Why Are Truck Racks Called Headache Racks?

Although truck or ‘headache’ racks have continued to grow in popularity over the years, there is some uncertainty as to why and how they received their name. It’s time to take a deep dive into the history of headache racks and figure this out once and for all.

What is a Headache Rack?

Before we get into the history of the racks themselves, it’s important that we define what a headache rack is and why they are increasing in popularity.


  • A headache rack is a truck accessory manufactured primarily out of aluminum or steel that sits on the bed rails directly behind the cab of the truck

Why They Are Becoming Popular

  • Headache racks are rapidly growing in popularity for a couple of reasons:
    • They add visual appeal to your truck
    • They add functional benefits to a truck
      • This applies more to work trucks but remains true for personal truck owners who sometimes use their truck to haul items that could slide forward into the rear window

history of the headache rack

History of the Headache Rack

The history of headache racks and their origin possesses varying opinions but based on what we know today, this is how it went down.

Why They Were Made

Headache racks were originally invented to protect the passengers and cab window of the truck from potential shifting cargo in the bed.

Why They Are Still Relevant Today

Pickup trucks have continued to grow in popularity over the years. As a result, headache racks are more popular than ever.

How They Are Utilized Today

There haven’t been many changes to how headache racks are used since their creation. However, over time they have become more popular as cosmetic items that double as functional items versus when they were originally created and the emphasis was entirely on protection.

headache rack

Why Are They Called Headache Racks?

Legend has it that headache racks earned their name from preventing the driver from “getting a headache” from cargo crashing through the rear window into their head.

There are varying opinions on the topic, however, with another theory being this: shifting cargo that damages your truck’s rear window will leave you with a “headache” when you pay the repair bill. Rear truck windows are not inexpensive these days. Some of the fancier rear windows that have power opening can cost more than $1000. This is a major headache–one that costs far more than the protection of buying a high-quality aluminum rack!


There you have it, the history of why headache racks were created and the origin of the “headache” name. If you’ve made it this far in the article, you probably own a truck or someone close to you has one. If so, do your best to avoid the headache that goes along with an unprotected cab window and get yourself a Magnum headache rack. There are a number of different options that fit any truck and personal style. Find the perfect rack for your truck »