How to Minimize Noise from Roof Straps | YourMechanic Advice

How to Minimize Noise from Roof Straps

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It isn’t always necessary to have a truck, van, or trailer to haul large items; you can strap many things right to the top of your car, including luggage, kayaks, or certain furniture items when moving. While this can solve the logistical problem of how to get a bulky item from one place to another without borrowing or renting a larger vehicle, the straps can actually cause a lot of noise when traveling at higher speeds.

If you’re only going a short way, this may not be an issue, but for longer distances, you will want to minimize this noise. The secret to reducing the noise from roof straps lies in the proper strapping technique.

Part 1 of 1: Reducing noise

person placing surfboard onto car

Step 1: Set the item on the car roof. Place the item you wish to carry squarely on top of your car’s roof, making sure it is centered both front-to-back and side-to-side.

If there is not a luggage rack already installed on top of your car, place a blanket or other form of cushioning, such as foam blocks, between the item and your roof to prevent scratches.

  • Tip: If you are strapping multiple items to your roof, place the largest one on the bottom and the smallest ones on the top.This will prevent slippage once you are on the move and reduces the potential noises caused by shifting.

twist in strap holding item to roof

Step 2: Twist the strap. Put a twist on the side of each strap to dampen noises when your car is in motion.

This simple trick uses aerodynamics to create the least amount of force on the straps when you are driving at high speeds and greatly reduces overall noise.

ratchet holding luggage on top of car

Step 3: Ensure the straps are tightened. Thoroughly tighten the straps. If they are loose, they will rattle more when your car is in motion.

Loose straps also put your cargo at risk of falling off, which can not only destroy your belongings but potentially cause accidents as well.

car door closed on strap

Step 4: Secure loose ends. Because of the length of the straps, loose ends will need to be secured.

You can easily do this by closing your car door on the loose ends. This keeps the strap firmly in place, preventing it from whipping around when the car is in motion.

  • Tip: Another option is to tie two long loose ends together to keep them quietly in place. For smaller strap ends, simply tuck them to the underside of the strap. If this is not possible, the strap end is probably not long enough to make a sound and becomes a non-issue.

The reduction of distracting noises while you drive is only one reason to use care and proper technique when strapping large items to the roof of your car. Whipping and rattling sounds can be a source of annoyance, but the noise is also an indication that your straps and items are not properly secured, which is a safety issue. So, always make sure you secure large items tightly and periodically stop to check that your straps have not loosened, especially if your trip is a long one. You’ll be doing both yourself and others a favor. If you really want the peace of mind that comes from comfort and safety, then don’t be afraid to deepen your understanding of how roof straps work.


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8 years of experience
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I had a few mechanics from YM and _all_ of them arrived late (some even 2 hours late) , but not Jose! He arrived right on time! I gave him the keys and let him do his job. I am a curious person so I asked him a few questions about his techniques and he had no problem answering them all with detailed explanations! He did run into a problem on my car because of stripped bolts, but he literally went above and beyond and found a way to remove it. Best mechanic ever.
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