Modern cars come with plenty of boot space and a million cubby holes, meaning the average motorist and their occupants shouldn’t have an issue finding a spot to store anything and the kitchen sink.
However, if the need to increase storage space arises, you don’t necessarily have to go purchase a larger car… unless of course you need extra space for humans.
A car roof cargo box is a simple and easy way to boost the amount of storage space in your car. Almost any car can be fitted with one. However, before you run over to the accessory shop and throw your money on a roof box, it’s probably wise to take into consideration the pros and cons of fitting one.
An important thing to take note of would be the factory-fitment of mounting points for a roof rack. Some cars are equipped with it and some aren’t. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, just that it determines the approach in getting the roof box fitted.
If your car has mounting points for a roof rack, the process of installing everything becomes a lot easier. You mount the roof rack and fit the roof box to it.
However, if your car doesn’t have mounting points for a roof rack, you’ll need to get roof bars that clamp onto the door frame and the roof box mounts to that instead.
Regardless of the method, always ensure that your car’s roof rack and roof box are securely fastened with periodical checks to make certain nothing has loosened over time.
Weight & Speed Limitations
Another cardinal factor to consider if you fit a roof box is the weight limit of your car’s roof as well as the limited maximum speed.
Firstly, each and every car has a factory-rated weight limit for the roof. You can’t just throw everything and the kitchen sink on top of it without knowing the limit.
This information can be found in the owner’s manual. If the manual in your car is missing, the info should be easily available online. For example, a 2020 Honda CR-V has a roof weight limit of 75 kg. Bear in mind that this number also includes the weight of the roof rack and roof box as well.
In general, most cars have a roof weight limit of around 60-80 kg but it’s best to consult the owner’s manual to be absolutely certain. As a best practice, store heavy items in the car’s boot. The roof box is best for large but light items.
Next up are the limitations in speed. Fitting a roof box will lower the car’s aerodynamic efficiency and add a lot more surface area. This means your top speed will be limited but fret not as you’ll still be able to hit highway speeds. Just avoid going beyond it to be cautious.
Pros of a Car Roof Box
1. Extra Cargo Space without the Additional Footprint
In the case of fitting a roof box, you essentially get more cargo storage area without having to get a larger car. Furthermore, the need for extra cargo space usually crops up a handful of times a year, such as during balik kampung trips. Hence, there isn’t a need for a large vehicle all the time.
The roof box gives you the extra cargo space but within the footprint of a much smaller car. Additionally, it’s also easily removable should you decide not to leave it there all the time.
2. Better Weight Distribution
In other parts of the world, you might notice that smaller trailers are a common sight to increase cargo space. However, not only is it inconvenient when it comes to parking, it also puts a lot more load on the rear tires and suspension.
A roof box might increase the center of gravity but it retains the weight distribution between the A-, B-, and C-pillars within the axles. This translates into much more predictable handling on the road.
Cons of a Car Roof Box
1. Increased Fuel Consumption
While some modern roof boxes are designed to be pretty streamlined and not be such an aero barrier, it’s still increasing the frontal surface area of your car rather significantly.
This will mean a decrease in aerodynamic efficiency that should see your fuel consumption go up. In this case, if you don’t have need for a roof box all the time, it might make sense to remove it and save some fuel.
2. Raised Height
Apart from the aforementioned elevated center of gravity, a roof box will also physically raise the height of your car. This might prevent you from entering multi-story parking lots or building basements.
If you live in a condo, it’s a good idea to check the additional height a roof box will add before you fit it and discover that you can’t park in your own home anymore.
Furthermore, going through toll gantries will be an issue as well. You’ll have to constantly remind yourself to take the heavy vehicle lane for lorries if your car and its roof box exceed the height limit at toll gantries.
If your car is too tall and you take the regular lane, you might end up completely destroying your roof box and all the cargo inside. That said, the embarrassment would still probably hurt more than the financial loss.
A car cargo roof box can be the easiest solution if you find yourself needing extra cargo room once in a while. The simplicity of removing it also adds to the convenience as you don’t have to drive around with it all the time.
If you do decide to go with one, remember to double-check the roof weight limit and the vehicle’s new height once everything is installed.
“Better late than never.” Some despise it, others begrudgingly agree with it but he swears by it… much to the chagrin of everyone around him. That unfortunately stems from all of his project cars not running most of the time, which in turn is testament to his questionable decision-making skills in life. A culmination of many wrongs fortunately making a right; much like his project cars on the rare occasions they run, he’s still trying to figure out if another project car is the way to go.