.

Roof racks are such an essential part of our long-distance travel that there is no way around it. We can carry everything. All we need to do is tie the articles to our roof, and we have a secure way of carrying our stuff from Point A to point B.

The answer to why are roof racks so expensive is rather simple. The flexibility and ease of use are the key reasons why.

However, it is not that simple, right? There must be some other reasons attributable to its pricing. Roof Racks are sturdy and durable and are made of strong materials that do not come cheap.

Moreover, its versatility, ease of use, flexibility, features, and engineering answers to our question. Let us now quickly go through the reasons for which roof racks become so expensive by the time it reaches market consumers.

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Why are roof racks so expensive, anyway?

roof racks

Roof racks may look simple, but in reality, there is a lot of deliberation and research put behind them. And why shouldn’t there be? There is so much responsibility for a roof rack.

Essential items are not always portable because of their size. Moreover, there can be so many important things that you may be typing up on your rack.

Roof racks are designed, keeping in mind that nothing falls off it while traveling. Moreover, the sheer loading capacity and longevity comes from the use of such materials which can carry your stuff safely.

When we are traveling, we would not want to hold ourselves back on any account. We rock the stereo and drive fast. Safety has its place, and travel time fun has its considerations. So here we are traveling at 100 knots per hour.

We would not want to slow down for anything. Well, roof racks are perfect road companions when it comes to aerodynamics. The roof racks are known to help in cutting through the air and travel faster.

Better aerodynamics can save a lot of fuel while traveling too! However, not all roof racks are designed to suit aerodynamics. The better ones are designed in such fashion that they are not taxing to your car’s mileage.

The choice of materials used while manufacturing a quality roof rack is important. Since roof racks are required to be strong, sturdy, and durable, they cannot be made using cheap plastic. On the other hand, they cannot be or should not be made with very heavy material either.

If the roof rack is too heavy, it will create the same problem of dragging at higher speeds. That means difficulty in gliding through the air and decreased mileage. Aluminum seems to be one such material that is both lightweight and sturdy for more prolonged use.

High-quality materials do not come cheap, and that is why this factor increases its cost.

Mind you that roof racks are designed not to touch the roof of your car for various reasons. One for starters is to ensure that your roof remains a scratchless base, and the paint remains where it is supposed to. However, some contact points keep the roof racks safely attached to the car.

If the weight distribution is not effectively managed across all the contact points of the roof racks, it will cause difficulty. The problem with uneven weight distribution is that one or several parts will bend during travel and will cause damage to the roof of the car.

Moreover, higher speeds tend to put a lot of pressure on these contact points. If the material used and the weight distributions are not on point, there will be issues.

So when we ask why are roof racks so expensive, we will now remember that designers and manufacturers keep in mind all of these factors. The sheer brilliance of engineering is why these roof racks are so costly.

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How much does a roof rack cost?

It is quite apparent that for such a multi-functional product, there will be a lot of manufacturers who dedicatedly produce roof racks. That is why roof racks differ in pricing based on multiple accounts. The brand, which is manufacturing such a product, is also essential.

However, pricing depends mainly on the quality of the product. The build quality, the cost of materials used in making these roof racks, the design, levels of engineering required, etc.

Some manufacturers have dedicated research & development teams, and the primary purpose is to figure out how to make roof racks strong, endurable, yet inexpensive.

Roof racks are of various types too, and the cheapest variety is the roof rack crossbar. The pricing of roof rack ranges somewhere between $50 to $250. The other variants are roof carriers and roof baskets, which range somewhere between $100 to $800.

You might be thinking of getting one of the two, perhaps the cheaper variant. But they have distinct yet connected work. They work together to help you transport your carriage better.

Roof cross bars are something that you cannot avoid because they form the base which attaches to your car. The cargo carriers, cargo baskets, and bike racks facilitate the easy carriage of your stuff from one place to the other.

How to make your own roof rack?

If you are into building things from scratch, then here is another situation where you can try your hands on. You will need a few items or materials before you step forward. To build a roof rack for yourself here is a list of special tools and materials which you will need:-

Note: Before we move forward, you should understand that DIYs are always based on improvisation. So do not hold back to improvise and figure out your ways of doing it. Most of the processes also depend upon the availability of resources, the size of your car, and such other variable factors.

Step-by-step Guide

  1. Cut the aluminum channels into appropriate lengths. Consider the length of the car as well as the width of the car while cutting.
  2. There are bolt holes on your car already. So make sure to expose them so that you can fix the aluminum channels on to your car’s roof.
  3. Use mounting bases (aluminum square tubing) on top of the channels to keep the crossbars at a higher pedestal. In that way, when you place something on the rack, it won’t scratch the roof of the car.
  4. Now it’s time for you to get the aluminum channels attached to your car’s roof.
  5. Make sure to cap those rail ends

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should anyone spend on Roof Racks?

Roof racks are widely available in the market, which makes choosing the correct one difficult. However, everything depends upon how important your stuff is to you. If you are a person who attaches the value of the product to its price, then you should probably get the latest and the most expensive one.

They are not to mention very good products. But it depends mostly on how much you are going to use it and how much stuff you will be carrying. If you are going to buy something more expensive than the amount of probable usage, it would be a bad investment. So, it depends on you and your preferences.

Are expensive roof racks simply better? Are they worth investing in?

As we said, it depends on how much you are going to use it. If you have regular inter-state or instr-state travels for which you are required to carry your heavy luggage, then buy an expensive one.

Well, first of all, these expensive car roof racks are made of excellent quality material. They will more than just serve the purpose. The robust engineering that goes behind making one of those expensive roof racks is immaculate. Moreover, we expect durability from expensive roof racks for sure.

Should I save more and get the cheaper roof racks instead?

You should probably choose this option only if you require a good enough product for once or hardly twice. In that way, an aluminum-based roof rack would be enough for you to carry your carriage across the state securely. However, the more durable ones are less likely to damage your vehicle paint and are safer for long-distance travel.


To conclude, you should probably get the one who checks all your tickboxes. If you are a frequent traveler, you should get yourself a more expensive roof rack. I hope this article answered your query, “Why are roof racks so expensive?”

Do not forget to be safe on-road and make sure to use security cables to tie your stuff to the roof rack in case they are luggage bags. It is advisable that you also get yourself a luggage carrier or a basket.

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