“Do I really need a fairing?” This is a common question I often hear after someone purchases a new kayak car rack for their vehicle.  After coughing up $400.00 or so dollars for a top of the line roof rack system from Thule or Yakima a lot of people do not want to thule fairingadd any optional accessories.   In my opinion, if you are going to pay top dollar on a premium item, then paying a little extra for
optional accessories is well worth it to ensure that you have the best experience possible. A fairing such as the ones Thule or Yakima provide will enhance the value of your brand new car rack at an affordable price. There are three main benefits that installing a fairing on your vehicles rack will have:

  1. Noise Reduction:  You may not realize it, but adding anything to a naked roof is going to add a noticeable amount of noise when driving at highway speeds.  This is even without a kayak strapped to the top!
  2. Fuel Consumption:  The fairing is going to allow your vehicle to cut through the wind with reduced drag and increase your MPG.  So really it will pay for itself (eventually).
  3. Appearance:  These days, looks are everything and a fairing can make that new roof rack look a lot sleeker.

    thule fairing
    image via mtbr forum

You can get a fairing to fit virtually any vehicle for around $100.00 or less and it really does complete the package when purchasing a new rack system. Ultimately, a fairing is well worth the extra spend to increase the value, efficiency, and attractiveness of your new roof rack.

-Andy Bruce @ ACK


  1. Try spiraling a bungee cord along the length of the front rack bar. 4 or 5 wraps around the bar is all it needs. This reduces noise (like those spiral car antennas you see), but does not get in the way of attaching your boats or accessories.
    I liked the noise reduction of a fairing but prefer this method and have not gone back.

  2. I had fairings on my Thule rack but I hated it. The clips are not durable so every once in a while they crack and break when you throw your yak on top. Also the often need adjustment which is annoying. I find that it didn’t make almost any difference in fuel consumption. One day I decided to take my fairing off and I will never buy one again. It’s unecessary and basically only serves to make your car look better. It dosent even reduce noise well. To cut the noise just out some rack pads on and the noise is gone.

  3. I bought a fairing for my old Thule system and it does reduce noise, but its mounting brackets somewhat limit the placement of my canoe carriers. I have to remove the fairing to accommodate my new canoe. MInor to major nuisance!

  4. I bought a Yakima without a faring and HATED the noise. I ended up looking on Craigslist for a fairing and got one for $20. It was well worth the money spent. I used to take the entire roof rack off when not using it because it was so loud. Now I leave it on all the time. The fairing reduces noise by 100%.