How to Reduce wind noise

How To Reduce Wind Noise For Your Car Roof Box Or Rack

Introduction

If you have fitted a roof box or roof rack to your car you might have noticed that you are creating more wind noise, particularly at higher speeds. If you haven’t yet bought a roof box then this might be one of your concerns.

Let’s have a look at what causes this noise and how you can reduce or avoid it.

What Makes Roof Racks And Roof Boxes Noisy?

The sound is generated by the wind passing over or through objects. Normally your roof is designed to be as aerodynamic as possible so the noise generated will be minimal.

When you start attaching roof bars and/or a roof box then you give a much greater opportunity for noise to be created as the wind passes over these additional surfaces.

This is known as Aeolian sound.

It can be a particular problem with a roof cargo box since there may be a gap between the box and the bars that it is attached to.

How To Reduce The Noise From Your Roof Box Or Roof Rack

If you’re finding that your roof rack or roof box is making too much irritating noise then there are some things you can try to reduce or eliminate the problem.

The first and most obvious solution is not to carry anything on your roof unless you actually need to use it! This will also have the added benefit of improving your fuel consumption. With the ever-increasing cost of fuel, it’s certainly worth considering.

Assuming you are actually going to use the roof box or roof rack to carry some cargo then you need to look at ways of mitigating the noise that might be generated.

When fitting a roof storage solution to your car you should always make sure that all the components are correctly fitted and securely tightened where appropriate. Make sure that the towers and roof bars are solid before attempting to add any other items such as a bike rack or cargo box.

You could experiment with moving your roof bars to a slightly different position on your roof that may affect the amount of noise they generate. 

Try to make sure the cargo box sits squarely on the bars as leaving a gap between them could be the cause of the whistling noise.

A cheap but often effective solution is to alter the shape of your roof bars by wrapping something around to alter the airflow while you’re driving. One option would be using a bungee cord. You should only need to do this on the roof bar mounted towards the front of your vehicle. Check out the video below.

Bungee Cord to reduce Wind Noise

You can see in the comments that quite a few people have tried this method and had success with it. It’s definitely worth a try if you already own roof bars that are causing irritating wind noise.

The next option would be to add a fairing or airfoil to your roof bars in order to deflect and disturb the airflow. Most roof bar manufacturers will have some sort of wind faring or airfoil available that you can purchase. However, they can be quite expensive and may not do a much better job than just using the bungee cord.

If you’ve not yet purchased your roof bars or roof box then try to go for the most aerodynamic option that you can.

If you go for foil roof bars such as the Thule Aeroblade they feature noise-reducing strips to help combat the problem of whistling. Square bars will tend to be the worst offenders when it comes to creating noise so try to avoid them.

Edge Bar vs Load bar
Edge Bar vs Load bar

You should also consider going for edge bars rather than load bars. Edge bars tend to have significantly fewer problems with whistling noise than load bars.  Obviously, the trade-off will be the width of cargo that you will be able to transport.

Another thing to check is to make sure the cargo in your roof box is securely fastened and not moving around causing potential extra noise.

How To Reduce Wind Noise: Conclusion

So if you’ve already got roof bars and a roof box you should now have several ideas on how to keep any additional wind noise to a minimum during your travels. If you’re still in the market for a roof box then the tips above should help you avoid the worst of this problem.

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