How to Choose a Roof Rack for Your 2023 Toyota RAV4

Whether you need more room for your camping gear or you want to strap a bike to your RAV4, it’s important to find a roof rack that works for your needs. Choosing a roof rack isn’t difficult, especially with my comprehensive guide.

I’ll discuss all the factors you’ll want to consider when shopping for a roof rack for your 2023 RAV4. Let’s get into it!

toyota rav4 roof view

Roof Type

Before choosing a roof rack, you’ll need to consider what type of roof you have.

There are two different roof styles present on the RAV4: flush and raised. In the comparison photos below, you can see the difference.

Every roof rack will be designed to fit one particular style of roof. They are not compatible with both types of roofs.

You’ll find raised rails on the RAV4 Adventure and TRD Off-Road. All other RAV4 trims typically have flush rails.

When searching for a roof rack, you’ll want to find one that is designed for your roof style.

Rack Type

Another aspect to consider when purchasing a roof rack for your 2023 RAV4 the type of rack.

To get started, you’ll need crossbars. Crossbars can be used on their own to transport items on rare occasions, but it is recommended to use them to mount racks that are specifically designed for what you want to haul.

Think about the type of gear you plan to carry.

If you want to carry kayaks, you may require different equipment than someone hauling skis. Figure out what attachments are necessary before buying the rack. You may need one to haul a cargo carrier, kayak rack, roof basket, and more.

These attachments will mount directly to your crossbars to safely carry your gear.

Weight Limit

Your roof can only hold so much weight. This is affected by both the maximum weight capacity of the RAV4’s roof and the capacity of the roof rack product itself.

Make sure your roof and crossbars will be able to handle the weight you’re looking to carry.

As an example, take a look at my Prinsu roof rack.

rav4 roof rack closeup prinsu

This roof rack is helpful because it can hold more than the traditional RAV4 roof rack (up to 800 pounds). This is because it adds additional mounting points along the side rails. This helps distribute the weight more evenly across the roof, which increases the maximum capacity.

Installation

If you plan to put the roof rack on yourself, you want something simple to install. Some are removable, while others are considered semi-permanent. Read through reviews to figure out if you can perform the installation yourself.

Here’s a video so you can understand the basics of RAV4 roof rack installation.

Fuel Efficiency

Roof racks create drag on the vehicle, thereby affecting fuel efficiency. This is something you’ll want to consider when choosing a roof rack for your 2023 RAV4. Additionally, some create more noise than others.

Luckily, most 2023 RAV4 roof racks are designed with aerodynamics in mind. However, you may benefit from adding a wind fairing to help improve the aerodynamics even further.

Warranty

After purchasing a new roof rack, you want to know if there’s a warranty. All reputable brands offer a warranty, but there could be exclusions.

Be sure to read through the documentation before you pick the brand to go with.

Safety

Safety is always important, especially when it comes to hauling items on your roof. Improperly secured items can be a serious risk to others on the road.

For this reason, you may want to choose a roof rack manufactured by Toyota. You’ll be able to trust that the product is produced to high-quality standards and fits perfectly on your roof.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can put a roof rack on a RAV4 for more versatility. It’s important to find a compatible roof rack based on your RAV4 model.

Roof rails are installed on the side of the vehicle’s roof. The rails do not carry items. Instead, they make it possible to attach crossbars where the roof rack can be attached.

The Toyota RAV4 roof rack holds about 175 pounds. You should always double-check this information by reading the specifications in your owner’s manual.

Upgrade RAV4 Capability with a Roof Rack

The Toyota RAV4 is set up for adventure by default. To take the excitement to another level, consider adding a roof rack. Not only does it help you carry your gear for a thrill, but it adds more room for cargo.

With so many options available, it’s easy to find a roof rack for any need. Choosing the right one increases capability and adds a unique style.

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2 Comments

  1. Jeffrey Cooper says:

    2023 rav4 LE has no rails. what do I need?
    It has a rubber strip