Why is the car never large enough? Some of us have trouble fitting everything in for just a weekend away, never mind all the luggage for a fortnight's holiday. But if you buy a bigger vehicle, you have to live with the extra fuel consumption and higher running costs all year round. One answer is a roof rack to carry extra luggage, or a special rack for cycles. There are many good models to choose from, but you need to know how to fit them and how to distribute the loads.
Haynes' has unsurpassed reputation as the world's foremost publisher of automotive repair manuals - which are renowned for teaching millions of car and motorcycle owners how to carry out routine maintenance and repairs. Haynes publishes manuals for more than 500 cars.
Below are 10 handy tips if you are thinking of fitting a roof or cycle rack.
Fitting A Roof Or Cycle Rack
A 'universal' roof rack can often be swapped between vehicles, but some cars must be fitted with the manufacturer's own roof rails or roof rack.
A top box fitted to a roof rack will keep things dry and most can be locked. You can get special boxes for skis.
Before loading a roof rack, spread a large sheet of polythene on it. Load larger items towards the back, but try to distribute the weight evenly. Wrap the plastic over the load and secure it with rope or elastic bungee cords.
If you are carrying a long load and it extends more than 0.3 metre (1 foot) beyond the rear bumper, you must tie a prominent red flag to it.
Don't exceed the car's maximum permitted roof rack load. You'll find this in the Dimensions and Weights section in Haynes Car Owners Workshop Manuals.
Cycles fitted to a rack on the back of the vehicle must not obscure the rear number plate or rear lights. If they do, you will need to use an auxiliary lighting board. Before you can buy the number plate for this board you'll need to produce documents identifying yourself and your vehicle - see www.dvla.gov.uk.
Cycle racks may also be fitted to a towball. They are usually removed easily, and some drop down to allow access to the boot or hatchback.
Prevent cycles secured to a rack from damaging your car and each other by removing the pedals (from the bikes, not the car!) and turning the handlebars through ninety degrees. Lengths of foam water pipe lagging can be used to protect cycle frames.
Increase your tyre pressures when carrying a heavy load - the Haynes Car Owners Workshop Manual for your vehicle will tell you by how much. You may also need to adjust the headlamp beams.
Last but not least, remember that even an empty roof rack will increase fuel consumption, so take it off when it's not needed.
These useful tips are just the sorts of vital information you'll find in Haynes Car Owners Workshop Manuals. Each contains sections on maintenance - simple weekly checks to keep you on the road; servicing - complete, fully illustrated step-by-step guides; fault finding - information helping you to pinpoint specific problems easily; brakes - safety checks and repairs for the home mechanic; plus Haynes Hints - valuable short cuts to make many tasks easier.
Written from hands-on experience gained from the complete strip-down and rebuild of cars in the Haynes project workshop, these manuals can help you understand, care for and repair your car. Haynes staff do it themselves to help you do-it-yourself and, whatever your mechanical ability, the practical step-by-step explanations, linked to numerous photos, will help you get the job done right. Regular servicing and maintenance of your car can maintain its resale value, save you money, and make it safer to drive.
The information on this page is supplied courtesy of Haynes Publishing, please credit accordingly if you intend to use it. For more information or to request a review copy please contact Spirit PR on 0117 944 1415 or email Haynes PR
Haynes Manuals is the world's leading publisher of illustrated workshop car and motorcycle manuals, as well as producing manuals on a wide range of DIY, leisure and lifestyle subjects. These will continue to include motoring and motorsport related subjects.