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3 Tips for Installing Roof Racks Without Damaging Your Paint

Roof rack
image courtesy @www.all4x4.com.au
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If you’ve ever visited our online storefront here on AutoPartsToys.com, you know we’re passionate about Rhino Roof Racks. They make the very best quality fitted and universal roof racks in the business!

Choosing a rack is easy enough. Installing roof racks? what do you do once you have everything and it’s time to install it? The instructions that come with your rack will tell you exactly how to install the kit on your vehicle. However, we’re going to detail some helpful tips to prevent discoloration, corrosion, and rust damage from happening at and around the mounting points of your vehicle.

Professional Installs Are Not Always the Better Option

Paying a mechanic or accessory installer might seem like the best option, but this is a job that’s easy enough to do in the comfort of your garage or driveway.

Most professionals install roof racks assuming that you’ll never take them off. When/if you do, the paint underneath can be damaged to the point where a pass or two with an electric buffer just won’t restore it to new condition.

Note: Please do take your vehicle to your mechanic or installer after your finished and ask them to inspect the job for safety issues like loose fasteners or damaged parts. If you feel awkward about this: simply tell them you had to get it installed while you were out-of-town, out-of-state, etc., but you just didn’t trust the guy/girl who did the job (make them feel important and they’ll be happy to take a look!)

Roof rack
image courtesy @www.all4x4.com.au

What You’ll Need:

The great thing about buying your rack from a trusted manufacturer is the assurance that your rack kit will fit with minimal knowledge required and marginal fussing.

Car wash and wax.
Roof racks (browse our Rhino Racks if you haven’t chosen yours yet).
Tools (check the instructions that came with your kit).
Vinyl tape (any kind will do).
Removable ink marker.
Measuring tape for adjusting the guides.

Tips For a Clean Install

These tips apply to both gutter and gutter-less vehicles.

1. Wash and Wax

This step will be so much easier if you head to a quality drive-thru car wash and wax. The high-speed dryer at these facilities will make sure there are no water spots or soap residue left on your roof. The cleaner the roof is, the better. This is what normally causes discoloration damage – soap residue will accept dirt and grime which also causes discoloration in the paint and may encourage rust and corrosion.

2. Prep for the Install

Follow the instructions that came with your roof rack kit to preassemble the racks as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Set them gently in place on your roof with the rubber

Make sure you have the vinyl tape handy, unless the kit already came with some (most don’t). You’re going to cut the tape to fit under the mounting legs and their rubber gaskets before completing the install. The tape is the secret to avoiding permanent rust, discoloration, and/or corrosion damage to the paint.

 Prep Steps:

With the rack loosely mounted on the roof, but not battened down; cut a small section of vinyl tape that’s larger than the mounting point and slide the tape underneath one of the rack mounts.

Trace out the shape of the mount with your marker then cut with scissors. Verify it’s correct, then use the finished tape cutout as a stencil for the other 3 (or more depending on the kit you have).

Carefully set the racks in place according to manufacturer’s instructions. Verify all measurements are correct, then trace out the mount of each leg (on the roof paint) with the removable marker.

Remove one side of your vinyl tape and firmly seat in within the traced area. Repeat for all 4 (or more depending on your setup) mounting points. Make sure there aren’t any bubbles in tape as these will attract moisture and grime which is what we’re trying to avoid.

Last, remove the other side of the vinyl tape and firmly seat the mounting point of each leg on the tape. Tighten the rack to manufacturer’s specs.

3. Clean Regularly

The roof is an easy area to neglect, especially if you have a large 4X4 or van. Get a soapy rag everywhere you can reach and make sure salt and other contaminants aren’t left sitting near the mounting points for very long. Regular cleaning and inspection is the best way to protect your paint – and safety for that matter!

Thanks for Trusting AutoPartsToys.com for All Your Accessory Needs!

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Keep coming back again and again. Don’t forget to leave your comments down below. Tell everyone about your experiences with installing your own roof rack and any tips you have that can make their install easier.

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