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What type of roof does my car have?

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If you're looking to buy a roof rack you'll need to know the following about your vehicle:

  • year
  • make
  • model
  • roof type

Year, make and model are easy. Roof type is where it can get tricky, but it's vitally important you get this right or your rack won't fit. 

How do you tell what roof type you have?

If your roof is smooth and bare, it's called a naked roof. The picture below shows a roof rack on a vehicle with a naked roof.

Thule roof rack on naked roof

Some roofs look like they are naked but they have hidden fixed points. These are small threaded attachment points located near the four corners of the roof or sometimes on rails, and are often hidden under a small flap. The vehicle below shows a fixed point open with an attachment bolt placed in it; it is ready to be mounted with a crossbar assembly.

vehicle with fixed point

If your vehicle has rails running front to back along the sides of your roof, you need to know what type of rails these are. If there is space between the rail and the roof, these are called raised rails. The picture below shows a roof rack mounted on raised rails.

Thule roof rack on vehicle with raised rails

If there is no space between the rail and roof, these are flush rails. The picture below shows a roof rack mounted on flush rails.

Thule roof rack on vehicle with flush rails

Be careful; some vehicles with naked roofs will have dark inserts along the sides that look like rails but are not. Rails are raised up so that there is something for the roof rack "foot" to clamp on to. A rack put on a naked roof hooks onto the door jam instead, as there's nothing else for it to grab on to.

Rails can also be confused with tracks, which are long grooved channels that run along the sides of vehicle roof from front to back. The picture below shows a rack mounted on a vehicle with tracks.

vehicle with thule rack mounted on tracks

Finally, some vehicles come with factory crossbars. These are two bars/slats that run across the vehicle roof from driver's side to passenger side. 

Once you understand what roof type you have, we can figure out exactly which rack is going to fit your car.

 

roof racks

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