A whistling, noisy roof rack can become very annoying, especially on long trips. This whistling is caused by wind hitting the roof rack at high speeds and can be easily fixed in a few different ways.
To fix a roof rack with excessive wind noise and whistling you can install a wind fairing, buy aerodynamic crossbars, or build a DIY wind deflector.
All of these options are equally effective if done properly, therefore you should choose the option that’s easiest for you!
1. Buy a Roof Rack Wind Deflector
If you already own a roof rack, the best option to fix the wind noise and whistling is to install a wind deflector, commonly referred to as a wind fairing.
A roof rack wind fairing is an easy-to-install plastic shield that deflects wind away from the roof rack, therefore reducing wind noise.
Wind fairings are usually universal but are available in different lengths to fit your vehicle. The top section of the wind fairing attaches to the front crossbar, while the bottom rests on top of the car. Most wind fairings include strips of protective film to protect your car’s paint.
The INNO universal mount fairing is one of the most popular wind fairings on the market. It fits almost all crossbars and vehicle widths. It is affordable, high-quality, and durable.
How Much Do Wind Fairings Cost?
Roof rack wind fairings are great for fixing wind noise, but how much do they cost?
Wind fairings typically cost between $60 and $120 depending on the brand, quality, size, and design.
Some wind fairings are only compatible with roof racks made by the same manufacturer, therefore you should check compatibility before purchasing. If you must use a specific brand wind fairing, you may end up paying more. Contrarily, a universal wind fairing is typically cheaper.
The size of your wind fairing may also influence its price. Large vehicles may require a longer wind fairing. Wind fairing prices can also be affected by quality and design. Some wind fairings come in different colors or designs, such as carbon fiber print. All these factors may drive up the price.
2. Get Aerodynamic Roof Rack Crossbars
If you’re looking for new roof rack crossbars, aerodynamic crossbars are designed to drastically reduce wind noise.
Instead of square or circular bars, aerodynamic crossbars are designed in an oval shape, allowing air to glide around the crossbars without making noise.
Some aerodynamic crossbars also include a wind diffuser strip, which reduces the wind noise even more
Most aerodynamic crossbars are quiet enough that they don’t require a wind fairing. This means you’ll save time and money on purchasing and installing a wind fairing.
3. Roof Rack Wind Deflector DIY
If you don’t want to spend the money on a roof rack wind fairing, there is a quick fix that may stop your roof rack from whistling. This fix works by using a bungee cord to diffuse the wind hitting the rack.
Simply wrap a 4-foot bungee cord in a tight spiral around the crossbars, attaching the cord at both ends of the crossbar. The bungee cord should be tightly wrapped around the crossbar. If yours is loose, you’ll need a shorter bungee cord.
Follow along with the video below to see the exact steps.
If you’re still experiencing wind noise after trying this, you’ll need to purchase a roof rack wind fairing.
4. Get Rid of the Roof Rack
If you don’t use your roof rack very often, one simple solution may be removing it entirely!
Many people don’t use their roof racks at all, so if you’re one of these people you should consider removing it from your roof. This will guarantee that the wind noise issue is solved.
Don’t worry — You can always reattach the roof rack whenever you need to use it again!
What Causes Roof Rack Noise and Whistling?
You may be wondering why your roof rack is so noisy in the first place.
This is because wind makes a noise when passing through objects, especially at high speeds. This is most noticeable on consistently-shaped, small objects (such as a roof rack). This is called “aeolian sound“.
As the wind passes quickly over your roof rack, the air is rapidly forced around the rack which makes a noise in the process.
Choosing the Best Roof Rack Wind Fairing
Finding the best roof rack wind fairing is simple. Most wind fairings are similar in quality, design, and features, making it easy to choose between products.
Instead of comparing many different product features and specifications, wind fairings are straightforward. Typically, you only need to consider the size and price when choosing a wind fairing.
You should choose a wind fairing that stretches the length of your crossbars, without exceeding it. Use a measuring tape or check your crossbar’s product information to determine the length of the crossbars. It is important to choose the longest wind fairing available without exceeding the length of the crossbar. This ensures that the entire length of the crossbar is covered without the wind fairing sticking out.
You should also consider the price (and quality) of the wind fairing before purchasing. Avoid spending less than $85 on a wind fairing since wind fairings below this price point tend to be low-quality. It’s worth spending more money for a more durable wind fairing by a trusted brand.
View wind fairings on Amazon.
Quietest Roof Rack Crossbars
If your looking for a new crossbar system for your car’s roof, you should consider one with an aerodynamic design. This will help reduce wind noise without the need for a wind fairing.
Although aerodynamic crossbars are more expensive than normal crossbars, they save you money since you won’t need a wind fairing to go along with it.
Recommended: Why Are Roof Racks So Expensive?
There are 2 aerodynamic crossbars that dominate the market:
Both of these crossbars are popular and known to be the best aerodynamic crossbars available, but which one should you choose?
Both crossbars are very similar. They cost roughly the same, look the same, etc. Although, some people have reported that the Yakima Whispbar is slightly quieter than the Thule Aeroblade.
Regardless, both crossbars drastically reduce wind noise while driving. Either one of these products is a great choice for aerodynamic crossbars, therefore you should choose the brand you trust the most.
Are Quiet, Aerodynamic Crossbars Worth It?
With aerodynamic crossbars costing $200 or more, you may wonder if expensive roof rack crossbars are worth the price.
Expensive roof racks are worth the price if you’re using it frequently, driving at high speeds, or taking a long trip. For these scenarios, it’s important to have a roof rack that is stable, reliable, and produces minimal wind noise.
If you’re concerned about wind noise, it’s absolutely worth purchasing aerodynamic crossbars. This will save you money in the end since you won’t need to purchase a wind fairing to accompany the crossbars.