Light at the top, heavy at the bottom

29 Jan 2024

The permitted roof load is the most important

When taking a winter vacation by car, storage space can often be limited. In such cases, a roof box can be a practical solution. They are particularly suitable for storing bulky and not too heavy items of luggage such as skis, sticks, snowboards or winter clothing. According to DEKRA experts, boxes must be securely fastened to the car roof to ensure that the items on the top floor reach their destination safely. Otherwise, they could become unstable at high speeds on the highway and cause an accident.
As regards the mounts for supports and the box, it is highly recommended to rely on original parts and, if possible, to use the tools provided by the manufacturer so that nothing can go wrong during fitting.

Do-it-yourself solutions do you no favors. The mounts must be configured so that they resist the vibrations of lengthy journeys and provide sufficient resistance to high gusts of wind.

DEKRA accident expert Martin Kugele
The weight capacity of the newly acquired storage space depends on the maximum roof load of the vehicle. For instance, the owner's manual for the VW Golf Sportsvan specifies a maximum of 75 kilograms, while for the Passat, it is 100 kilograms. Therefore, the combined weight of the basic rack, the box, and the load should not exceed the respective maximum limits.
When loading, it is important to pack lighter luggage on top and heavier items at the bottom. This is because placing heavier luggage at the top will shift the vehicle's center of gravity upwards, negatively impacting its driving behavior. Additionally, it is advisable to distribute the luggage uniformly in the box and secure it against slippage using lashing straps and anti-slip mats. A final check will ensure that the box is secure and locked. And don't forget: The vehicle's handling changes with the box: it leans more to one side when cornering, the braking distance increases and the vehicle reacts more sensitively to side winds.