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Do Rooftop Tents Ruin Your Car? 

Do Rooftop Tents Ruin Your Car? 

Are you concerened about a rooftop tent ruining your car?

The short answer:

When a rooftop tent is installed properly, it is a great addition to any vehicle and does not ruin your car. Know your vehicle’s rooftop weight capacity along with a properly installed roof rack will ensure your car top  stays in good condition.

Continue reading further to learn more about what roof top tents are, how to properly install one of the roof of your car, and special considerations you should take during installation to ensure that your car does not get damaged in the process.

What is a Roof Top Tent?

A roof top tent is a tent that attaches to the roof of a vehicle to allow people to sleep safely on top of their car or truck while camping. Roof top tents can go on either the roof of a car or the bed of a truck if you have one.

The purpose of a roof top tent is to leave space available inside the vehicle and create an elevated sleeping area while camping. While you may think that roof top tents are a relatively newer invention, the first type of roof top tents popped up in Western Europe around the 1930s.

Roof tents are commonly seen on expedition-ready four-wheel drive vehicles such as Land Rover, G Wagon, or Jeep, although they may be installed on practically any vehicle.

In most cases, they will attach to a vehicle’s roof rack or a set of aftermarket roof bars. They are especially popular in Italy, where one manufacturer sells them with photos of their devices installed in vehicles as little as the Fiat Panda.

How to Properly Fit a Roof Top Tent to Your Car

We understand how critical it is to ensure that your rooftop tent is secure and safe. That is why it is critical that your tent be appropriately sized for your vehicle.

Attaching the incorrect size tent to your car can result in damage to your vehicle and your tent. Here are some things to keep in mind when determining whether or not a tent will fit in your vehicle.

Always check your rooftop tent manufacturer’s FAQ pages to ensure you have the proper weights, dimensions and specs.

Weight Capacity

The dynamic weight capacity of your vehicle refers to how much weight it can handle when driving. This is the maximum weight capacity set by the manufacturer of your vehicle. It’s essentially the weight capacity required to support your rooftop tent.

The static weight capacity, however, is the amount of weight that your automobile can support when it is parked, the tent is set up, and the ladder is installed.

Because the ladder provides additional support, the static weight capacity is normally three times that of the dynamic weight limit. This informs you how much weight is required to support the tent and the individuals sleeping inside.

You will want to make sure that you choose a roof top tent that has a weight that your vehicle can hold safely, both when you are moving and when you are sleeping inside of it.

Choosing a roof top tent that is too heavy could possibly damage your roof rack and the roof of the car as well.

Width Requirement

Most roof top tents have aluminum bars at the bottom that are used to secure the tent to the roof of your car. These bars must not be too wide for your vehicle.

Check the tent’s handbook for the suggested distance needed to ensure it suits your unique vehicle. Tents that are too wide or too narrow for your roof can create issues and possibly cause damage to your car.

Roof Rack Fit

While some cars come with factory installed roof racks, these racks are usually not large or strong enough to hold a roof rack tent. You should consider purchasing an aftermarket roof rack, even if your car already has one.

This is because aftermarket roof racks typically hold much more weight than their factory counterparts.

Roof Type

The last thing to consider when purchasing and installing a roof top tent is the type of roof your vehicle has. Cars with bare roofs will not be able to have a roof top tent installed. You will need to get a roof rack for installation if your roof is bare.

Vehicles with siderails, gutters, tracks, fixed points, or crossbars are all perfect candidates for a roof top tent. You can also use these tents on vehicles that have a sunroof but steer clear of a roof top tent if your roof is completely glass.

Ensuring your Roof Top Tent Won’t Ruin Your Car

Failing to account for any of the above considerations could result in damage to your vehicle. However, a properly fitted and properly installed roof top tent should not cause any damage to your vehicle.

You can install and remove a roof top tent as many times as you like without issue as long as you are following all of the manufacturer’s instructions.

In order to keep your installation or removal process issue free, there are companies that will install or remove your roof top tent for you.

While this will cost money, if you are unsure or not confident of your own ability to install or remove your tent, a professional can help you with the process.

Minimizing Damage to Your Vehicle

In order to minimize any potential damage that could be caused to your vehicle due to improper installation or ill-fitting tents, you should always have an additional person to help you install and remove your roof top tent.

Roof top tents are usually large in size and requires at least two people to install.


Overhead Height Requirements

Once you have your roof top tent installed properly, you should measure the new height of your vehicle.

This is because you will need to know the height of your vehicle from the ground to the top of the tent to avoid any potential height hazards like underpasses, bridges, or other low areas that you may be driving in.

Driving with you tent in areas where your clearance is too high will result in damage to both your vehicle and your roof top tent.


Up Next:

Are Roof Top Tents Easy to Steal? (theft prevention tips)

What is the Best Roof Top Tent For a Jeep Gladiator?

How Much is a Hard Shell Roof Top Tent?

How Much Does a Tepui Tent Weigh?


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