Car Soundproofing Tips
If you have a long commute, any little noise your car makes can irritate you. Soundproofing your vehicle can increase your overall driving experience. Using more than one soundproofing method will minimize that irksome clangor.
Remember to keep in mind the weight of the soundproofing material and how its installation could affect your vehicle’s performance when considering these car soundproofing tips.
- Why Should You Soundproof Your Car?
- Reduce Noise Distraction
- Improve Your Audio Listening Experience
- Enhance the Insulation Factor
- Types of Noises
- What is Road Noise?
- Car Soundproofing Tips for Road Noise
- Sound Deadening Spray
- Sound Deadening Mats
- Tire Quality
- Engine Oil Level
- What is Wind Noise?
- Car Soundproofing Tips for Wind Noise
- Repairing Damage
- Using Wind Deflectors
Why Should You Soundproof Your Car?
Soundproofing does more than reduce annoyances and make driving more enjoyable. It can also:
- Reduce noise distraction
- Improve your audio listening experience
- Enhance the insulation factor
Reduce Noise Distraction
Although it might be tempting to drown out that rattle your car makes with loud music, it may just increase the distraction. Blaring music reduces your ability to detect essential sound cues, like a horn or squealing tires, adding to the risk factor inherent in driving.
Fiddling with the cup holder trying to find the reason it is jiggling can also distract your attention. Nothing terrible may happen while you look away from the road. However, it only takes a second of inattention to cause an accident.
Wondering if that tick in your engine is something serious or just a loose screw also draws your attention away from the road. All of these can be alleviated by proper car soundproofing.
Improve Your Audio Listening Experience
Not all sound in a vehicle is noise. Listening to your favorite podcasts or audiobooks, talking on the phone using a hands-free device, or enjoying a few golden oldies as you cruise along are all delightful audio experiences.
Wind and road noise can overwhelm these positive events. Vibrating speakers can detract from the music. Soundproofing will improve your audio listening experience in these instances.
Enhance the Insulation Factor
Many sound deadening products also have a heat insulation component, which, when installed, will improve your vehicle’s temperature control. Adding soundproofing products fills in the gaps where outside air pools, such as floorboards and door jams. Closing those holes means a more efficient cooling or heating system and more comfortable temperatures as you drive.
Types of Noises
Two main kinds of noises may disturb your tranquil driving experience. These are road and wind sounds. Eliminating the two can be done in different but complementary manners.
What is Road Noise?
Potholes and gravel roads can shake your car to the core, leaving some things looser than they were before. When these loosened objects in your vehicle vibrate, they produce sound waves. Sound waves make noise. Diminishing those vibrations lessens the volume of road noise that you hear as you drive.
Car Soundproofing Tips for Road Noise
There are several ways to curtail road noise. These car soundproofing tips include:
- Sound deadening spray
- Sound deadening mats
- Tire quality
- Engine oil levels
Sound Deadening Spray
Sound deadening spray is an effective way to apply a layer of sound insulation, even in the most difficult to reach areas. This liquid insulation absorbs some of the sound waves and vibrations your car makes, reducing the noise level.
These sprays create a thin coat of sound dampening particles, which are typically the same type of materials that go into mass loaded vinyl sheets. The more layers of spray you apply, the more sound transmission is reduced.
A thicker foam spray can be used in the areas around the speakers and cup holders to fill in the gaps that allow for movement, which creates the vibrations that make sound waves.
The sound deadening spray is applied to the metal bottom layer of your vehicle, which means you’ll have to remove everything above it, including seats, liners, and carpeting. Once everything is off, give the metal a good cleaning and treat any rust spots.
Make sure to apply the spray in a well-ventilated area and while using a face mask and gloves. It takes about 20 minutes for each layer to dry. The more layers, the better the soundproofing becomes. Don’t forget to spray the wheel wells, where much of the road noise is not only transferred but amplified by the curve.
Sound Deadening Mats
Sprays are often used in conjunction with sound deadening mats to reduce road noise. Your vehicle’s floor has a large surface area that is close to the axles and wheels. This proximity means that the floor of your car amplifies the vibrations from the road. Using a sound deadening mat to cover the footwells and trunk of your car can go a long way in taking the edge off road noise.
To add a sound deadening mat:
- Remove the floor mats and carpeting in your vehicle.
- Cut the mat to size.
- Peel off the mat backing.
- Press into place.
- Replace the carpeting and floor mats.
Sound deadening mats are often made of butyl or mass loaded vinyl. They are thicker than the spray layer, but generally lightweight and flexible. If you have a load engine, you might consider adding a mat to the inside of your car’s hood, as well.
Insulating your vehicle will provide yet another level of sound deterrent. Jute or micro jute insulation is an excellent addition. It looks a lot like carpet and is installed just like carpeting. You’ll need to cut it to fit your vehicle perfectly, but the result does not only give a more cushioned feel but also provides for sound absorption.
Many car doors lack adequate insulation. Adding that can have a significant impact on the amount of road noise inside your vehicle.
To insulate the doors:
- Remove the inside panels.
- Cut the insulation to fit.
- Remove the sticky back cover.
- Stick to the door without covering any movable parts like locks and window mechanisms.
- Replace the inside panels.
Your tires come into direct contact with the road. Making sure your tires are the best quality for both your vehicle and regular road conditions can help reduce road noise. The best tires are those that have the maximum amount of rubber between the metal rim and the car. Check your vehicle’s manual to find out what the maximum tire size that will fit on your vehicle.
Tire width is also an essential factor to consider when choosing the ones that provide the quietest ride. A broader tire has more surface. A larger tire surface means more contact with the road. More contact with the road makes more road vibrations. However, narrower wheels reduce the amount of physical contact and sound wave vibration. Recheck your manual to find out the minimum width that will fit your vehicle.
Tires designed to support heavy loads are not very pliable and transfer more road noise than those meant for average cargo weight. Tires intended for high-speed driving are also sturdier than regular speed designs. Make sure you check your owner’s manual to find out what the minimum speed rating and load index number your tires should have.
Many tire manufacturers now include a noise rating on their tires either as a decibel rating or a three-wave symbol. The decibel rating indicates how many decibels the manufacturer got from a test that involves a car driving past a microphone at 50 mph without the engine running. The wave rating system has one, two, or three black lines. One line indicates excellent performance, while three is very poor. For noise reduction, you want a tire with as few decibels as possible.
Engine Oil Level
You shouldn’t overlook the oil level in your motor. A well-oiled engine makes much less noise than one that needs additional lubrication. All those ticks, knocks, and bangs don’t just make more clamor. They can damage your engine too.
Check oil levels regularly and make sure you have oil with the right type of additives. Oil additives are viscosity index improvers (VIIs). Oil viscosity determines how thick it is, how well it flows, and how completely it coats all the engine parts that need coating. A well-coated engine is a quieter engine.
What is Wind Noise?
The second type of noise that car owners experience is from the wind. Your car’s aerodynamics will either reduce or increase wind noise. Square, boxy vehicles are less aerodynamic and create more air resistance. As the air resistance increases, the air pressure inside the car also goes up. When the air pressure becomes higher than the outside air, it tries to escape, typically through the vents. However, if there are gaps in the vehicle, the air may go out that way, making a high-pitched whistling noise that can be extremely irritating.
Car Soundproofing Tips for Wind Noise
There are several ways to cut down wind noise. These car soundproofing tips include:
- Repairing damage
- Using wind deflectors
As your car ages, weatherstripping and seals deteriorate. Small holes form, which allows the breeze in. A great way to reduce wind noise is to check the sealing on your windows, doors, sunroof, and trunk opening. If you find that the weatherstripping needs replaced, eradicate the old seal. Then wash the frame with soapy water and allow it to dry before applying the new weatherstripping. If your weatherstripping is not all that bad, adding a second layer of rubber will help block out the wind.
As you are checking your weatherstripping, also look for damage or irregularities on the doors, roof, and trunk. Over time, doors can become warped, or they could have been imperfectly made, preventing them from closing completely. Air whistles in and out of these crevices making even more wind noise.
If there are small lumps of soldering material, you can use a file to smooth those out. More significant misalignments might need the attention of a trained professional. Cracks in the windshield might also cause whistling. Repairing those cracks or replacing the glass will reduce wind noise too.
Rust holes or damage from an accident can alter the aerodynamics of your vehicle, as well. While time-consuming, rust repair will undoubtedly get rid of some of those wind tunnels. More extensive damage may need professional care..
Using Wind Deflectors
The aerodynamics of your vehicle affects wind noise. Improving aerodynamics will reduce wind noise. Wind deflectors can be added to your windows and sunroof to get your that quieter ride. Wind deflectors come in a variety of styles and colors to enhance your car’s style, so don’t hold back for aesthetic reasons.
Road and wind noise can seriously detract from your driving enjoyment. In this article, we discussed several car soundproofing tips for both issues. The more methods you employ, the quieter your ride will be.
To lower road noise disturbances:
- Apply a sound deadening spray to the base level of your vehicle.
- Put down sound deadening mats on the floor, in the trunk, and under the hood.
- Improve insulation in the footwells and door frames.
- Check that you have the lowest speed, load capacity, and width tires recommended for your particular vehicle.
- Maintain adequate oil levels for a well-lubricated motor.
To lessen wind noise:
- Replace or reseal weatherstripping on the doors, windows, trunk, and sunroof.
- Repair rust and accident damage.
- Install wind deflectors on your windows and sunroof to improve aerodynamics.
You should consider laying these soundproofing materials for the best results. Several sound deadening spray coats could be applied under a sound deadening mat. Finding the best quality tire for your particular make and model vehicle could be used in conjunction with an engine tune-up, which includes appropriate oil level adjustments.
Insulating doors and windows, as well as adding weatherstripping, will cut down on the road and wind noise. Checking for and repairing rust and accident damage are also excellent ways to not only keep your vehicle properly maintained, but lessen noise pollution.
Making your car more soundproof doesn’t just give you a quieter drive it also:
- Reduces noise distraction making your driving experience safer.
- Improves your stereo and hands-free call quality.
- Enhances the overall insulation of your vehicle, making your drive more comfortable.
With these road and wind car soundproofing tips, you’ll be cruising away peacefully on your next road trip before you know it!