Toyota RAV4 Roof Rack Weight Limit and Safety

Whether you want to strap some extra luggage to the top of your RAV4 or you are taking your kayak out for a leisurely adventure, it’s important to know what the roof rack holds. The only way to remain safe is to know the maximum Toyota RAV4 roof rack weight limit.

In this guide, I cover the weight limit of the RAV4’s roof rack, so you don’t need to wonder anymore. I also look at the dangers of overloading the rack and give you some safety tips.

rav le roof rack above view

Roof Rack Weight Limit

Where can the Toyota RAV4 roof rack weight limit be found? The easiest place to find it is in the owner’s manual, under the “Cargo and Luggage” section.

To make it easy, I have the RAV4 roof rack weight limit ratings broken down by model year below:

  • 2019-2024: 176.4 lb. (80 kg.)
  • 2013-2018: 101.9 lb. (46.2 kg.)
  • 2006-2012: 102.7 lb. (46.2 kg.)
  • 2001-2005: 75 lb. (34 kg.)

The newer models have a much higher maximum weight limit than older models. From the 2001 to the 2019 RAV4, there’s more than a 100-pound increase.

Risks and Dangers

You should never overload the roof rack on your Toyota RAV4. It’s important to always follow the recommendations given by the manufacturer.

When overloading the roof rack, the following situations can occur:

  • Poor handling
  • Reduced fuel economy
  • Instability leading to a rolled or flipped vehicle
  • Broken roof rack, making it easier for items to fly off and create an on-road hazard

While some of these problems are mere inconveniences, others create real danger. When in doubt, weigh your gear to ensure it doesn’t exceed the recommendations.


Factors That Affect Weight Limit

rav4 roof rack close up

Here are the three main factors that affect the weight limit of your RAV4 roof rack:

    1. OEM vs. Aftermarket Rack: When you install an aftermarket roof rack, it could weigh more than the OEM parts. If so, the load you put on the rack may be diminished because of how much total weight the roof can hold.
    2. Load Distribution: Packing the load unevenly allows for more stress on the rack mounting points. The weight limit is reduced if the load isn’t even.
    3. Total Vehicle Weight Capacity: When the vehicle is already full of heavy gear, putting more weight on the roof rack is unwise. It could overload the capacity, creating an unsafe situation.

When loading up the RAV4 roof rack, it’s important to take all of these factors into consideration.

Safety Tips

To avoid any trouble when using a roof rack, consider following these valuable safety tips:

  • Inspect the roof rack to ensure it’s attached correctly
  • If the roof rack is worn or broken, have it repaired
  • Secure items with high-quality straps and equipment
  • Double-check the items before pulling out and at every stop
  • Take your time, drive slowly and careful
  • Never exceed the weight limit
  • Avoid loading bulky items, such as mattresses and large furniture
  • Avoid carrying dirty gear

Additionally, don’t forget to take the gear off of the rack when you are finished. There’s no reason to keep the load sitting on the rack when it’s not in use.


Frequently Asked Questions

As the weight goes up, the capacity goes down accordingly. A heavy roof rack also reduces the fuel economy of the vehicle.

No, roof racks are designed to sit on top of the RAV4. The only way damage occurs is if the rack is installed incorrectly or you overload the vehicle beyond its capacity.

Take Your Gear With You

Your Toyota RAV4 is designed for comfort and enjoyment, but it also allows you to experience new adventures. When carrying larger items or if the cabin is already full, take advantage of the roof rack for the ride.

Just don’t exceed the RAV4 roof rack weight limit to ensure you arrive at the destination safely. After all, it’s not much of an adventure if disaster strikes.

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  1. Kurt Viljoen says:

    Hi, my daughter is doing a cross country road trip in her RAV4 hybrid 2022. We are thinking of putting on a 2 person Thule roof top tent (100 lbs weight, 400 lbs carrying capacity) using Thule cross bars as the Toyota OEM cross bars only have a 260 pound carrying capacity limit. Do you thinks it’s advisable for the RAV4 to do this ?

    1. Jonathan Buckley says:

      Hi Kurt,

      I’ve taken two cross-country road trips in my RAV4 (just finished a 2,300-mile trip yesterday). It’s a great vehicle for a long trip!

      I think your idea for the rooftop tent is great. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I think that setup will be perfect.

  2. Would it handle a kayak ok?

    1. RAV4 Resource says:

      Yes, it can handle a kayak or two just fine.

  3. Hello I just purchased a nature nest rooftop tent. It states it weighs 172 pounds based on your article that is just under the max weight for my RAV4 2022 crossbars.
    Will this set up work?

    1. RAV4 Resource says:

      Yes, you’ll be fine with that setup.