Roof Rack Not Level – What To Do?

As you're arranging your camping gear on your roof rack, you notice that the rack isn't level. What can you do about it? That's what we'll talk about in this article. We've researched this issue to find out what you can do about it.

You can add spacers on the roof rack legs to make it level. Just measure the difference in the height of the crossbars and add the right size of spacers to bring them to an even elevation.

Keep on reading to learn more about how to level your roof rack height. We'll also help you determine if installing a permanent roof rack is a wise move for you. This article also provides tips regarding the proper installation and use of roof racks. Let's get started!

Car roof rack. - Roof Rack Not Level - What To Do?

How to Level Roof Rack Height

Having a roof rack is so convenient. It provides extra storage space for your travel stuff, especially items that are too big to fit inside your car.

Traveling with canoes and kayaks for your vacation by the lake or a full family's luggage just got a whole lot easier. This way, you can be assured that you have everything you need to make your travel adventure so much fun!

There are roof rack systems that you can buy and have installed on top of your vehicle or you can go the DIY route so that you get the right fit for your car. The important thing is that the roof rack or box should fit on your roof correctly.

When the roof rack isn't level, the weight distribution tends to be concentrated on one side. This can cause problems later on, such as the rails giving in, your travel stuff falling over and getting damaged, and possible accidents on the road.

Roof racks not being level is quite common. It can be due to the design of the roof itself - it may slope towards the rear portion making the front higher than the back. The installation of the roof rack system could also be off.

Either way, you can rectify the situation and make the roof rack flat and level. You'll need to use a spacer or leveling kit for the job. We've provided a guide below based on different car enthusiasts' online forums.

Check out these mount spacers on Amazon.

Leveling a Roof Rack Height

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • spirit level
  • ruler or measuring tape
  • spacers or leveling kit
  • step ladder

Click this link to find this spirit level on Amazon.


  1. Park your car on a flat surface.
  2. Use the spirit level to identify portions in your roof rack system that aren't level. You may use a step ladder to make this task easier.
  3. Measure the height difference between the highest and lowest points in the roof rack. Purchase the appropriate size of spacers that you need so that their elevation is the same.
  4. Spacers come in different sizes so choose one that you need to level your roof rack. You can also combine two or more spacers to get the perfect height.
  5. Check your spacers or leveling kit. Make sure they come with complete components upon purchase and that they are compatible with the roof rack system that you have in place.
  6. Follow the instructions that come with the kit. These spacers will be attached to the legs of your roof rack. Use the bolts that come with the leveling kit to replace those that you need to remove from the legs.
  7. Do the same to the other end of the crossbar.
  8. Make sure the bolts are secure and the crossbars are properly supported.

That's it! You now know how to keep your roof rack level with the help of these handy spacers.

Should I attach a permanent roof rack to my car?

trunk on the roof of the car for attaching large loads. bicycle transportation, traveling by car

Some roof racks are removable while some can be permanently attached to your vehicle's roof. Choosing one over the other entails taking a closer look at your lifestyle and particular travel needs.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of having a permanent roof rack installed on top of your vehicle.



Having a permanent roof rack is more convenient since you don't have to assemble and install it every time you go on vacation just to remove it right afterward. Just imagine having to go through this process every time you need that extra space above your vehicle.

If you're the type of person who goes on long and frequent trips to destress and reconnect with nature, it is wiser to have a roof rack permanently attached to your vehicle's roof so that you can just pack, load, and go each time you feel like it.

But if you don't travel on a regular basis and want to preserve the look of your car, then it's good to know that there are removable roof racks out there that you can use when needed.


You can expect permanent roof racks to be made of more durable materials such as stainless steel or aluminum. They can withstand various environmental conditions and serve their purpose for a long time.

They are securely fixed on the roof so you can just load your camping and backpacking equipment without worrying about their safety up there.

Weight Capacity

Rack on the roof van color luggage stack

Permanent roof racks are designed to have more carrying capacity than removable ones since they are made of more durable materials.

This means you can put heavier loads on the top of your vehicle and you're not too limited about what you can carry up there. You can pack three bikes or six skis without worrying if the roof rack will give in.


Weight Issue

A roof rack system adds weight to your car. Check the material that it is made of to see if there'll be a significant difference.

Energy Consumption

The roof rack increases your car's wind resistance so you need to consume more energy to fight the drag.


Some car owners don't like the look of a roof rack on top of their vehicles. This is a matter of personal preference.

It covers the sunroof for those vehicles that have this feature. Depending on the type of roof rack installed, it may interfere with the function of your sunroof too.

These are the things you need to consider before deciding if you should have a permanent roof rack on your vehicle.

Some More Reminders Concerning Roof Racks

Car roof rack

When Buying

Check which type and size fit your vehicle. You may look it up in your manual to see the manufacturer's recommended specs and whether such equipment is suited for your vehicle.

Then, envision how the roof rack or box would look on your car. Will it affect your vision while driving? How's the height going to be when you put your luggage, sports gear, and other travel essentials on top? Can you balance all that weight when you drive?

It is more than just about putting a roof rack on your car as it will affect your vehicle and driving.


Check the instructions that come with the roof rack system and follow them carefully. Make sure you have all the hardware needed to install it properly.

Some roof rack systems are simple to install, but others may get too complicated for common folks. Get help if necessary so you don't damage your car.

Proper installation is the key to ensuring that you have a reliable roof rack on your vehicle that won't fail you wherever you go.


It is important to load your stuff properly. Follow the recommended weight limit and distribute the weight evenly.

That's why it is important to have a level roof rack or box. This way, the load isn't concentrated on one side.

Secure your travel stuff with the help of durable straps so that they won't move around while you're speeding on the highway or when the roads get bumpy or there are sharp turns. This will prevent accidents and damage to your travel stuff.

Find these tie-down straps on Amazon.

When you do all these things, you will have the opportunity to bring everything you need for a fun trip. All that's left to do is to have fun!

Final Thoughts

It is important to keep your roof rack level to ensure that the weight of your travel stuff is evenly distributed on top of your vehicle. Use spacers as needed to bring all parts of the roof rack to the same height on top of your vehicle.

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