What a Dilemma Between Roof Rails Vs Roof Rack – Let’s Sort it Out!

Roof Rails Vs Roof Rack

As we never take a brief moment to think about the goodness of storage management of the top roof of the trucks, a lot of people can’t tell the difference between rails and racks based on their use.

Basically, if you want to carry luggage, bikes, or other stuff on your truck, then adding them will be a wise choice. But, surely both of them have individuality. Well, just because they are quite similar in look and design, most truck users misjudged them with one another.

As we all know, they are two separate things that people use for adding space to their cargo but it’s really a puzzling thing to describe the variances unless you use them.

So, if you want to know who is the winner of roof rails vs roof rack and which one would be perfect for your purpose, keep on reading this guide.

Difference Between Roof Rails Vs Roof Rack At a Glance

Roof RailsRoof Racks
Added Storage
Nice for holding light stuffGood for carrying big items
Quite easy to installTakes time to fit on the truck
Not as good as roof racksLasts a long-term period

To make the difference, you should have got good ideas of them like what are roof rails used for or why people use racks in their car. So, let’s get familiar with these two things.

Roof Rails: Arrive installed by the brand, the universal roof rails do use from hood to tailgate of your roof. They look like 2 sticks with mounting plates that attach in the vertical position most of the time.

Roof Racks: They have different shapes, styles, and looks that usually sit from left to right position on your truck’s roof. The racks have cage, fixed, and clamping styles that work well to grant protection.

According to Jamieson Auto Fit,

Roof rails and roof racks are very similar as both allow you to be able to carry items securely on top of your vehicle. The main difference between the two is the direction these are mounted on top of the roof of your vehicles. For example, roof rails run along the length of a car’s roof attached by feet or other mounts, and roof racks are mounted across the roof.

Both of them let you get the comfort of driving while keeping the items on top of the roof safely without causing damage. Basically, the main difference between roof rails and racks is their mounting direction or style.

The roof rack attachments such as cargo boxes usually sit across the top while the rails stay on the length of your truck that is fitted by feet.

Consider The Entire Storage Facility

Almost all people don’t realize the difference between roof racks and rails being able to carry things based on a truck’s cargo. To put it simply, both of them have fixed weight capacity to hold stuff on the head.

The roof rails are smaller and sleeker in design with a solid base that sits on the top roof side to carry bikes, kayaks, and skies effortlessly. And, even if they are able to carry only small things, you won’t experience your gears being harmed by them.

On the other hand, the roof racks are designed to carry at least 165-200 lbs of load without causing damage. And that’s not all. They are good for carrying stuff like big kayaks, skies, travel gears, luggage, and so on.

For their excellent load capacity, a lot of people who love to go on treks or long trips want them in their tracks. But, the racks won’t be a good choice for trucks that are smaller compared to others as the overloaded roof will void warranty assurance.  

In short, the roof racks are a good option if you want better cargo space, support, and safety of items at the same time.

The Better Option In Term Of Installation Process

Coming to the next aspect that poles them apart from each other is the fitment comfort. The roof rails and racks have attachments such as nuts, washers, and other parts that help them to fit securely.

Unlike others, the roof rails come in a pre-installed form where you won’t need to screw in all the parts. Also, they take less time to fit on the truck head.

In contrast, you’ll have a difficult experience with the roof racks as they don’t come installed by the company. Besides, due to all the parts and bars, the installation processes will take quite patience and time.

And, the fitment will require works with screws and nuts. For that reason, busy people go for roof rails to avoid big jobs when it comes to installation.

If It’s About The Durability Of Them.

Based on the materials, protection, and coverage, we can say both roof racks and rails are durable but hold dissimilarity. To explain it further, you should think out of the box.

Mostly made with steel and aluminum materials, the rails are tough and stable to perform well while carrying small items. But, they won’t give good protection of your stored item from harsh weather. Also, your truck might face friction and wind resistance issues too when using rails.

Then again, the roof racks are built out of alloy and polymer materials that are best in quality to hold big weight. Plus, they grant the security of your stuff while not causing cracks to the truck surface. In any weather, you are able to use them when traveling outside.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you need roof rails for a roof rack?

Well, the roof rack doesn’t need external rails since they already have their own parts. Plus, the naked roofs don’t have tracks that are why a few people use crossbars rather than rails to cover the gaps.

Why should a roof rack be removed when not in use?

Due to the wind resistance issues and fuel consumption, a few drivers find roof racks bad for their cars. And, it has an aerodynamic design that lets your ride uneven when cornering or steering. For that reason, it is suggested to take out the roof rack when not in use.

But, if looking into the storage management, protection of stored items, and ease of usage, most car drivers like to have a rack for that.

Why do SUVs have roof rails?

Trucks such as SUVs and vans usually have roof rails for their small storage setups. As these types of vehicles doesn’t have big cargo room, so roof rails fit the best. Also, it adds good looks to the SUVs which inspires a lot of drivers to use them.

Just like the rack, the roof rails also give a good attachment point for crossbars to carry light items on the roof of the truck.

Wrap Up

Now you have gone through a few factors that make things clear between roof rails vs roof rack differences. Still, biting your nail and thinking which one would be a better choice for your purpose? If that’s the case, here is what we think.

The right option you should try can be decided based on your conditions and requirements. If you are basically wanting for big storage that can carry larger things, increase resistance against noise, and grant good protection, then choosing the roof racks will be the best in both worlds.

Yet, if someone has a plan for going in a hike or traveling spot with kayaks, or smaller gears, then going for a roof rail would be the finest that holds light stuff. Both of them are ideal for different circumstances and usages.

After looking into all the aspects, we would like to pick the roof racks for their strength, protection, and functionality for any weather use. But ultimately you can choose between them according to which one is better for you.

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