Tesla Model 3 Roof Rack Options

When the Tesla Model 3 first came out, there were no commercially available roof racks, even from Tesla. However, all Model 3 vehicles have mounting points underneath weatherstripping that runs along the edge of the glass roof as in seen in these images.

Model 3 Roof Rack Cautions and Concerns

In the Tesla 3 Owner’s Manual, it states “Model 3 supports the use of Tesla-approved roof racks using a Tesla mounting accessory. To install roof racks, you must use this accessory and you must use only roof rack systems that have been approved by Tesla (see Parts and Accessories on page 126). Failure to do so can cause significant damage.”

Tesla sales people are confused about roof racks, with some saying that the Tesla official roof rack will only be available for the solid roof version of the Model 3, not the glass roof version.

Vehicle Damage

Some racks, such as the Thule universal bars, may rub on the chrome strip next to the Model 3’s glass roof.

Loss of electric range due to added wind resistance of roof rack

A loss of about 20% was noted by one Model 3 owner who travelled more than 50 miles – with a Yakima Skybox mounted on the roof, and once without

With just the Tesla Rack on the Model 3, this owner reports a range decrease of 1.6% (due to an energy usage increase in Wh/mi of 1.6%) src

More details on efficiency loss with different roof rack options on the Model 3

Wind Noise

FatCat 6 via T-Slot and have been getting some mild wind noise in the 50mph to 70mph range” src

“I also am getting some periodic whistling […] might keep me from leaving the rack on full time […] at lower speeds of 25-30 mph. I suspect this is coming from a gap in the cover plates (which do not secure completely tight)” src

“I tried adding a Yakima fairing to my Fat Cat 6 and it didn’t help the noise” src

Different configurations tried here (SeaSucker, Tesla rack, with and without fairing), with sound measurements

Model 3 Roof Rack Options and Types

Tesla Roof Rack

Tesla made rack system can receive other companies mounting systems, like this Tesla Rack with Thule bike carriers attached. Load capacity for the Tesla Model 3 roof rack is 150 lbs. Buy from the Tesla Website here

How-to Install Tesla Model 3 Roof Rack System from Tesla

Tesla brand roof rails with Yakima bike attachments
“Pretty Quiet” src
Tesla’s roof rails with Thule Force Alpine box set as far back as possible src
Yakima Skybox Lo as far back as possible. “Tesla roof rack was very easy to install” src
Tesla Roof Rails with Yakima FatCat 6 on it src

Yakima BaseClip Roof Rack Mounts for BaseLine Towers

In December 2018, the official word from Yakima was that they would not be creating a landing pad option to connect to the Model 3 anchor points. There are clips that clamp onto the window trim.

Yakima roundbars on Tesla Model 3, mounted with Yakima BaseClip using Yakima BaseLine Towers
Closeup of the Yakima BaseClip on the Tesla Model 3 chrome window trim

This isn’t likely the best Tesla model 3 roof rack option because it clamps onto the chrome window trim, rather than using the factory mounging points. However, some Model 3 owners have complained that the Tesla Roof Rack is hard to get as it’s constantly out of stock, so this is an available alternative. src

Universal Roof Rack Bars

Some Model 3 owners have successfully used universal roof racks on their vehicles.

Suction cup style roof rack for the Model 3

SeaSucker brand has been around for a long time and is quite trusted for their suction cup style roof racks. Some Tesla owners have complained about SeaSucker warranties (src), but they are the only option for cars without rack mounts and can be safer than ‘soft’ racks that strap on.

Source

This Tesla Model 3 with SeaSucker Monkey Bars Roof Rack (298-SX6000) has a Rhino Rack cargo box attached, and reportedly worked perfect at 80mph on the highway src

Riveted/Bolted install of mounting pads

UrsS from TeslaMotorsClub had a local shop rivet mounting pads onto the metal roof rails for him to attach roof bars to. (src)

Trailer Hitch Rack

Instead of messing around with a roof rack, some Model 3 owners opted to install a trailer hitch and then get a bike rack that connects to the trailer hitch

Storage Pod on Tesla Model 3 Trailer Hitch

Taking the trailer hitch rack option one step further, TeslaMotorsClub user SB_NRG installed a Torklift Central EcoHitch on his Model 3, and then created an aluminum frame to attach a Thule Force XT-Sport pod to it.

The Pod is Thule Force XT-Sport and can fit 175cm skis (although mine fit at 181 cm) fortunately carving skis are much shorter. The box is sufficient for 4 sets of skis/poles plus a fairly large ski bag. We put the boots in the trunk to keep weight forward.
The Hitch is Torklift Central EcoHitch. It took about 2.5 hours to install and is a bit intimidating as the bumper cover needs to be removed.
I made the adapter using aluminum tubing 2″x2″ and 1″x1″ cross section attached to a standard hitch as shown below.

SB_NRG, TeslaMotorsClub
Details of aluminum rack that attaches Thule Pod to Torklift Hitch
Updated on September 17, 2019

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