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Cargo carrier installation
What is a cargo carrier?
Going on a trip and can’t fit everything and everyone in the car? If there is absolutely nothing or nobody you can leave behind, then the options become to drop a bundle on a larger vehicle or install a cargo carrier that can be fitted to the roof of your car.
Nowadays, these carriers are available not only for the spot on top of your car. You can get ones to hitch up to a towbar too. No matter the type, they perform the same function and are containers that allow for the storage of items outside of a vehicle.
Types of cargo carriers
A cargo carrier can be fitted to roof rails, roof racks or via a carrier hitch mount rack on the tow bar.
Roof mounted carriers:
Roof box: These are a solid capsule, usually of an aerodynamic design that helps to reduce drag
Folding roof box: This is a soft version of the roof box. It has a solid base while the rest of its body is comprised of a bag-like, pliable material
Cargo bags: These are bags to keep items clean and dry and are best for storing items that are in a tray or basket
Trays and platforms: Long, flat, low-sided trays that are good for large loads. Items need to be tied down or placed inside cargo bags and secured. Trays can be removed from a vehicle easily and are usually light weight
Baskets: Are similar to trays but are a basket weave and have raised sides.
The hitch mounted carriers are generally a steel or aluminium tray with sides that sit across the rear of a vehicle. They attach to a hitch receiver and the tray base can come in bar, slat or mesh form. Some can fold up when not in use while others may have a side ramp which can be used to wheel items onto the tray.
There are cargo bags and boxes that can be secured to the tray to store and protect items from the elements.
Some well known cargo carrier brands are Whispbar, Yakima, Thule and Rhino Rack. They have a variety of cargo carriers on offer and there should be something available to suit all needs and requirements.
Reasons for having/using/installing a cargo carrier
The clue is in the name - cargo carrier. If you’ve got some relatively bulky items to transport, or perhaps just a lot stuff that you’d rather keep out of the vehicle cabin, then a cargo carrier may be for you and depending on what type of carrier you buy, a large range of items can be accommodated.
- Ski equipment
- Camping/fishing gear
- Water/fuel containers
- Spare tyres
- Kids bikes
Who can install a cargo carrier?
Most roof rack and cargo carrier suppliers offer installation services. If they don’t, they should be able to direct you to someone who can do the job. There is also the option of mobile installers that service most metropolitan areas.
Things to consider
- There are vehicle and road load limit and size dimension regulations
- Increased drag and fuel consumption
- Possible noise while driving on the highway
- Extra height and/or length to the car
- Are lights, reflectors or number plates obscured?
- You must have a hitch receiver to mount a hitch mount carrier
Not after a cargo carrier install?
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