Roof Rack Installation Cost

Roof racks help our lives immensely for people always on the move. You can DIY the installation or you can pay someone to install your roof rack. They do cost a lot but in the end, they provide protection for our vehicles, ourselves, and our equipment/gear/stuff!

But sometimes putting on roof racks can be difficult especially if cutting, screwing, and modifying the roof is required. Not all roof racks are like that but a majority are. The heavier duty your roof rack is the more likely it is going to need more tools and more skill to get it in place. 

But when you put on a heavier-duty roof rack that means you are going to be able to carry more things on than the lightweight roof racks!

When it comes to messing with the roof of your vehicle you better know what you are doing or damage to the vehicle could be even more costly than the installation!  Plus it could negatively affect the weatherproofing of your vehicle. 

The installation costs of roof racks tend to vary from $100 to $600+. 

Roof Rack on A wrangler
Roof rack on a Wrangler that is a little more complex to install

The cost will depend on the type of vehicle you drive, the type of roof rack, and where you take it to get installed. 

Also, a tip to follow is if you need installation service, be sure to buy it from a local retailer instead of an online store. The local retailer will usually install it for you if you bought it from them at a cheaper price than if you buy it from another place. 

Where To Get A Roof Rack Installed?

Typically the places where you can get roof racks installed are going to be your mom and pop stores in your city. But there are some national/regional stores located around the USA that could help you out as well. 

Here are a few:

  • Rack attack. They have a presence in Canada and USA coast to coast!  Check em out!
  • Eastern Mountain Sports. They are located in the NE USA. 
  • Yakima. If you have a Yakima roof rack you could try their dealer locator. Click on that link then provide your location and then go into category and click on rack installation to filter out stores that provide installations. You may find a couple of dealers on there that could install a different type of rack as well. 

Can I Install A Roof Rack Myself

Most roof racks that you pick up at your outdoor sports stores can be installed by most people. The manufacturers understand that most buyers will do self-installation and typically make it very easy to install them. Again this depends a lot on the type of vehicle or the type of rack you have but with today’s modern cars, they make it easy. 

Different Types of Roof Racks

Here are the types of roof racks that are easy to connect to. The type of roof rack and vehicle will affect the cost of the roof rack installation.  

Vehicle with Side Rails
A vehicle with Built-in Side Rails – Photo: OffroaderX
  • Side Rail Racks: Many of today’s modern vehicles come standard with side rails on the roof. The great thing about these are that they typically provide a strong solid base to connect side rail roof racks to and you won’t have to worry about the connection to the car only to the roof rail. One minor problem is vehicle’s side rails sizes will vary some products might not fit your roof rail. 
  • Rain Gutter Racks: These are also an easy solution because the gutter provides a great place to clamp a rack down. They are also great for many older vehicles or Jeep wranglers. I have a rain gutter rack on my wrangler and it was easy to install, and I haven’t touched it since!
Bare Roof, Roof Rack
Bare Roof / Roof Rack Connection
  • Bare or naked roof racks: Roof racks designed for bare/naked roofs connect to the door frame of the vehicle. They will typically clamp down onto the part of the door where the window is. The door will shut down onto the clamp. Depending on your door sealing system it may allow water to get in but you could alleviate that depending on how big the gap is. 
  •  Fixed Point Racks: There are some vehicles out there that have built-in locations on the roof where a rack can be secured down. This offers a strong solution because you know you are connecting directly to the vehicle’s frame. 

Roof Rack Installation Cost – Wrap Up!

We would definitely recommend everyone to give connecting your roof rack to your vehicle a go. There are plenty of online tutorials that can assist you if any questions come up and many products provide great instructions. This could save you some money. 

Don’t be scared off by the high amount we provided at the top. Above $200 and you are most likely customizing your roof to fit on an expansive rack that can hold a lot of weight. That cost is seen when someone is going on a huge expedition or by an adventure travel company fitting out a 4×4 vehicle. Most roof rack installation costs will be in the lower range of $100 to $200. 

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