How to Stop Roof Rack Wind Noise

Cars are well designed for performance and safety when they leave the factory. But we tend to add some aftermarket features that later cause us trouble. Acquaint yourself with how to stop roof rack wind noise.

You are that person who goes for mountain hikes with tents, skis, and other sports items loaded on the rooftop.

Yes, you also love some aesthetic look, meaning you wouldn’t remove the roof rack even when not in use. But the nagging vibration noise can’t give you peace.

Frankly, driving at a higher speed makes this noise extreme. And you cannot even listen to the music or comfortably hold conversations with your passengers.

Thankfully, you will learn how to stop roof rack wind noise by the end of this article.

Why is a Roof Rack Noisy?

how to stop ski rack from whistling
car ski rack

Noisy or whistling roof racks are common while driving at higher speeds. The noise is caused by wind passing over the crossbars on the rooftop.

The cross bars’ surface has a consistent shape which causes the airflow to develop a tone. You will hear the tone as a whistling noise at a higher speed. This tone is known as Aeolian noise.

Aeolian noise can be a complex formula to explain in this writing. In simple, it’s how the bars offer wind resistance at different vehicle speeds. It isn’t relevant to explain further.

However, this noise may not only disturb you but also cause the following;

  • Poor gas mileage
  • Poor vehicle performance
  • Handling capability issues

Read on to learn amazing methods of roof rack noise reduction.

How to Stop Roof Rack Wind Noise

1.      Install a Roof Rack Wind Deflector

A roof rack wind deflector is a plastic shield that deflects the wind. In other terms, the method is known as wind fairing.

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These deflectors come in different lengths and sizes, depending on your vehicle. When installing, their top section is attached to the front crossbar.

On the other hand, the bottom rests on the roof surface. Thankfully, some deflectors have strips of protective films to sit on to protect the car’s paintwork.

These roof bar wind deflectors are very compatible with various crossbars. In fact, they are manufactured by the same bar manufacturers.

However, their costs vary depending on the brand.

Read: Can I put luggage on top of my car?

2.      Swap the Standard Bars for Aerodynamic ones

Aerodynamically designed roof rack bars are unique from the standard round or square bars. They are designed with sleek or oval designs that allow airflow without much resistance.

With these bars, you don’t require wind fairing.

Although you may not permanently eliminate roof rack noise, they lower it to a tone that may not disrupt you in the cabin.

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Aerodynamic bars also have wind diffuser strips that enhance a smooth ride. So, if you are the driver who presses hard on the accelerator pedal, they will serve you better.

3.      Diffuse the Wind With Bungee Cord

If you don’t want to spend much on deflectors or aerodynamics bars, you can opt for a bungee cord. It’s a simple roof rack wind deflector DIY that can save you from noise disturbances.

Pick your bungee cord and hook it at the edge of the bar mounting. Then, wrap the cord tightly in a spiral pattern around the crossbar. Finally, attach the other end to the mount.

If your bungee cord has no hooks, you can tie some knots but ensure it’s tight enough.

4.      Tighten Your Rack and Mounts

Your roof rack bars may be loose. However, don’t wonder how they become loose because, with time, they degrade due to exposure to weather.

Use a wrench to loosen the bolts and remove the rack bars. Then, cut rubber weather stripping using a pair of scissors to simple washers.

Finally, fix the washers between the mounting and the roof surface and tighten the bolts using a wrench. You will notice some clinging noise reduction because the bars will be stable.

5.      Opt for Edge Bars

If you have been using load bars, opt for edge bars. Load bars are heavier and in a square design, manufactured for heavy cargo.

On the other hand, edge bars are lighter and circular, designed for light loading. Edge bars offer less wind resistance due to their circular design.

Although they may not fully function as special aerodynamic crossbars, they are better than load bars.

Always note that you will only use edge bars on your rooftop for lighter cargo.

6.      Pad the Cross Bars

The other method is covering the smooth surface on the crossbars that offer a consistent shape for airflow.

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Buy crossbar pads and install them on your bars. The rubbers in crossbar pads offer high drag ecoefficiency, although they may not be effective at high speeds.

7.      Weather Stripping Tape

Wrap some rubber weather stripping materials on the crossbars to disturb the wind. The rubbers work the same as the crossbar pads.

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However, it would be best if you found some mechanisms to secure them on the bars. Ideally, use a cord to wrap them in place.

8.      Remove the Roof Rack When Not in Use

You can remove the roof rack bars when not in use. But first, confirm the mounting mechanism used to secure the bars.

That’s because some mountings may become weak with time after several attempts to remove and reinstall them.

How to Stop Roof Rack Vibration

Many car owners raise complaints about the annoying vibrations from their roof rack crossbars. If you are one of the distressed owners, there is a new dawn. Learn how to stop roof rack vibration.

Over the years, cars like SUVs have been using roof racks to haul extra cargo. And most car owners who love long-distance traveling will tell you several benefits of carrying a load on the roof.

You create more room inside the car for occupants by securing your luggage on the roof rack. Secondly, you can comfortably transport some bulky items that may never fit inside the trunk.

With that said, it’s encouraging to save hundreds of dollars you would pay for transport services. However, these accessories have both benefits and drawbacks.

Let’s see the benefits;

You haul your luggage with ease on the rooftop. And you give your car an aesthetic look.

On the drawbacks, you know how disturbing a vibrating roof rack can be. Thankfully, below are tips on how to stop roof rack vibration.

Why Do Roof Racks Vibrate?

Why Do Roof Racks Vibrate?
Roof rack

Roof rack vibration noise occurs when wind passes over the cross bar’s surface. The cross bars’ surfaces have a consistent shape which causes the wind to develop a tone when the car is at high speed.

Due to resistance, you hear some vibrating noise in the cabin. At times, you may also hear whistling noise.

Unfortunately, the noise and vibration may be extreme, especially if you drive at a higher speed.

The worst happens if the weather is a bit windy. You will experience the vibration even at a lower speed.

Despite vibrations, car owners have reported reduced vehicle performance. This is as a result of high wind resistance.

Additionally, you will notice poor gas mileage and, on another occasion, poor handling capability.

Read on to learn how to reduce the vibration noise of a car roof rack.

How to Stop Roof Rack Vibration
Roof rack

How to Stop Roof Rack Vibration

1.      Disturb the Airflow

Roof rack fairing will disturb the airflow and reduce the vibration. Fairing is installing a plastic shield known as a wind deflector on the front crossbar to deflect the wind.

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A roof rack deflector is attached to the front bar top section, and the bottom rests on the roof surface.

Most deflectors have protective films to protect the car paint. The method effectively prevents front-runner roof rack vibration, which is more prone to wind.

2.      Check the Contact Points

Loose contact points may cause a vibration when they rub against each other. The contact points are where the roof rack connects to the mounting accessories.

Since the mounting accessories are attached to the roof, the whole roof will vibrate when they shake due to wind resistance.

Ideally, replacing the rubber stripping can help reduce vibrations, especially if you have used the roof rack for an extended period.

Use a pair of scissors to cut the rubber stripping material to exact pieces that will fit your contact points.

Afterward, apply the rubber stripping to all mounting accessories by attaching them to the adhesive sides. Then, set the crossbars and inspect the adjustment knobs to ensure they are tight.

Finally, you can apply RTV sealant on the mounting feet rubber gaskets to permanently stop the vibration. The sealant starts drying immediately it’s exposed to the air.

Read: Soft car top carrier with roof rack

Are All Roof Racks Noisy?
Roof rack

3.      Get Aerofoil Cross Bars

Aerofoil or aerodynamically designed crossbars have a sleek or oval design that offers less wind resistance.

Additionally, these bars have a wind diffuser technology that reduces the vibration. They also reduce drag to enhance fuel economy.

An example of aerofoil crossbars you may use is Rhino-Rack Vortex Aero Cross Bar. It maximizes roof space for large cargo hauling. On the other hand, it’s easy to install because it has legs and a fit kit.

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Another option is Thule Aeroblades. They are designed with a wind diffuser technology and are of low profile.

Read: How to remove Thule roof rack without key

4.      Swap Load Bars for Edge Bars

Load bars are square and strong enough for heavy luggage. The only drawback with load bars is that their design is aerodynamically poor.

On the other hand, edge bars are light and usually round in shape. The round shape makes them less wind resistant compared to the load bars.

If you carry lighter luggage, you may opt for edge bars. Although they may never function as the special aerofoil bars, you may have reduced vibration and comfort in the cabin.

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Thule Wingbar can serve best in your car. It’s stable for hauling medium-weight luggage.

5.      Use a Cord to Diffuse the Wind

A nylon rope or a bungee cord can save you from vibration noise. Take the cord and wrap it around the roof bars in spiral patterns.

Ideally, wrap the cord from one edge of the bar to the other. Then, tie a knot at 45 degrees angle and ensure it’s tight enough.

When the wind comes into contact with the surface, it will cause less vibration and whistling sounds. That’s because wrapping the cords alters the consistent surface to disturb the wind.

When you decide to use a bungee cord, hook it on the bar edges. However, ensure it’s tight enough to disturb the wind on the surface.

At times the hooks may not secure it properly. So, please remove them and tie some quality knots.

One major drawback with this method is that it may not be effective at higher speeds, but you may have a little comfort.

6.      Pad the Roof Rack Bars

Bar padding is wrapping the bars with rubber-made pads with higher drag coefficiency.

Crossbar pads disturb airflow by covering the smooth surfaces on the roof rack crossbars.

However, they, too,  may not be effective at higher speeds.

FAQs on Roof Rack Vibrations and Noise

Do Roof Racks Cause Wind Noise?

Roof racks cause some whistling noise because of the wind passing over the consistent surface of their crossbars. However, some specially designed crossbars have reduced noise due to their aerodynamic shape.

How Do I Stop my Crossbar from Whistling?

A quick fix is to tie a bungee cord on the crossbars. Another option is to warp them with weather stripping rubber materials. If the problem persists, inspect and tighten the mounts since they may be loose.

Is a Wind Fairing Worth it?

Wind fairing makes a noticeable difference on a car’s roof. But before implementing any fairing method, do thorough research and follow the actual procedures.

Do Roof Rack Wind Deflectors Work?

Roof rack wind deflectors effectively deflect wind flowing directly to the bars. You can also opt for several other methods on how to stop roof rack wind noise.

Are All Roof Racks Noisy?

Roof racks with aerofoil crossbars are considered less noisy. However, it’s nearly impossible to stop roof racks from making noise or vibrations. Note that weather, driving speed, and road conditions contribute much to roof rack noise.

Do Roof Rack Wind deflectors Work?

Wind deflectors make a significant difference on the car’s roof. You will drive comfortably at higher speeds without vibrations if you give it a try.

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