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It only takes a few extra precautions to ensure that you and your supplies arrive at your destination intact.
We address some key pointers to securing your skis and other cargo to your roof rack safely.
Don’t overload your vehicle
Most ski racks are designed to fit six pair of skis, four snowboards, or a combination of the two. Determining factors will be the width of the skis and / or boards and how much clearance exists under the rack. How much weight your roof rack can safely carry depends on your vehicle.
Typically, a range that is safe to carry on a vehicle’s roof rack is between 80 – 160 lbs. The downward pressure of your load is typically not an issue of concern, but rather the force moving around on top of your vehicle as you stop or turn a corner.
Mount and lock with precision
Whether your ski rack mounts to your vehicle’s crossbars with universal straps or clamps, make sure you follow the rack manufacturers’ directions for mounting. Generally speaking, modern vehicles require roof racks specific to that particular model, and if you try to use a rack that doesn’t properly fit your vehicle, it may not stay attached.
All roof racks save for the cheapest come with some sort of locking apparatus, which will ensure your skis are secure while you’re driving and safe while parked. When shopping for a roof rack, make sure it has a locking function.
Test for security before takeoff
Your load must be secured from moving both side to side and front to back. If the rack is installed properly, there shouldn’t be any significant movement. Give your skis a couple of pulls after you install the rack to make sure they’re lock in tight.
One of the biggest problem with items coming off the roof is the wind blowing underneath, which pulls your load up. Ideally, your skis are locked in nose down, with no amount of lift. If you’re unsure, stop after the first fifteen minutes of driving and check your load again.
Securing a cargo box
If you’re going on a ski trip, you may be towing a cargo box, too. Cargo boxes are designed to mount to the crossbars of your roof rack, and most attach with either a clamping mechanism or U-bolt devices that can attach to many types of bars.
To ensure the box is secure, pack it before you move it to the top of your vehicle, so it’s packed and ready when you attach it. Car top cargo boxes should be packed full so your gear doesn’t rattle around inside as you drive.
Upon loading, make sure that the point of gravity of the cargo box is at or near the longitudinal centre line of the transport unit and the weight of your load is evenly distributed. Consider the height of your garage or any places that you regularly travel.
When driving, your acceleration affects the leverage of the load fastened to your roof. Pay more attention to the speed limit than you usually might, and take on turns at a slower pace.
When carrying any extra weight on your vehicle, it’s a good idea to make sure your tires are in peak condition before you set off. In winter, it’s important to keep your tires’ inflation levels up, as colder ambient temperatures mean inflation pressure declines more rapidly.
Did you know: if your vehicle is stolen, any accessories (like ski racks) are covered by your auto insurance? Another reason to get a quote today and find out for yourself how easy and affordable it is to get outstanding personalized coverage.
These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.
In Quebec, Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. In Ontario and Alberta, Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Direct Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance.