Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How to Minimize Noise from Roof Straps

How to Minimize Noise from Roof Straps

white surfboard

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.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


More related articles

How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P0359 OBD-II Trouble Code: Ignition Coil I Primary/Secondary Circuit Malfunction
P0359 code definition The P0359 code indicates that a fault has been detected in one of the vehicle’s ignition coils, generally the number 9 coil. This code can also be associated...
P0608 OBD-II Trouble Code: Control Module VSS Output "A" Malfunction
P0608 means there is an malfunction in the vehicle speed sensor A control module often due too faulty speed sensor or shorted electrical wiring.

Related questions

Q: The roof rack runners on my car are lose and making a rattle/whine when I drive fast.

These roof racks are held to the top of the car with a series of bolts and brackets. Over time, these can occasionally work themselves loose and may cause a bit of rattling as you describe. For safety precautions, you...

Q: What should I know about loading cargo and luggage on the roof luggage carrier?

If your car is equipped with a roof luggage carrier, you’ll find that it offers a significant amount of additional cargo space than what’s available in the cargo compartment alone. Of course, there are several things that you need to...

Q: How do you remove the crossbars from the roof rack?

The crossbars on your SUV’s roof rack are what make it capable of carrying loads, but you might find that you need to remove them from time to time. Here’s how to do that: Loosen both thumbwheels. Slide the...