How to Paint a Roof Rack

Last Updated on February 5, 2023 by Will Sabel

It is no surprise that your car’s roof rack gets the most exposure to the sun and other weather conditions. As the roof rack is built with a different material than the roof, it tends to lose its color or may develop rust depending on the material. 

Even if nothing happened to the roof rack and you want to change your taste by coloring it with a different hue, you can paint it according to your preference and change the look of your car. 

But how can you do that when you don’t know how to paint a roof rack? Worry no more. The process is quite simple, and we will break it into small steps so that you don’t face any difficulty doing it. So, without further ado, let’s get started. 

How to Paint a Roof Rack

Putting paint on automobile parts is different from painting non-automobile parts. And it is because your car has to be durable in extreme weather conditions and needs the type of paint that is compatible with the material. Let’s see how we can paint different types of car roof racks with finesse.

Step-1: Prepare 

Preparation is the key to achieving your expected result. That’s why we need to prepare the supplies for doing the procedure. 

  • First, choose the place where you want to paint your racks. It is safer to paint them outdoors, and we recommend a shady open area for this job. 
  • Then, put polythene or any other protective layer on a surface to protect it from staining. 
  • For any kind of roof racks, you need to detach them from your car and put them in the pre-prepared area. 

(Note: While removing the rack, make a mental note by laying each rack on the floor and make sure you remember their labels as the new layer of paint will remove them. And if your roof rack doesn’t have any labels, remember their direction and position to put them back in their exact position.)

Step-2: Paint

A roof rack can be made of plastic, metal, or fiberglass. Here we have discussed how to paint these three common types of roof racks.

pvc roof rack

Paint a Plastic Roof Rack

You will need 150 grit sandpaper, a paper towel, water, and any automotive paint of your choice.

  • Take the sandpaper and smooth out the rough surface of the roof rack properly. This way, the paint will sit better on the item. 
  • Now, take a paper towel and wipe away the dirt and debris on the surface. 
  • After that, clean the roof rack with plain water and make sure it is dust free. 
  • Grab your spray paint, and shake the bottle for at least one minute. 
  • Finally, it is time to apply the paint on the roof racks. 
  • Start spraying the rack from one end to the other and always work in a small section. 
  • As you apply an even coat, keep moving to the next spot carefully, leaving no gap. 
  • After applying the first coat, wait for 15 minutes to let it dry and start the second application. 
  • Once the racks are dry, put them back on the roof rack carefully and attach the latch carefully.

Depending on your judgement, you need to decide how much sanding you should do and how many layers of paint you need to apply.

Paint a Metal Roof Rack

For painting a metal roof rack, you will need some additional supplies (such as primer, automotive wax, wire brush, degreaser, etc.) along with the ones we mentioned in the earlier procedure. Instead of sanding, you will need to brush off the rust from the surface. 

  • Take a wire brush and remove the rust from the surface. 
  • Clean the debris with a dry paper towel.
  • Apply the primer and let it dry properly. 
  • Now, take the oil-based spray paint bottle and carefully paint the roof rack. 
  • After applying one coat, let it dry completely, and then apply another coat of paint. 
  • Two layers of paint should work fine, but you can add more layers if you find it necessary.
  • When the paint dries, apply the automotive wax to the surface of the roof rack with a clean cloth. 

Note: This method helps the paint last longer and prevents rust formation.

Paint a Fiberglass Roof Rack

Fiberglass roof racks are also very common nowadays. Let’s see how we can put paint on this type of roof rack. 

  • First, smooth the surface with a sanding machine. 
  • Then wash it with clean water and let it dry completely. 
  • Now, take the spray bottle and shake this for at least one minute as well. 
  • Apply the spray paint on the roof rack and do as much coating as you want to achieve your expected result. 
  • Always let the rack dry after putting on a layer, and then go for another coat.

Step-3: Reassemble

When your painting is completed, let the racks dry completely, and then put them back on the car roof in their previous position.

Final Words

Collecting the right supplies and products is the most crucial part of performing these methods correctly. If you fail to choose the right product, the paint won’t remain in good condition for long. 

We have tried to deliver all the necessary tips and tricks so that you can do it all by yourself and leave others awestruck by the professional finish. Hopefully, you won’t fall short of information after reading this article about how to paint a roof rack. 

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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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