How To Care For Your Car's Roof Racks

If you've ever taken your car on a vacation or camping trip, it probably had roof racks installed to give you extra storage capacity over the summer. Whether you're an avid outdoor enthusiast or simply looking for more space on family road trips, roof racks or bike racks are an essential part of many vehicles. But like anything else attached to your vehicle, the bike rack or roof rack require proper care and maintenance to ensure longevity and reliability when needed. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips for taking good care of your car's roof racks so that they can continue to serve you well into the future.

Remove Your Car's Roof Rack for Cleaning and Inspection

Removing your car's roof rack may seem daunting, but it is a necessary step in caring for your vehicle. An automatic car wash on a car with a roof rack may damage the components. Regular cleaning and inspection of your roof racks will help extend their lifespan and ensure their safety while carrying your cargo.

First, ensure your vehicle is parked on a level surface and set the emergency brake. Locate the mounting points for your rooftop carrier and remove any locking devices holding them in place. Then, carefully lift the roof rack off your car's roof and place it on a soft, clean surface.

Before cleaning your roof rack, inspect it for any signs of damage, such as rust, cracks, or loose bolts. If you notice any problems, address them immediately to prevent further damage and ensure your safety on the road.

Remove any dirt or debris with a soft-bristled brush or cloth to clean your roof racks. Then, use a mild detergent and warm water to clean the racks thoroughly. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or brushes, as they can scratch the surface of the racks and compromise their durability.

Use the Right Cleaning Product

The cleaning product you use can make all the difference when it comes to maintaining and caring for your car's roof rack. It is important to choose the right cleaning solution specifically designed for roof racks, as using the wrong product can cause damage to the material.

Before you begin cleaning your roof rack, removing any loose dirt and debris using a brush or cloth is important. Once the surface is dirt-free, you can use a cleaning solution to remove any stubborn grime or stains.

When selecting a cleaning product for your roof racks, look for one that is pH-neutral and does not contain harsh chemicals such as bleach or ammonia. These chemicals can cause the material to degrade over time, leaving your car rooftop carriers vulnerable to cracking or deterioration.

Several different cleaning solutions are available on the market, including specialized roof rack cleaners and car shampoos that are safe for use on all parts of your vehicle. Read the product labels carefully and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Once you have applied the cleaning solution, use a soft sponge or cloth to gently wipe down the surface of your roof racks. Using the right cleaning product and handling your roof racks, you can keep them in top condition and extend their lifespan. 


To ensure that your car's roof racks are functioning smoothly, it is essential to lubricate the joints and fittings. Lubrication reduces friction and prevents rusting, which can lead to long-term damage. Use silicone-based lubricants or spray-on rust inhibitors to coat the roof racks and tighten loose parts. Wipe any excess to prevent dirt and debris from sticking to the lubricant. It is recommended to lubricate your roof racks at least twice a year or more if you frequently travel long distances or in harsh weather conditions.

Don't Overload

Overloading your car's roof racks can result in irreparable damage and pose a serious safety hazard. Every car has a maximum weight capacity for its roof racks, which should not be exceeded. Overloading can cause swaying, instability, and increase wind resistance, leading to decreased fuel efficiency. Always check your car's manual to know the exact weight capacity and distribute the load evenly across the racks. Heavier items should be placed in the center, while lighter items can be on the sides. Also, secure the items properly with tie-downs or straps to prevent them from moving while driving.

Beware of Car-Washes

Your car's roof racks are an essential accessory that allows you to carry extra luggage on the top of your vehicle. But these roof racks are often exposed to the elements and can collect dirt and grime. Many car owners decide to take their cars to the car wash with roof racks on. An automatic car wash can cause severe damage to your roof rack cargo box, as the mechanism used for cleaning can create scrapes, scratches, and even break off parts of the rack. It is advisable to go for a manual car wash instead of automatic car washes. Use a soft brush and mild detergent to avoid any damage caused by automated car washes to your car's roof racks. Touchless car washes can be a safe option if you have a fixed car roof. In this way, you can keep your car clean.

Can You Go Through A Car Wash With Roof Racks?

Car owners often wonder whether it is safe to go through a car wash with roof rack on. The answer is a bit complicated, as it depends on the type of roof rack and the car wash you choose.

If you have a removable roof rack, it is best to take it off before going through car washes. This ensures that it won't get damaged and avoids the risk of water getting underneath it and causing rust. However, if you have a fixed roof rack, you might not have the option to remove it.

If you have a fixed roof rack, you must be careful about the car wash you choose. Touchless car wash is generally safe to use with roof racks, as it uses high-pressure water jets to clean the car, which should not damage the roof rack. However, it is best to avoid automatic car washes that use brushes or cloth strips and other car wash equipment, as these can often snag on the roof rack and cause damage. Plus, do not use drive-through car washes, as they can also damage roof bars, roof rails, and other parts.

It is also worth considering the height of your vehicle when you go through a car wash. If your car is particularly tall, it might not fit in certain car washes, and attempting to force it through could result in damage to the roof rack or the car itself. Always check the height restrictions of the car wash before using it.


Car roof racks are a great way to carry heavier items safely and securely. After learning about the importance of making sure your racks are in good shape, you can now do simple maintenance on a regular basis. Make sure to always inspect for corrosion, check the tightness of all connection points, and look out for broken or worn pieces. Today's cars come with different kinds of roof racks and accessories that require different levels of maintenance, but following the right steps can help ensure they serve you as long as possible. Proper car care is an easy thing to take care of yourself if you know how; taking a few moments to inspect your car's roof rack will go a long way when it comes to keeping it functioning properly!