How To Install Roof Rails On A Kia Sorento

The Kia Sorento is a popular mid-sized crossover SUV. Some owners want to add extra functionality to their Sorento, namely roof rails. So how can you install roof rails on a Kia Sorento? We did the research to bring you the answer.

Generally, a roof rail installation job on a Kia Sorento is a DIY-friendly job. The typical steps to complete a Sorento roof rack setup are:

  1. Remove the end caps of the rail.
  2. Slide the mounting brackets into the rail.
  3. Set the roof rails onto the car’s roof.
  4. Adjust and secure the setup as needed.

The typical Kia Sorento roof rail installation might seem like a relatively straightforward task. But miss out on important details and you might be making some costly mistakes. Continue reading as we tackle this assembly process in greater detail. We’ll also tackle other relevant topics like the steps to remove a roof rail setup from a Sorento. Without further ado, let's get into it. Adding extra functionality in kia sorento, How To Install Roof Rails On A Kia Sorento

Does The Kia Sorento Have Roof Rails?

Kia sorento with it's elegant roof rails

Different members of the Kia community found out that certain Sorento models don’t come with built-in roof rails. In particular, the 2019 Sorento and the entire 2021 Sorento X line don’t have roof racks. Owners of these vehicles can still buy compatible roof rails for their Sorentos from official or third-party sources.

If you’re curious about the idea of adding roof rails to cars, be sure to take a look at this post: Why Do Cars Have Roof Rails?

Kia Sorento Roof Rail Installation

Compatible and durable roof rails

Take note that installing a roof rack on a Kia car, particularly the Sorento, should begin with the buying process. Shoppers should take note of different important factors, such as:

  • Features
  • Specifications
  • Product quality
  • Brand value

Also, Sorento owners should pay attention to the maximum weight limit of their car's roof. For example, the 2019 Kia Sorento has a maximum weight limit of 165 pounds. So if that model has an 11-pound roof rack, that leaves 154 pounds that can be put onto the roof rack.

You should also check your roof rack’s instruction manual before proceeding with the installation process. That way, you can verify if the setup requires unique steps that may not be in other roof rail models.

After purchasing a compatible roof rack for your Kia Sorento and consulting the product owner’s manual, you can continue the installation by following these steps:

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Unlock the end cap on one end of a rail.
  2. Slide the bracket into the open side of the rail. Ensure that you’re following the correct orientation when you’re doing this step.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the other side of the rail.
  4. Gently set the roof rail on top of the Sorento's roof.
  5. Adjust and secure the bar to the setup.
  6. Repeat Steps 1-5 for the other rail.

Quality roof rails should come as a complete kit, meaning the set won’t require you to make extra purchases to complete the assembly. A typical yet complete roof rail kit should have the following parts:

  • Mount
  • Crossbars
  • Hardware and accessories

Check out this roof rail for 2015-2018 Kia Sorentos on Amazon.

You can also watch the video below to gain additional insight on this installation process:

How Do You Remove A Kia Roof Rack?

A Kia Sorento roof rack removal might be ideal if you want to replace the setup with a different model. Like the installation process, you should consult the owner's manual of the product to check for specific instructions.

Certain roof rack models might require users to follow unique steps to properly remove the setup.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Carefully pry and take out the roof rail cover with a thin yet blunt object.
  2. Remove the cover encasing the rail’s hardware like its bolts, nuts, and screws with the appropriate tools.
  3. Take out the rest of the rail and set it aside safely.

Watch the video below to see the steps mentioned above in action:

How To Remove Corrosion From Roof Rail On A Kia Sorento

Corrosion might occur from some roof rails installations on automobiles like the Kia Sorento. This issue typically occurs in a low-quality set of rails on the car’s roof. The location of the parked vehicle can also play a role in increasing the risks of corrosion appearing on the vehicle's roof rails.

Take note that you may need to remove the rail from the Sorento’s roof to achieve the results you need. After thinking about those pieces of information, continue this process by following the guide below:

What You’ll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Sandblasting kit
  • Paint

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Remove the offending roof rail from its mounting bracket carefully.
  2. Sandblast the corrosion from the roof rail. Keep in mind that this step will also remove the paint from that part.
  3. Recoat the offending rail with a paint color that’s the same as the rest of the setup.
  4. Let the paint dry and cure before reinstalling the roof rail onto the Kia Sorento’s roof.

Check out this sandblaster gun kit on Amazon.

You can learn more about this process by watching the video below:

Can You Add A Roof Rack To Any Car?

roofmounting of roof rack for specific vehicle type

Despite some vehicle models not having built-in roof racks, it’s still possible to install these kits on relatively any car. Interested buyers can choose among different official or third-party roof-mounting systems for their specific vehicles.

These roof racks often come in different types, including:

  • Factory tracks: Prebuilt paths for car roof racks that often provide quick and easy rail installation.
  • Rain gutters: Racks and rails that attach to vehicle rain gutters or drip rails.
  • Fixed points: Permanent installation that generally provides optimal flexibility in use.

Check out this rain gutter roof rack on Amazon.

Should You Choose Steel Or Aluminum Roof Rails?

Many automobile roof rails come in either steel or aluminum, and both materials have their distinct pros and cons. So you should assess your specific requirements before selecting a steel or aluminum roof rail.

Here’s a quick look at the key differences between steel and aluminum roof rails to help with your purchasing decision.


Steel is often the winner in the battle of sturdiness against aluminum. In particular, common-grade steel can hold roughly 100,000 pounds per square inch. But the typical aluminum can only support up to about 10,000 to 75,000 pounds per square inch.

Check out these adjustable steel roof rails on Amazon.

Magnetic Property

Some roof rail manufacturers install magnets in these car load-carrying systems to make installation and removal procedures easier than usual for users.

Steel models often carry this feature because the material is inherently magnetic. On the other hand, aluminum doesn’t usually have magnetic properties, making roof rails made with this material require standard setup and removal processes.


An aluminum alloy roof rack set is fairly lightweight. Some aluminum models weigh less than 10 pounds. So it can be easier to set up an aluminum alloy roof rail without the need for extra help from another person.

Steel roof rails are generally heavier than their aluminum counterparts. Many kits weigh over 10 pounds. The tradeoff to this heftiness is the extra ruggedness of the steel material.

Check out this steel roof rack on Amazon.


Perhaps one of the main determining factors of potential buyers with their roof rail purchasing decision is the cost.

Steel models are often less expensive than aluminum variants because the standard steel material is susceptible to corrosion and rust. Customers can choose stainless steel options for their roof rails, although these kits can have higher price tags.

Aluminum roof rail kits are also generally more expensive than their steel equivalents. Aluminum is highly resistant to corrosion and rust. Moreover, it's a lightweight material and a good electricity conductor, making it ideal for rails that also act as pass-throughs for wires and other automobile electronics.

Final Words Adding extra functionality in kia sorento,

The typical roof rail installation on a Kia Sorento is generally a DIY-friendly job. Installers only need to follow the kit’s instruction manual to complete the assembly properly. However, the roof rail needs to be compatible with the specific Sorento model, or else issues with the fit can occur.

Before you go, be sure to take a look at these other posts that might be of interest:

Where Are Kia Cars Made?

Kia Won’t Start, Just Clicks—What Could Be Wrong?

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