If you own a lot of fishing, hiking, skiing, or kayaking equipment that you haul around in your Ford Ranger, you’ve probably spent a decent amount of time looking for ways to improve your luggage capacity. Roof racks are the ideal 4×4 accessories for the task.
Not only do they expand your Ranger’s storage capacity, but they also protect your valuable equipment by keeping it secure, providing you with more opportunities for adventure along the way. These reasons alone are why so many 4×4 owners consider roof racks as essential add-ons to their vehicles.
If you’re looking for a practical roof rack for Ford Ranger, you might find yourself comparing different products without being sure what to look for, what matters, and what doesn’t. In order to make the right choice, here’s what you need to consider.
What Will You Use It For?
This is the first question you need to ask yourself and find the answer to before shopping for 4×4 accessories. Defining your requirements will help you make the right choice. Take your budget into account so you can narrow down your choices and make the search easier.
Furthermore, consider whether you want a permanent or removable roof rack. If you need a permanent roof rack, you may want one that is drilled into the roof rather than attached for extra security. The type of cargo and equipment you’ll be transporting will also play a role in deciding which roof rack is right.
Should You Get a Steel or Aluminium Rack?
While it may seem insignificant, the material the roof rack is constructed of can make a world of difference in how much you can carry on it, and how much it will cost. Most roof racks are made of either aluminum or steel. Steel roof racks are stronger and more affordable, but they’re on the heavier side, creating more drag when you drive.
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As a result, you’ll also increase your fuel usage and it may whistle when you drive on the open road. Aluminum roof racks are lighter, making them easier to attach or detach (if removable). The fact that they’re lighter allows you to carry more equipment on them, as they’ll help keep your Ranger below its recommended GVWM (gross vehicle weight mass). On the downside, aluminum roof racks are typically costlier.
How to Fit a Roof Rack?
The installation of a roof rack is largely dependent on the type of roof set up your Ford Ranger has. There are usually three types of roof setups – bare roof setups, roofs with fixpoints, and raised roof fittings.
Bare roof setups, as their name implies, don’t feature any attachment points. If your Ranger sports a bare roof, then you should consider clip-fit racks that are designed for these types of setups. Clip-fit roof racks feature coated metal brackets and rubber pads that can be clamped to the outer edge. Typically, these roof racks are designed to fit multiple vehicle models and makes, while also allowing for a seamless fit. Clip-fit roof racks are removable.
Roofs with fixpoints feature mounting fixpoints that are built into the roof itself. Sometimes, the fixpoints are hidden. You install the roof rack with the help of the base towers. The roof rack is simply fitted into the mounting point, allowing you to easily install roof bars.
Lastly, raised roof fittings already have everything to support a roof rack. You’ll just need base towers that are compatible with your roof bars. Suitability is mostly dependent on your Ranger’s make and year.
How to Install Extra Roof Rack Accessories?
Even though roof racks are accessories themselves, you can install extra accessories on tops of them, such as bike racks or board racks.
Installing Bike Racks
They say that once you know how to ride a bike, you never forget. Well, the same can be said about installing a bike rack. Most bike racks are divided into two basic types – roof and hitch bike racks. Hitch-mounted racks are mounted on your vehicle’s hitch receiver, whereas roof-mounted racks are installed on the roof rack for Ford Ranger.
Once the rack is mounted, you’ll need a separate rack for each bike you intend on mounting. No matter what type of bike rack you install, you should consider getting a lock for added security.
When installing bike racks, you need to consider your vehicle’s model and make. When choosing a bike rack, you should consider the features. While most people look for brand-name racks, you need to prioritize a rack that best fits your needs. This includes bike capacity, a warranty, sturdy straps, and secure locks.
Installing Board Racks
Whether surfboarding or snowboarding, a board rack can go a long way in ensuring your precious board is safely secured and reaches its destination scotch-free. Some surfers drill holes to mount permanent roof racks, while others install soft surfboard racks that are easy to attach and remove.
This is done by opening the door placing one soft rack just above the windshield and placing the other at the back of the roof. Most soft racks feature short and long straps that you’ll need to buckle inside your vehicle, where you can also adjust them.
On the other hand, snowboard roof racks typically come with crossbars that you’ll need to widen until your bindings fit between them. After installing the crossbars, you’ll need to mount the clamps, and then mount the carrier onto your car.
The load capacity of the rack will depend on the materials it’s made of, the type of vehicle you have, and the weight of your snowboard equipment. Since you’ll probably be driving up the mountains, make sure everything is secured properly. A common problem with roof racks can be accessing the equipment, especially when mounted on a high vehicle like the Ranger.
Extra Installation Tips
Always make sure you know the right torque setting before installing a roof rack. Avoid overloading the roof rack and stick to the weight limitations imposed by manufacturers. When hauling heavy loads, drive slower as drag will be drastically increased.
Follow the installation manual to avoid the risk of damaging your Ranger, and use grease on the fittings to prevent them from corroding. Having an extra set of hands can come a long way in the installation process, or better yet, have the rack installed by an experienced professional.