Tesla Model 3 Roof Rack Review: Is It Worth the Price?

By Zac Ludicrous •  Updated: 03/29/22 •  11 min read

This is an unbiased review of the Model 3 roof rack manufactured by Tesla.

After analyzing 12 Tesla community forum threads, three social media groups, and four YouTube videos on the Tesla Model 3 roof rack, I was able to find what customers like and don’t like about the product.

Roof racks are a super easy way to maximize your vehicle cargo without compromising the space inside your Model 3. 

To help you make an informed decision on whether paying $249 for a roof rack is worth it or not, let’s take a closer look at what Tesla’s OEM roof rack has to offer.

But first things first.

Roof Rail vs Roof Rack: What’s the Difference?

Before diving into various aspects of the product, I must first explain the difference between roof racks and roof rails so that you know what you are buying. This is the most frequent question from buyers as both products are roof mounted and can hold cargo.

While roof racks and roof rails have the same purpose of holding cargo, roof rails are often a design feature that comes with some car models. However, the Model 3 has no factory-installed roof rails.

The big difference between a roof rack and a roof rail is their mounting direction. 

Roof rails are mounted parallel to the car’s length (front to back), while roof racks are mounted across the roof of the car (left–right direction)

For cars that have no factory roof rails like the Model 3, roof racks are mounted directly on the roof. On the other hand, for those that have roof rails, roof racks can be mounted easily on top of the roof rails (see photo below).

Credit to Rhino-Rack

Tesla Model 3 Roof Rack Overview

tesla model 3 roof rack review
Credit to Sean Davis

There is no better Model 3 roof rack than the one produced by Tesla itself. 

This roof rack is specifically designed for the Model 3, and it produces minimal interior noise due to its aerodynamic design and has lesser impact on range.

Although it comes with installation instructions for DIY installation, Tesla service centers offer full installation as well. To make sure you are not messing with the glass roof, it is highly recommended to let Tesla experts install the roof rack for you.

When my roof rack was delivered, the service center offered me a complimentary installation. The rack looks pretty good and the service guy seemed happy as well. I’m ready for kayaking!

Sean Davis

I was expecting an installation fee but the service center did it for no additional labor cost!

Chad Luttrull

The Model 3 roof rack is fitted with aluminum crossbars. It has T-slots that are compatible with rack attachments such as bike racks, ski racks, cargo bags and boxes, kayaks, and others.

It is designed to carry a maximum weight of 150 lbs when the vehicle is moving, while it can hold cargo of up to 495 lbs when your Model 3 is parked. The maximum weight it can hold should be divided equally on both crossbars.

3 Tesla Model 3 Roof Rack Concerns

Model 3 owners have raised some concerns regarding the roof rack. Let’s take a look at each in detail. 

1. Glass Roof Damage During Installation

The main reason why some Model 3 owners are cautious about installing a roof rack is because of the Model 3’s glass roof that may seem like it is impossible to hold a roof rack. 

Some Model 3 owners report cases of broken glass during installation and operation, and most of these are caused by improper installation and going over the weight limit. Although Tesla provided detailed instructions on how to install the roof rack, it is advisable to have it installed by experienced people at the Tesla service center.

If you wish to install it by yourself, make sure to read the Model 3 roof rack owner’s manual first and strictly follow the installation instructions. To further help you, here is an installation video from the Rack Attack YouTube channel:

Another popular issue why several earlier installations experienced glass breaking and the bolts were not holding up was because of design flaws in the earlier version of the roof rack. This, however, has been fixed, and Tesla has sent replacements.

2. Wind Noise

An empty roof rack would not create significant wind noise, but a loaded one would certainly be louder

Wind noise varies depending on the type and size of the load (bike, cargo box, skis, etc.), but this is normal as you are adding an additional cargo on top that is not designed aerodynamically. 

Wind noise doesn’t worry me too much and not enough to remove the bars. Noise is normal as long as there is no whistling and turbulence which I haven’t experienced.


3. Roof Rack Efficiency

Another reason why some Model 3 owners are hesitant to buy a roof rack is because of concerns about losing too much energy due to the drag caused by roof cargo.

Many efficiency tests have been done to determine the energy loss, and after comparing several articles and videos, I found this efficiency test done by YouTube channel Kootenay EV Family as the most accurate of all.

The video is 20 minutes long, but it does give us some interesting data.

The efficiency of the Model 3 without the roof rack installed is almost the same as the roof rack without anything on top of it. However, the efficiency is lower when a ski box is mounted.

In the test, when driving with a ski box, the Model 3 consumes 207 Wh/km (128 Wh/m) (79.5m) while only 188 Wh/km (116.81 Wh/m) without. 

In another efficiency test where a ski rack is tested with the Model 3 roof rack, the following are the results:

Overall, the Model 3 roof rack is still efficient, and a 20% energy loss with the cargo is still acceptable.

Model 3 Roof Rack Alternatives

For Heavier Cargo: Thule AeroBlade Edge Flush Mount Rack (1 Bar)

The Thule AeroBlade Edge is known for its durability and toughness. It is available in many sizes, so if you need something for heavier cargo, you can pick the wider racks.

The AeroBlade roof rack is sold individually as the Model 3 requires two different lengths of bars. You can check the fitting manual at Thule.com for specific lengths, or you may also consult the Tesla Model 3 rack guide to determine the measurements and exact spots on the roof where you will mount the racks. 

Thule is a well-known brand of aftermarket car accessories and one of the top manufacturers of roof racks, roof cargo boxes, and other roof accessories. 

The Thule AeroBlade Edge is aerodynamic and creates an exceptionally low noise. It can also be installed easily without the need for any special tool.


✅ A high-quality roof rack designed and manufactured in Sweden
✅ Available in 4 sizes and 2 colors
✅ Aerodynamic and low-noise


❌ You need to buy 2 products for a complete installation
❌ Key locks are sold separately

Cheaper Option: AmazonBasics Universal Cross Rail Roof Rack 

The AmazonBasics Universal Cross Rail Roof Rack is one of the most popular roof racks sold online due to its cheap price and adjustability. 

People trust Amazon, so it is not a surprise why the AmazonBasics roof rack is popular and one of the highly trusted roof racks.

The bars are adjustable, so if your Model 3 needs two crossbars with different lengths, this pair of roof racks can be adjusted and should fit perfectly.

The bars are 52-inch long, which should fit the roof perfectly, and the front could be adjusted to 47 to 48 inches.

The heavy-duty aluminum crossbars can hold cargo up to 165 lbs and are corrosion resistant. The steel clamps are rubber coated to your roof and will be protected from friction. It is also equipped with a locking system that prevents it from being stolen. 

The AmazonBasics Model 3 roof rack is a complete rack system that includes all accessories needed for installation. It is lightweight but solid and doesn’t create wind noise. 


✅ Private label of Amazon
✅ Made of light but solid aluminum and can hold up to 165 lbs
✅ Highly adjustable length


❌ Some customers say installation manual is not clear enough

Versatile Option: Taptes Model 3 Roof Rack

Taptes is a well-known Tesla aftermarket manufacturer, and the Taptes Model 3 roof rack is a great option for Model 3 owners looking for cost-effective roof racks.

Although it looks far different from the Model 3 roof rack from Tesla, it has the same mounting system. The mounting brackets do not touch the glass, so it is safer and easier to install than the one produced by Tesla.

The roof rack bars are made of lightweight but durable and high-quality aluminum with an aerodynamic footing. The low-profile feature makes the rack sturdy. 

The Taptes Model 3 roof rack can only be purchased through their official website, and installation instructions are available online.

One of the best features of the Taptes Model 3 roof rack is that it can also be installed in other Tesla models, so if you have a Model S or Model Y, you don’t have to buy extra roof racks for each car. 

It can hold a maximum cargo of 139 lbs distributed evenly. 

Here’s an installation video from the TAPTES YouTube channel: 


✅ Far cheaper than the Tesla-made roof rack
✅ Universal and can be used in other Tesla models
✅ Looks modern and stylish


❌ Shipping from Hong Kong takes several days
❌ Slow customer support response

Model 3 Roof Rack Accessories and Attachments

A roof rack alone cannot be used without accessories and attachments. There are different accessories to hold specific objects like the following:

Roof Box

Roof cargo boxes are the most common accessories we can find on top of many cars, including the Model 3. 

They can hold and store many things like clothes, toys, outdoor gear, groceries, or anything that can fit inside them. 

Based on our research, the best Model 3 roof box is the Yakima SkyBox Aerodynamic.

Bike Rack

Your Model 3 can’t carry a bike on its roof without a bike rack

There are several types of bike racks that can be installed on the roof or at the rear portion of your vehicle. The most convenient, however, is a roof bike rack, and one of the best options for the Model 3 is the Yakima Carrier.

Kayak Rack

Although some creative Model 3 owners can carry a kayak by just having a roof rack and roof rails, a separate kayak rack is highly recommended for safety reasons. 

Kayak racks are specifically designed to secure kayaks in place so you don’t have to worry about them flying when the car is running at 60 mph. 

If you are looking for the best kayak rack for the Model 3, you can’t go wrong with the J Bar Kayak Roof Rack.

Surfboards and Winter Sports Rack

Surfboards, snowboards, and skis can be carried on top of your Model 3 without any problem as long as you have the necessary roof rails or crossbars to hold these things. 

Take note that any soft-padded crossbars are not recommended because of the glass roof and no crossrail should touch the roof. This is the reason why I highly recommend the Thule AeroBlade Edge Flush. Any long stuff like skis, surfboards, snowboards, golf clubs, and even fishing rods can be fitted on top of your Model 3 with the Thule AeroBlade crossbars.

Final Thoughts on the Tesla Model 3 Roof Rack

Although manufacturers producing Tesla aftermarket accessories are trying their best to produce a roof rack that would fit the Model 3 perfectly, the Tesla-made roof rack is still your best choice. 

After all, it is made by the same company that manufactured the car, and lots of things had been taken into consideration in making it, such as the glass roof, noise, and energy efficiency.

The Tesla Model 3 roof rack is not cheap, but with its quality and compatibility, it is worth every dollar. 

Its only downside is it is not always available due to high demand. 

If you are in urgent need of a roof rack, then I highly recommend you get the Thule AeroBlade Edge instead.

Zac Ludicrous

Mechanical engineer by profession. TSLA shareholder before the hype. EV enthusiast all day long. Zac enjoys learning about the future of battery technology, autonomy, and EVs. He considers Tesla Model 3 the most important vehicle of the 21st century -- and is in a quest to improve the ownership experience of every Model 3 owner he possibly can.

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