How To Install Roof Rack Cross Bars

How To Install Roof Rack Cross Bars ( Step by Step Guide)

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Roof rack crossbars are usually two bars that run across the width of the vehicle roof. They are used for creating a mounting point for your accessories. They provide support to the weight of all the gears you’re adding to the roof and then transfer it to the towers or feet. You can easily carry different gear and accessories like skyboard, kayak, cargo box, etc.

Here, we will discuss the step-by-step guideline on How To Install Roof Rack Cross Bars on your car.

Roof rack crossbars are very easy to install and you can mount it with the side roof rails. Sometimes, they come with a heavy-duty clamping mechanism that ensures the crossbars to remain firmly fastened to the existing side rails. Some crossbars can be also installed if there are no roof rails on the car rooftop.

Some of the tools you may need

  • Measuring Tape 
  • Hex wrench
  • Marker 
  • Screwdriver 
  • Rag and Cleaner for roof
  • Protection gloves

Cautions you should follow

  1. Remove the antenna or other accessories from the roof.
  2. Wearing gloves to install the crossbars is highly recommended.
  3. Do not load or exceed the designated capacity.
  4. Do not over-tighten the bolts or knobs.
  5. Clean the installation area properly.
  6. Clean cross bars properly
  7. Tight the screws as much as it is safe.
  8. Use the instruments carefully to avoid any scratch on the rooftop paint.

How To Install Roof Rack Cross Bars with side rail

Some of the cars may come with side rails and others don’t have. Roof rack crossbars can be installed in both of the types. First, let’s see the crossbar installation with side rails.

Step 1: Removing all accessories from the rooftop

There can be different accessories on the rooftop like an antenna. Before starting the installation you need to remove all the accessories from the rooftop. Otherwise, it will be difficult to install the crossbars properly.

Step 2: Cleaning

The next step is to clean the rooftop with soft cloths or cleaner. Repeat the process for crossbars too. Cleaning the area make sure the proper fitting of the crossbars. After cleaning them, you can start the installation.

Step 3: Adjusting the clamps

Usually, crossbars come with locked clamps. You will find a key to unlock them. Then insert a hex wrench into the adjustment gear and turn it anti-clockwise. This will release the lock on the lever and you can move the clamps as per the need. Make sure the clamps are unlocked properly. Repeat the process for all of the 4 clamps.

Other crossbars come with loose clamps. First, you need to slide the clamps on each end of the liver. Then insert the bar end caps. Do this for all the 4 ends of the bars.

Now, your crossbars are ready to install.

Step 4: Placing the crossbars

After adjusting the clamps of the crossbars, put them onto the roof of your vehicle. According to your requirement adjust the bars onto the roof and place them in the right position with the exact distance on both sides. Use a measuring tape to place them rightly.

Step 5: Locking the clamps

After proper adjustment, insert the hex wrench again into the adjustment gear of the clamps. This time turn it clockwise to fix the clamps with the side rails. Make sure it fits tightly with the rails but not over-tighten. Follow the same steps for all the clamps. Now use the key to lock the clamps and if the end caps are not inserted, insert them. 

Step 6: Checking the crossbars

After completing the above steps, you are completed the installation. Now, you just need to check the crossbar that they are properly fitted with the side rails. If it is done then they are ready to use.

Installing roof rack cross bars without side rail

Some of the cars don’t have any side rails. Crossbars for such cars are also available. Let’s see how to install them on the rooftop of your car.

Step 1: unlock the screws of the clamps

You will find an upper and a lower screw in each of the clamps. First, you need to unlock the upper and lower screws of all the clamps.

Step 2: Locking the clip and the bracket

You can lock the clip by using the lower screw. Then lock the bracket by using the upper screw. Make sure they are fitted properly. Now insert the end cap and repeat the process for all the clamps.

Step 3: Putting rubber pads

You will find rubber pads in the package. Put these rubber pads on the bottom of the clamps. These pads will save the roof painting from unwanted scratch.

Step 4: Adjusting the bars on the rooftop

When you are done with the clamps, clean the place on the rooftop where you will put them. Now put the crossbar on the rooftop and place the clamps on the proper position. Use the measuring tape to fix determine the exact distance between the two bars. Make sure that the brackets are in the right place and don’t collapse with the door. They should be placed in the weather strips.  

Step 5: Locking the clamps with the roof

Now use a screwdriver to lock the clamps with the roof. Turn it clockwise to make it tighten. Make sure the screws are locked properly (avoid over-tightening). You are done installing now.

Step 6: Checking the adjustment

At last, check the crossbars if they adjusted properly on the rooftop and not moving. Also, you need to check the brackets that they don’t collapse with the doors when you close or open them.


Installing crossbars is not a difficult task to do. But doing it in the wrong ways may damage your car roof and will trouble while carrying any belongings on the crossbars. So, you need to steps one by one to get the maximum benefits from the crossbars. Following the above steps will make sure the proper installation of the crossbars.