How to Select the Right Universal Roof Rack for Your Vehicle

Kayak on top of Car

Finding the right universal roof rack for your vehicle doesn’t have to be a challenge. If you need a roof rack that can fit all your toys and your vehicle, look no further than Vault Cargo’s Universal Roof Rack. This aftermarket roof rack was made for adventurers by adventurers, and in proof, it’s incredibly flexible. It can fit just about any vehicle, transporting everything from boxes to a full-size canoe.

Read on to learn more about universal roof racks and how to pick the right option for your vehicle and needs.

Issues with Factory Roof Racks

Factory roof racks are made to fit a specific vehicle and, as a result, come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. This means factory racks can be limiting and any accessories you purchase to use with a factory roof rack may not be compatible with any other racks. Whereas a universal roof rack can be used on almost any vehicle regardless of make and model.

Another issue is factory roof rack crossbars are often made with the focus on aesthetics as opposed to usability. So, even if they look good, plastic or otherwise cheaply made roof racks are unable to support heavier loads. Additionally, hatchbacks often come with factory systems installed too close to the hatch, which results in issues opening the trunk even when transporting something as simple as a bike or some boxes.

That’s not to say all factory roof racks are a major disappointment. There are some good roof racks out there, mostly those made custom for the dealer. But, keep in mind, it can be difficult to get the right replacement parts for custom made roof racks.

Kayak on top of Car

Universal Roof Rack Vs. Roof Bag: Which Do You Really Need?

You have two options when it comes to storing more gear on top of your vehicle, a universal roof rack or a roof bag. Both help free up leg room and let you pack more toys, but a roof rack offers more flexibility and a roof bag offers more protection against rain and other elements.

A roof rack is literally a rack that you can add custom attachments to and transport just about anything—from bikes to small boats. While a Cargo Carrier or Roof Bag can be used to transport a lot of stuff, it won’t hold an entire canoe. Just imagine trying to stuff a canoe into a bag. on the plus side, it offers protection against the elements because your gear is secured inside of a waterproof case. Serious adventurous may use a universal roof rack and a roof bag interchangeably depending on where they are going and what toys they bring along.

Benefits of a Universal Roof Rack

Roof racks are ideal if you’re all about the larger toys, like canoes, kayaks, bikes, or skies. They can also be used to transport everyday essentials and luggage. Some benefits of using a universal roof rack include:

  • A roof rack lets you store just about anything on top of your vehicle. Think of it as an open storage platform. Odd-sized or oversized items are no problem because you don’t have to stuff them into a bag.
  • Roof racks are more customizable. You can add attachment pieces to safely transport canoes, skis, bikes, etc.
  • A roof rack offers more space and flexibility than a roof bag.
  • Roof racks are incredibly rugged and durable.
rooftop crossbars

Benefits of a Roof Bagrooftop cargo bag

A roof bag is a great option if you simply want to bring more tools, luggage, or anything that can fit inside of a roof bag. Some benefits of using a roof bag include:

  • Roof racks are waterproof and offer greater protection against the elements.
  • The rounded design of roof bags helps improve gas millage and decrease vehicle drag.
  • Roof racks are incredibly easy to use and typically require little to no extra accessories, aside from a basic roof rack.
  • Roof racks are easy to put on and take off your car making them great for occasional or seasonal use.

Lowest Price on Durable Rooftop Cargo Bag by Vault Cargo

What is a Naked Roof? Different Types of Vehicle Roofs  

A Naked Roof has nothing on top of it—no rails and certainly no crossbars. Luckily, you can outfit your vehicle with rails and crossbars, which you’ll need to do before adding a roof rack or roof bag.

Half Rails define a vehicle that has 2 side rails but NO crossbars. Side rails run parallel to one another and offer half of what you need to install a full roof mounting system. You simply need to add crossbars, aka the foundation of every roof rack or roof bag.

Full Rails include 2 parallel side bars and the addition of cross bars that run in between these two side bars. Vehicles often come stock with full rails, in which case all you need to add is a roof rack or roof bag and you’re ready to travel with more cargo in tow. Roof racks require some mounting hardware or clamps, but nothing too extreme.

Steel vs. Aluminum Roof Rack

Steel racks tend to be more affordable and can be used for a very long time before breaking down. But the downside to steel racks is that they commonly make a whistling sound and create more drag that reduces gas millage. Aluminum racks tend to cost a little more but you get what you pay for. Aluminum roof racks tend to be quitter, create less drag and waste less fuel. Plus, they can often carry more cargo. 

Superior Universal Locking Roof Rack Crossbars by Vault Cargo

Vault Cargo’s Universal Locking Roof Rack Crossbars are specially engineered for superior power and rugged durability. Lightweight, quiet, and strong, the 53” wide roof rack crossbars can fit rails that measure up to 47” apart. This gives you a lot of space for your gear. The addition of soft rubber padded clamps and cargo touch points help to protect your gear and your vehicle.

Additional benefits include:

  • Designed to reduce wind resistance and improve gas millage
  • Can be used with a wide variety of accessories, such as our Universal Folding Rooftop Kayak Carrier
  • Can be used to cart everything from kayaks to bike mounts

See Price for Durable Universal Locking Roof Rack Crossbars

[{"code":""
[{"code":""
"label":"$500 Gift Card"
"label":"$500 Gift Card"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":"10OFF"
{"code":"10OFF"
"label":"No luck today"
"label":"No luck today"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":"FREESHIPPING"
{"code":"FREESHIPPING"
"label":"Save 75% OFF"
"label":"Save 75% OFF"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":"10OFF"
{"code":"10OFF"
"label":"Almost"
"label":"Almost"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":""
{"code":""
"label":"Save 50% OFF"
"label":"Save 50% OFF"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":"10OFF"
{"code":"10OFF"
"label":"Nothing"
"label":"Nothing"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":"LOCKDOWN10"
{"code":"LOCKDOWN10"
"label":"Save 10% OFF"
"label":"Save 10% OFF"
"win":true}
"win":true}
{"code":"10OFF"
{"code":"10OFF"
"label":"Sorry!"
"label":"Sorry!"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":"15UNLOCKED"
{"code":"15UNLOCKED"
"label":"Save 15% OFF"
"label":"Save 15% OFF"
"win":true}
"win":true}
{"code":"FREESHIPPING"
{"code":"FREESHIPPING"
"label":"Nope"
"label":"Nope"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":""
{"code":""
"label":"Save 20% OFF"
"label":"Save 20% OFF"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":"25OFF"
{"code":"25OFF"
"label":"Next time"
"label":"Next time"
"win":false}]
"win":false}]