Ultimate Guide to Choosing Crossbars for Your Subaru Forester: Expert Recommendations for Adventure Seekers

As an outdoor enthusiast, you want to make sure your Subaru Forester can transport all your sports equipment, luggage, and gear comfortably and safely. One of the essential accessories you need to invest in is a set of crossbars that attach to your car’s roof rails.

In this article, we’ll go over the different types of crossbars available for Subaru Forester and compare their features to help you select the best option for your needs.

Subaru Forester Crossbars: Factory-Installed vs. Aftermarket

Subaru Forester models come with factory-installed crossbars, but some owners may prefer aftermarket options that offer more flexibility and customization. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.

Factory-Installed Crossbars

Factory-installed crossbars are pre-fitted by Subaru and are compatible with the car’s roof rails. They are generally easy to install, and you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues.

However, factory-installed crossbars often have lower weight limits and may not be as sturdy as aftermarket options. Plus, they may not fit all accessories and equipment and can limit your storage options.

Aftermarket Crossbars

Aftermarket crossbars are designed and manufactured by third-party companies and are usually more customizable and versatile than factory-installed ones. They come in different shapes, sizes, and materials, and you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

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Aftermarket crossbars can usually support heavier loads, such as roof tents or kayaks, and allow for more attachments, such as ski and bike mounts. However, they may require more complicated installation and may not be compatible with all car models.

Choosing the Right Crossbars for Your Subaru Forester

When selecting crossbars for your Subaru Forester, there are several factors you need to consider to ensure the best performance and safety.

Weight Capacity

Weight capacity is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting crossbars. The weight capacity is the maximum amount of weight that the crossbars can support.

Factory-installed crossbars usually have a weight capacity of around 150 lbs, while aftermarket options can support up to 800 lbs or more. Consider the weight of your equipment and luggage, add up the weight of crossbars, and make sure you stay within the limit.


Aerodynamics is another crucial feature of crossbars. Crossbars can affect your car’s fuel economy and create wind noise and drag, which can reduce your driving comfort.

Look for crossbars that have an aerodynamic design that minimizes wind noise and drag and increases fuel efficiency. Some aftermarket crossbars even come with wind deflectors or fairings to enhance their aerodynamic performance.

Convenience and Compatibility

Crossbars should be easy to install, remove, and use. Look for crossbars that come with a quick-release mechanism, tool-free installation, and anti-theft features.

Moreover, make sure the crossbars are compatible with your car’s roof rails and accessories. Some crossbars may require adapters or special mounts to fit your equipment, and some may not fit at all.

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Materials and Durability

Crossbars can be made of different materials, such as aluminum, steel, or plastic. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of weight, strength, and durability.

Choose crossbars that are lightweight yet durable and rust-resistant. Avoid crossbars that may bend or break under heavy loads or extreme weather conditions.

How to Install Crossbars on Your Subaru Forester

Installing crossbars on your Subaru Forester is a straightforward process that you can do yourself with some basic tools and instructions.

Here are the general steps to install crossbars on your Subaru Forester:

  1. Remove the covers from the roof rails.

  2. Slide the crossbars onto the roof rails.

  3. Center the crossbars and adjust them to the desired position.

  4. Tighten the crossbars’ bolts securely and evenly.

  5. Test the crossbars and make sure they are stable and level.

Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for specific installation steps and torque settings.


Q: Can I use different crossbars on my Subaru Forester?

A: You can use different crossbars on your Subaru Forester as long as they are compatible with your car’s roof rails and weight capacity. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines and secure the crossbars tightly.

Q: How much weight can I put on my Subaru Forester crossbars?

A: The weight capacity of Subaru Forester crossbars varies depending on the model and type. Factory-installed crossbars usually have a weight capacity of around 150 lbs, while aftermarket options can support up to 800 lbs or more. Always check the manufacturer’s specifications and stay within the limit.

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Q: Can I install crossbars on a car without roof rails?

A: If your car does not have roof rails, you can still install crossbars with a roof rack system that attaches to the car’s roof or door frame. You may need to purchase an aftermarket system that fits your car’s make and model.

Final Thoughts

Investing in a set of high-quality crossbars is an excellent way to enhance your Subaru Forester’s storage and transport capabilities. By comparing the different types and features of crossbars and selecting the one that best suits your needs, you can travel with more confidence and convenience.

Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines and use appropriate safety measures when installing and using crossbars. Happy adventuring!

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Billy Covington

With a passion for all things automotive, Billy is our go-to expert on Subaru performance upgrades and modifications. He's been featured in several car magazines and blogs, and his extensive knowledge and expertise make him a valuable member of our team. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys playing guitar and writing music.

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