9 Different Types of Roof Racks for Cars

Different Types Of Roof Racks For Cars
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pixabay

There are different types of roof racks for cars. They come in various types, offering flexibility and convenience for transporting equipment, luggage, and more.

These racks provide additional storage space and ensure the safety of your belongings during road trips or outdoor adventures.

From platform racks offering ample loading space to flush side rails seamlessly blending with the roof, there’s a roof rack type to suit every preference and vehicle size.

When you select the right roof rack, you can enhance your travel experience and securely transport items without worrying about damaging your car or losing your belongings.

Read On to know the different types of roof racks for cars.

1. Track Mount

Track Mount is one of the different types of roof racks for cars. It is a versatile system that can be installed on tracks pre-installed with the vehicle or on a bar foot.

The track mount system offers flexibility in adjusting the racks’ position and mounts along the track. 

Also, it provides a secure and stable attachment for various types of equipment or luggage you want to transport on your car’s roof.

However, it’s worth noting that installing track mounts after the car is manufactured can be more challenging compared to other types of roof racks.

2. Gutter Mount

A Gutter Mount is also among the different types of roof racks for cars. It was more popular in the 80s when hauling equipment on cars became fashionable.

This type of rack is designed to fit into the part of the car door that closes, known as the gutter. 

It can be quickly positioned in the right spot by going into the door. Gutter mounts are known for their ability to support heavier loads.

While they are less common today, they can still be obtained if desired.

3. Door Mount

A door mount is a rack that clamps onto the vehicle door and uses the frame for stability.

This type of rack is adjustable, depending on the item’s length, as it needs to align with specific spacing about the window. 

Door mounts are particularly useful when there is no specific roof rack installation recommendation from the vehicle’s manufacturer.

However, it’s important to be cautious with door mounts as they can potentially scratch the car’s paint due to their hold style.

4. Fixed Point Tracks

Fixed Point Tracks are one of the different types of roof racks for cars. They are designed to be mounted directly onto the car’s roof, integrating with the roofline.

Instead of being mounted on a separate rack, the track is part of the car’s roof.

Fixed Point Tracks consist of a line on each side of the car with slots spaced a few inches apart. These slots secure the rack by threading or bolting a stud into them.

Once the rack is attached provides a solid hold for carrying various items on the roof.

Unlike some other roof rack types, Fixed Point Tracks do not offer much adjustability regarding where the rack sits.

However, they are known for their stability and reliability. This type of roof rack is particularly suitable for cars with fixed-point attachments built into the roof structure.

It’s important to note that Fixed Point Tracks may require professional installation or specific vehicle modifications, as they are integrated with the car’s roof.

It’s always recommended to consult the retailer or a knowledgeable expert to ensure compatibility and proper installation for your specific car model.

5. Flush Side Rails

Flush Side Rails are designed to be more flush with the car’s roof, hence the name. Unlike raised rails, flush side rails do not have the free space to run a rope through.

Flush side rails are flat with interior pinholes that allow you to slide equipment into them and lock them into position.

They offer a sleek and low-profile look while still providing the functionality of a roof rack.

These racks are adjustable and allow you to securely transport various items such as luggage, furniture, sports equipment, and more on the roof of your car.

You should ensure the correct length of flush side rails that match your car’s size and specifications.

This will ensure a proper fit and secure attachment for your equipment during transportation.

6. Raised Rails

Raised Rails is the next on my list of the different types of roof racks for cars. They are a popular and commonly seen option.

Raised rails typically run almost the entire roof length and resemble two bars.

They are usually attached at three points on each side of the car. These rails provide a sturdy base for attaching various racks and accessories.

The open space between the raised rails can be used to tie down items securely using ropes or straps.

This type of roof rack is adjustable, allowing you to position the racks according to your needs.

Raised rails are versatile and can accommodate different types of equipment, such as roof boxes, bike racks, ski racks, and more.

Before opting for raised rails, it’s important to ensure that the rails are appropriate for your vehicle’s size and weight capacity.

Overloading the rear end of the car can affect its balance and handling.

Therefore, following the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations is crucial when installing a roof rack with raised rails.

7. Flush Bar Rack

A Flush Bar Rack is designed to have a sleek and low-profile appearance.

A Flush Bar Rack’s distinguishing feature is that it has no overhang. The bars of the rack end flush with the sides of the car’s roof.

Flush Bar Racks provide a secure and stable platform for carrying various types of equipment, such as luggage, boxes, skis, snowboards, and other items.

They typically have interior pinholes that allow you to slide the equipment into position and lock them securely.

These racks are adjustable to fit different car sizes, but ensuring you have the correct length for your specific vehicle is important.

While Flush Bar Racks may limit the overall carrying capacity compared to some other types, they offer a more aerodynamic and noise-reducing design.

8. Through Bar Rack

A Through Bar Rack is one of the different types of roof racks for cars. It is designed to provide a quieter, more flexible carrying option with a heavy load capacity.

The rack consists of adjustable bars that can poke out the ends, allowing for easier packing and accommodating of various items.

The Through Bar Rack is popular for those requiring a roof rack that can handle substantial weight while maintaining a quieter ride.

9. Platform Rack

A platform rack resembles a boxspring from a bed and offers a spacious platform on which you can load substantial equipment or luggage.

Compared to other roof racks, the platform rack provides more space, allowing you to counterbalance its weight. 

This is among the different types of roof racks for cars that are suitable if you have several items to transport.

However, it can be more expensive than other options and tends to be heavy and noisy.

Additionally, installing and using a platform rack may require more assistance and can be more complex than other roof racks.


There are different types of roof racks for cars, each offering unique features and benefits.

Choosing the right roof rack depends on your specific needs and preferences.

No matter the type, having a roof rack ensures convenient transportation of luggage, sports equipment, and other items.

This makes road trips and outdoor adventures more enjoyable and organized.

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