How to Install Roof Rails on a Subaru Forester

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An SUV roof without roof rails is a waste of space. The large engines and wide roofs of SUV's make them ideal for transporting cargo of all sizes, and roof rails help enable the process. Roof rails provide not only a stable frame on which to load items, but also secure posts on which to tie down these items. Roof rails are an option for the Subaru Forester, but if your Forester does not have roof rails they can be installed in a few steps.

Things You'll Need

  • White grease pencil
  • Roof rail kit
  • Self-tapping sheet metal screws
  • Tape measure
  • Power drill
  • Driver bit
  • Hold the front roof rail mounting bracket on the desired position on the roof of a Subaru Forester and mark the position with a white grease pencil. The front bracket should be located over the front door and allow enough room for the rail and rear bracket to fit on the roof.

  • Measure the distance from the windshield to the marked position of the front bracket with a tape measure.

  • Mark this distance on the opposite side of the roof with a grease pencil. This will be the location of the second front bracket.

  • Hold the front bracket in place on the roof and drive self-tapping sheet metal screws through the bracket's screw holes into the vehicle's roof.

  • Insert the rail into the front bracket and slide the rear bracket onto the other end of the rail, if the roof rail kit has separate brackets and rails.

  • Hold the rear bracket in place and drive a self-tapping sheet metal screw through the bracket's screw holes into the vehicle's roof. Repeat this process on the opposite side of the vehicle's roof with the remaining rail.

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  • Photo Credit surfboard image by Stefan Häuselmann from Fotolia.com
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