Is it a good idea to fit a roof hatch to my 4WD?

What you need to know:

  • The choice of the installer and costs involved is an important consideration

Hello Paul, I recently bought a proper off-road 4WD for the first time and look forward to doing more road trips with the family. I have many questions but first, I would like to install a roof hatch. Is this a crazy idea or a plus? What should I consider when getting one designed and installed? How much money will I need and will it affect the value or the safety of the car? Jackson

Hello Jackson, installing a roof hatch on your 4WD off-road vehicle may not be a crazy idea, especially as it seems you are planning family road trips, off road adventures, camping and maybe game drives. The roof hatch is like a door access to your roof for viewing opportunities and a facility to improve the flow of light and fresh air in your vehicle. 

The purpose and budget of the hatch will influence its design. There are special considerations that should inform the design and installation and these include what you intend to use the hatch for, how big it will be, who will install it, safety of the user and car occupants, price of the design, size and installation and how the hatch may affect the resale value of your 4WD vehicle.

What you intend to use the hatch for will influence the design and installation procedure. Is it for access to the roof? What number of people should be able to stand through at the same time and is the roof hatch only for extra light, fresh air or game viewing? These different purposes affect the size, design and installation of the roof hatch. You must also choose the size of a roof hatch that fits the roof of your 4WD vehicle.

Suitability of the roof hatch design is important for enjoyable use and durability. The materials used, whether fibre glass, aluminium or steel should be able to withstand off-road and outdoor activities as well as elements such as the sun, rain and dust.

The choice of the installer and costs involved is an important consideration. The installer should be experienced, with a track record and facility for building and fitting good roof hatches. You should be able to discuss the appropriate design, share approved technical designs or explain how they are going to build the roof hatch and how you will use it.

The safety of the vehicle passengers and users of the hatch is also key when choosing the design and installer. The roof hatch should not compromise the vehicle’s structural integrity and occupant safety in the unfortunate event of an accident. The selected roof hatch should comply with approved standards. The value of the vehicle can only be affected by how well the roof hatch job is done in line with the above considerations.
 If the roof hatch is fit for purpose and gives value for money, it will add value to your family outdoor experience, which should be your primary goal.