car roof rack cost

Car Roof rack cost: Here Is How Much It Costs

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Installing a car roof rack is a complicated process. You need to be careful about the rooftop of your car being damaged or leaked. Besides this, a question may come to your mind : how much does a roof rack cost? As a result of not having the proper knowledge of this, we cannot fix our budget or maybe sometimes we spend more than the actual cost. So, what is the solution for this? Yes, you have to know the actual cost of installing the roof rack.

The car roof rack installation cost can be ranged from less than $150 to $500. If you are installing a used roof rack on an older vehicle, it will cost less than $150. But if you are thinking about a new, aerodynamic top-of-the-line setup, it may cost till $500. The overall cost may vary for different setups, equipment, and vehicles.

Roof rack cost

There are different types of roof racks you will find in the market. Installation costs will vary from one type to another type. The common types of roof racks and their installation cost are given below.   

  1. Bare roof racks: The most common roof type in late-model vehicles is the bare roof. Most vehicles on the road simply have a bare roof with no factory pre-installed rack. In such vehicles, bare roof racks are used and they rest on the rubber pad on the roof and clamp into the door openings. This is the most common type of aftermarket rack. Bare roof racks are used on all types of vehicles: cars, CUVs, SUVs, vans, and Pickup Trucks.

Price range: $65 – $450

  • Fixed Point Roof Racks: These roof racks are installed to specialized attachment points that the carmaker provides on the roof. It is a great attachment method. Fixed points are found mainly on cars, CUVs, and SUVs. It happens that the same car year, make and model may come both with and without fixed points.

Price range: $65 – $700

  • Raised Rail Roof Racks: These roof rack cross-bars are clamped around the rail. Raised roof rails are found mainly on CUVs and SUVs.

Price range:  $50 – $530

  • Flush Rail Roof Racks: These roof racks are clamped to the rail. The flush does not mean flat, it means no (or little) room under the rail. Flush roof rails are mainly on CUVs and SUVs.

Price range: $45 – $530

  • Truck bed & canopy racks: You can put racks on the cab of your truck but many people want them either mounted on the truck bed or canopy of the vehicle. There are multiple options from a number of brands to set up your pickup for carrying cargo.

Price range:  $150 – $1600

Installation cost variations for regular designs

Crossbars (Price range: $100-$200) 

When people think of a roof rack, they tend to picture two parallel beams strapped across the width of a vehicle’s roof. These types of roof racks are known as crossbars because they cross the width of the vehicle and typically attach to side rails or gutters. Most crossbars are meant for carrying bicycles. You can also get crossbars with multiple beams in a ladder configuration. With crossbars, you can haul anything you can securely tie down that doesn’t exceed the weight limit capacity of your vehicle’s roof.

If you use your roof rack a lot, this is a good price range to budget for. You can buy crossbars specifically for your particular vehicle for around $150-$200.

J-shape (Price range: $30-$75)

J-shape or J-bars look like two canoes on end and are positioned close to one another to create a cradle-like shape. These types of roof racks are most often used for canoes and kayaks. This is because they mimic the curved shape of the canoe or kayak to create a more secure hold. J-bars are often sold in sets of two. One set mounts to each side of the car’s side rails for support.

You really don’t have to spend more than $100 to get a decent roof rack. For less than $100, you can invest in a set of two to four J-bar style racks or a set of crossbar beams with included hardware. Most J-bar and crossbar roof racks will be universal at this price point.

Cargo basket (Price range: $250 to up)

The cargo basket roof rack is another type you might have seen on the road. These baskets are typically made from steel tubes that are around one inch in diameter. Though there can be quite a few cross members and connecting tubes in a basket roof rack, they can actually be very light in weight. Many models also include fairings to reduce wind noise and improve aerodynamics. 

Most of the high-capacity and high-end basket roof racks fall into this price range. The height increases with each dollar spent, so more expensive baskets tend to have higher sides. Weight decreases proportionally as well. You will find the basic styles of basket roof racks starting from $125.

Installation cost variations for different load capacity

The load capacity of roof racks typically depends on the load rating and shape of the car roof, but the installation location and amount customization of the fit are also important factors. Therefore, the load capacity of roof racks may vary from one to another. For carrying large cargo, like a canoe or 2 big kayaks, choose Steel Square, steel round bars, or rugged aluminum aero bars.

If you want to install a roof rack with higher weight capacity, you have to spend more than the roof racks of normal weight capacity. Installation of a roof rack having normal weight capacity can be done less than $100.


Installation of a roof rack can be a bit expensive if you want maximum service from the roof rack. Therefore, the installation cost of roof racks varies from car to car, roof rack to roof rack, or design to design. If you are looking for a brand new, good quality, aerodynamic roof rack, surely you need to spend more.