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Automotive Articles >> Technology

Some Easy Ways to Expand Your Vehicle's Cargo Capabilities

(ARA) – With gas prices at a record high and not going down any time soon, a lot of Americans are downsizing their vehicles.

According to Ward’s Auto, a leading source of global auto industry news and analysis, last year sales of large pick-ups and SUVs declined by 3 percent and 11 percent respectively, while sales of smaller crossovers (CUVs), a one-word moniker for a sport-utility that uses a car chassis, were up 18 percent.

There’s no doubt that crossover vehicles are more energy efficient and as a result will cost less to operate, but those who decide to switch over to them will have to make some significant trade-offs. When compared to trucks and SUVs, crossovers do not provide comparable heavy duty towing, rugged off-roading abilities or cargo capabilities.

“Just because you’ve been forced to give up the luxury of extra cargo room in your vehicle, however, doesn’t mean you have to leave the golf clubs, bikes and extra suitcases behind this summer,” says Frank Turner, spokesman for Lund International, a leading manufacturer of automotive accessories. His company offers a number of solutions for people who need to carry more than their smaller cars or CUVs can handle.

Whether you’re going on a cross country road trip or just driving to a state park a few miles away for a camping trip, here are some affordable accessories you’ll want to consider adding to your vehicle:

* Metal Roof Top Cargo Rack

No matter where you’re heading, if you’re planning to be gone for more than a couple of days, there’s no way you can fit everything you need to bring along in the trunk or cargo area. There is, however, ample room on the roof.

If your vehicle doesn’t already have one, attach an aftermarket roof rack to the top of the vehicle then snap one of Lund’s large capacity rooftop cargo racks into place.

Available in two sizes, 39-by-44 inches and 39-by-55 inches, they fit on most vehicles. There is also a number of accessories available that will make it the epitome of convenience.

You can either secure the items in place by throwing a cargo net over them, or zipping them inside an aero bag which offers complete weatherproof protection in an aerodynamic design. Sloped in the front, the bag deflects water and air up and over the bag.

* Hitch Mounted Cargo Carriers

Available in both fixed and fold-up designs with various accessories and storage bag options, these accessories will at least double a vehicle’s carrying capacity.

They are able to safely carry up to 500 pounds and have pre-punched holes for attaching accessories and tie-down straps. If you’ll be carrying items that need to be protected from the weather, you may also want to get a heavy-duty storage bag.

If a little bit of rain doesn’t matter, you can secure cargo in place with either a cargo net or side bar attachment.

“We also have a very unique product called the Hitch Rack, which attaches to the hitch and has support arms that rises to roof level to allow smaller vehicles to carry extra long roof cargo like ladders, canoes, kayaks and surfboards,” says Turner.

*A Bike Carrier

The best way to carry a bicycle long distances is to attach it to a carrier that is mounted on the vehicle’s back hitch. Lund offers both fixed and fold-down bike carriers constructed of 2-inch steel tubing and powder coated for durability and rust protection. Both models are equipped with locking knobs for added security, as well as rubber padding and cradles to prevent slipping and scratching of bikes

* Hood Shield

You can add both style and function to your vehicle with a Hood Shield. Not only do they deflect bugs and protect the vehicle’s grille from road debris, they improve the vehicle’s fuel efficiency as well thanks to their aerodynamic design.

Lund offers several different models and finishes for this accessory, including smoke, chrome and even stainless steel.

You can find Lund products at leading automotive retailers nationwide. Log on to for a store locator.

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