Installing a Roof Rack on Your Tesla


Installing a Roof Rack on Your Tesla

If you own a Tesla, you may be wondering if it’s possible to install a roof rack on your car. Or maybe you already bought your roof rack, and now you’re wondering how to install it. Will installing a roof rack cause damage? Is there a way to install it without damaging your Tesla?

It is not only possible but relatively easy to install a roof rack on your Tesla. There are different styles of a roof rack on the market for different Tesla models, so it is essential to buy the rack specific to your model. Each rack will come with specific instructions for installing.

Read on for a general overview of how to install a Tesla roof rack and some pros and cons of having a roof rack on your Tesla.

How to Install a Roof Rack on Your Tesla

Roof racks are available for Tesla Models, 3, S, and Y. Each roof rack will come with its own set of specific directions, so you will want to be aware of which type of rack to buy and make sure you’re following the directions provided with the rack.

But maybe you haven’t bought a rack yet, and you’re just looking for a general guide on installing them. If you’re wondering how involved a roof rack installation might be, what tools you’ll need, or want a general idea of what to expect, you’ve come to the right place.

Unpack and Identify the Parts for the Roof Rack

Before you begin the assembly process, lay out all of the parts that came with your roof rack and made sure they’re all there. It’s also helpful to familiarize yourself with each part, so you know what you’re working with. 

The roof rack package should come with the crossbars, mounts, hardware, anti-abrasion stickers, and any tools used for the installation. If you buy directly from Tesla, each part should be labeled and easy to identify; if you buy an off-brand, these small conveniences may or may not be included, depending on the manufacturer.

Wash and Dry Your Tesla’s Exterior

Prep your car for installation by cleaning the appropriate spots and making sure they are completely dry. Identify the small arrows on the top glass. 

There should be four of them–one near the front and back on each side. Take your abrasive stickers and line up the arrows on the car with the arrows on the stickers.

Peel the backing off the stickers and stick them in place on the car. These stickers will help to protect your car frame’s paint from getting damaged by the rack.

Install Mounting Brackets 

Using the included tools, pry back the weather stripping to create a gap. Insert the mounting bracket into the gap to line up with the arrow, and place the tower pad over the bracket. Repeat for all four sides. 

Carefully Add Crossbars

Place the front crossbar across the two front mounts and tighten by hand. Repeat with the back crossbar. Use a torque wrench or any provided tightening tools to tighten the rack in place further. 

Take care to follow the specific provided instructions strictly and don’t overtighten. Tightening the bars too much could cause the car’s glass top to shatter.

Tighten the Rack

Using the provided key, lock the rack in place and snap the end cover into place. Be extra careful not to overtighten. This will damage the rack itself.

What are the Best Roof Racks for a Tesla?

Because roof racks come in different styles, and designs, I’ve taken the liberty to list the best roof racks for every need:

Tesla Brand Roof Racks (Flat Bar)

Non-Tesla Brand Roof Racks (Flat Bar)

Suction Cup Roof Racks (Bike)

Suction Cup Roof Racks (Flat Bar)

What are the Benefits of Installing a Roof Rack on Your Tesla?

There are lots of reasons you may want to install a roof rack on your Tesla. But maybe you’re still on the fence about it and wondering, “Is a roof rack really for me?”

Easy to Install

Tesla roof racks are lightweight and minimalist, so you don’t have to worry about damaging the top of your car by trying to lug some big, bulky rack onto the glass or panoramic roof. Tesla models come with tiny arrows under the glass top, which line up with arrows on the roof rack, making installation a walk in the park. 

Most users find that installing a Tesla roof rack takes 45 minutes or less from start to finish. Those who are more familiar with the process may be able to install them in just 10 or 15 minutes.

Versatile

Tesla roof racks come with T-slots so you can add different types of attachments to them. These attachments enable you to haul everything from bikes and ski equipment to whatever you can fit inside a cargo box. 

Most roof racks can haul up to 150 pounds, and some, depending on the type and model, may be rated for even more.

With so many options for top hauling, you’ll not only be able to keep the inside of your Tesla clean and uncluttered; you’ll be able to haul things you would never have had space for without a roof rack.

Sleek Appearance

A roof rack will make your Tesla look sleek and sporty while serving the function of creating extra storage. 

Durable

Tesla roof racks are made of lightweight but durable aluminum and engineered to be aerodynamic, waterproof, and stable. With proper installation, they will not cause damage to your car.

A roof rack will prevent whatever you’re hauling from bumping or scratching the roof. All Tesla racks come with a 4-year warranty. You can depend on them to last and to help protect your car.

Convenient

Everything from the easy installation to the practical use of a Tesla roof rack is geared toward user convenience. 

Are There Any Cons of Installing a Tesla Roof Rack?

While roof racks are a great addition to your Tesla, they do have a few drawbacks. Let’s look at some of the cons of installing a roof rack on your Tesla.

Noise

Tesla roof racks are engineered to reduce the noise often associated with roof racks, but not even Tesla racks are completely quiet. The wind whipping over and around the racks can cause rattling, whistling, and occasional rubbing against the roof. 

According to Tesla’s website, their roof racks are “designed and engineered from the ground up for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, minimal interior noise, and impact to the range.” 

This means that for most people, the rack noise will hardly be noticeable, especially if you have music playing. But if roof noise is a big deal for you, then getting a roof rack may not be the best option for your Tesla.

Fuel Consumption

Despite the aerodynamic construction, using a roof rack diminishes your fuel efficiency. This is primarily true when the rack is loaded with cargo, which may not be as aerodynamic as the rack itself. 

Anything on top of your car increases drags on the vehicle, which over time, will use up more fuel, especially at higher speeds.

Expensive

Most Tesla roof racks range between $250 and $550, depending on the manufacturer and model. It is best to buy directly from Tesla, but this will be the most expensive option. You can find comparable roof racks online through Amazon or eBay for cheaper, but make sure you’re ordering the right kind for your Tesla model. 

Also, keep in mind that not all roof racks will be constructed of high-quality materials, even if they look similar to the Tesla-manufactured roof racks.  

Conclusion 

Now you know all about how to properly install a roof rack and reasons to install one in the first place. If you follow this guide, along with the specific directions included with your roof rack, you should have no problems getting the rack installed and using it to haul extra gear on top of your car safely.

Resources:

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Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. My daily driver is a Tesla Model 3 Performance. I've learned a ton about Teslas from hands-on experience and this is the site where I share everything I've learned.

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