Load Rating for roof racks

Author: Tom Murray  Date Posted:14 March 2024 

Sometime late last century an engineer at Rhino Rack thought it would be a handy hint to include in their documentation that you should reduce your rooftop load weight by a third when going off-road. This was more of just a friendly tip rather than any reflection of the strength of the product. The Australian Safety Standards, Do not have a rating adjustment for Off-Roading. It was just at the time a smallish company trying to be friendly and personal with its customers.

A couple of years back some bloke with a YouTube channel read this document and saw the opportunity to go viral. He saw the opportunity to be famous. Then it snowballed with several others doing their own story, also wanting to cash in on the first viral video. Off they went flapping their gums and speaking rubbish about a great Australian company. 

The truth is that every Rhino-Rack product is tested way beyond any number that the general public will ever read. I have seen some of these numbers. When the Australian Safety Standards test a roof rack fitment. They Pull forward on the roof rack, They pull backward on the roof rack and they pull upward on a roof rack. What they were saying is that if your system was given a 75kg load rating on your vehicle, with that 75kg firmly attached evenly across the system, the system would not tear away from the roof under emergency situations and cause injury or death to other road users or pedestrians. It was never a number to reflect the strength of the product. These YouTubers made thousand of people think that the product was weak by telling lies. Unintentional lies but still lies.

These days some roof rack companies will refer the customer to check with the vehicle manufacturer and use that number. So rest assured that any of the brand-name products that you can buy from a dedicated roof rack company in Australia are manufactured to a high standard.

Rhino-Rack, Yakima, Prorack, Thule, Rola, Wedgetail, and VAS are the brands I am very familiar with but there are a few more quality brands as well I'm sure that I haven't spent many years with.