While everyone enjoys a good road-trip game, Twister is not one of those games, and if you’ve found yourself having to cram your family into the car around luggage and other gear on multiple occasions, you might be thinking about investing in a good set of roof racks. If you are in the market for roof bars, you will almost certainly come across a set of Thule’s, but are Thule roof racks worth it?
Designed with advanced technology, easy to use, and made to last, Thule roof racks are well worth the money for outdoor adventurists, families, and daily drivers who need the extra carrying space.
Continue reading to learn more about Thule, their roof racks, and whether a roof rack system would be a worthwhile investment for you.
What Are Roof Racks?
Roof racks, as the name suggests, are a set of racks that mount to the roof of your vehicle. People like racks because they allow them to carry things that might otherwise not fit in their vehicle or to keep seating space free.
Although most things can be carried on a simple set of racks, some companies offer accessories that mount to the racks, allowing users to carry bulky items such as bikes and surfboards much more easily and safely. There are many brands of roof racks available today, but Thule is one of the most popular companies in the roof rack market.
Who is Thule?
The Thule company was founded in 1942 when a motivated entrepreneur slapped his name on some fishing gear and started selling it to local anglers. Over time, more items were added to the inventory list, and in the 1960s Thule started to focus on the car accessories they are most well-known for today.
Now, the Thule company is one of the most well-known companies in the outdoor-accessories space. They make countless products that appeal to adventurists, outdoor enthusiasts, and even everyday drivers because they offer practical solutions to everyday problems. From roof racks to backpacks, if it helps to enable an outdoor lifestyle, you can find it at Thule.
Why Are Thule Roof Racks More Expensive Than Others?
At first glance, a roof rack system seems like such a simple idea—after all, they are just a few bars thrown on top of a vehicle, right? So, why does something that seems so simple cost so much money? Especially the systems made by more popular brands such as Thule.
The old saying is true, “You get what you pay for.” When shopping with smaller companies, you often get a less than stellar product that does not last as long and does not perform as well. Additionally, when you buy with a bigger company, you are spending a little more on the features listed below.
- Roof racks must fit the vehicle they are mounted onto perfectly, and Thule works with leading can manufacturers to ensure their products will fit a wide range of vehicles. Cheaper brands often do not match their rack systems to specific vehicles, and their measurements are off by quite a bit.
- Roof racks must withstand high speeds and wind resistance with minimal contact with the vehicle. Thule uses advanced technology to research and design their products with only the best materials.
- Leading companies, such as Thule, offer many great benefits, such as warranties and accessories, that other lesser-known companies often do not include.
- Bigger companies have more customers, which means they have a bigger need for a good customer service line. Smaller companies are often hard to contact if something does go wrong.
- Thule is dedicated to making the lives of their customers better, which is why they have tried very hard to create products that are easy to use. Not only that, but the company has gone out of their way to create products that will not increase gas mileage too much.
Will A Roof Rack Damage My Car?
In general, a good roof rack system should be designed in such a way that it will not damage your vehicle. However, if the rack that you are using does not match your vehicle, has been incorrectly installed, or is not maintained properly, it can damage your car.
Some of the more common ways that a roof rack might damage your vehicle include:
- Scratches – this is common if the rack is not correctly tightened or mounted in the right place.
- Dents – this is especially common when the rack is not made for the vehicle it is mounted onto or it is over tightened during installation.
- Paint Fading – some individuals have reported the paint around the mounting assemblies on their vehicle fading, which becomes noticeable after the racks are removed. However, this commonly occurs when the racks are left on for years.
- Water Damage – although most of the newer roof rack systems do not require drilling, the ones that do can sometimes cause water damage if the holes are not sealed properly.
Do Roof Racks Affect Gas Mileage?
Car manufacturers have long understood the importance that aerodynamics play in terms of a vehicle’s gas mileage, which is why we have seen such a drastic change in the way vehicles look. Surfaces that cause resistance make the vehicle work harder to stay moving, which uses more gas. Surfaces that allow wind to flow more smoothly around them do not make the vehicle work as hard and do not use as much gas.
Most roof rack companies understand this and have worked hard to create products that minimally affect a vehicle’s gas mileage. While it ultimately depends on what you are carrying and how often you are carrying it, some things, like a bike, can reduce gas mileage by up to 30%, so it is a good idea to remove items that you do not need to carry whenever possible.
To Sum Up
Truthfully, whether a roof rack would be worth it depends on what you need to carry and how often you need to carry it. Mostly the only time you need the extra cargo space is when you and your family go on your annual family vacation, it might not be worth spending money on a Thule roof rack because a less expensive rack system would likely work just fine for you.
However, Thule roof racks are the best in the business and you can never go wrong buying quality. A good roof rack system would be worth it to someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, who wants to tackle a new biking trail every weekend, who goes on several camping trips a year, who needs to haul sports gear and kiddos, or who is sick of vacuuming sand out of their car after their weekend trips to the beach.
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.