Having a roof rack on your 4×4 is a pretty essential purchase. Many 4×4 owners use their vehicles for off roading and plenty of outdoor activities that require them to carry a lot of equipment such as kayaks, tents, fishing gear and many more. Obviously there is a good amount of space in the back of most 4×4’s, but if you have big, bulky items or simply things your don’t want inside your vehicle, then a roof rack is definitely the way to go. If you don’t already own a roof rack, then there are a few things you should consider before buying one, especially given the amount of cheap, low quality ones that are available from China.
The materials that a roof rack is constructed from should be a main point for consideration as depending on what you plan on doing with it, this could be a factor. Roof racks are generally made from either steel or aluminium, with steel being stronger but heavier and aluminium being lighter but slightly less durable. Steel will also rust if the metal beneath the paint is exposed to the elements whereas aluminium does not rust but will gradually tarnish over time. The biggest reason that the construction matters is because every vehicle will have a maximum weight tolerance that its roof will be able to support based on the manufacturers specifications, and the roof rack needs to factor into this weight limit, potentially restricting what you can carry.
Along with thinking about the materials and subsequent weight of a roof rack, you should also pay attention to the mounting system that it expects before purchase. This matters a lot as depending on what system your 4×4 has pre-installed can mean that some racks are incompatible with your vehicle. There are two main mounting systems that manufacturers tend to use, the older system where vehicles have a metal lip running along the outer edges of the roof and racks can use this to clamp on and a more modern system where there are specially designed recesses built into the 4×4’s roof. These recesses are much more subtle and are normally concealed beneath a cap that can easily be slide aside or popped out to make the hole accessible for the racks mounting points. These systems are pretty much mutually exclusive and you need to make sure you buy a rack that has the right mounting method to match your vehicle.
Ultimately, most aspects of purchasing a roof rack are very simple and can easily be decided by simply looking at the product. Making sure that you understand how the construction affects you choice and ensuring that yuy buy one compatible with your 4×4 are the only real stumbling points. It is always worth checking the cost of 4×4 accessories from an online shop or two as well as local stores to help secure you the best price, but just double check you know exactly what you are purchasing before you hand over any money.