What You Need to Know About Roll Cages

What You Need to Know About Roll Cages

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:

  • 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.
Find out more about installing a roll cage in your vehicle by calling HP Motorsports at (281) 231-9950!
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