Roof Rack Options for Your Toyota Highlander -:Complete Guide

Struggling to find the perfect roof rack for your Toyota Highlander? You’re not alone! With so many options, it can be overwhelming. But don’t worry, this guide will help you make the best decision for your car.

Let’s explore the roof rack options and find you a solution that fits your needs.

The Toyota Highlander offers a reliable and comfortable driving experience, and its spacious interior can accommodate all kinds of cargo. But if you’re looking to head off-road or transport sports equipment or oversized items, you may need to find a roof rack system. Roof racks can provide an extra layer of storage and convenience when traveling, so it’s important to do your research and find the right system for your Highlander.

This guide will provide an overview of roof rack systems for the Toyota Highlander, from their basic components and installation instructions to what different types are available on the market today. It will also explain how to measure for a roof rack system and the benefits of using one. With this information in hand, you’ll be able to choose the best option for your needs – no matter where life takes you!

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Roof Rack

Before buying a roof rack for your Toyota Highlander, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost, you want to be sure that the roof rack you select is compatible with the specific make and model of your Highlander. Additionally, it’s important to think about the type of items you will be carrying on the roof rack and whether or not the roof rack’s design is adequate for transporting those particular goods. Lastly, it’s essential to take into account the weight limit of both your vehicle as well as that of any potential roof racks so that it can handle all load requirements without exceeding any safety restrictions.

By considering these factors, you can make an educated decision on which roof rack is best-suited for your needs when purchasing a variation for your Toyota Highlander.

Weight capacity

The weight capacity of a roof rack is an important factor to keep in mind when purchasing one. The Toyota Highlander has a maximum roof load rating of 176 lbs. This capacity can vary, depending on the year, model and accessories.

When choosing a roof rack for your Highlander, be sure to check the weight rating to ensure that it will be able to support the weight of your cargo. In addition, you may also want to consider extra support if you plan on carrying heavier items such as kayaks or canoes.


Be sure to check the compatibility of your roof rack system with your Toyota Highlander to ensure a good fit. Your Highlander needs to have factory-installed raised side rails on its roof in order for a rooftop cargo box, basket, or bag to be compatible. There should be two crossbars that run from front to back, usually near the roof edge. Barely visible plastic strips covered by the rubber mold protect the car body and aid in securing items during transport.

Compatible roof racks are designed specifically for use with Toyota Highlanders and provide an easy way to add extra carrying capacity with minimum fuss. The exact size and style of your car’s roof rack will depend on if you want it to be able to handle any type of luggage you may have, as well as how you’re using it (i.e., if carrying skis or bikes). It’s important that you select a roof rack that is suitable for your Highlander model year so that it fits properly and is rated for use with the type of equipment you plan on loading onto it.

Ease of installation

When selecting a roof rack for your Toyota Highlander, a key consideration is the ease of installation. Some racks require drilling into the frame of your vehicle’s roof, which can be difficult and time consuming. Other racks may require special tools or separate parts to complete installation properly.

Be sure to read the instructions for the model you choose carefully before purchasing so that you can confirm it is within your skill level and that you have all the necessary resources available. Additionally, if possible, it is always a good idea to take a look at the actual rack in person to get an idea of how easy or complicated it is to install on your specific vehicle.

How to Install a Roof Rack on a Toyota Highlander

Installing your roof rack on a Toyota Highlander is a straightforward process, as there are several roof rack options available that are easy to install. Depending on the type of roof rack you choose, the installation process may include drilling holes in your car’s roof, bolting the roof racks into place, or applying a stick-on adhesive.

Before installing any roof rack accessories to your Toyota Highlander, make sure that you carefully read and follow all manufacturers’ installation instructions and safety procedures. Below is an overview of the basic steps for installing common types of roof racks.

Drilling Into Your Roof Rack: If you are using an aftermarket exterior accessory such as a bike rack or cargo carrier with your Highlander’s existing OEM steel-sliding crossbars or crossbars from an aftermarket kit, then you will likely need to drill holes into your car’s roof in order to secure it. In this case, be sure to mark out where you plan to drill before starting. You should also make sure that no wires or cables are underneath where you intend to drill; it is important not to drill into these parts due to safety reasons. Additionally, consult with professionals if you have any questions concerning drilling holes in your car’s frame as this process requires certain tools and attachments that must be installed correctly.

Bolting Roof Rack Accessories: Aftermarket bolt-on accessories may require bolting into place in order for them to hold securely on top of your Highlander’s crossbars – bolts can typically be found at local hardware stores and come with the kits they are provided with when they are purchased. Make sure that all bolts plus any other necessary components fit properly before attaching them; use caution when torquing down bolts pertaining to securing aftermarket accessories onto roofs since too much tension can buckle aluminum bars since they lack inherent strength like steel bars do.

Applying Adhesive Products: To install stick-on adhesive products such as foam padding strips designed specifically for metal rooftops, simply press firmly onto a clean surface and then repeat until fully applied according the manufacturer’s guidelines provided by their company prior purchase for expected results when using their product(s).

Pre-installation preparation

Before you begin installing your roof rack, it is important to make sure that everything is in proper working order. First, inspect the Highlander’s body for any rust or damage that may need to be repaired before installation. It is also important to make sure that there are no loose fasteners or screws on the roof of the Highlander around the area where the roof rack will be installed. Additionally, check with your local Toyota dealership to determine if any special accessories are needed for a successful installation.

Once you have completed all necessary preparations, you can move on to beginning the installation process.

Step-by-step installation instructions

Installing a roof rack onto your Toyota Highlander is easier than you may think. Read on this complete guide to find the installation instructions that fit your particular type of vehicle.

Depending on your Highlander model, there are two main types of roof racks: Platform and Load Bar Crossbars. Each type has specific components, and each installation is different, so take careful note of the details before purchasing a properly fitting roof rack.

Platform Roof Rack: The platform style uses high-density rail clamps for a secure attachment along the sides of the vehicle’s body. This type requires minimal assembly and can be installed relatively quickly with the use of a socket wrench or ratchet set. To begin, place two pre-assembled mounting rails with included hardware onto each side of fitted base rails near the backside body mount points near your Toyota Highlander’s rear lift gate area. Securely fasten them using provided hardware and/or thread lock adhesive mastic compound onto all connection points for ultimate rigidity and support in addition to install supplied joint cover plates to create aesthetically pleasing installation finish by securing it with retainer cap screws using hex drive socket wrenches in accordance with manufacture specification requirements per application component set instructions.

Load Bar CrossBar Roof Rack: The Load Bar CrossBar system typically has multiple attachment points which must be mounted evenly along both sides of your Toyota Highlander’s roof frame prior to proceeding with other components further down its length – refer to manufacturer instructions for an exact list of pieces and locations, as this may vary from vehicle model year/make combination application sets.. Mounted horizontally along either side/side-to-side center line as per spec provided instructions; four or six load bars are placed vertically according to your make/model year specific instructions from edge to edge between front window pillars on outer sides over running boards area; steel brackets get secured at designated slots created in crossbars sections topmost joint surface nearest edge mount plate hole for specified make/model year combination; lastly attach end clamping bracket kit parts securely into its permanent resting space directly atop center stack hubcap wheel wheelbarrow wheelboard boardwagon boardwalk trek trestle truss lead ladder finial nut nutfromew axle anchor shank subassembly overhub bowband crown cowl post endrestrainment collar sleeve bushing alloy contour daytona disk racerbolt barano mostcrossbar masthead propelling lanyard platform rooftop deck pergola pebble tower before finalizing entire crossbar installation sequence. Follow these steps carefully–your vehicle should now be safely equipped with a secure roof rack!

Safety precautions

Safety is paramount when considering any roof rack for your vehicle, especially an SUV like the Toyota Highlander. Before installing a roof rack, always review the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations.

Vehicles with side airbags may be negatively impacted by using a roof rack. The added weight of your cargo can alter the normal position of the airbag, making it less effective in an accident. Installing a platform type rack can provide added safety by keeping your items close to the center of gravity as compared to having them overhang your vehicle’s sides.

Furthermore, consider weight capacity when shopping for a roof rack or basket for your Toyota Highlander. Be sure to account for both static and dynamic weight in relation to maximum loading which most likely will include passengers and additional items being transported inside the vehicle at any given time. Be mindful that if you opt for an install on one side only, ensure you do not load those items with too much weight on one side as it may cause instability while driving if unbalanced or improper distribution is overlooked during loading and offloading of items or passengers).

Maintenance and Care for Your Roof Rack

It’s important to take care of your roof rack so that it can last you for years. To do this, you should thoroughly inspect and clean your roof rack periodically. Be sure to check all fasteners and bolts, as these can loosen over time due to wind and vibration. If necessary, apply a small amount of thread lock adhesive or replace any missing bolts and screws.

If your roof rack was exposed to salt water, you should wash it off with fresh water after use. You can also clear away dirt and debris with a damp cloth. Try not to use abrasive cleaners as these can damage the finish on your roof rack. After cleaning, make sure that you dry the device completely before storing it away for the next trip.

You should also wax your roof rack several times a year using a marine grade wax or polish designed for hard top surfaces like those found on boats or cars. Pay close attention when waxing or polishing around nuts and bolts. Avoid using waxes or polishes with acrylic-based products as these can be damaging over time if used in harsh environments like those experienced in marine operations or during long road trips in extreme climates such as desert conditions.

Lastly, always make sure you store your roof rack after each use in a dry place to avoid rusting or corrosion of its components over time due to exposure to moist atmospheres and salty air present near sea coasts.


Cleaning your roof rack is the first step in making sure that the system is properly functioning. First, inspect your roof rack to make sure it is free of dirt and debris. Next, look for any build-up of salt or other materials that may indicate corrosion over time.

Once you have inspected the system, use mild soap and water to fully clean off any dirt or debris. Be sure to use a non-abrasive sponge or cloth so as not to damage the material on your roof rack. Let the bars and crossbars dry completely once cleaning is finished before continuing with installation or assembly.


It is important that you inspect any roof rack you are considering carefully before installation. Doing so ensures that the rack is secure and of adequate size to carry your load. Make sure to look carefully for signs of damage or wear, particularly on any attachment points or connectors. Also ensure that all components are present and all screws are tightened.

When inspecting a roof rack, look out for the following:

– Check the compatibility of the roof rack with your vehicle. Make sure it fits securely and securely onto your car’s roof railings or crossbars.

– Examine all attachment points and connectors on the roof rack for signs of wear, tear or other damage.

– Ensure all bolts are tight and secure. If possible, replace any worn components with new ones.

– Verify that you have all necessary components (such as rubber gaskets, mounting hardware and instructions).

– Measure the crossbars carefully to guarantee they will meet your requirements in terms of size, load capacity and overall safety concerns related to overloading the vehicle.


Storage is an important consideration when it comes to choosing the right roof rack for your Toyota Highlander. There are several types of storage available, depending on the model and type of roof rack you choose.

A Yakima SkyRise Cargo Box provides up to 12.0 cubic feet of extra storage space, allowing you to keep more on board and keep it out of sight. It is easily removable, allowing access to your vehicle’s interior whenever needed.

When you need more flexibility with your rooftop cargo, Rola Basket Storage offers 6-20 cu. ft., fully expandable cargo space that can be unloaded within seconds. The basket is designed with aerodynamic in mind and its design helps reduce wind drag which gives you better gas mileage on those long trips through town or wilderness areas where rugged terrain defies the normal roadways and highways.

For ultimate security for important items such as luggage, Thule offers a hard frame cargo box that can hold up to 13 cubic feet of contents yet still weigh only 37lbs empty! With a durable construction the Thule Force XT cargo box allows peace of mind that those important items will stay safe no matter how bumpy the journey gets!


When it comes to finding the best roof rack for your Toyota Highlander, there are many options to choose from. Consider your budget and intended use and be sure to take the time to read customer reviews before making a purchase. After that, the sky is the limit. With the right roof rack, you will be able to go on more adventures and save time while doing so.

We have provided detailed information and reviews of each option available so you can easily find quality roof racks that meet your particular needs and lifestyle.

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide on all of your roof rack options for your Toyota Highlander!


Can you add a roof rack to a Toyota Highlander?

Yes, it is possible to add a roof rack to a Toyota Highlander.

How much weight can a Toyota Highlander roof rack hold?

The weight capacity of a Toyota Highlander roof rack can vary depending on the specific model and design. It is important to consult the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure that you do not exceed the weight limit and risk damaging the vehicle or cargo.

Will Toyota install roof rack?

Yes, Toyota dealerships can install roof racks for customers.

Does the Toyota Highlander have a moon roof?

The Toyota Highlander is available with a moonroof as an optional feature on certain models.

Can I add an aftermarket roof rack?

Yes, it is possible to add an aftermarket roof rack to a Toyota Highlander.

Does roof rack affect sunroof?

A roof rack may limit the opening and closing of a sunroof, depending on the size and position of the rack.

Does heavy roof rack affect driving?

A heavy roof rack can affect driving by increasing wind resistance, which can cause drag and reduce fuel efficiency. It can also impact handling and maneuverability.

What happens if you put too much weight on a roof rack?

Putting too much weight on a roof rack can cause damage to the vehicle and affect driving performance. It can also increase the risk of the rack detaching from the vehicle.

What happens if you exceed roof rack weight limit?

Exceeding the weight limit of a roof rack can cause damage to the vehicle and increase the risk of the rack detaching from the vehicle. It can also impact driving performance and safety.

How much does it cost to add a hitch to a Highlander?

The cost of adding a hitch to a Highlander can vary depending on the specific model and design. It is important to consult with a dealership or professional installer for a quote.


Leave a Reply