How to transport goods on a car roof

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How to transport goods on a car roof
Let your large items travel in style with the help of a roof rack. (Getty Images)

When packing for a weekend getaway, a few items will not fit in your car's boot. You could decide which items are the most important and take them, or you could rectify the situation in an entirely different way. Make these items a priority by transporting them on the roof of your car.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Roof rack or rail bars
  • Roof rack carrier box
  • Straps
  • Pillows
  • Cushions
  • Rope
  • Cover
  • Tarpaulin or plastic sheet

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    Roof rack carrier

  1. 1

    Place the roof carrier box in position on the roof rack. It should be at least 33 cm from the front edge of the vehicle's roof and central on the roof.

  2. 2

    Fill the roof carrier box. It is designed to be used fully packed. Use pillows or cushions to fill any empty spots. This will also cushion and protect the contents.

  3. 3

    Attach the straps. On vehicles with roof rails or a rack that runs the length of the car, wrap the shortest straps around the rail and thread the longer straps through the loops on the carrier. Buckle the longer straps into the short straps and pull them tight. On vehicles with roof rack bars that run across the roof, place the carrier between the cross bars and attach the straps across the length of the carrier. Pull them tight.

    Without a carrier box

  1. 1

    Place one strap or piece of rope lengthwise down the centre of the vehicle. Lay a heavy blanket or the equivalent over the strap or rope to protect the vehicle and give the goods something to sit on. Run two ratcheting straps or strong ropes through the passenger compartment (open the doors and run them through the opening so they will ride against the head liner with the doors closed) and lay them on the roof beside the padding.

  2. 2

    Place the goods on the padding in a tightly grouped bunch, making sure the heaviest pieces are on the bottom. Once loaded, place another blanket, pad or tarp over the goods and tuck it in around the bottom edge of the stack.

  3. 3

    Secure the load. Begin with the cross straps/ropes running through the interior of the vehicle and run the straps or ropes up and over the stack. Tighten the straps or tie the ropes around the stack, making sure the load will not slide. Bring the final lengthwise rope up and over the stack and secure this around the padding and the other straps to lock them in place. Check the straps/ropes every 50 miles and tighten if needed.

Tips and warnings

  • Place the heaviest items on the bottom of the roof carrier. Refer to the installation instructions that come with your carrier for the correct mounting procedure for your car type. If you are travelling during poor weather conditions, wrap a waterproof tarpaulin or plastic sheeting around your load.
  • Never place a roof carrier or attempt to strap goods onto a convertible top.

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