Acura MDX SUV Forums banner

Should I add a roof rack?

2735 Views 18 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Nxtr06
After reading about wind noise and the possibility that it could be caused by a roof rack, I was glad that I hadn't ordered one for my base model MDX. The X has quickly become my wife's car (bummer for me!), and she wants to add a roof rack to make it look more rugged (SUVish).

I don't ever plan to use the rack for skis, bikes, etc. Instead, I plan to get a trailer hitch mounted thule or yak rack, and to simply put my Salomons X-Scream Pilots inside.

Questions: Do you think I should add a roof rack simply for the looks, or is the cost ($ and noise) not worth it?

I have read that some of you removed your racks because of noise. Any regrets about the appearance? Has anyone else added a rack and regretted it?

I like the clean lines of the X, but agree it could use a little spiffing up to kill the minivanish look.
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
I have the roof rack on mine, and after a week of driving, I am still glad I got it. I see very little if ever use, since it is so small and I would be afraid of scratching the top when I would put something up there. I got it purely for the overall SUV look. I do not hear any unusual wind noise so far. (At least as I compare to my previous SUV - Jeep)

IMO the MDX looks much much better with roof racks installed. I ordered mine strictly for appearances sake. I'm sure one day they will come in handy as well. As for the noise, I sense that the majority of the noise comes from the front from the windshield. The air gets channeled through the gap between the frame of the car and the window. Thus I do not think the roof racks effect wind noise very much.:)
In my opinionn, a roof rack is to an SUV what a spoiler is to a sports car, aesthetically speaking that is :) As for noise, the rack alone is not that bad IMO. HOWEVER, if you add an attachment (like my bike attachment pictured below) it will get kind of noisy.

With the bike attachment, I actually hear a whistle type noise between about 10-15 mph, but strangely enough it only happens with the sunroof closed. When I open the roof, it goes away, but with the roof open I get more of the whoosh noise. My theory on the whistle is it may be caused by the removal of the rubber strips from each of the cross bar channels, which are removed in order to allow the installation of the bike attachment. This reveals a little gap going the entire length of the cross-bar. Someone who had the OEM ski attachment also reported a whistle, and I'm assuming the ski attachment also requires removal of the rubber strips. I'm gonna remove the bike attachment and go for a drive without the rubber strips in just to see if the whistle is still there. If it is, I may reinstall the rubber strips with a gap for the bike attachment mountiing points to see if that gets rid of the whistle.

Alternatively, someone could take out their rubber strips and go for a drive and let me know if they get the low speed whistle effect :)
See less See more

Surprisingly positive responses. Thanks! Any others?
An opposing opinion


In my opinion, if you know for a fact that you will never use the roof rack for what it was intended (to carry stuff), than I would not add it to your base MDX just for looks.

I added a Yakima roof rack to my MDX, but only because I had the need to carry bikes, skis, and other miscellaneous loads and already had lots of Yakima attachments.

The factory roof rack is not very functional for my purposes, and while I do like the look of the rack, I would not have added it just for looks.
one reason I order roof-rack is that ski's tend to be hit by dirt when on a hitch. I'd rather keep my salmon X-Scream Pilot 10 on top :)

If your not going to use it I don't think the "look" in this case justifies putting it on. Noise may become an issue and the roof is hard enough to wash and now your adding one more thing to wash around. But the issue of “how does it look” usually out weighs practicability and I admit I am sometimes guilty of that too. Just my 2 cents.:)
I added the rack to carry bikes. I have seen MDXs without the rack but I think adding it dramatically improves the appearance. So even without a present need I would do it.
This may be off the topic but if you're going for the "rugged" look, have you thought about side steps. Though its just an opinion, but I'm sure many would agree that sidesteps are a major image enhancer... As for practical use, if you have kids (or should I say vertically challenged people), it's very helpful for them to get in and out of the X.

As for OEM vs. aftermarket sidesteps, well, lets just say you can't go wrong with either... There are great threads discussing both.
Still Undecided

Thanks for the feedback, all. The practical person in me say's "no", don't bother if you are never going to use it. However, that same 'practical' person wouldn't have spent $36,000 on a car either!

What I heard is that the rack itself doesn't create much (any?) noise. So, if it helps the looks and I've got a $150 to burn, why not?!?!?

If anyone has any additional opinions, I'd be interested. I'll probably wait until after the holidays to do it (if I do:confused: ).

I guess it really comes down to why you want a rack. First, I believe MDX does look better with the rack (too empty with nothing on top). But if you have a rear deflector, this may help.

Second, if you eventually want to carry skiis (I also have Salomon Xscreams) or bikes on top, then adding tracks and Yakima/Thule crossbars on top will be much much better. You can place them further back to reduce wind noise (see mgmdx's posts and pictures in accessory section). You can carry stuffs on factory rack, but it is not as versatile as after-factory stuff and wind noise will be much more significant with stuffs on the rack (like a bike carrier).

I haven't noticed too much wind noise from the racks (more road noise from the tires). My general opinion is that if you like it and can afford it, then get it. Problem is that I tend to practice this rule way too often.:p

I agree with MaD-X. The wind noise from the rack is minimal when you compare to the road noise. I also agree with you that we didn't buy 36K+ MDX for just the practicality. If we were, we would be driving the minivans instead. Yuck...
I think the primary reason for the racks are for looks. Just think about all the bumbers that modern cars have. They are really worthless other than for looks. But we still call them bumbers??? This may be the similar trend for the racks on SUVs.

You are absolutely correct. The windnoise is minimal compared to the road noise. I could hardly hear any windnoise compared to the road. Also, the usefulness of the roofracks is pretty much minimal. Hey, but it looks cool. Same thing with the color, it really doesn't matter which color you drive, if driving is the main purpose here. However, each of us have our individual preferences ..... and roof rack is one of them.
Great points, all. Thanks!:)
SUV"ish" Oh Ya!

Aloha & Mahalo, two weeks left in paradise.

Mele Kalikimaka



See less See more


See less See more


See less See more
Last one


See less See more
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.