Fitting a roof rack on your van can dramatically increase both the amount of load space you have available, and the ways in which it can be used to help you in both your personal life and your business.
For those that have to transport around large items such as sheets of wood and pieces of glass, having a rack or bars fitted to the top is essential. It can also allow the firm to take on a wider range of jobs.
But what do you need to know? How should you choose your rack? Are they easy to fit or will you need professional help?
Is there anything else that needs to be bought in order to start using the racks to their full potential?
The good news is that there are professional, affordable roof-rack kits available for virtually every van and they can be fitted in a matter of minutes. In fact, there is such a wide choice that the hardest task will be deciding what type you need.
Understand your needs
The first task is to decide what you need the roof racks/bars for and how you expect them to be used.
To gauge your requirements correctly you will need to ask yourself a series of questions: what do you anticipate carrying?
Is it going to be fairly light items or will you need to support substantial weight? How long will the items be? Are you planning to use the racks every day or are they for irregular use only?
Basically, the most important decision is whether the individual roof bars provided in a roof bar kit will be enough to support the loads you are intending to carry or if you need a more substantial roof-rack system.
Deciding what type you need
Once you have a clear idea of the items being carried it’s time to decide what type or roof racking system is preferable.
For example, as well as straightforward bars onto which items can be strapped, you can also buy versions with built-up sides and others with rollers at the rear which help you get items on and off the roof.
Therefore, you need to carefully research what is available. There are plenty of suppliers that offer roof-rack specifications online.
These enable you to compare prices, attributes and ease of fitting. Some even tell you how long the job should take.
What’s available will depend on your van and the flexibility of the rack kit. Basically, you can have as many bars on the roof as there are fixing points. Similarly, if it has a gutter rail you should also be able to fit a number of bars.
Consider the resistance of the roof rack and whether it can endure external factors such as wind and heavy rain. If you are in any doubt contact one of the specialist providers to ask their opinion.
Remember your accessories
As well as the roof bars/rack you will also need a number of other items, such as straps to securely tie down what you are carrying.
Failing to ensure these items won’t fall off and endanger road users could land you in trouble with the police.
You can also buy rubber plugs that fit into the end of rack poles and help prevent them from rusting. To see what items might be useful – and which are likely to be of benefit to you – ask the salesperson to outline what’s available.
If you van is quite tall and you intend carrying a lot of large items then you may have to consider buying a ladder that fits to the back of the van in order to provide convenient access to the roof.