Learning how to properly use a roof rack can mean the difference between a smooth trip and an adventure that goes awry because the cargo on top of the vehicle has been strewn all over the road.

If you don't want gear to come crashing down onto the front of your car while you're driving, be sure to pay attention to the roof rack set up, then determine the type of strap you want to use. Strap sets come with metal buckles for extra security, and as opposed to rope, don't require knotting. Wherever possible, be sure to tie the excess back onto the roof railing. Tying a piece of equipment too tightly could damage the rails, so it's best to give the strapping a little leeway.

The shake test can quickly reveal whether the straps are too tight. Use roof rail accessories for mounting skis and snowboards; these are typically too thin to comfortably sit on the roof.

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