How To Stop Wind Noise From Roof Rack: 7 Tips to Reduce the Annoying Noises


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Do you have a roof rack installed on your car? If so, you’re probably familiar with the annoying sound of wind noise.

Roof rack crossbars are known to produce noise. This can be a huge distraction when you’re driving, and it can also be pretty frustrating. 

If you’re experiencing a lot of wind noise from your roof rack, there are a few things you can do to reduce it. In this blog post, we will cover seven tips on how to stop wind noise from roof racks.

Let’s get into it!

Why Do Roof Racks Make So Much Noise?

When you travel at a certain speed on the highway, the roof racks will make high whistling and humming noises. Wind noise is caused by a difference between high and low air pressure after it hits the rail.

Why Do Roof Racks Make So Much Noise?

The airflow meets the frontal part of the crossbar and bypasses it from above, below, and beyond the crossbar. This mechanism is called vortex shedding.

The whistling noise from the roof rack is caused by wind passing over the bar on top of your car. If the surface (your roof rack) is an inconsistent shape, the airflow develops a tone, hence the whistling.

How To Stop Wind Noise From Roof Rack

Wind noise from your roof rack can be extremely annoying. There are a few things you can do to reduce it. Here are seven solutions to stop wind noise from the roof rack.

1. Change To Aerodynamic Roof Rack Crossbars

If your vehicle has factory crossbars installed, they are not aerodynamic. If your roof rack crossbars are round or square bars, you should consider changing them to aerodynamic crossbars.

YAKIMA - JetStream Bar Aerodynamic Crossbars
YAKIMA – JetStream Bar Aerodynamic Crossbars

The aerodynamic crossbar is designed with an elliptical or sharpened trailing edge that can reduce vortex shedding noise. 

They generally make your roof rack quiet, minimize wind drag and improve the gas mileage. The cost of aero bars can range from $40 to 500, depending on the quality and size. 

2. Is Your Cross Bars Installation Correct?

If you’re still noticing annoying wind noise after installing your aerodynamic crossbars, then it might be time to double-check the installation. It could be from an incorrect crossbar installation. 

Incorrect crossbar installation

You might be installed in the wrong orientation, the trailing edge facing towards the front of your car. Remember what airplane wings look like?

The same principle of the crossbar is the same. The trailing edge should be installed towards the rear direction so that the airflow moves smoothly, with less turbulence and drag. 

Therefore check how your crossbar is standing and, if necessary, rearrange it in the correct position.

3. Check If Any Part Is Missing From Your Crossbars

Some of these missing parts can also cause noise from the roof rack system. Maybe after driving around for some time without realizing it was gone or stolen.

The parts of the roof rack system include an end cap, front tower covers, rear covers, and rubber seal. If any of them were missing, your roof rack could get noisy. Replace them with a new one.

4. Install A Roof Rack Wind Deflector Fairing

A roof rack wind deflector fairing is a great way to cut through the noise and minimize wind drag. It diverts the airflow when you travel at high speeds.

YAKIMA - WindShield Fairing for Roof Racks
YAKIMA – WindShield Fairing for Roof Racks

The roof rack wind deflector fairing is easy to install and can fit any crossbar type. Roof rack wind deflectors are typically made from durable plastic or alloy steel and come in different sizes. 

Make sure to check the compatibility with your car before you make a purchase, as they may not fit properly. The cost of a wind deflector can vary depending on the brand and size. You can find a good-quality deflector for under $150.

And if you’re on a tight budget and don’t want to spend $100 for the fairing…you could DIY! Watch this great video to see how you can do it yourself.

5. Wrap The Paracord Around The Crossbar

If you don’t want to spend much money on aero crossbars or wind deflector fairing, one of the cheapest solutions is to wrap the paracord around the crossbars.

It is very easy to do, and an elastic paracord like this would cost you less than $15.

Balit 550 Paracord
Balit 550 Paracord

This method effectively reduces the wind noise from the roof rack. If you pay attention to the car antennas, you will notice many of them also have a spiral line with the same purpose of noise reduction at speed.

You have to get the cord, tie it off at one end, and then wrap it towards the end of the crossbar.

Start with the front crossbar first and then the rear crossbar. This spiral paracord will disperse the airflows preventing vortexes, thus reducing the wind noise.

Check out the video below to see the exact steps.

6. Change To Edge Bars

Two common crossbar types are load bars and edge bars. Load bars are designed to carry a lot of weight. 

Load bars vs edge bars

They are square-shaped, higher, and protruding crossbars. That means load bars will create more drag and wind noise because of more vortex space.

On the other hand, the edge bars are usually circular or oval and are much more aerodynamic than load bars. Thus, less noisy than the load bars.

7. Remove The Roof Rack

This solution might not be the best answer you’re looking for. But if you have already tried all the solutions discussed above but still can’t solve your problem, it might be best to remove your roof rack when not in use.

It might take a while to remove the roof rack and install it back when you need it again when you hit the next road trip.

You might be interested in using a car-top carrier without a roof rack.

Wrap Up

If you’re looking for a quieter ride, it’s important to take the necessary steps to stop wind noise from your roof rack. We’ve outlined some solutions in this blog post, so try them out.

Hopefully, you can enjoy a smoother and more peaceful journey – without the annoying sound of wind noise from the top of your car.

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.