How to choose the right roof box?

When you go on holiday, it's always the same story: how will you fit all your luggage in the car? A roof box is a practical solution for storing everything safely. But you still need to choose a box that suits you best. ViaMichelin will guide you in making the right choice.
How to choose the right roof box?

What is the purpose of a roof box?

When deciding on your new roof box model, the first consideration is what you plan to use it for. How often do you plan to use it: will you use it once or twice a year or every weekend? Then you’ll need to consider whether it will be an additional storage space to supplement the boot of your vehicle or whether it will become your main storage (for example, as seen on people carriers or 7-seater minivans) compartment. Finally, you will need to consider the type of luggage and how much you wish to carry.

Which roof box should I choose?

As long as it has roof bars, you can fit a roof box on any vehicle. You should also check the type of mountings, as there are different systems.

There are four types of boxes:

  • soft cases, which come in all sizes and are actually waterproof fabric covers that are easy to fold up and store when not being used
  • compact cases, suitable for short trips or as extra storage, as well as city dwellers who need to carry around a few sports bags or small suitcases
  • wide roof boxes for station wagons or saloons, specially designed to accommodate larger suitcases;
  • long boxes, fitted for estate cars or people carriers and large enough to hold awkward items, such as pushchairs and skis.

What volume and size of roof box to choose?

Besides the size of your vehicle’s roof, it completely depends on how much stuff you plan to put inside it! Regulation 100 of the UK Highway Code requires that “a vehicle should not be used or loaded in such a way that it endangers either those using the vehicle or other road users.” It requires that the load is suitably secured so that it is not likely to either fall off or be blown off the vehicle. If a load falls from a vehicle, then it would be a breach of regulation 100. *

The dimensions of standard roof boxes are as follows:

  • length: between 1 m and 2 m;
  • width: between 60 cm and 95 cm;
  • usable volume: between 250 l and 600 l.

How much does a roof box cost?

The cost of a roof box depends on its size and type. As a general guide:

  • a soft model costs somewhere between £45 and £150;
  • for a compact roof box, you can expect to pay between £150 and £350;
  • for a wide model, prices vary from £200 to £450;
  • a long roof box starts at around £230 and goes up to roughly £450 for a top-of-the-range model.

Which opening and closing system to choose?

Three options are available on the market:

  • one-sided opening: the box opens on one side only;
  • two-sided opening: you can access the contents from both sides -sometimes a very practical solution;
  • rear opening.

Whatever your choice, you should also think about the security of your stuff. Some models have central or multi-point locks, while others are equipped with security locks -you cannot remove the key until it’s been properly locked. Soft roof boxes can be locked with a padlock.

How should you load your roof box properly?

Here are some simple guidelines to follow:

  • respect the maximum weight indicated on the box’s instructions;
  • distribute the weight evenly; place the heaviest luggage toward the back of the box;
  • secure your luggage properly in the box and fasten it shut.

What are the guidelines for driving with a roof box?

For safety advice and to limit fuel consumption, follow these guidelines:

  • check that the box is securely fastened before setting off;
  • reduce your speed and anticipate bends or directional changes;
  • increase your safe-stopping braking distance
  • beware of height restrictions (car parks, toll gates, etc.);
  • be careful in windy conditions.

A roof box offers additional usable storage space for your car. However, it must be carefully chosen and secured safely. Remember that a box is only an extra storage space: heavy loads should be placed inside the car if possible.