Do Roof Rack Wind Deflectors Work?

Last Updated on April 16, 2023 by Will Sabel

Although roof racks are vastly useful devices, many users have serious complaints against them. The annoying whistling noises of wind and decreased mileage at higher speeds are probably the most common ones. Manufacturers have introduced wind deflectors/fairings to solve both these problems. Now, the question is, do roof rack wind deflectors work

Yes, most users have reported a surprising reduction in wind noise and an increase in mileage after installing a wind deflector. However, some also complained the increase in mileage isn’t really notable.

Let’s find out what differences a wind deflector or fairing can make and whether there is any better alternative.

Do Roof Rack Wind Deflectors Work? – The Short Answer 

Thanks to the improved aerodynamics, wind deflectors are surprisingly good at reducing wind noise. To reduce the noise, this tool works as a shield to interrupt the continuous airflow on the roof rack surface. Plus, they complete the look of the roof rack and reduce drag to some degree which improves fuel efficiency.

DIY roof rack wind deflectors

What’s the Function of Roof Rack Wind Deflectors?

Most people purchase wind deflectors to reduce the roof racks’ noise. However, wind deflectors mainly serve three purposes: eliminating wind noise, increasing Mileage, and enhancing the look of the rack.

Do roof rack fairings work and keep up to the promises? Let’s find out.

Minimizes Wind Noise

The flat surface of the crossbars has a consistent shape. When you drive your car at highway speeds, the passing airflow over the roof rack slowly develops a whistling tone.

Wind deflectors or fairings are basically plastic shields clipped on the front crossbars of your roof rack. It disrupts the airflow passing the roof rack crossbars, eventually reducing the vibration and whist sound.

Most users say that the sound completely disappears after installing the wind deflector. Some also reported although it didn’t completely disappear, the noise level has reduced to a very low level.

Reduces Drag and Increases Mileage

As you might know, the aerodynamics of a roof rack plays an important role in increasing or decreasing the noise level and drag. A typical roof rack has a square shape that decreases your car’s aerodynamics and increases drag.

Hence, your vehicle’s gas mileage drops, and you need more fuel than before. The wind deflectors make the rack more aerodynamic and help it cut through the flow of wind while driving. As a result, your vehicle’s aerodynamics, gas mileage, and fuel economy increase.

Now, people have complained the amount of increased mpg isn’t up to the mark. However, you need to realize that roof racks don’t affect the mileage much. So, the increase might also go unnoticed. Only expert drivers would notice the difference.

Completes the Look

Although people have different opinions on whether the wind fairings decrease the sound and drag or not, everyone seems to agree that they complete the look of the roof racks. The plastic shield adds a sporty look to your vehicle and makes it look complete and stylish.

DIY Roof Rack Wind Deflector

Benefits of Roof Rack Wind Deflectors

Adding a roof rack wind deflector to your vehicle comes with numerous benefits. It improves gas mileage by reducing drag. Plus, it cuts down wind noise while driving. The sleek, aerodynamic design is visually appealing and also functional. It allows for easy installation and repositioning when needed.

Wind deflectors are car-wash friendly and have a tinted coating to reduce sun glare. They are designed to fit most vehicle models, ensuring compatibility with your car.

Another bonus is easier vehicle maintenance. Wind deflectors prevent leaves and debris from accumulating on your car. This saves you both time and money spent on cleaning.

In short, investing in a quality wind deflector is wise if you frequently use a roof rack. The added benefits of improved fuel economy, reduced wind noise, and easier maintenance make it a valuable addition to your vehicle.

Roof Rack Wind Deflector Brands

When searching for the best wind deflector brands for your roof rack, consider these top options:

  1. iKamper
  2. Front Runner
  3. Rhino Rack
  4. Thule

These companies create wind deflectors for various vehicle sizes and types, including vans, trucks, and jeeps. Whether you own a Subaru, Toyota, Jeep, or Ford, you’ll find a suitable wind deflector from these trusted brands.

Customers have praised these brands for their high-quality, durable, and feature-packed wind deflectors.

Real-World Experiences: Do Wind Deflectors Work?

To determine the true effectiveness of roof rack wind deflectors, it’s essential to consider real-world experiences. User testimonials and reviews can offer valuable insights.

User Testimonials and Reviews:

  • A significant reduction in wind noise is reported by many users after installing a wind deflector. This makes their driving experience more comfortable and enjoyable.
  • Some users notice a slight improvement in gas mileage due to reduced drag. However, not all drivers may observe this change.
  • A few users mention that wind noise, while not entirely eliminated, is reduced to a tolerable level.
  • Most users praise the enhanced appearance of their vehicle after installing a wind deflector, giving it a sportier and more complete look.

Overall, roof rack wind deflectors seem to work for most users. It reduces wind noise and offers some gas mileage improvement. However, individual results may vary. Effectiveness can depend on factors like vehicle type, driving conditions, and the specific wind deflector brand or model used.

Alternatives of Roof Rack Wind Deflectors

Although wind fairings are pretty good at doing their job, they can be a bit pricey. Here are some alternatives that will help you to reduce the roof rack whistling and drag-

Use Crossbar Pads

crossbar pads

To stop the wind noise, all you have to do is interrupt the airflow. Simply covering the metal crossbars will do the job. Purchase some crossbar pads and wrap them around the roof rack.

It will decrease the wind noise and increase the drag coefficient. However, padding the crossbars isn’t as effective as using a wind deflector.

Switch to Aerodynamic Crossbars

aerodynamic cross bar

You have probably seen aerodynamic crossbars installed on sports cars. These crossbars have an oval shape similar to airplane wings. This unique shape improves the aerodynamics of your vehicle, reduces drag, and eventually increases gas mileage.

Another noticeable feature is the wind diffusion grooves. They prevent the one-directional flow of the wind to reduce the noise. Although expensive, aerodynamic crossbars are a great alternative to wind deflectors.

Install Edge Bars

thule wingbar edge

Like aerodynamic crossbars, edge bars also have an oval or round shape. Plus, these bars are shorter than regular load bars. So, they will also effectively disrupt the wind flow, reduce the surface area, and decrease the noise.

Wrapping Up!

That was our detailed answer to your question, do roof rack wind deflectors work or not? According to the consumers, the device works decently. It can effectively reduce wind noise and improve mileage to some extent.

If you want to go for a cheaper option, padding the crossbars will help. However, to get the best results, try to install aerodynamic crossbars instead.

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Author: Will Sabel

Will Sabel is an avid car enthusiast. When he's not writing for RidersWant, you'll find him cruising the country in a new car. People are always wondering how many cars he has!

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