Can You Drive With An Empty Roof Box? And What Happens If You Do?


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If you’re planning on taking a road trip anytime soon, you might wonder if you can drive with an empty roof box.

The answer is yes, as long as the box is secured correctly and you don’t exceed the speed limit. Empty roof boxes can be tricky to handle, but as long as you take the necessary precautions, you’ll be able to hit the open road with no problems.

This blog post will discuss why some people still keep an empty roof box on their cars all the time and seven reasons you shouldn’t follow their steps.

Hopefully, this post will answer your question.

Let’s dive in!

Why Do People Still Drive With An Empty Roof Box On A Car?

A red car drive with a cargo box on the road

Like many, you’ve probably wondered whether keeping a cargo box on your car roof is worth it. After all, they can be pretty convenient for weekend getaways and spontaneous road trips.

I get it.

However, they can also be a pain when they’re not in use. You have to take them down, find a place to store them, and then put them back up when needed.

So, what’s the verdict? Is it worth it to keep a cargo box on your car roof? The short answer is NO, but it may depend on how often you use it.

If you only use it occasionally, it might not be worth the hassle of taking it down and putting it back up. However, if you use it frequently, like twice a week, the convenience may outweigh the inconvenience.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you. But if you decide to keep a cargo box on your car roof, invest in one that is durable and easy to use. That way, you can enjoy all the benefits without any headaches.

Now. Let’s examine why you shouldn’t keep an empty cargo box on your car roof.

7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Drive With An Empty Cargo Box

It may seem like no big deal to leave the cargo box on your roof when it’s not in use, but there are some good reasons why you shouldn’t do this.

Here are seven reasons to consider before leaving that empty box on your car roof rack:

Extra Wind Resistance

Extra wind resistance is one of the biggest reasons to avoid driving with an empty roof cargo box. The box can act like a sail and increase your car’s wind resistance when empty.

When you travel at a certain speed on the highway, the roof racks will make high whistling and humming noises.

The airflow meets the frontal part of the crossbar and cargo box. Then, it bypasses from above and below, and beyond the crossbar. The whistling noise from the roof rack is caused by wind passing over the box on top of your car.

Which one do you want to hear: wind noise or your music? It’s your choice!

Seriously Affect Fuel Consumption

Roof box Affect Fuel Consumption

Except for a fully electric car like the Tesla Y, driving with an empty roof cargo box increases your car’s fuel consumption.

The extra wind resistance will cause your vehicle to work harder, which means it will use more gas. You may argue that the cargo box is aerodynamically designed, but not all of them are.

Even if it is, the box will still increase your car’s wind resistance and drag. If you want to save money on gas, leave the cargo box.

It Creates A Lot Of Noises

The cargo box is designed to store and transport items, but when it is empty, it can be very noisy. You may not realize how much noise an empty cargo box (and roof rack) can create until you try driving with one.

If you’re driving on the highway, it can be even louder when you hit over 80 mph. The wind can create a lot of turbulence and noise inside the box.

Avoid driving with an empty cargo box if you’re looking for a quiet ride. Instead, check out our article about how to stop wind noise from the roof rack.

Overhead Clearance (Restriction)

One of the crucial things you need to be aware of is your car’s overhead clearance. Most cargo boxes are designed to fit snugly against the roof of your vehicle.

But if you have a taller vehicle like Honda CR-V or Toyota Highlander, you may need to take extra caution.

You know the “large box” on the car rooftop when going on a road trip with a cargo box. It constantly reminds you that you have potential restrictions on where you can go.

And what will happen when you don’t use a cargo box and don’t remove it? You tend to forget about it. And you will get into trouble when you go under a low bridge or into the parking of malls with low raised roofs.

You will be fortunate if you only get minor scratches on the box. But unfortunately, it is more likely that you will cause severe damage to your car and possibly injure yourself.

So, always remove your cargo box when you’re not using it.

It Affects Your Car Handling

It’s not just the wind resistance and fuel consumption that you need to worry about when driving with an empty roof cargo box.

There is also the issue of safety.

An empty cargo box can be dangerous because it can become unbalanced and wobble. In addition, it can your car handling making your car harder to control. Finally, if it happens at the wrong time, it could cause an accident.

So, if you’re going to drive with an empty roof cargo box, secure it properly. Otherwise, it’s best to leave it home and store it in a garage.

They Are Expensive And Easy Targets For Thieves

Roof boxes and roof racks are expensive. An empty roof box is an easy target for thieves. They will see it and think that there might be something valuable inside.

Even if there is nothing inside, they can still cause damage to your car by trying to break into it. That is why it is essential to take measures to prevent this.

One way to do this is to remove the roof box when you are not using it. It might not be convenient, but it is the best way to ensure that your belongings are safe.

If you must leave the roof box on your car, ensure it is locked and secured. You can also try to park in a well-lit area or close to security cameras.

Unnecessary Added Weight

There are many reasons to avoid carrying extra weight when you don’t have to, and cargo boxes are no exception. Not only does the weight affect your fuel economy, but it can also cause damage to your vehicle.

Tires, transmissions, suspensions, and other parts of your vehicle are designed to work with a certain amount of drag. When you add extra weight, it can throw off this delicate balance and cause problems.

In some cases, the damage caused by the extra weight can be costly to repair. Therefore, it’s always best to avoid carrying unnecessary weight, including an empty cargo box.

If you don’t need to use it, remove and leave it at home – your vehicle will thank you for it.

If You Don’t Plan To Remove It, Here are The Tips…

As we’ve seen, there are some good reasons to take your cargo box off when you’re not using it. But if you don’t want the hassle of removing and attaching it every time, here are some tips to help you drive safely with an empty roof box.

  • Make sure that the cargo box is properly secured before you start driving. Check that the box is not loose and that all the locks are engaged.
  • A roof box is lightweight. Placing your spare tire helps weigh down the box and reduce the noise from wobbling.
  • You can also try to drive slowly and carefully when you have an empty roof box. It will help to prevent any accidents from happening.
  • Finally, be sure to check your insurance policy. Some policies may not cover damage caused by an empty cargo box.

Final Thoughts

Most people wouldn’t dream of driving with an empty roof box, but there are a few good reasons not to do it. First, an empty roof box can be extremely noisy, making it difficult to hear other traffic on the road.

An empty roof box can also be unstable, making it more likely to fly off your vehicle in high winds.

And finally, an accident while driving with an empty roof box could cause serious damage to your vehicle and the roof box itself.

So, think twice the next time you consider driving with an empty roof box!

Happy traveling!

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Mac

Hi, I'm Mac. I'm a self-proclaimed nerd who loves being curious about automotive and travel. I love sharing what I learned about the industries, hence, starting this site. Hopefully, roadtripgears.com can help provide all the guides you need for your road trips.