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How to Stop Roof Rack Wind Noise

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 writing.

Why is a Roof Rack Noisy?

Free Modern sport car with rack on top parked on pavement Stock Photo
Roof 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

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Roof rack

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.

Read: Do roof rack wind deflectors work?

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.

Read: Roof rack wind deflector DIY

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.

FAQs on Roof Rack 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.

Read: How to unlock Thule roof rack

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