Subaru Outback Roof Rack: Comprehensive Product Review and Guide

Last updated on February 16, 2024

Intriguingly, the Subaru Outback Roof Rack is a must-have for travel enthusiasts because it provides additional storage space without compromising the vehicle’s performance or aesthetics.

Key takeaways:

  • Ensure compatibility with your specific Subaru Outback model.
  • Consider weight capacity and distribute cargo evenly.
  • The installation process is straightforward and requires basic tools.
  • Subaru genuine parts offer perfect fit and warranty coverage.
  • Choose between online retailers and in-store purchases for convenience.

Compatibility of Subaru Outback Roof Racks With Various Models

compatibility of subaru outback roof racks with various models

When considering a roof rack for your Subaru Outback, it’s essential to match the rack to your specific model year. Subaru has released numerous Outback models over the years, each potentially featuring slight variations in roof design. While racks designed for models from 2000-2009 may not fit the streamlined roofs of 2010 or newer Outbacks, manufacturers typically offer a range of products to accommodate these differences.

Crossbar spacing can also vary, so verify the recommended measurements for your vehicle before purchase. Not only does this ensure a proper fit, but it also maintains the integrity of your Outback’s roof and optimizes safety.

Additionally, pay attention to the roof rack’s mounting system. Some models may come with raised factory rails, requiring a different attachment method than those with a completely flush roof. Look for roof rack options that align with these design features to secure your gear effectively.

Lastly, Integrated and fixed mounting points on certain Outback models can streamline installation, so it’s wise to explore these built-in provisions. Your vehicle’s owner manual can be a valuable resource in identifying these specific attributes and guiding you toward the compatible roof rack system.

Roof Rack Weight Capacity

roof rack weight capacity

When selecting a roof rack for your Subaru Outback, understanding weight capacity is crucial. The maximum weight you can carry is determined by the vehicle’s roof load limit and the rack’s weight limit, which should always be observed for safety and vehicle integrity.

The latest Subaru Outback models typically have a roof carrying limit of around 150 pounds, evenly distributed while the vehicle is in motion.

It’s important to note that dynamic weight capacity refers to when the car is driving, while the static weight capacity—often higher—is when the car is parked and can support more weight, useful when using a rooftop tent.

Before loading up, ensure you’re considering the combined weight of the rack system and your cargo. Always refer to your owner’s manual for the specific weight limit of your Subaru Outback’s year and model to avoid potential damage or hazards.

Installation Process for Subaru Outback Roof Racks

Installing a roof rack on your Subaru Outback is straightforward, thanks to well-designed system interfaces. Follow these steps for a hassle-free setup:

1. Read the Manual: Start by reading the manufacturer’s instructions to familiarize yourself with the parts and process.

2. Gather Tools: Typically, a torque wrench and an Allen key are the main tools required, which are often included with the roof rack kit.

3. Clean the Roof: Ensure the car’s roof is clean and dry to prevent scratches and ensure a secure fit.

4. Locate Mounting Points: Outbacks come with pre-set mounting points or fixpoints. Remove the covers or locate the pre-drilled holes.

5. Assemble the Rack: Assemble the crossbars and feet on the ground first, if not pre-assembled.

6. Position Crossbars: Carefully place the crossbars onto the roof, aligning them with the mounting points. There’s typically a recommended distance between the bars in your manual – make sure to follow it.

7. Secure the Rack: Tighten the clamps or bolts as directed, ensuring even pressure. Use the torque wrench to apply the specified amount of torque to avoid over-tightening and potential damage.

8. Check Stability: Give the rack a gentle shake to evaluate its stability. If it moves, revisit the securing mechanisms.

Remember, each roof rack model may have its unique features, but the general installation principles remain consistent. Always perform a final check before hitting the road.

Materials and Durability

Subaru Outback roof racks are typically constructed from aluminum or steel, appealing to different preferences in durability and weight. Aluminum options are lighter, which can contribute to less additional fuel consumption, while steel options are often praised for their robustness and ability to withstand the rigors of heavy usage.

Both materials come with a protective coating to prevent corrosion, ensuring longevity despite exposure to varying weather conditions. Quality manufacturing plays a key role in the durability of roof racks. It’s advisable to periodically check the rack’s connections and the integrity of the mounting system to ensure safety and prevent premature wear and tear.

Regular maintenance can include tightening bolts and applying lubricant to moving parts, as specified by the manufacturer.

Aerodynamics and Fuel Efficiency

Roof racks, by their nature, affect a vehicle’s airflow, potentially leading to increased drag. For the Subaru Outback, the design of the roof rack is particularly important in mitigating this impact. Streamlined crossbars are crafted to slice through the air, minimizing resistance and the subsequent impact on fuel consumption. Nevertheless, when the rack is loaded, fuel efficiency may decrease due to the added weight and altered aerodynamics.

To optimize fuel economy when using a roof rack, consider the following:

  • Load Placement: Distribute weight evenly and place heavier items at the center.
  • Accessories: Use wind deflectors to enhance airflow over your cargo.
  • Removal When Not in Use: Detach the rack if it’s not needed to reduce unnecessary drag.
  • Regular Maintenance: Keep connections tight and components in good repair to ensure the rack performs as designed.

Adopting these strategies can help maintain a balance between the practical benefits of added cargo space and the efficient performance of your Subaru Outback.

Subaru Genuine Parts Vs. Aftermarket Solutions

When selecting a roof rack for your Subaru Outback, you’re faced with choosing between Subaru Genuine Parts and aftermarket options. Subaru Genuine Parts are specifically designed to align with your vehicle’s specifications, ensuring a perfect fit and maintaining the manufacturer’s warranty. They often come at a premium but offer peace of mind with guaranteed compatibility and performance.

Aftermarket solutions, on the other hand, tend to be more cost-effective and offer a wider variety of styles and functions. However, it is crucial to verify the compatibility with your Outback, as there is a risk of voiding the warranty or experiencing a less-than-ideal fit. Quality varies widely in the aftermarket, so it’s important to purchase from reputable brands and pay close attention to customer reviews.

Both options may include features like integrated locks for security or tie-down points for added cargo stability. In summary, when weighing Subaru Genuine Parts against aftermarket solutions, consider factors like budget, usage requirements, and the potential impact on your warranty.

Pricing and Warranty Information

The cost of a Subaru Outback roof rack varies depending on whether you choose genuine Subaru parts or aftermarket options. Genuine parts typically range from $150 to $500, which reflects their custom fit and the assurance of Subaru quality. Aftermarket solutions may offer a lower price point, starting around $100, but it’s vital to ensure compatibility and quality.

When it comes to warranties, Subaru generally provides a limited warranty that covers defects in materials or workmanship. For genuine Subaru roof racks, the warranty period often aligns with the vehicle’s basic warranty, which is 3 years or 36,000 miles. Aftermarket products usually come with their own warranties, varying from 1 to 5 years, highlighting the importance of reviewing warranty details prior to purchase.

Investing in a roof rack involves balancing initial costs against the quality and longevity of the product, as well as ensuring warranty coverage aligns with your usage expectations.

Online and In-Store Purchasing Options

Choosing where to purchase your Subaru Outback roof rack comes down to convenience, price, and customer support. Both online and in-store retailers offer distinct advantages:

Online Retailers:

  • Broader Selection: Access a wide array of roof racks from various manufacturers.
  • Comparison Shopping: Easily compare prices and features from the comfort of your home.
  • Customer Reviews: Read what other Subaru owners say about the roof rack you’re considering.
  • Promotions and Discounts: Online stores frequently offer exclusive sales.
  • Direct Shipping: Convenience of having the roof rack delivered to your doorstep.

In-Store Purchases:

  • Personal Assistance: Benefit from the expertise of sales personnel who can guide you through your purchase.
  • Immediate Availability: Pick up and install your roof rack without waiting for delivery – crucial if you’re planning a trip soon.
  • Physically Inspect Product: Evaluate the quality and feel of the roof rack before buying.
  • Local Support: Supporting local businesses can be important to many customers.

To streamline your purchase, check inventory availability and store hours for local dealerships, or research reputable online retailers for easy-to-navigate websites and clear return policies. Always ensure that the retailer sells genuine or certified aftermarket parts to maintain your Subaru Outback’s integrity.

Customer Reviews and Ratings

Feedback from Subaru Outback owners typically highlights the ease of installation and overall user satisfaction with roof rack systems. Many remark on the sturdiness and minimal noise levels during travel when choosing Subaru genuine parts.

In contrast, reviews for aftermarket options often focus on the value for money, with some noting compatibility issues or variations in build quality. It is not uncommon to find mentions of improved vehicle functionality due to the additional cargo space afforded by the racks.

Negative comments, although less frequent, usually revolve around difficulties with installation instructions or fitment concerns. Before making a purchase, prospective buyers should consider these insights, alongside the roof rack’s intended use, to ensure they select a product that aligns with their needs and expectations.

Subaru Aero Crossbar Kit Overview

The Subaru Aero Crossbar Kit is engineered specifically for Subaru Outback models, ensuring a perfect fit and hassle-free installation.

These crossbars are designed to integrate seamlessly with the factory roof rails, preserving the vehicle’s sleek profile while adding functionality.

Their aerodynamic shape helps to minimize wind noise and drag, which can positively impact fuel efficiency during travel.

Crafted from high-quality aluminum, the kit promises durability and resistance to the elements.

Security is also considered, with features such as locks to prevent theft.

With a weight capacity that supports a variety of outdoor equipment, the Aero Crossbar Kit expands your Subaru Outback’s cargo-carrying capabilities, making it an ideal choice for adventures and road trips.


Does Subaru Outback have roof rails?

Yes, the Subaru Outback is equipped with standard roof rails with swing-in-place crossbars.

How much weight can a Subaru Outback roof rack hold?

The roof rack of a Subaru Outback can hold up to 176 lbs while driving, and increases to 650 lbs when parked.

Will Thule racks fit Subaru Outback?

Yes, Thule racks are compatible with Subaru Outback, specifically fitting models from 2010 to 2023 that come with a stowable factory roof rack.

What are the dimensions of a standard Subaru Outback roof rack?

The dimensions of a standard Subaru Outback roof rack are approximately 40 inches in length, 35 inches in width, and 6 inches in height.

Are the roof racks on Subaru Outbacks removable?

Yes, the roof racks on Subaru Outbacks are removable.

What materials are Subaru Outback roof racks typically made of?

Subaru Outback roof racks are typically made of durable materials such as aluminum and steel.