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How to Remove Roof Rack on a Jeep Grand Cherokee

With its powerful engine and comfortable seating, a Jeep Grand Cherokee can take you from day to day rides to adventurous weekends on unpaved roads. And while driving yourself to work does not entail bringing so many things with you, going on a trail quest would. That’s why many Grand Cherokee users would agree that a roof rack is one of their must-have accessories. Of course, from time to time, you might need to remove the rack for various reasons.

Removing an aftermarket roof rack is generally easier than removing a factory roof rack since a factory roof rack is designed not to be removed. In this case, have a professional remove it for you; otherwise, keep reading to find out how to remove it yourself.

So, how do you remove a roof rack on a Jeep Grand Cherokee?

  1. Gently remove the end caps that cover the bolts with a screwdriver.
  2. Loosen the bolts under the caps using an Allen key or tool specific to your roof rack.
  3. Carefully remove the rack from your vehicle.

Removing the roof rack is generally straightforward. Before doing so, consider why you would want to remove it. You also have to remember how to install it during its periodic removal, which we will cover in this article.

White Jeep Grand Cherokee in an Underground Parking Lot

Roof Rack on Jeep Grand Cherokee

From 1999 to 2001, the rails and cross bars came with the Jeep when purchased. By 2002, the cross rail was removed, and only the roof rails remained. They did, however, have provisions for cross rail and made it available as an additional accessory. By adding these cross rails and a roof rack, you can carry equipment without worrying about the roof being damaged or dented.

Selecting a good roof rack for your needs will give you more interior space so your friends and family can join you. You can choose from the more general ones that can haul luggage and boxes to the more specialized ones that can carry your bike or kayak.

Why You May Need a Roof Rack

Off-road adventures are not easy to prepare for, especially if you want to do it for more than a few days. Aside from a change of clothing and some cooking equipment, this type of traveling will require additional heavy cargo no matter what kind of exploration you have in mind.

As much as possible, you would want to utilize all of your Jeep space. Installing a heavy-duty roof rack will provide you with extra storage space that you need, and it also helps in distributing the weight evenly, which is essential if you are driving through rocky and unpaved roads.

Factors to Consider

One of the considerations in selecting a roof rack is that it should comply with standard quality and regulations, it fits perfectly on your roof and that the finish and materials can endure wear and tear. For example, steel roof racks are ideal if you often travel on high-vibrating routes and already foresee bringing a lot of heavy items with you. Aluminum, being a lighter material than steel, is ideal if you carry heavy objects while also reducing the load the roof racks add to the vehicle.

Another thing you want to have in mind is how often you will be using your vehicle for these tours. If you are most likely going off-road regularly, a fixed-mount roof rack will provide you with a durable and sturdier setup. However, if you see this as a seasonal endeavor, a customizable and clamp-style roof rack will benefit you.

Lastly, you also have to keep in mind the roof load rating for your roof and roof rack. Since this is an additional accessory, the cross rail and roof side rails will have their own load rating. Knowing these will give you an understanding of which items you should be carrying on your roof to maintain safety.

How to Remove Roof Rack on a Jeep Grand Cherokee

It’s easy to remove the roof rack on your Jeep Grand Cherokee, and it will only require a minimum number of tools and effort on your part. It should take you around five to 15 minutes to remove the rack.

  1. First, you will need to identify how your roof rack is attached to your car. Most aftermarket roof racks require a cross rail, which is necessary if you want to keep your vehicle’s roof in good condition.
  2. Next, locate where your bolts are and remove the end caps that cover them. Gently pop them off with a screwdriver.
  3. You will then have to loosen the bolts using an Allen key or other tools with the roof rack you bought. If you don’t have those tools, you can always find an Allen key at your nearest hardware store such as Home Depot.
  4. Make sure that the bolts are loose enough to properly dismantle the rack from the cross rail or the roof side rail.
  5. Don’t tug the rack when it’s not sufficiently unfastened yet, otherwise, you might risk damaging it, the cross rail, or both.

Reason Why You Would Want to Remove the Roof Rack

  • Maintenance and cleaning – One of the reasons why you may want to remove a roof rack on a Jeep Grand Cherokee is that it becomes quite handy during maintenance and cleaning. Since the cross rail and roof side rails will subject to heavy equipment, gadgets, and gears from time to time, you have to make sure that the racks are always in good condition when you need them. This way, you can keep them sturdy, and you don’t have to worry about your equipment falling off in place while on the road.
  • Damage – During maintenance, you also have to visually inspect the roof rack carefully for any corrosion and damaged parts. A worn-out rack has to be replaced before you use it again; otherwise, you might experience accidents, such as parts coming off.
  • Make sure it is secure – Besides that, you also have to confirm that the screws and knobs are adequately lubricated and tightly secured. Going through off-road courses subjects your racks to vibration, which can loosen the fixture.
  • During a carwash – Another reason you would consider taking off the roof rack is to check if your Jeep Grand Cherokee’s roof is in good condition. Grime and dirt can accumulate and hide when the rack is in place, so make sure to remove these parts when doing your cleaning. Removing the rack during a car wash is also equally important. Any accessory that is not pre-assembled as part of your vehicle should be dismantled during this process; otherwise, the large machine brushes can get tangled and potentially damage them.

How to Install a Roof Rack on a Jeep Grand Cherokee

If you bought a Jeep Grand Cherokee model that does not come with the roof rack, cross rails, and accessories, you could purchase these parts from a trusted dealer. To ensure that your Jeep’s roof is maintained in good condition, installing a cross bar is advisable before installing a roof rack.

Installing a cross rail can be done in several ways, depending on the roof side rail setup.

If you have a grooved mounted side rail, you will need a cross rail to slide through those grooves. In this type of cross rail, you will usually find a plastic cover on the top part, which you will have to peel slightly on both sides. Inside, you will find two hex screws, with the inner screw providing the adjustment for your rail to move left to the right.

The screw on the outer part includes adjustment for the metal bracket attached to the roof side rail. Loosen these two screws to provide a sufficient gap between the metal bracket and the feet. In this setup, you can slide the bracket to the grooves on the roof side rail. Once you have achieved the ideal position and installed the brackets, tighten the outer screw on both sides. This will secure the cross rail to the roof rail.

Clamp-Style Cross Rail

If you have a raised roof side rail, you will need a clamp-style cross rail instead. For this, check out the CargoLoc 2-Piece 52″ Aluminum Roof Top Cross Bar Set (view on Amazon). With a dimension of 52″ from end to end, you can achieve a cross rail space of up to 46″ between the two side rails, which is more than enough space for your off-road needs.

This cross bar is constructed with high-quality aluminum and is perfect for when you need the gears and the durability without the added weight. Installation is also easy as it uses a heavy-duty clamping and keyed-lock mechanism that you can securely attach to the raised roof side rails. 

Heavy-Duty Rack

With these parts in place, you can add a heavy-duty rack like the MaxxHaul 70115 Roof Rack (view on Amazon).  This item, which measures 46″ x 36″ 4-1/2″ high, can generally carry the majority of cargo items that you’ll bring with you during your tours.

The rack is made from an all-steel frame with a powder-coated finish and provides up to 150 lbs of distributed load capacity (although you still have to check your vehicle’s roof load rating to be safe). With its universal U-bolt mounting system, you can quickly assemble and install it. To avoid future rusting and water seepage, use the rubber sleeves to cover the joints and screws.

Conclusion – How to Remove Roof Rack Jeep Grand Cherokee

Knowing how to remove the roof rack on a Jeep Grand Cherokee is relatively easy and straightforward. And with its advantages, it’s undeniable that it is an excellent addition to your off-roading vehicle. Free up your interior space, carry the gears and equipment that you need, and enjoy your adventure!