Can You Put a Roof Rack on a Subaru Outback?

Can You Put a Roof Rack on a Subaru Outback?

If you own a Subaru Outback and find yourself in need of extra storage space for your outdoor adventures, you may be wondering if it’s possible to install a roof rack on your vehicle. The good news is that the Subaru Outback is a versatile vehicle that can accommodate a roof rack, allowing you to carry additional gear such as bikes, kayaks, or luggage.

In this article, we will explore the various options and considerations when it comes to putting a roof rack on a Subaru Outback.

What is a Roof Rack?

Before we delve into the specifics of installing a roof rack on a Subaru Outback, let’s first understand what a roof rack is. A roof rack is a set of bars or crossbars that are mounted on the roof of a vehicle. It provides a platform for attaching various accessories, such as bike racks, cargo boxes, or kayak carriers. Roof racks are a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts or those who simply need extra storage space.

Types of Roof Racks for Subaru Outback

When it comes to choosing a roof rack for your Subaru Outback, you have several options to consider. The most common types of roof racks for the Subaru Outback are:

  • Aero Bars: Aero bars are sleek and aerodynamic, designed to reduce wind noise and drag. They provide a secure and stable platform for attaching accessories.
  • Crossbars: Crossbars are the most basic type of roof rack and are typically included as standard equipment on the Subaru Outback. They can be used on their own or with additional accessories.
  • Factory Roof Rails: Some Subaru Outback models come with factory-installed roof rails. These rails provide a sturdy base for attaching crossbars or other accessories.

Installation Process

The installation process for a roof rack on a Subaru Outback will vary depending on the type of rack you choose. Here is a general overview of the installation process:

  1. Start by gathering all the necessary tools and equipment, including the roof rack kit, a wrench or socket set, and any additional accessories you plan to attach.
  2. Carefully read the instructions provided with your roof rack kit to familiarize yourself with the installation process and any specific requirements for your vehicle model.
  3. If your Subaru Outback already has factory-installed roof rails, you may simply need to attach the crossbars or accessory mounts to the rails using the provided hardware.
  4. If your Subaru Outback does not have factory-installed roof rails, you may need to install a roof rack system that attaches directly to the roof of your vehicle. This process may involve drilling holes or using specialized brackets.
  5. Once the roof rack is securely installed, you can then attach any additional accessories, such as bike racks or cargo boxes, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Before hitting the road, double-check that all attachments are secure and that the roof rack and accessories do not interfere with the operation of your vehicle, including opening and closing doors or obstructing your view.

Benefits of a Roof Rack

Adding a roof rack to your Subaru Outback can offer numerous benefits, including:

  • Increased Storage Space: A roof rack provides additional storage space for bulky items that may not fit inside your vehicle.
  • Convenience: Having a roof rack allows you to easily transport outdoor gear, such as bikes or kayaks, without taking up valuable space inside your vehicle.
  • Versatility: With a roof rack, you can easily switch between different accessories, depending on your needs. For example, you can attach a bike rack for a weekend getaway or a cargo box for a family vacation.
  • Enhanced Aesthetics: Many roof racks are designed to complement the sleek lines of the Subaru Outback, enhancing its overall appearance.

Considerations and Limitations

While a roof rack can be a valuable addition to your Subaru Outback, there are some considerations and limitations to keep in mind:

  • Weight Limit: Each roof rack has a specified weight limit, so it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s guidelines and ensure that you don’t exceed the recommended capacity.
  • Height Clearance: Adding a roof rack to your vehicle will increase its overall height, so be mindful of low-clearance areas such as parking garages or drive-throughs.
  • Wind Noise and Drag: Depending on the design of the roof rack, you may experience increased wind noise or reduced fuel efficiency due to added drag. Opting for aerodynamic options can help mitigate these issues.
  • Installation: While installing a roof rack is generally straightforward, some types may require more complex installation procedures or professional assistance.


Can you put a roof rack on a Subaru Outback? Absolutely! With the right roof rack system, you can enhance your Subaru Outback’s versatility and storage capacity, making it the perfect companion for your outdoor adventures. Whether you opt for aero bars, or crossbars, or utilize the factory-installed roof rails, a roof rack will allow you to carry additional gear and enjoy the freedom of the open road.

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