How to Move Items on Top of Your Car -
Home > Moving Guides > During Your Move > Loading and Unloading > How to Move Items on Top of Your Car

How to Move Items on Top of Your Car

  3.8/5 based on 4 visitor(s)
views  9,304 Views

Hiring the help of a moving company or renting a truck to load your furniture and other belongings into doesn't always fit into everyone's moving budget. If you are making a small local move with just a few boxes and pieces of furniture in tow, it's probably not too economical for you to spend money on a moving company.

When packing your car for your move, don't forget that you have a lot of potential space for furniture that often goes completely unused - the roof of your car. Read on to learn more about how to tie down your items when moving them on top of your car and how to secure them properly.

What supplies you'll need

Having a car or truck that is equipped with a roof rack will make it much easier for you to tie large items to the roof, especially large appliances or furniture items. However, even if your vehicle is equipped with a roof rack, there are some supplies that you're going to need before you embark on your move:

  • Blankets or moving pads: No matter what you're moving on top of your car -- a sofa, a mattress or a small refrigerator -- chances are that it will probably scratch your car if you don't place anything underneath it. You'll want a layer of blankets or moving pads underneath to cushion your item, to avoid any unsightly marks.
  • Sturdy and durable rope: One option for tying down large items is to use strong, durable rope. Simple twine, bungee cords or string is not going to be sufficient enough, so make sure the rope can withstand the wind that the item will be exposed to when the vehicle is moving. When it comes to protecting your belongings and your car, it's better to be safe than sorry.
  • Ratchet straps: If you feel that the item you're moving is too big and heavy for rope and you want a little extra protection, you can invest in ratchet straps. These work well if your vehicle is equipped with a roof rack.

How to tie down your items

Once you've obtained the supplies you need to get your items securely tied to the roof of your car, it's time to put your plan into action:

  • Place a blanket down to protect your car. Before you hoist the item on top of your car, make sure you have a blanket or moving pads laid out on the roof to serve as a cushion and prevent the item from scratching your car. You can secure the blanket using rope or strap by tying it to the inside of the car and passing it through the passenger side windows.
  • Position the item on the center of the roof. In order to prevent the item from sliding around while the vehicle is moving (or falling off the car altogether), make sure you place it in the center of the roof, an equal distance from the front, rear and sides of the car. By doing this, the weight of the item will be evenly distributed throughout the roof to keep it balanced at all times.
  • Use rope or ratchet straps to secure the item. If you are using strong rope to tie the item down, wrap around the vehicle (from the inside going out) several times and tie down all four corners of the items, using as much rope as you can to secure it. If you have a roof rack and will be using ratchet straps, make sure you check the roof rack before tying the item to it to ensure that the rack is not loose.
  • Make your knots as tight as possible. The most important part of keeping your item tied securely to the roof is making sure you've tied the right knot. Tying knots for large, heavy items is not easy, especially if you're using thick, sturdy rope, so find someone who is experienced with tying knots if you're unsure of how to do it properly. If you have to, practice tying knots on a spare piece of rope until you perfect it.

Moving items on top of your car

Of course, if you find that tying a large item to the roof of your car is more difficult than you planned and you want some help with moving your larger items, we can help you find movers in your area that can assist you. Simply visit the front page of and fill out our free and easy-to-use quote form at the top of the page. You'll then be contacted by up to seven moving companies that will provide you with a no-obligation estimate for your move.

To read more about the moving process, visit our moving guides section where you'll find over 1,000 different moving guides on all kinds of topics.

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on March 4, 2014

Rate this guide How to Move Items on Top of Your Car