You’ve got big plans for your Ford Explorer, and adding a roof rack is the next step to make all those adventures possible. But how exactly do you go about installing a roof rack on your Explorer? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
In this article, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to install a roof rack on your Ford Explorer. We’ll break it down into easy-to-follow instructions, complete with helpful tips and tricks along the way. So, whether you’re planning on carrying bikes, kayaks, or extra luggage on your next road trip, this article will give you all the information you need to securely install a roof rack on your Ford Explorer. Stay tuned and get ready to elevate your adventure game! If you own a Ford Explorer and find yourself needing more storage space for your outdoor adventures, installing a roof rack can be a great solution. A roof rack not only increases the storage capacity of your vehicle but also enhances its versatility and provides convenient transportation options. In this article, we will guide you through the process of installing a roof rack on your Ford Explorer, including choosing the right rack, gathering the required tools and materials, preparing the vehicle, installation steps, and maintenance and care tips.
Why Install a Roof Rack on a Ford Explorer
Increased Storage Capacity
One of the primary reasons to install a roof rack on your Ford Explorer is to increase its storage capacity. Whether you’re going on a camping trip, need to transport sports equipment, or simply need extra space for luggage, a roof rack provides you with the flexibility to carry large and bulky items. This is especially useful for families or outdoor enthusiasts who need to carry multiple items without sacrificing interior space.
A roof rack enhances the versatility of your Ford Explorer by allowing you to carry a variety of items. You can easily transport bikes, kayaks, canoes, skis, snowboards, and even rooftop cargo boxes, all securely strapped to the roof rack. This versatility enables you to pursue various outdoor activities and enjoy your Ford Explorer to its fullest potential.
Installing a roof rack on your Ford Explorer makes transportation of large items more convenient. Instead of relying on rental vehicles or towing trailers, you can simply load your items onto the roof rack and secure them properly. This not only saves you time and money but also provides you with the freedom to travel at your own pace without any restrictions.
Choosing the Right Roof Rack
Consider Vehicle Compatibility
Before purchasing a roof rack, it is important to consider the compatibility of the rack with your Ford Explorer model. Different roof rack manufacturers offer options specifically designed for certain vehicle models. Make sure to choose a rack that is specifically designed for your Ford Explorer to ensure proper fitment and functionality.
Determine Load Capacity
Another important factor to consider when choosing a roof rack is the load capacity. Every roof rack has a specified weight limit, and it is crucial to determine the amount of weight you intend to carry on the rack. Ensure that the chosen roof rack can support the weight of your intended cargo to prevent any damage or safety hazards.
Select a Compatible Mounting System
Roof racks can come with various mounting systems, such as feet or towers, that attach the rack to the roof of your Ford Explorer. It is essential to choose a mounting system that is compatible with the roof of your vehicle. Different mounting systems utilize different attachment points, such as the side rails, crossbars, or rain gutters. Select a system that can easily and securely attach to your vehicle without causing any damage.
Gathering the Required Tools and Materials
Roof Rack Kit
To install a roof rack on your Ford Explorer, you will need a roof rack kit specific to your vehicle model. This kit will typically include the support bars, mounting hardware, and instructions for installation. Ensure that you have the complete kit before starting the installation process.
Wrenches and Screwdrivers
You will need a set of wrenches and screwdrivers to tighten the mounting hardware and secure the roof rack to your vehicle. The specific sizes of wrenches and screwdrivers required will depend on the type of roof rack kit you have purchased. It is a good idea to have a variety of sizes on hand to ensure you have the tools needed for the installation.
A measuring tape will come in handy during the installation process to ensure accurate placement and alignment of the roof rack. Use the measuring tape to measure and mark the locations for the mounting points on the roof of your Ford Explorer. This will help ensure that the roof rack is properly positioned and aligned for optimal functionality and aesthetics.
Preparing the Vehicle
Clean the Roof Surface
Before installing the roof rack, it is essential to clean the roof surface of your Ford Explorer. Remove any dirt, debris, or wax residues that may interfere with the adhesion of the mounting hardware. Use a mild detergent or car shampoo and a soft cloth or sponge to clean the roof surface thoroughly. Allow the surface to dry completely before proceeding with the installation.
Identify Mounting Points
Once the roof surface is clean and dry, identify the mounting points on your Ford Explorer. These mounting points are typically located on the roof and may vary depending on the roof rack kit and vehicle model. Carefully read the instructions provided with your roof rack kit to locate the specific mounting points for your Ford Explorer.
Remove Existing Accessories
If your Ford Explorer has any existing accessories, such as roof rails or crossbars, that may interfere with the installation of the roof rack, it is necessary to remove them. Refer to the owner’s manual or instructions provided with the accessories for proper removal procedures. Removing these accessories will ensure a clean and secure installation of the roof rack.
Installing the Roof Rack
Positioning the Support Bars
Start the installation process by positioning the support bars of the roof rack on the roof of your Ford Explorer. Place the bars in the predetermined locations according to the instructions provided with your roof rack kit. Use the measuring tape to ensure proper alignment and spacing between the support bars.
Attaching Feet or Towers
Once the support bars are in position, attach the feet or towers of the roof rack to the mounting points on your Ford Explorer. Follow the instructions provided with your roof rack kit for the specific attachment procedures. Use the wrenches and screwdrivers to properly tighten the mounting hardware, ensuring a secure and stable connection between the roof rack and your vehicle.
Securing the Rack to the Vehicle
After attaching the feet or towers, secure the roof rack to the vehicle by tightening the mounting hardware. Make sure to evenly distribute the tightening force across all points to prevent any imbalance or damage to the roof rack. Double-check the tightness of the mounting hardware to ensure a secure and stable connection.
Adjusting the Roof Rack
Aligning the Rack
After securing the roof rack to the vehicle, take a step back and visually inspect the alignment of the rack. Ensure that the rack is straight and parallel to the edges of your Ford Explorer. Make any necessary adjustments by loosening the mounting hardware and repositioning the rack accordingly. Once satisfied with the alignment, retighten the mounting hardware.
Ensuring Proper Tightening
Double-check the tightness of all the mounting hardware to ensure that it is properly tightened. Pay close attention to any areas that may require additional tightening and use the wrenches and screwdrivers as needed. Proper tightening ensures that the roof rack is securely attached to your Ford Explorer and reduces the risk of any accidents or damage.
Checking Load Distribution
Before loading any cargo onto the roof rack, it is essential to check the load distribution. Ensure that the weight is evenly distributed across the support bars to maintain balance and stability. Unevenly distributed weight can lead to handling issues and damage to your Ford Explorer. Make any necessary adjustments to achieve proper load distribution.
Performing a Test Drive
Drive with Caution
After installing the roof rack and adjusting it accordingly, it is crucial to drive with caution during your first test drive. Take your Ford Explorer on a short trip, preferably on familiar roads, and pay close attention to any changes in handling or noise. Drive at moderate speeds and avoid sudden maneuvers to allow yourself to adapt to the new setup.
Check for Any Issues
During your test drive, be mindful of any potential issues that may arise. Listen for any unusual noises or vibrations coming from the roof rack or your Ford Explorer. Pay attention to any changes in handling or braking performance. If any issues are detected, safely stop your vehicle and inspect the roof rack and its attachments for any problems.
Make Necessary Adjustments
If you encounter any issues during your test drive, make the necessary adjustments to address them. This may involve loosening and retightening the mounting hardware, realigning the rack, or redistributing the load. It is essential to resolve any issues promptly to ensure the safety and functionality of the roof rack on your Ford Explorer.
Maintenance and Care
To maintain the appearance and functionality of your roof rack, it is important to clean it regularly. Use a mild detergent or car shampoo and a soft cloth or sponge to remove any dirt, grime, or debris that may accumulate on the rack. Thoroughly rinse the roof rack with clean water and towel dry to prevent water spots.
Periodic Tightening of Mounting Hardware
Over time, the mounting hardware may loosen due to vibrations and normal use. It is recommended to periodically check the tightness of the mounting hardware and retighten it if necessary. Regularly inspect the roof rack for any signs of loose or damaged components and address them promptly. Properly tightened hardware ensures the stability and safety of your roof rack.
Preventing Rust and Corrosion
If your roof rack is made of metal, it is important to protect it from rust and corrosion. Apply a thin layer of protective automotive wax to the exposed metal surfaces of the roof rack. This will create a protective barrier against moisture and other elements that can cause rust. Regularly inspect the roof rack for any signs of rust or corrosion and address them promptly.
Observe Weight Limitations
It is crucial to observe the weight limitations specified by the manufacturer for your roof rack. Overloading the roof rack can lead to structural damage or failure, compromising the safety of your Ford Explorer and other road users. Be mindful of the weight of your cargo and ensure it does not exceed the specified limit.
Securely Fasten Cargo
When loading cargo onto the roof rack, always ensure that it is securely fastened. Use appropriate equipment, such as tie-down straps or cargo nets, to secure the items to the roof rack. Double-check the tightness of the straps or nets before driving to prevent any shifting or dislodging of the cargo during transit.
Avoid Low Clearance Areas
Keep in mind that installing a roof rack on your Ford Explorer will increase its overall height. Exercise caution when entering areas with low clearance, such as parking garages or tunnels. Be aware of the height limitations of your vehicle with the roof rack installed to avoid any potential collisions or damage.
Installing a roof rack on a Ford Explorer can greatly enhance its functionality and utility. By increasing the storage capacity, enhancing versatility, and providing convenient transportation options, a roof rack allows you to make the most out of your Ford Explorer. Follow the proper steps outlined in this article, including choosing the right rack, gathering the required tools and materials, preparing the vehicle, installing the roof rack, adjusting it properly, and performing a test drive. Regular maintenance and care, along with safety considerations, will ensure the longevity and safe usage of your roof rack. Safely enjoy your outdoor adventures while making the most of your Ford Explorer’s capabilities.