I want to buy a large board of MDF 2440mm X 1200mm. I won't be able to fit it in my car so I will need to carry it on top. I was planning to put some towels on the roof and then hold it on to with loops of duct tape through the front and back windows. it then struck me that I won't actually be able to get in the car again if I loop it through both windows unless the front loop is just a single loop, which doesn't seem very secure. Whilst I'm only planning to travel about 3 miles, for safety reason I'm reluctant to do something that would render all 4 doors not easily openable in the event of an accident. I think it is probably best to have secured at 2 point. Duct tape at the back should stop it flying off the roof, but without anything else holding it in place I suspect it may be able to pivot left and right potentially weakening the tape. I'd be grateful for your suggestions. There will only be me and I'm too big to climb through car windows.

  • 1
    Whatever you do, make it tight - wide boards really catch the wind and will pull off pretty hard
    – J. Musser
    Feb 18, 2016 at 2:49
  • 3
    Two suggestions that may or may not help... 1) In some locals, home improvement stores have cheap hourly rentals of pickup trucks. 2) Some home improvement stores will cut sheets into pieces for free. That's very handy if you are planning to cut it at home anyway.
    – James
    Feb 18, 2016 at 12:24

3 Answers 3


Best thing is DON'T. There are "fail" memes all over the internet from people trying to do this. It's neither safe nor effective. You should be able to get the piece delivered to your home at a reasonable surcharge -- which will certainly be less than the fine and liability you'll pay if the board comes off in traffic and damages someone else's property, or the repair bill when (not really if) you damage your own car.

If you can't get the board delivered, see if you know someone who has a large enough vehicle to carry it safely, either fully enclosed in a van body or at least tied down securely in a pickup truck bed.

  • Hundreds of people die in road accidents every day, but we carry on using cars. A few fail memes is far from indicative of what is or isn't acceptable controlled risk. In my country it is legal to carry things on the roof and it doesn't invalidate my insurance. I think insurance companies would assess risk on statistics rather than meme worthiness.
    – Dave
    Feb 18, 2016 at 9:10
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    There are no valid statistics on this kind of activity, because it's done so seldom. But you're advocating doing something that's unsafe on the face of it, just because there's no law against it. Good move.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Feb 18, 2016 at 11:53
  • It's a short, slow drive and I will endeavour to secure it many times stronger than it needs to be secured, and I won't be doing it if the weather is unfavourable. I've seen people doing similar things many times, yet none of these memes you mention, but I would bet that they arise out of carrying things on the roof carelessly, not just carrying things on the roof.
    – Dave
    Feb 18, 2016 at 12:25
  • @Dave your statement suggesting to use duct tape to secure it indicates that you don't know enough about securing loads on a moving vehicle. The shear forces applied when the vehicle moves indicates an accident waiting to happen!
    – holroy
    Feb 18, 2016 at 12:55

I wouldn't recommend using tape, you're safest bet is to use a ratchet strap if you can get hold of one. You'll be able to secure the boards down and feed the strap through the doors, through experience this doesn't cause any issues with closing the doors and won't get in the way.

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Reference: eBay Listing


Open the doors and loop the tape around through the doors, then close the doors on the tape. That will allow the doors to open. (Twine is another option, if you don't want duct tape adhesive on a lot of your car.)

Be aware of driving SLOWLY. A board like that, on your roof, can easily catch some wind and lift up.

  • Thanks Brett, I'll give that a test run to see if I can get the door to close over tape. I'll put towels down to keep the tape out of direct contact with most of paintwork.
    – Dave
    Feb 18, 2016 at 9:13
  • If you use duct tape, and close the door over them the door would likely shear the tape. Using tape here is not a good idea at all!
    – holroy
    Feb 18, 2016 at 12:51
  • I can find out when I test it
    – Dave
    Feb 18, 2016 at 13:41
  • If a lot of the duct tape isn't in contact with the car, but in contact with unsecured towels instead, then the only thing that's holding that wood on top is the bits of duct tape actually adhering to the car itself. Get someone to film you bringing it home - sounds like another good meme on Youtube... fingers crossed no one actually dies...
    – Bamboo
    Feb 18, 2016 at 17:15

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