Roof Rack DIY

Written by jophiel aurora
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Roof Rack DIY
Homemade roof racks can be installed on a car. (suv mercedes ml image by alma_sacra from

A roof rack can add extra carrying space for luggage, packages, sporting goods and other equipment that may not fit inside the boot or back of your vehicle. Many SUVs and some car models come with racks already installed on the roof of the vehicle. However, if you want need to attach one to your car or add on an additional storage rack, you don´t have to pay the manufacturer to do it. Build a homemade rack yourself, using a few materials.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Hair dryer
  • Long extension cord
  • 2 square tube aluminium: 1 inch by 48 inches, 1/16-inch thick--can be found at hardware stores
  • 4 U-bolts 5/16 inch by 1 3/8 inches by 3 7/8 inches with nuts and cross washer
  • 8 cap nuts 5/16 inch, 18 coarse
  • 8 lock washers INT tooth 5/16 inch
  • 1 drill bit 5/16 nches or slightly larger
  • 2 3-packs 3/8-inch heat shrink--found in electrical section of hardware store
  • Dremel tool

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  1. 1

    Find the place on your roof where you want to install the cross bars and mark the spots on the roof and on the cross bars with a pencil. The cross bars are placed at the front and back on the roof.

  2. 2

    Place one of your U-bolts on an angle underneath a corner of the roof rails, touching the top of the roof of the vehicle. Mark this spot with a pencil so you can drill your hole later. Repeat this step for each corner.

  3. 3

    Use your drill and drill bit to make holes in roof in the areas marked with the pencil from step two.

  4. 4

    Slip your heat shrink on top of the U-bolt.

  5. 5

    Plug your hair dryer into the extension cord and the cord into the electrical socket. The dryer needs to reach the top of the roof. Heat the heat shrink with your hair dryer. You can use a lighter.

  6. 6

    Install your roof rack. Place your U-bolts on with the cross washers, then lock washers, followed by the nuts on top of the aluminium square tubes.

  7. 7

    Use your Dremel to cut the U-bolts to a size for the cap nuts to fit. Place the cap nuts on the U-bolts and tighten the nuts.

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