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Top Tips

Fitting your Roof Rack or Roof Bars.

  1. Read the instructions! – OK, this might sound like an obvious one, but, if you are like me and flat-pack furniture, the first thing to get throw from the packaging is the fitting instructions. Each product will come with a full set of fitting instructions as well as ‘packing list’ that lists the entire contents of the kit. Depending on which kit you have ordered, there may well be more than one packing list and set of fitting instructions. Although this may seem a little strange at first, it should start to make sense if you get all the paper work together first and study it. As most of our kits are modular, that is, you can add things to them at different times you will probably find that there will be a set of instructions for the roof bar kit for example and then a separate set of instructions detailing how you fix your roof rack to your roof bars and then another set of instructions for your accessories.

  2. Fit loosely first: - Once you have familiarised yourself with the kit you can crack on with fitting it. The majority of our kits can be fitted easily by one person (which is the beauty of a modular design, rather than a fully welded assembly) although an extra pair of hands is always useful. Also, caution must be taken when reaching your vans roof as most will require the use of a set of steps or similar. Most of the feet that attach the roof bars to the vans roof (we call these ‘sidemembers’) will be sub-assembled in the box so all you would need to do is offer them up to your vans roof. Your van will either have dedicated fixing points on the roof (which may be covered with removable plugs) or in the case of a Ford Transit, will have rain gutters down each side of the roof that the sidemembers will clamp on to. Either way, we would suggest that you attach the sidemember loosely to start off with to get everything lined up, before tightening them fully once the full kit is in place – make sure that all fixings are full secure before driving the vehicle!

  3. On going care: - As with any piece of equipment, it will last longer if you look after it. Although our roof racks need very little care or attention, we would recommend that you check the fixings for security and lubricate any moving parts once a month. Cleaning regularly with warm soapy water will prevent a build up of road film and help improve corrosion resistance.

 

Using Your Roof Rack or Roof Bars.

I’m sure that most people will be familiar with using a set of roof bars or a roof rack, however, not many people realise that carrying equipment or materials on the roof of any vehicle can expose the van operator, other road users and pedestrians to a whole host of health & safety issues that can be minimised by following a few basic principles.

  1. Don’t use a roof rack! – This may sound a little strange coming from a roof rack manufacture with 30 years experience in the business, however, in our experience we have found that is it better to try and carry all your equipment in the back of your van, rather than on the roof. It is certainly safer (if loads are properly secured and a factory fitted bulkhead is present) as well as reducing loading and unloading risks and also makes the van more fuel efficient. There is a host of products available to help organise and secure the load area of your van, see here for more information.
  2. Do use a roof rack! – That’s more like it! – Roof racks can be used to actually improve the efficiency of your business. Just think about the size of van you would need to carry a 3m set of ladders around or the occasional 8’x4’ sheet of material in the back when they would quite easily fit on a set of roof bars on top or a small car derived van, such as a Citroen Berlingo or Ford Transit Connect. This means less environmental impact due to less materials being used to build vans as well as better fuel economy from a smaller van and better overall value for money when purchasing.
  3. Secure it! – If you have to carry items on the roof of your van, make sure they are safely and appropriately secured. Items that should not be used to secure loads include: (these are genuinely used by some people!) Gaffer tape or electrical tape, cable ties, electrical wire, earth sheathing, bungee cords, plastic waste pipes or just gravity! Other than the risks of killing unsuspecting pedestrians, it is also an offence to drive round with an ‘unsecure load’ and I’m afraid there is no excuse nowadays for having an unsecured load on the roof of your van due to the range of products that have been developed over the years to help make things safer. Ladders should always be secured to roof bars and roof racks using a good quality set of ‘Ladder Clamps’ that are also lockable to prevent your ladders disappearing over night. Long items such as copper pipe, conduit or beading should always be carried in a purpose made tube or pipe carrier and not just strapped to the roof bars or put inside a length of soil pipe. Other items such as sheet material or lengths of timber should be secured using load rated ratchet straps or similar. Not only will these products be safer, they will also be quicker to use and save you time and money. As a last resort and if you paid attention as a boy scout, a length of good quality rope may be suitable, but in this day and age, is it really worth risking good money for old rope?

 

 

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