Loud hum from roof rack

-- Last Updated: Aug-11-06 5:04 AM EST --

Well, my new Yakima racks on the short round roof of my Toyota Solara hold quite well. Nasty hum from inside the car though, at speeds over 30 mph. I can feel the vibration big time when I put my hand on the headliner. I’m sure that the basic cause is air turbulence off the front cross bar beating on and being well matched to the harmonic characteristics of the curved roof.

I don't have this problem at all on the Honda Odyssey minivan, nor preiously with a Toyota pickup and camper shell.

For those who have this problem, does padding on the bars, such as noodles or pipe insulation, increase or decrease the hum? I assume a fairing will eliminate it. Gosh, my rig looks yuppy enough without a fairing.

Paul S.

The fairing will stop it completely. Not sure about the padding—good idea though. If you try that then please let us know if it works.


Just about anything that disrupts
the flow will eliminate it or reduce it dramatically. Does it hum when you have the boat on it, or any accessories?

You might try a few cut up pieces of pool noodle before you drop the money on a fairing. I’ve heard the smaller windjammers also work.

I have not priced Yakima, but the Thule fairing is pretty cheap. And I am sure that you will get better gas mileage than with pool noodles.

If you want to avoid looking like a yuppie, you can always go with a tie-dye paint job and Bob Marley pictures painted on the side of the car.

wrapping the bars with a bungee cord. I was having the same problem with my Yakima Roof Rack, and the bungee cords cut the noise by ~ 95% (for $3.00, plus I have the bungee cords handy).


why don’t you try…
moving the front bar back an inch or two. That made a huge difference on my jeep. I had considered a fairing, but the salesman told me they don’t lessen the noise. Basically a waste of money.

I’ll second that.
I was having a horrible hum problem with my bars as well. A bungee spiral wound around my front bar completely enliminated the noise.

You might have to experiment with the pitch/number of wraps, but it should work.



If it’s the kind of faring that rests on the roof with little rubber feet, with the back that attaches to the cross bars, be careful, the feet will vibrate. And if any grit or road debris gets under them it will scour the paint off. Also I know of a few folks that have said the vibration get worst with the faring. Just a heads up…

Car Antenna
Bungee cord wrap works… Look at a late model GM vehicle with a vertical antenna. You will see the same technique built into the antenna for just that same purpose…

round pipes vibrate
Once you put your cradles on it will stop. If you intend to drive without cradles most of the time, as others suggested, you’ll have to break up the round pipe shape with rope or bungee.

The first time I drove off with my new Yakama racks installed, I thought the roof was coming off of my Toyota. If mine ever got stolen, I would switch to Thule.

Square bars…
I have square bars and they hum just as bad as round ones.


$20 dollar solution
Or less.

Yakima WindJammers, airfoils that snap around the bars are what works on my rig. Only need one per bar to reduce the hum to a very low murmur.

BTW - Phreon’s suggestion about the bungie wrap often works as well. But the WindJammers look cool.


Only need one Windjammer on front bar
according to the Yakima website. But I agree, it’s a good solution. I just ordered one from REI for $16.

not always the case -
My Thule faring has the padded feet that rest on the roof and since day 1, there has never been a single rattle, hum, or any other wind-related noise.

I’ll Third
Had similar noise from front bar of my pick-up truck’s new roof rack. Read an earlier thread on P.net about wrapping a bungee cord around it. I had a piece of accessory cord handy, tried it, problem solved. (By the way, Thanks, P.netters!)

Do these windjammers increase the gas mileage? My prius gets 55 mpg without the yakama rack on it, and only 45 mpg with the rack + kayak cradles on it (kayak not included–the kayak itself only drops the mileage 1 mpg more). I’m too lazy to take the rack off every day during the summer, so if windjammers reduced that mileage loss a bit, it would be worth the $16.

You are asking a lot
for a small piece of plastic! LOL

I’m not surprised that you see a loss in mileage with the bars & cradles. I see about 2-3 mpg loss on my Outback if I leace them on. I believe that 10-15% is common. While the Windjammer must help (reducing turbulence) I doubt that it would eliminate the main loss of mpg. I suspect that the Prius is such a slippery shape that ading ANYTHING to it’s shape will cause a loss.


Don’t move the bar an inch
The instructions are VERY specific for the placement of both bars. These distances are based on the specific cars’ roof configuration. You are playing with fire by randomly moving the bars forward or backward from their recommended install points.

A fairing is easy to make
made one for my Mini Cooper because of a very loud hum and vibration from the stock flip up fairing that pops up when you open the sun roof. The bar on the rack is too close to the fairing.

Easy to make with just a black piece of plastic, a few stainless fasteners and some flat aluminum bars used to extend it out in front of the rack. I’ll try and post some photos of the thing tomorrow. It came out great and it’s much stronger than the Yakima fairing.

It took about an hour to make. Cost was 0.00 made from stuff laying around the shop.

Lots of good ideas here.
On the way home from work I took some 3/8" nylon rope I keep in the trunk, put about 8 turns around the front bars. It reduced the noise considerably. Not gone, but reduced. Just a few turns may have done as well. Good quick fix for now.

Yes, it is also less noise with 20" of duct taped pipe insulation, slit, to one side, kayak on top. Don’t know if it’s the kayak or the pipe insulation. Noise isn’t reduced enough though.

That little airplane wing thing from Yakima looks briliant! I tried to buy one locally today but no luck. I’ll try REI too.

I’ll also try pipe insulation and noodle (when I get one) all the way across the front bar, and let you know the effect. I don’t think I want to leave a noodle on all the time though. Probably too much drag and loss of gas mileage.

Great ideas here!

Paul S.