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.
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
“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
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
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.
- TOWER: BaseLine Towers 4 needed
- FRONT CLIP/PAD: BaseClip size 173 (B81-2)
- REAR CLIP/PAD: BaseClip size 173 (B81-2)
- MINIMUM BAR SIZE: Medium (Roundbar*, Corebar, or Jetstream bar) *Roundbar SL Adapter (part number 8003536) required to mount the older style roundbar to the newer tower
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.
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.SB_NRG, TeslaMotorsClub
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.