As one of the most popular SUVs on the market since its initial introduction in 2002, the Chevy TrailBlazer has seen a great deal of hard use in many different environments around the world. Among the features of the TrailBlazer that has made it so popular among SUV lovers is its set of mounted roof racks. Here's everything you need to know about your TrailBlazer's roof racks and what you should do when the time comes to replace them.
Why Are Roof Racks an Important Feature? Though they aren't crucial to your SUV running properly, roof racks are very important as part of a vehicle's cargo and carrying system. Without a rack that can be used to secure things to the top of your vehicle, carrying cargo on your roof would be impossible. With a rack system, you can secure cargo to the roof of your Chevy TrailBlazer and greatly increase its carrying capacity.
Roof racks are also useful as a way to mount other types of specialized carrying equipment. Bike racks, for example, have to be mounted on an existing rack system's rails in order to be stable and secure. Roof-mounted cargo pods, similarly, have to attach to the stock rack system.
Do Roof Racks Ever Wear Out? Roof racks are among the parts of your TrailBlazer that are least susceptible to wear and tear. Being mounted on top of your vehicle, they aren't exposed to road salt or mud in the same way lower-sitting parts are. Because they don't have moving parts, they're also not prone to the same wear and tear that causes mechanical parts to wear out over time. Nevertheless, no car part lasts forever, and roof racks can and do give out over enough time.
Generally, roof racks give out because of prolonged use. Over time, attaching and detaching different pieces of cargo to the roof rack can wear out the rails of it, gradually making it harder and harder to get things seated properly on them. Weathering can also contribute to this, as the roof racks are still exposed to frequent rain if you don't park your TrailBlazer in a garage. Here in Lewisville, Texas, for example, we get about 38 inches of rain every year, just one inch below the national average. Over enough years, this rain can speed up wear and tear on roof racks a little, though it's rarely enough to cause any damage on its own.
How to Tell Your Roof Racks Need Replaced Since they don't give out all at once, it can be hard to tell when it's time to replace your roof racks. Generally, it will get harder and harder to get your racks to accommodate cargo carriers like bike racks because of the wear and tear. Eventually, this problem will get bad enough that you'll need to replace them in order to keep using them at all.
The one time you may need to change your rack rails even if they aren't fully worn out yet is if you plan to sell your Chevy TrailBlazer soon. Though some buyers won't care much, others, especially those who bike or make long-distance road trips frequently, will pay fairly close attention to the condition of your roof racks. If a potential buyer knows he or she will have to replace the racks after buying your TrailBlazer, you may have to offer it for a slightly lower price in order to close the sale.
Whether you really need to replace your racks or not also depends, to some degree, on how you use them. If you carry cargo pods, bike racks or other cargo attachments, you'll need your racks to be in the best possible condition. If you only ever use the racks as way to secure something you are tying to your roof, replacing them may be a little less urgent. However, you should still keep an eye on them as they wear. Just because you aren't using them regularly now doesn't mean that you won't need to in the future.
How to Replace Roof Racks Like most of the non-moving parts on a vehicle, roof racks are fairly easy to replace. They are held into the roof of your vehicle with several screws, which can be easily enough removed by hand. Be careful, however, not to strip the screws out. They can sometimes become difficult to remove because of continuous heating and cooling and the vibration from driving. Apply downward pressure to the screws and turn gently to avoid stripping them out.
Once you've removed your old roof racks, putting the new ones on is as simple as positioning them and replacing the screws you removed from the previous set. Though you can do this on your own, it will be a little easier if you can have someone hold the new racks in place while you get the screws started. Since all of the screws need to be positioned properly, it's also a good idea to get them all started before fully tightening them down.
What Racks Should You Use to Replace the Old Ones? Like many accessories and body components, if you go looking for roof racks online, you'll find a great many that claim to be "universal." The reality of such aftermarket parts, however, is that they rarely fit your vehicle correctly. Often, modifications have to be made to get them to fit in the same way as factory parts. Roof racks are no different. A simple search will yield many allegedly universal roof racks, but the best fit for a Chevy TrailBlazer will always be genuine factory racks.
If you need new OEM roof racks for your Chevy TrailBlazer, come to ChevyNationParts.com. We have all the parts you need for your TrailBlazer, including brand new roof racks. Even better is the fact that all of the parts we sell are genuine Chevy OEM parts, meaning that they are guaranteed to fit properly on your stock Chevy vehicle.