Lacking storage space in your work truck doesn’t just affect one worker; it affects the entire fleet. Whether it means repeat trips from the warehouse to the job site or multiple work trucks dispersed to the same site just to deliver tools, fuel consumption and costs can quickly become a problem.
A rooftop rack is one of the best solutions to fixing a lack of storage space while saving your company from extensive fuel costs. At Camco Wheel & Axle, first-class fabrication is our specialty, and with over 30 years of experience, our technicians can install a rooftop rack that can carry all the tools you need to get the job done.
Once installed, however, there are a few things you ought to know before securing your load on to a rooftop rack.
Tip #1: Use Straps
While using a rope to secure a load to your rooftop rack may seem practical, it is actually dangerous. In many states it is your legal responsibility to ensure that rooftop loads are secured properly.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration set cargo securement rules in 2002. It is required that each tie-down be attached and secured in a manner that prevents it from becoming loose, unfastened, opened, or released while the vehicle is in transit.
While bungee cords (shock cords) may seem like a solid restraint for rooftop cargo, they are one of the worst options to choose. Bungee cords aren’t safe or reliable as they allow the cargo to shift. Shifting rooftop cargo can mean an imbalance on the vehicle’s center of gravity and cause the vehicle to tip.
What you’ll want to purchase instead are ratchet or rapid locking straps. Not only are these variations of tie-down straps easy to use, they also allow you to create tension easily. Then follow the three-point rule: rooftop loads must have three to four tie-down points on the vehicle in order to avoid shifting.
Finally, check your load often. Try pushing and pulling the load in every direction to ensure it is sitting tight and has not loosened while in transit.
Tip #2: What You Tie Down Matters
First and foremost, ensure that your cargo doesn’t exceed the maximum weight limit of your vehicle and roof racks. The weight limits are usually determined by their respective manufacturers. Also, keep in mind that this added weight will affect your vehicle’s fuel consumption.
In terms of the cargo, as a general rule of thumb, you don’t want your rooftop cargo to exceed the width of the vehicle’s roof. Tying something that is wider than your vehicle’s roof to a rooftop rack can cause the vehicle’s center of gravity to become imbalanced, increasing the risk of a tip over.
Aside from the width, you have to watch out for too much cargo hanging over the front of your vehicle. This is known as overhang. Too much overhang creates drag, causing your cargo to pull upward while you are driving and possibly ripping off the rooftop racks. If that were to happen, the best thing you could do is to come to Camco Wheel & Axle, where our technicians will happily repair your rooftop rack.
Overhang can also occur in the rear of your vehicle and can, in some instances, partly obstruct your vision when looking through the rearview mirror. If your vision is clear and the cargo is strongly secured, attaching a red flag to the rear overhang can bring attention to it and help you to avoid accidents with other drivers and pedestrians.
Finally, avoid securing your cargo to the bumper.
Tip #3: Watch Out for Clearances
Overhead clearances can spell disaster when you’re hauling anything on a rooftop rack. Failure to acknowledge them can cause substantial damage to your vehicle, the cargo, or even your field personnel.
It can be easy to forget this important tip but your fleet drivers should stay vigilant and take note of overhead clearances including:
- Underground parking garages
- Drive-thru lanes at a fast food restaurants
- Tunnels and overpasses
- Low hanging branches
- Power lines
- Warehouse entrances
- Stop lights and signs
One idea for a reminder is to take a post-it note, draw an arrow pointing up in red, and tape it to your window screen away from your central vision of the road.
Tip #4: Maintain a Manageable Speed
Driving with cargo on your rooftop racks raises the entire center of gravity in your vehicle, and driving fast with cargo on your rooftop can also cause lift, increasing the risk of a rollover.
Remember, transporting cargo on a rooftop rack changes how aerodynamic it is, and the faster you are going with a load on the roof, the more risk you have of rolling over. Adjust your speed down to a “slow and steady” pace when in transit and take turns slowly.
Get the best custom fabrication services and utility vehicle parts at Camco Wheel & Axle.
Cut down on unnecessary fuel consumption and invest in a rooftop rack today.
Our technicians are eager to install a brand new rooftop and provide the best solutions to fit any budget. From custom truck body fabrication to truck bed fabrication and fabricated parts, Camco Wheel & Axle strives to provide only top quality workmanship on all custom modifications. For more information on our first-class fabrication services, contact us at (956) 781-4800 today.