Whether your hauling skis and snowboards up to the mountains or kayaks down to the bayou, you need a roof rack that’s easy to use, durable, and going to get the job done. With the plethora of options out there, it’s hard to sort through and know what is going to work for your needs and your lifestyle.
So take a minute to consider what you want to haul, and what you might need to haul in the future, and use this guide to narrow down your focus. The best roof rack is the one that works best for you, so read on to learn how to find it!
What Do You Want to Carry?
The first thing you should consider when choosing a 4runner roof rack is: What am I going to carry? Knowing what kind of gear and equipment you need to haul will get you pointed in the right direction when searching for the right roof rack.
Do you need a roof rack basket for all sorts of miscellaneous items? Or a couple of crossbars for tie-down points and to mount a roof box? Will you be throwing bikes, kayaks, sailboats, on your roof? Or perhaps you’ll be taking the family up to the mountains for a ski trip?
Consider your primary purpose for getting a roof rack and start there. Many roof racks are modular and can fit different accessories. So if you develop new hobbies down the road, you won’t have to start from scratch again.
How Much Will It Cost?
Roof racks vary in price based on the make and model of your car, age of the vehicle, whether it’s new or used, materials, and function.
A used roof rack for an older 4runner can be picked up pretty inexpensively, maybe around $150. Of course, if it has all the bells and whistles it would run you a bit more, but for a simple roof rack with crossbars and some tie-down points, you can get rolling with a relatively small investment.
You could also go for a brand new track, made of lightweight material that was designed for aerodynamics with all of the bells and whistles. That will run you a bit more, say up to $500, or more.
If budget is a big determining factor for you, opt for a higher quality used rack as opposed to a cheap new one. You will get more bang for your buck and will end up with a more durable product. Of course, when you shop used you will no longer have a manufacturer’s guarantee, so as the reseller if they offer coverage in case of breakage.
Strength, Durability, and Weight
The last thing you want when you’re loaded down with gear traveling 70 mph down the highway is a roof rack failure. A rack failure can lead to a catastrophic accident and can be avoided by following the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Know the weight limit for your rack, most are around 140 lbs, and don’t overload it. An overloaded rack can break under pressure from wind, g-forces, or other external factors.
Also, consider the weight of the rack itself. A heavier rack will eat up gas mileage, as it will slow your vehicle down and increase wind resistance even when not loaded down with gear. You should find a strong, durable rack that is lightweight for the best performance.
Check Out Accessories
While shopping around for the right roof rack, do some research on available accessories. While you may only need it to carry a cargo box today, you never know when you’ll get the kayak bug!
Keep your options open by choosing a rack that has tons of available accessories. This way, when you take up a new hobby or grow to need more roof storage capacity, you’ll be prepared without having to buy an entire new rack system. The best roof racks for 4runner vehicles will give you tons of configuration options.
Check out the popular brands first, but do your research to find a rack system that meets all your current needs, as well as potential future endeavors.
What Kind of Material Is It Made From?
The material your roof rack is made from will lend itself to the rack’s durability, weight, load capacity, and aerodynamics. We would advise avoiding all plastic racks. Unless maybe you’re using it once a year to bring your Christmas tree home, plastic weakens over time with UV exposure and will not have a high load-bearing capacity.
Steel is super strong but is very heavy. The added weight will reduce your MPG, which will cost you more in the long run. If you plan to leave your roof rack on your car full time, it might be worthwhile investing in a lighter weight material like aluminum.
Aluminum is very strong too but weighs a whole lot less than steel. Round bars reduce wind resistance and offer a sleek look. If it’s within your budget, go for an aluminum base rack system for the best balance of weight to strength.
Choose the Best Roof Rack for You
With all of the options out there, it’s important to find the roof rack that’s going to work best for you.
Ease of assembly and use is a key factor to look for. You’ll also want a strong, durable, and lightweight rack for the best on-road performance. Choosing a rack with a lot of available accessories will give you options as your 4runner lifestyle develops over time. Try to maximize your budget and invest in a quality rack that you’ll have for the life of the vehicle.
If you found this article helpful, check out the automotive section of our blog for more great info.