Business hours: Mon - Sat 9-5 | 1‑306‑652‑0385

Noisy or whistling roof racks? Here's some solutions

Posted by on

We've been there. You've loaded your gear on the car and are driving off to adventure, and you can't even make conversation with the person next to you because your racks are roaring at decibels that would put a Zeppelin concert to shame.

Unfortunately it's nearly impossible to predict whether roof racks will make excessive noise on your vehicle or not. A rack can be quiet on one model of vehicle and whistle like crazy on another. It all depends on air flow.

What causes roof racks to make noise?

Very simply, how air flows around your vehicle and cross bars is what determines the noise created by your racks. You need to change the way the air is traveling over your racks in order to minimize the sound.

Thule roof racks

What rack should I get to minimize noise?

Square and round cross bars will usually cause more noise than aerodynamic ones but all types can cause noise issues on certain vehicles. Aerodynamic bars such as the Thule WingBar are shaped in cross section like an airplane's wing, creating a shape that air can flow over more easily. They often have wind diffuser strips on the top that further deflect the air flow so you don't get that annoying hum. 

These bars cost more than basic square or round bars but you've got a better chance of a quiet ride. For more information on roof racks and how to choose what you need, see our blog post on Buying a Roof Rack.

I already have a noisy rack. What can I do?

If your rack is already causing a racket, an easy fix is to buy a fairing - a wind deflector that attaches to your front cross bar. This almost always fixes the problem.

Thule AirScreen on vehicle

If you're into a more "do-it-yourself" kind of a look you can try taping sections of pool noodle to your bars. This can reduce the noise for a lot less than a fairing costs, but adds some drag to your rack. You can also purchase pads that are designed to go around your cross bars; these are useful for protecting paddle boards or other flat loads you're carrying.

Our favourite quick fix however is to wrap bungee cord tightly around your bars in a spiral fashion. Use about four feet or so of bungee and wrap so there is about 2-3 inches of space between "wraps". This almost always makes a huge difference in noise reduction and can save your sanity on that next trip!

roof racks

Related Posts

Carrying a boat on your cartop
Carrying a boat on your cartop
It's time to put that boat up on the car and get it to the water.  What's the best way to do this? You will either ne...
Read More
What type of roof does my car have?
What type of roof does my car have?
If you're looking to buy a roof rack you'll need to know the following about your vehicle: year make model roof typ...
Read More

← Older Post Newer Post →



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published