Do All Minivans Have Roof Racks? (Which Do?)


Do All Minivans Have Roof Racks?

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Are you going on a long vacation and want to be able to haul as much as possible? Maybe you are having a hard time deciding about which equipment to take along? 

Well with a roof rack on a minivan you won’t have to decide as you can take a bunch of extra items. That of course brings us to the question of whether all minivans have roof racks on them. 

Not ALL minivans have roof racks but the vast majority of them do. In recent years manufacturers have made almost every single minivan with a roof rack so the % of minivans that have roof racks is extremely high. 

It used to be that items like roof racks were extra features that cost more so many people would choose not to have one but most new minivans now will have roof racks by default and aren’t considered an extra feature. 

If you are planning on renting a minivan and you are trying to figure out whether your rental minivan will have a roof rack or not then the odds are 90% or higher that the minivan you get will have a roof rack but no rental companies will guarantee a specific feature on your minivan rental. 

The only way to guarantee a roof rack on your rental is either to rent from a small local company that only has a few vehicles or rent from a place like Turo where you are renting a specific vehicle from an individual where you will know the exact features that are on the minivan. 

If the minivan you buy or rent doesn’t have a roof rack you can actually buy one to attach to your minivan relatively cheaply. If you are renting the minivan then make sure that by adding a roof rack you aren’t violating the rental contract or breaking some other rules by doing so. 

Which minivans have roof racks?

Many minivans come with the ability to have roof racks on them but the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Pacifica/Voyager have roof racks on them the most often. Weight capacity and dimensions of your vehicle as mentioned in the vehicle manual are very important while considering a roof rack so if you are unsure if your vehicle has that as an option then you will want to contact a professional so you don’t end up destroying something. 

It’s better to spend a little extra money making sure that the roof rack is attached properly and done right than it is to have luggage or the rack fly off while going down the road. 

What are a few important factors you need to consider when choosing a roof rack for your minivan?

Buying a roof rack that is the perfect fit for your vehicle requires a lot of homework to be done on your part. And by homework, I mean looking at what is available on the market. 

A few important factors that you need to consider are:

  • Great build quality

It will be better to invest in a roof rack with a strong metal frame. This avoids the risk that comes with loading and unloading heavy cargo as you don’t have to worry about breaking the frame. 

  • Roof Rack accessories

Numerous roof rack accessories are available on the market depending upon your needs and requirements. Therefore, it is always a wise choice to consider whether the roof rack you are buying comes with accessories or at least the option to add them if needed. For example, Roof rack covers and ties are the most basic form of accessories that might come with a roof rack.

  • Design and style

You will want to choose a design that fits well with your vehicle while also having a stylish look. The design should be up to date while also meeting or exceeding the standard quality requirements. A good design also helps in a balanced distribution of weight on your vehicle.

  • Shape and size

There are a number of shapes and sizes of roof racks available on the market. Read your vehicle manual carefully while deciding the size and shape that you want to get. It should be suitable for your vehicle build as well. A roof rack that is suitable for your vehicle is a great long-term investment from a travel perspective.

The above factors are the most basic ones any first-time buyer should consider while making a roof rack purchase.

What is the difference between a roof rail and a roof rack?

Roof racks are basically crossbars that go from the side door to door of your vehicle. Roof rails on the other hand are positioned from the rear of your vehicle to the back of your vehicle. On most minivans and SUVs, the roof rails are pre-installed by the manufacturer and you simply have to attach the roof rack to the rails that are already there. 

What types of roof racks are available? 

The roof rack you invest in should be carefully chosen so that way it lasts as long as possible  while still fitting all of your needs. Different types of roof racks are available for  the different vehicles depending upon the year and model type. 

Some common types of roof racks are bare roofs, side rails, canopy, camper tops, fixed mounting, and fixed point roof racks.

How do you install a roof rack on your minivan?

The best option to get a roof rack installed on your minivan is by simply hiring a mechanic or the dealership to do it for you. Yes, you should be able to install it yourself with a little bit of mechanical knowledge but having the peace of mind that it has been done right is invaluable. 

These professionals have the proper expertise and knowledge for a hassle-free installation process. 

Usually mounting towers, some specifically designed feet, or clips are required to attach a roof rack to the roof of your vehicle. Various helpful videos and pictures are also available on this subject throughout Google and Youtube to help you out in case you decide to do it yourself instead of hiring someone. 

You can see one such video on roof rack installation below. 

Do roof racks affect your minivan’s performance?

As useful as it sounds for reducing worry about your luggage and equipment it certainly does affect the performance of your minivan! 

Putting a roof rack on your minivan’s roof shouldn’t affect the performance greatly but putting anything on the roof rack certainly will. It will have an affect on the aerodynamics of your vehicle which in turn means that you will get worse gas mileage and also catch more crosswinds on a windy day. 

The engine will need to work harder to produce the extra power and you will often have to drive slower to avoid the long-term effects on your vehicle as a minivan is quite light-weighted when compared to larger SUVs or trucks. 

Ideally you will want to avoid putting anything on the roof of your minivan if at all possible so only use a roof rack if you don’t have any other alternative. 

How do roof racks affect your minivan’s stability?

Minivans are quite light weighted when compared to other larger vehicles and a loaded roof rack will end up increasing the center of gravity of your vehicle. This is the reason why a type of loading affect will be created at the corner of the vehicle. 

For this reason, you will have to be super careful while driving your minivan when the roof rack is loaded to avoid tipping over in strong winds or in the event of an accident. 

Are roof racks a safe choice for your minivan?

A roof rack affects your vehicle’s gas mileage and also its overall performance. Due to the light weight of the vehicle this can be a tedious affair. 

You have to be super aware of your surroundings and the cross winds while driving anytime but especially when you have the added height of a carrier on your roof rack. The vehicle should be under controllable speeds at all times. 

Make sure you follow the manual weight instructions to be on the safer side and the load should be adequately balanced and properly tied down as well. 

Misuse or improper installation of a roof rack can ruin your vehicle’s aerodynamics as well as increase the risk to you and the vehicles around you while driving. 

What is a roof rack?

A roof rack, in simple words, is basically an amalgamation of two horizontal and vertical bars used to carry excess weight on the top of the vehicle instead of inside of it.  It increases the load capacity of your vehicle by allowing you to carry more volume (but not more weight). 

It can also be put on the backside of the vehicle for additional equipment like a bicycle but then it’s just referred to as a rack and not a roof rack. 

The roof rack might cover the whole roof and is often used for larger additional equipment like luggage. 

Matthew Robbs

I have been working on cars since I was a kid and I love taking a vehicle that isn't working and bringing it back to life. I have owned quite a few cars over the years and looking for information about different vehicles is still hard online so that is why I started this website.

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