How much noise does a safari style roof rack make?

nissan nv3500 roof rack from Avatar Metal Works

There’s no arguing. The safari style roof racks just look cool. But is there a price to pay for that cool look in the form of a noiser ride? We set out to determine how much noise our safari style roof rack actually makes compared to no roof rack at all.

Before we go to far let’s know what we are talking about.

What is a safari style roof rack?

The safari style roof rack is a roof rack that includes the upper rail surrounding the outer edge of the roof rack. It’s used for additional tie down locations when attaching kit to the roof. The rail is also nice to have for extra support if you are actually on the roof.

Safari Style roof rack from Avatar Metal Works
Safari style roof rack headed to the rodeo.

The roof rack sound test

To measure the sound volumes within this test we used an iPhone 12 Pro Max and the DB Meter Pro app.

Armed with our audio equipment we first took sound measurements, driving at varied speeds, in a 2019 Nissan NV3500 with no roof rack. It was altered with a 3″ lift and aftermarket 35″ tires. So the baseline won’t be as quiet as a completely stock NV with their Continental tires but for our purposes it should be fine. We also turned off air conditioning, heater, and radio to have as quiet a driving compartment as we could.

2019 Nissan NV3500 lifted with 35" tiresNissan NV3500 Avatar Single Jack front bumper
Before and after adding some Avatar love to a 2019 Nissan NV3500 with 3″ lift and 35″ .

Sound samples with no roof rack

no roof rack noise test at 65 mph
no roof rack noise test at 65 mph
no roof rack noise test at 70 mph
No roof rack noise test at 70 mph

Sound Samples with Safari Roof Rack

Now that we had our baseline it was time to test with the safari roof rack installed. We tested the NV3500 Narrow Gap Roof Rack option.

Safari style roof rack from Avatar Metal Works
Safari roof rack noise test at 60 mph
Safari roof rack noise test at 60 mph
Safari roof rack noise test at 70 mph
Safari roof rack noise test at 70 mph

So how much noise does the safari style rack generate?

Our test showed a measurable increase in noise averaging out to a 10 dB increase. This is interesting as a 10 dB difference is significant but as a driver it was hard to quantify. Was it louder? Sure… but not by what I would consider to be a noticeable amount. To support that, none of my family has ever commented on noticing a difference in drive noise before or after the safari rack was installed. Perhaps that’s because they are too excited about the next adventure our NV is taking us on.

How about adding a fairing to reduce wind noise?

We didn’t have a fairing available at the time of this testing. Customers have reported that the fairing has reduced their wind noise by as much as half and that it’s improved their gas mileage. Stay tuned and check back here as we will put it thought the same test on the same vehicle as above to verify these claims.

Nissan NV3500 Avatar roof rack with no upper rail

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