Have you ever seen a performance car that looks like it has a giant steel
beam running across the back window? Surely that can’t be good for
visibility, so why would that be in a car? What you saw more than likely
wasn’t an aesthetic choice, but more often it’s because they
have a roll cage installed. A roll cage is an extra skeleton of steel
designed to add extra strength to a vehicle as well as provide extra protection
in the event of an accident. In fact, the name “roll cage”
comes from the fact that they were initially designed to help prevent
cars from collapsing and crushing the driver in the event they rolled
over onto the roof. While many stock vehicles now have a ton of strength
in their support pillars to prevent this from happening, roll cages are
still popular upgrades.
Should you invest in one? That depends on a number of different factors.
On this blog, our team of Houston high-performance automotive experts
will go over everything you need to know about roll cages before installing
one in your car.
What Roll Cages Do
As we mentioned earlier, a roll cage is designed to add strength to a vehicle,
providing extra protection in the event of a rollover accident. However,
they have added benefits for the car’s handing as well. Roll cages
are extraordinarily stiff, and as such they keep the body of the car from
torqueing and flexing. This improves handling, especially when going around
corners at higher speeds. When combined with stiff racing suspension,
you have a car that may not necessarily be the most comfortable to ride
in, but will have almost no body roll. For this reason, roll cages are
extraordinarily popular with track day, autocross, and other racing cars.
The type of cage you get is generally described in “points.”
A point is a location where the roll cage is welded into the frame of
the car to add rigidity. Generally, the lowest, base-line level roll cage
is considered a “four-point” roll cage, which has a hoop that
sits above and just behind the driver, plus two more mounting points on
bars that extend back from the top bar of this hoop, generally being welded
on somewhere beneath the rear window.
Should I Get One?
Then there’s the next question: should you get a roll cage? There
are a few things you need to consider in order to answer this question:
Find out more about installing a roll cage in your vehicle by
calling HP Motorsports at (281) 231-9950!
Do I need my back seat? Yes, you read this correctly. If you have a four-seater vehicle and you
rely on your back seat to carry anything from passengers to cargo, then
a roll cage is not for you. Roll cages often remove your back seat entirely
in order to pass the support beams through to the correct spots, so odds
are you’ll have to get rid of your passenger capabilities. Likewise,
even if you don’t, it’s illegal for passengers to sit in a
seat which a roll cage beam passes through. Depending on your car,
you may also lose your trunk too.
Do I have the headroom? Roll cages also involve running steel beams over your door frame, specifically
on your driver side. If you’re pushing it when it comes to head
room, then this option may not be the best for you, specifically if you’re
considering installing it in your daily driver.
Am I unhappy with my car’s handling? Believe it or not, the overwhelming majority of people are actually far
happier by replacing their car’s suspension system and adding in
other stiffening technology like sway bars, strut bars, and stiffer shocks
and springs. This often makes a huge difference in your car’s handling
and usually leads to better satisfaction than the hassle of installing
a roll cage. Likewise, installing a roll cage on stock suspension doesn’t
quite have the same amount of improvement to your car’s handling.
Can I afford it? Roll cages aren’t cheap. Generally, depending on the metal used,
you can expect to pay roughly $200 to $350
per point. That means for a ten-point roll cage, you can expect to pay upwards of
$2,000 to $3,500 to have the upgrade installed.