How to Quiet a Noisy Surfboard Rack

A noisy surfboard rack can turn the journey to and from the beach from a fine road trip into a tooth-gritting noise fest. Fortunately, cutting down on noise is easy, inexpensive and can even be improvised on the side of the road. Generally, rack noise comes in two forms: whistling and rattling. Whistling is caused by air flowing through a narrow tunnel in your board rack. Rattling comes from something not being tied down tight enough.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

For Whistling

Things You’ll Need:
  • Board rack and vehicle
  • Foam rubber and/or styrofoam
  • Duct tape
  • Glue gun
 
Step 1
Inspect your board rack. Whistling happens when the air your car moves through gets funneled into a space narrow enough to cause the noise. Check for cracks or tunnels in the frame of your rack. Also look for narrow gaps between the frame and your car, between the frame and mounted boards and between the boards themselves.
Step 2
Use a glue gun to plug appropriate cracks and tunnels. If the cracks look like damage, make sure the rack is still structurally sound.
Step 3
Plug gaps between frame and car with foam rubber. Most of the time, these will stay in place just from the pressure of the rack.
Step 4
Drive your car and test your repairs. If the whistling persists, start again with step 1.

For Rattling

Step 1
Unload your rack and shake it. If it's on tight enough, your whole car should shake. If it's not, the rack will move back and forth on the top of your car.
Step 2
Tighten down your rack using the straps that mount it. In some cases, the shape of your car or the rack will mean this isn't enough and you'll need to continue to step 3.
Step 3
Look for where contact points on the rack aren't in contact with your car. Carve down a block of foam rubber to fill this gap, cutting it so it's about 2 inches larger than the space. This will compress down to fit but have enough pressure to keep your rack in place.
Step 4
Tape the foam to the rack once you have a good fit.
Step 5
Drive to test the repairs. If the rattling persists, start again with step 1.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
If the noise comes from the boards themselves rattling together, space out the boards with styrofoam or foam rubber. Like with the rack itself, use foam an inch or two wider than the space you want to fill.
 
For emergency roadside adjustments without the proper tools, you can fill most of these gaps with a t-shirt or towel held in place with knots or tape. Once you get back home, you can use these steps for a permanent replacement.

Article Written By Jason Brick

Jason Brick has written professionally since 1994, publishing fiction and nonfiction in a variety of venues. He has completed hundreds of technical and business articles. Brick received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Oregon.

Join 3 million outdoor enthusiasts like you


Find trails by activity, accessibility and more


Save your favorite trails and create a wishlist


Share tips and review your favorite trails


Add your best trail photos