Is It OK to Travel with an Empty Roof Box on Your Regular Commute?

Is It OK to Travel with an Empty Roof Box on Your Regular Commute?

If you have already installed a rooftop carrier on your roof rack, you probably know the benefits this product brings, since it comes with extra storage space for everything you would like to carry, from suitcases and heavy travel bags to fishing rods, skis, snowboards and other outdoor gear and equipment, such as tents and beach shelters.

Roof boxes can be attached to your car either directly, to the roof rack that came with the automobile or that you installed previously to buying the roof box, or by strapping them onto the top of your car.

Even if the mounting process does not usually take long, roof boxes can sometimes be tricky to install and remove until you get the hang of it, so it is not unusual to be tempted to keep it on the roof of your car even if you do not need it.

Not removing it after every trip might sound convenient, but you certainly wondered on many occasions if there are any downsides to doing this and if you should, in fact, travel with an empty roof box on your regular commute. The answer to this question might not be the one you were expecting. 

What Benefits Arise from Keeping the Roof Box Mounted on Your Car

Before figuring out if it is a good idea to travel with an empty roof box on your daily commute, you should realise that there are some advantages to having a roof box mounted on your vehicle.

A roof box can bring up to 20 cubic feet or even more of extra storage space, and this way you can benefit from using the backseat area and the trunk of our car for other purposes than storing luggage and large pieces of equipment.

You could, of course, argue that even if you are not going on vacation, you could use the roof box to store day-to-day items on your regular ride to and from work. But the truth is, many experts want you to know that it is not a good idea to keep the roof box mounted 24/7, even if it is inconvenient to remove it after every voyage.

Aspects to Consider About Keeping the Roof Box Mounted on Your Regular Commute

You have probably noticed that roof boxes are manufactured keeping in mind the needs of the user and that most of them have an aerodynamic design, which contributes to reducing the wind resistance and thus lessens the strain on the car engine and improves fuel economy.

Even if most roof boxes have an improved level of wind resistance, when you keep the roof box mounted during your regular rides, you will notice that there still is a small amount of drag and wind resistance, which translates to differences in gas consumption levels compared to the ones you get when the roof is bare.

You should keep in mind that even if you choose a top of the line roof box, with a modern and innovative design, there still is an additional strain that challenges your car engine, so you can be sure that the gas consumption will be increased, even if you keep the roof box empty most of the time. Fuel economy is one of the main reasons why you should not keep the roof box on your car all the time, even if you purchase a model that is designed to sustain gas efficiency.

Amplified Noise Levels and Other Issues

Another aspect that might turn out to be inconvenient when you keep the roof box mounted all the time is that when the roof box empty, it generates quite a lot of noise when the car is in motion. This comes as an annoying consequence since the box ends up moving around a lot without the luggage weighing it down properly.

One type of roof boxes is especially affected by this issue. If you have a roof box made out of soft-shell materials, you probably know that their design usually presents large creases, and these creases can flap around while your car is in motion, generating a lot of noise.

If you own a roof box that does not have creases integrated into the design, you are still not spared from the exasperating sounds they make, because the wind can still penetrate he small space between the roof of your vehicle and the storage space, producing sounds that are amplified if the box is empty. Another aspect that might influence the noise levels of the roof box is its dimensions, especially the height.

But the noise levels are not the only aspect you should worry about when deciding to keep the roof box mounted 24/7. If you do not use it for its intended purposes, which is storing luggage and gear, you might even end up forgetting that you have one installed while you are driving.  You can only imagine what happens if you fail to remember you have an additional storage space mounted on your car and have to drive under a bridge or interstate roads that lie lower than usual? You are putting the passengers and other traffic participants in danger and you also risk damaging your roof box.

When you are not using the roof box to store luggage or other items, you can easily pass by a sign that you are going to drive under a low-lying bridge or that there is an overhead road ahead, and ignore the fact that the dimensions of the additional storage space on your roof might stop you from safely passing through.

The Longevity of Your Roof Box May Be at Stake

One might argue that the high-quality materials used in manufacturing a roof box will protect it from wear and tear and exposure to the elements, but the truth is that the longevity of a roof box depends on how often it is exposed to damaging factors, and keeping it mounted 24/7 will surely accelerate the deterioration process.

Since most manufacturers recommend removing the rooftop carrier when you do not use it for its intended purposes, it should be clear that this is meant to increase the lifetime of the roof box.

Given the aspects we previously enlisted, whenever you are tempted to travel with the empty roof box on your regular commute, remember that the experts advise against this practice because it might save you money on fuel, extend the longevity of your roof box by reducing the odds of it being damaged and spare you the annoying noise it makes when it is empty. And since the removal process usually takes no more than 5 minutes, it is best to remove the roof box when you do not use it for its intended purpose.

Other Questions

Can you drive with an empty roof box?

Most people who use a roof box recommend removing the carrier if not used for a while. One of the main reasons for doing this is that it increases fuel use

What is the speed limit with a roof box?

There is no legal speed limit when traveling with a roof box, other that the road speed for the car you are in 

Do roof boxes affect fuel consumption?

Yes, the fuel consumption is increased when you travel in a car with a roof box. You can expect to lose up to 20% extra in fuel costs


If you require more information, please check these references

How To Get The Best Fuel Economy Now , article, "www.consumerreports.org", retrieved on, Sat 03-October-2020

Roof Box Tips Which To Buy How To Fit It Reducing Noise And Storage Solutions , article, "www.arnoldclark.com", retrieved on, Sat 03-October-2020



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Nicholas le page

Detail-orientated Auto Finance Manager who is adept at meeting customer expectations and resolving issues in a timely, professional manner.

Skilled at tracking customer balances, approving loan applications and verifying customer information. Specialise in establishing productive relationships with customers seeking financing options.

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