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Do Rental Minivans Have Roof Racks? (Can They Be Added?)

Minivans tend to have more space than any other kind of car. Along with space, a minivan will also give you pretty good gas mileage and a comfortable ride. A minivan generally is able to seat 7-8 people and it is comfortable as well as convenient. 

You will be able to have both luggage as well as legroom with this vehicle but if you are traveling with multiple family members then the leg space needed might not leave very much for luggage. 

In such cases, it’s better to get a roof rack. But the question is- is it available in rental minivans?

Most minivan rentals will have a roof rack on them but that isn’t always the case. Unfortunately no national car rental companies guarantee a specific make/model or features on a rental car so there is no way of knowing ahead of time if the minivan you will get will have a roof rack or not. 

The only way to ensure you get a roof rack is to rent from a small local car rental company that lets you reserve specific vehicles (very rare nowadays) or to rent from a company like Turo where you rent a specific minivan from a specific person. 

When renting a minivan from a national chain, whether it will have a roof rack or not depends on what vehicles are on the lot which changes on a daily basis. National rental car chains often shuttle multiple vehicles to or from their different branches regularly to meet the reservations and other expected demand. That means often the  minivan you are renting won’t even be on the rental car lot until a few hours before you arrive to rent it. 

It is really just luck whether you will get one with a roof rack or not when renting from nationwide chains like Enterprise, Hertz, Budget, etc. so the only way to guarantee your minivan rental has a roof rack is to rent it from an individual or smaller local company. 

In the rest of this article we will cover some important information that you will want to know about roof racks before you attempt to use them on your next minivan rental. 

How do you choose a roof rack?

If you are at a rental car lot and they actually have multiple minivans with roof racks on them you will get to choose from a variety of different kinds of roof racks. So you will have to determine what kind of rack you want. 

For this, there are some important factors you should consider. 

  • You will first have to figure out what you will be carrying as that will determine the weight distribution, space, and other related items.
  • You will have to figure out the weight carrying capacity of the roof of your rented minivan.
  • Along with this you should also figure out an approximate combined weight of the very heaviest of items. 
  • Some minivan roof racks also work better than others when you are hauling specific items so if you plan on putting odd shaped containers on the roof rack be sure and check and see which minivan models those containers will work on. 

Do roof racks damage your vehicle?

If a roof rack is properly installed on the roof then you should have no trouble with it and will instead be able to use it for many years to come. A properly installed roof rack won’t damage your vehicle at all. 

The same goes for rental vehicles like minivans too. But you should know that it’s very easy to incorrectly place a roof rack. It can be under or over-torqued, overloaded or even badly fitted. Doing any of these will absolutely damage your precious vehicle. If you are unsure about the fittings then you should get it done by a professional before you bring the vehicle home. 

If a rental minivan already comes with a roof rack then it’s a good idea to check it to ensure that it’s properly fitted. 

How do I stop my roof rack from whistling?

If you are on the road, headed towards your vacation destination then you might have noticed that sometimes you will find that your roof rack is whistling. This whistling occurs because of the wind passing by and through it. 

If the noise bothers you too much then you can just install a stable wind deflector. This is generally known as windshield fairing as well. These attachments are very easy to set up since it’s essentially a plastic shield that helps deflect the wind towards another direction away from your roof rack. 

This will reduce the roof noise and should stop the whistling.

If you are using a rental minivan then check if the company offers you a wind deflector. If not then you can certainly ask for it. If they don’t contain it in their accessories then do ask if you can bring you to own if you have one and if the whistling while driving down the road will annoy you. 

How Much Do Wind Fairings Cost?

If you find that the rental company doesn’t have wind deflectors and neither do you, then you might want to buy them especially if you can’t bear the noise. A wind fairing will cost you anywhere from around $60 to $120. The price difference will come down to design, size, quality, as well as the brand. 

Do note that buying any wind fairing arbitrarily won’t work. This is because there are wind fairings that are compatible with only the roof racks that were produced by the very same company. So before you purchase anything it’s important to check the compatibility of the windshield fairing with your roof rack 

But if you don’t own a minivan, or plan on buying one then getting a wind fairing will be of no use. If you want a rental minivan with a wind fairing but aren’t getting one then just go to another company. It will be a lot less hassle as well as will be cheaper for you. 

If you still don’t find any other rental company which will give you a wind fairing along with the rental minivan and the roof rack then it’s time to make one. For this, all you need to do is wrap up a bungee cord measuring 4-foot into a very tight spiral all around the rack’s crossbars. Make sure that you attach the cord securely at both the ends of your crossbar. 

This should reduce the noise levels. 

Can you take roof racks on and off?

Yes, roof racks can be taken off and put onto another vehicle with rain gutters. But if your vehicle doesn’t have a rain gutter then that’s fine too. Many modern vehicles don’t tend to come with gutters so the roof racks are made to be compatible with such cars nowadays as well. 

If you are renting two minivans and want to transfer the roof rack from one van to the other for any of the myriad reasons then you should be able to get it done. But do note that it’s better to think about such situations beforehand and get the permission of the rental company. This will save you a lot of unnecessary trouble later on. 


Overall, rental minivans do often come with roof racks but not always. This is generally because the space inside is considered to be more than enough for most any luggage. 

But that’s not always the case. 

In situations like this, you should ask the rental company if they have the needed accessory. If not then you will have to move on to the next one. The same principle applies when you are on the hunt for wind deflectors. Some rental companies will provide them while others won’t. 

In such a situation you can either buy one or just make something which you can use for the duration of your trip. This will reduce your expenses too.