How to identify your vehicle's roof type

Knowing the vehicle's roof type is crucial when it comes to choosing the correct Thule roof rack components for the car. This guide can help to identify the roof type and provide peace of mind when ordering your Thule bars from

Normal roof

A bare vehicle roof without roof rails or fixed points.  As these vehicle's have no external attachment points, the bars are mounted directly inside the vehicle's door frames. Some vehicles have small locating holes on the inside of the door frames, these vehicles are still categorised as having a normal roof. 


Flush roof rails

Flush rails run the length of the vehicle from front to back, sticking up one or two inches proud of the roof. The term flush is used as there is no space between the underside of the rail and the roof. Flush roof rails are commonly found on estate cars and most SUV's.


Raised roof rails

Raised rails run the full length of the vehicle and unlike flush rails, there is a clear gap between the underside of the rail and the vehicle's roof. These are also most commonly found on estate cars and SUVs. If you can get your hand between the rail and the roof of the car, then the vehicle has raised roof rails.



Vehicle's with fixpoints have four pockets (more on some vans), one in each corner of the roof. Usually, the actual fixing point is hidden under a plastic cover which can either be flipped up, or detached from the car to reveal a threaded hole. Occasionally fixpoints are located on top of a flush rail, where this is the case then the vehicle has fixpoints.



Vehicle's with t-tracks have a metal channel running the full length of the vehicle, with an opening on the top surface, to slide a T-shaped bolt inside. T-tracks are fairly uncommon and are usually found on vans. One example of a car with T-Tracks is a Land Rover Defender, new model.


Rain gutters

Rain gutters run along the side of the vehicle, not on the roof, and are usually located just below the roof line. Again these are fairly uncommon now and are mainly on vans.

We understand it can be tricky on some vehicle's to determine which roof type is appropriate. If you are at all unsure, it's worth checking the vehicle specific Thule Kit fitting instructions which are found on our Thule roof bar guide or contact our friendly helpful advisors who will be able to check this for you - 01732 884408