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5 roof rack safety tips

Roof racks are a great way to free up interior space without sacrificing suitcases. Before you use one, keep this roof rack safety advice in mind.

Manufacturer vs. aftermarket

You’ve got two buying choices: Purchase from your vehicle manufacturer or from a third party. Buying from your manufacturer ensures the rack will fit your car, while aftermarket racks allow you to buy part-by-part to create a customized system.

Installation

Make sure the rack is an appropriate size for your vehicle and that it secures at the attachment points. An unsecure roof rack could lead to loose luggage on the road, which has the potential to cause a serious accident.

Balance and weight

Packing heavy items at the front of the rack will cause the weight to lurch forward when you brake. But if all of the weight is at the back, your steering may be affected. For best results, distribute weight equally at each end of the rack. Avoid carrying any liquids atop your car as it could cause weight shifts. And never pack more than the maximum weight listed for your vehicle or roof rack.

Handling

The extra weight on the roof will change your vehicle’s centre of gravity. Quick turns can cause rollovers, especially in SUVs. Be sure to turn slowly and allow extra braking distance.

Low clearance

Without a roof rack, you may not need to worry about “low clearance” warnings. But now you'll want to pay extra attention. Measure the height of your vehicle with the cargo and take note of maximum clearances at underpasses, parking garages and other overhangs.

Before you begin your vacation, check out these tips for staying safe on the road.

These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.

Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance or Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company, underwriter of life insurance and living benefits products.

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