All the information you need about base roof racks in one place.
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Different cars require different Base Roof Rack Systems, so the first step is to assess which roof rack options are available for your car and then select the type best suited for what you want it to do for you. Once you figure out which type you would like, assembling the base roof rack system will be straightforward, and you will be off and running, or riding, in no time.
These car rack systems are best dissected into the components which combine to create the complete solution.
Towers or Feet sit on the four corners of your roof and attach to either your bare roof (with the addition of a specific kit/clip), or to your existing factory roof rails or factory mount track/fixed points.
Load Bars or Crossbars attach to your towers/feet and run from driver-side window to passenger-side window to create a mounting point for your accessories.
Fit Kits or Landing Pads are vehicle specific parts which mount the tower to your vehicle. Some vehicles do not require these, such as a vehicle with factory installed raised rails.
Different cars require different towers/feet and deciding which ones work for you can sometimes be complex. If at any point you find yourself confused, check one of our Automated Roof Rack Fit Guides and enter your car's year, make and model then we will do the thinking for you.
Below we will explain the various options that depend on the current state of your car's roof, be it bare or maybe if it already has an inadequate roof rack installed by the manufacturer.
The options listed below are only a few of the options which may be available for your car. Use the base rack fit guide to get a full listing of available fits for your car.
Note: All Base Roof Rack Systems come with built-in locking capability, simply add a Lock Cylinder to each tower/foot and you get complete security. Aerodynamics is the key to lowering your vehicle's fuel consumption and to eliminate the wind noise a roof rack will sometimes create. A Fairing attaches to the front bar of your rack and deflects wind above and around your rack and is an excellent accessory purchase. Note that Lock cylinders and Fairings are sold separately.
If your vehicle does not have rain gutters or a factory roof rack installed, this is the option for you.
While most bare roof vehicles (like a Toyota Corolla) will mount inside the vehicle's door-jams, some vehicles (most sedans from Mazda, BMW, and Tesla, to name some) have fixed mounting points factory installed on the roof. These points are usually hidden by a little plastic door, or strip.
Regardless of having fixed mounting points or not, using these towers will require the use of a vehicle-specific fit kit. Because these clips are vehicle specific they are always sold separately.
If your vehicle has rails running from the front to back, this is the option for you.
Some vehicles come with a roof rack installed by the vehicle manufacturer that in most cases falls short on functionality or lacks crossbars all together. Factory Installed Roof Racks generally come with either a raised side rail or a continuous side rail. In order to determine which style you have, if you can slide a finger underneath the side rail they are raised rails otherwise they are continuous.
Note that raised and flushrails are different than a track. If you have grooves running front to back on your vehicle, your vehicle will use a track-mounted system.
If your vehicle has raised rails, your towers will mount without any other parts needed. Flush rail vehicles will require a clip or kit to fit to your vehicle.
If your vehicle has tracks (factory or aftermarket) running from the front to back, this is the option for you.
Tracks on a vehicle are very similar to fixed point in how the racks mount. The only difference being you can adjust the bar-spread on a track mounted system.
Since roof tracks will vary in width and depth, a vehicle specific fitting kit is required to secure the tower to your roof.
If your vehicle has no available roof rack option, or you want something that looks factory, this is the option for you.
There are two ways to do a permanent custom installation on your vehicle roof:
Track Install: The most common way we install custom tracks at Rack Attack. By mounting a track to the roof, you can use a track mounted rack system, and have it look just like a factory job.
Landing Pad: Slightly cheaper and easier to do, is installing four landing pads to your roof. These landing pads work as permanent fixed points for a fixed point rack install.
If you come into a Rack Attack Location for a custom install, we guarantee the install for however long you own your vehicle. If you want to do the install yourself, we sell all the parts you're going to need to get it done.