Knowing how to handle the Subaru Outback roof rack problem will be a great advantage for you, especially if you run into one.
The Subaru Outback is a rugged vehicle with an all-wheel-drive attribute. It boasts 8.7-inch ground clearance, and that is why it is the king of off-road driving.
Besides, it has a strong roof rack, which has the capacity of carrying heavy items such as skis, bikes, canoes, kayaks, and pieces of luggage, among others.
Just like every other vehicle with a roof rack, the rack of an Outback is likely to have some problems at one time or the other.
This piece takes a look at these problems, and possible solutions so that you will be better equipped to tackle them.
05 Common Subaru Outback Roof Rack Problems with Solutions
We identified five Subaru Outback roof rack problems that you can encounter.
They are discussed below, and solutions to them are also provided in the later section of this piece.
01. Roof Rack Failure When Loaded Heavily
Although Subaru’s roof racks are very strong, there are cases of reported failure when burdened with heavy luggage.
There was a reported case of someone who used his Outback to carry two 10-inch kayaks.
At a speed of 55 mph, a crosswind pulled out the crossbars unexpectedly.
Subaru is renowned for sturdy roof racks over the years. However, these claims are no longer convincing because of complaints from some users.
02. Inadequate Space Between Rooftop And Roof Rack
In the latest models of Outback, you will discover that the design of the roof rack is not like the former models.
Subaru has considerably stamped out the gap between the rooftop and the roof rack so that there can be a maximum reduction of drag as well as airflow resistance.
Also, it gives a sportier and sleeker look to these latest models.
If the gap between the rooftop and the roof rack is inadequate, it can be a problem for you, especially if you are a heavy investor in rack systems.
Items on the rack can damage the rooftop if it is too close to the rack.
03. Roof Rack Noise
Another prevalent issue with Outback’s roof rack is the noise it produces when moving your vehicle.
This problem is common among old racks, and you can experience it with new ones as well.
The severity is high in old racks because they are not as firm as new ones.
In addition, apart from the noise from air resistance, they can screech when you put a heavy load on them.
This noise can piss you off, particularly if you want everything to be quiet when driving. It can get worse if you are traveling on a windy road.
Also, the severity of the noise depends on so many factors like your speed, wind strength, size as well as the design of the crossbar, just to mention a few.
04. Roof Rack Not Clenching On The Rack System
In a situation whereby there is damage to the roof rack or rack system, clamping one rack firmly into the other may be a problem.
This is usually caused by usage for a long time or wear. The more you use it, there is the possibility that it may get spoiled.
The majority of roof racks are made of aluminum, stainless steel, or coated steel. As a result of this, they are free from getting rust.
However, some components like bolts may not be immune to rusting.
Subaru Outback Roof Rack: What & Why
A roof rack is an array of rods fixed on a vehicle’s rooftop for transporting or carrying bulky goods.
It helps with the transportation of goods without damaging or changing the design of your car.
Types of Roof Rack
There are various types of roof racks in the market presently, and the model of your car will determine its type. The different types are discussed below.
01. Raised Rails
These types are very prevalent in sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and minivans. They are fashionable, and usually, factory fitted on the roof of your vehicle.
You can easily fix crossbars to them anytime you want to carry heavy loads.
With their multifunctionality, they can be used for carrying various cargo. You will find raised rails on a Subaru Outback.
02. Bare Roof
Another prevalent type in today’s world is the bare roof. Vehicles of this type do not come with factory-fitted rails or tracks.
You need to mount the racks on the door frames or roof contours.
Some vehicles come with factory-fitted tracks, which run from the back to the front.
The tracks are parallel to one another so that it will be easier for you to install the racks.
You will find a roof rack system or bars with tracks for easy mounting.
4. Fixed Point
There are vehicles with factory-fitted points on the edge of the roof. These points are not so conspicuous, especially when you are not using them.
They are secure, and you can use them for carrying various goods without much hassle.
Quick Solution for the Subaru Outback Roof Rack Problems
There is no problem without a solution, hence, we have provided solutions to the issues raised above.
Here are the solutions to the roof rack problems mentioned earlier:
- Roof Rack Failure When Loaded Heavily
If you will be carrying heavy loads regularly, you can install an aftermarket rack system.
The reason for this is that aftermarket rack systems are stronger than factory-fitted ones. Factory rails are designed for loads that are not so heavy.
Hence, if you want to carry heavy loads like kayaks, consider getting aftermarket rails. This will prevent the failure of the rack when loaded heavily.
- Inadequate Space Between Rooftop And Roof Rack
If you are carrying loads with sharp sections, like a bike, you can pad it properly to prevent the pedals from scratching the paint on the rooftop.
Also, you can use a rope to tie the cargo perfectly so that it won’t be moving here and there while driving.
Proper tying will also prevent accidents, especially when you slam the brake unexpectedly.
- Roof Rack Noise
If you don’t want to hear the noise from your roof racks, you only need to redirect the airflow moving through the crossbar.
To do this, install a wind fairing, which is a plastic shield fixed to the front crossbar.
Apart from reducing noise, wind fairing helps in eliminating drag. Secondly, you can pad the crossbars if they are not padded.
Crossbars wrapped in rubber reduce airflow, which prevents noise, especially when you are driving at a high speed.
Another option is to buy a foil bar, which works by eradicating Aeolian noise while driving. Lastly, you can go for edge bars as a substitute to load bars.
Although load bars are widely accepted for loading roof racks, they have the disadvantage of adding surface area, which leads to airflow restriction that causes noise.
Edge bars have a lower surface area, hence, they are the better option.
- Roof Rack Not Clenching On The Rack System
You need to check your roof rails’ condition before loading your goods. If you do this regularly, you won’t have issues on the road when going on tour.
When the roof racks are spoiled, get an aftermarket solution to stay on top of the game.
Do not drive when the rack system of your vehicle is faulty or loose. It is dangerous for you as well as other road users.
You can prevent rust of the components of the racks, like bolts, by applying copper grease or fish oil to them.
This will not let them rust quickly for optimum lastingness.
Subaru Outback Roof Rack Weight Limit: How Much Maximum Load
It is important to know the weight limit of a roof rack before buying or using it.
Knowing this will prevent overloading it, which could lead to its damage.
Also, you should not load items considered to be dangerous on it for the benefit of all road users.
Relying on the user manual of the Subaru Outback, the maximum weight capacity of Wilderness 2022 is 220 pounds or 100 kg.
For Outback 2020-2022 it is 150 pounds or 67.5 kg. If you have any of the Outback 2014 to 2019 models, the weight limit is 176 pounds or 80 kg.
In addition, older versions like the Outback 2010-2013 have a maximum capacity of 150 pounds or 67.5 kg.
The weight on Outback 2000-2009 should not surpass 100 pounds or 45 kg.
How to Install Subaru Outback Roof Rack Cross Bars: with 3 Steps
Since a Subaru Outback comes with factory-fitted raised roof rails, it is easy to fix crossbars on them.
Check out the following step-by-step guide below for seamless installation.
Step 1: The first thing you need to do is to bring together the crossbars with the aid of the furnished clamps.
Make sure that the crossbars are properly positioned. You can measure on both sides to be sure that they are equidistant and straight.
Step 2: As soon as you have brought all the crossbars together, connect the clamps to your vehicle’s raised rails.
Step 3: Recheck so that you can be sure that the crossbars are securely attached.
Important FAQs about Subaru Outback Roof Rack Problem
What is the weight limit of the 2021 Subaru Outback roof rack?
A Subaru Outback 2021 has a maximum weight limit of 150 pounds or 67.5 kilograms. Going above the weight limit is dangerous as it can lead to a serious accident.
Can roof racks cause damage?
There is no way a roof rack that is properly fitted will damage your car.
On the other hand, if it is badly fitted, under tightened, over-tightened, or overloaded, it can spoil your car. As a result of this, you must ensure that you fix it properly.
Does Subaru Outback come with a roof rack?
All Subaru Outback models have strong roof racks. These racks have the capacity of carrying heavy items such as bikes, kayaks, skis, canoes, luggage, and so on.
Do all Subaru Outbacks have crossbars?
There are four models of Subaru Outback – Base, Limited, Premium, and Hybrid.
Except for the Hybrid model, all other three models come with raised roof rails as well as crossbars.
Is it possible to install Outback crossbars myself?
Since all Outback models have raised rails, it is very easy for you to install crossbars.
You only need to bring together the crossbars with the aid of the furnished clamps, connect the clamps to your vehicle’s raised rails, and you are good to go.
Is it possible for me to use a roof rack without crossbars?
You can use a roof rack without crossbars. However, it is can be very difficult, especially if you want to carry loads that have the possibility of touching your rooftop.
Is a roof rack necessary in a Subaru Outback?
Even though it is not compulsory for you to have a roof rack in your Subaru Outback, it provides sufficient storage space for you.
By relying on the roof rack, there is no need for you to overload the internal storage facility of your car.
Who benefits most from a roof rack?
People with hobbies like skiing, kayaking, or bike riding will get the most benefit from a roof rack.
They can use it to carry kayaks, canoes, as well as other items that may require separate transportation.
As a result of this, roof racks are included in the design of a Subaru Outback.
To avoid running into a Subaru Outback roof rack problem, you should take good care of the rack.
If you take care of it adequately, it will serve you for a long time, and you will not encounter any problems with it.
Furthermore, there should be proper inspection regularly to prevent spoilage. If there is a space between the roof and the rack system, you must ensure that you clean it thoroughly.
Accumulation of dust on the roof can damage the paint if not cleaned.
If you will be carrying heavy loads on your Outback regularly, you can invest in a strong aftermarket rack system, which has the capacity of holding securely to the roof rails.
Originally from England, I’ve been repairing cars for over 16 years and am an automotive journalist. I’ve been working on cars for as long as I can remember, and it’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.
It is my intention to be your mechanic friend, that person who will assist you with any problem you may have with your vehicle and explain in detail how the problem can be fixed to you as soon as possible.
I produce and anchor a weekly auto news program. As well as providing insights into all things automotive, including expert analysis of the latest trends in the automotive industry, and ensuring you always know where to go for the latest automotive news, I also provide insight into all things automotive before the news breaks.
If I am not working, I am a riding motorcyclist and I do volunteer work with local charities whenever I have time. When I’m not riding my motorcycles or volunteering at local charities, you will find me at home in Portland, Oregon.