How To Soundproof A Vehicle – Step by Step DIY Guide


People spend a lot of time in their cars. Some people want to make it as quiet as possible. Maybe they would like to enjoy the silence, have clear conversations while driving, or listening to their favorite music. Unfortunately, there is a ton of sound that can quickly get in the way.

Cars are becoming more and more soundproof before even releasing to the public, but there are always ways to make improvements to take it to the next level. For those people who are trying to upgrade their car to the best version possible as far as soundproofing is concerned, several techniques provide just that.

My Sound Deadening Material Recommendations from Amazon.

Expectations

 

Soundproofing is one thing, but people should understand that it is impossible to get rid of all exterior noise when driving. There are just too many sounds coming from different directions, and it will be a hassle even to try to pull something like that off.

A person is better at targeting areas that are particularly problematic and trying to get the noise down as much as possible. The older the car is, the harder it will be to soundproof as much as possible, but there are ways to make improvements that are going to be tolerable for the vast majority of people.

Another reason to be optimistic about soundproofing a vehicle is that most of the techniques can be used without needing a professional to install. In fact, a lot of people rely on doing things himself, as a lot of processes are pretty straightforward. Even if a professional is needed, it usually does not take much effort to install some of the soundproofing methods.

Some of the techniques are going to seem pretty obvious, but some factors go into sound on the road that people will not realize at first.

Maybe they have been going about things the wrong way, and they are unaware of what type of impact sound can make. Here is a closer look at how to target specific areas in the car so that sound is reduced as much as possible.

Floors

soundproofing vehicle floor

The floor is perhaps the most vulnerable area in any car. There is a lot of car noise that comes from the undercarriage and many are surprised just how little insulation a car comes within standard form on the floor. Couple that with being so close to the ground, and this means a lot of road noise that can be pretty annoying.

The best method to soundproof a floor in a car is to invest in Floor Damping Mats (Amazon). There are a lot of different versions available, and they all strive to do pretty much the same thing. They will help with sound absorption, and also help to maintain the temperature in a vehicle.

Two brand names that are very well trusted in the industry right now are the Damplifier pro and Killmat. They are both constructed pretty much the same way, using butyl rubber as well as foil and a side of adhesive to hold everything in place.

If installed correctly and right up against the existing floor so everything can go cleanly over the top, the mats work extremely well.

The installation process for any individual is relatively straightforward. Some materials will need to be cut to size to get the perfect fit, but others will come pre-cut and ready to install in a standard vehicle. This can help reduce the amount of time it takes, and a person can get a full vehicle covered as well.

The most effective ones are going to be expensive, but it is better to have a solid single layer than something that is subpar and might need additional touchups later on.

It is very frustrating to go with the cheapest option, only to find that another layer is needed. Not only does this add bulk to the car, but it might end up costing more money overall in the first place.

All in all, a fair amount of floor damping mats will provide quite a bit of help overall for people who are noticing sound when they are riding in the car.

Sounds come from plenty of other areas as well, and that will be discussed later on in this article. However, this is probably the best starting point to see just how much of a difference these mats can make.

For a car that is at least five years old or more, it is especially important to add this little bit of detail. Once installed, they are pretty much out of mind and will hold up for years and years. Source

Doors

soundproofing car door

Not only are doors vulnerable, but they are also susceptible to having small leaks or even wearing away as far as traditional noise control is concerned. That is why insulating in the doors might be the next step, and one that is a lot easier now than it was just a few years ago.

Most doors these days have some level of insulation already installed, but older models might not have any at all. Once a person opens up their door a bit, they could very well notice that there are just a bunch of components with an empty inside to work with. Sound can easily travel to this, but that empty space can easily be filled with insulation that will help reduce noise.

Just like with the floor, the best way to add insulation is to peel things off and attach insulation in the proper way. It is not that hard for people to pull off, as there are walkthroughs available online as well for people who might be a little hesitant at first.

Full Article for Soundproofing Vehicle Doors.

Tires

Quiet Tires

It might not seem like tires make a ton of noise, but once they are isolated, it becomes easier to notice just how much of an impact they make overall.

They are the only contact between the car and the road, so tires are going to make a lot of noise and vibration depending on what is underneath. To control all of the sound, getting proper tires will go quite a ways.

Most people are going to be more than satisfied with the tires that are currently on their car. This is the case if it is a brand new car, because most of the cars come with tires that are specifically designed for that type of car.

However, once the tires start to wear down a bit, it might be time to upgrade to tires that will help with noise control overall.

How can a person change how much sound comes from tires? Getting brand new tires certainly helps, but buying the right tires for the job is another part of the puzzle. These are a few tips that will help with figuring out which tires will work best.

Tire Size

A lot of people who have sportier-looking cars love the look of low profile tires. They might have a look that people are going for, but they are not going to do a person any favors when it comes to controlling sound.

This is because there is only going to be a little bit of rubber between the metal part of the wheel and the vehicle. With not much rubber to work with, the sound will travel fairly easily.

If a person only cares about sound, they should try to go with a tire that has a good amount of rubber as a buffer. It will absorb sound and also give some cushion to the vehicle, which reduces vibration. It may not look as cool, but people are willing to make the sacrifice.

Tire Width

The width of a tire with a car also makes an impact on how much sound a person will notice. If a tire is making a good amount of contact with the road, more vibrations pick up from the road in general.

That is why people should look for a narrow wheel if their car can support it. Some cars will not be able to support wheels that are a little too narrow, but this is something to play around with a bit.

Noise rating

Just about every manufacturer includes tire noise rating as a selling point these days. Companies love the fact that they can advertise themselves as a pretty quiet option overall, and that means people will gravitate towards these when they are trying to keep the sound down.

With the tire noise rating, there is a decibel rating that will be included so that people have a decent idea on what to expect. If a decibel rating is low, that means it is going to provide a little less sound overall.

Other than looking at decibel ratings, there is a three-wave symbol rating system as well. If a person wants the least amount of noise, they should be looking for a single line.

Tires that have three waves will usually be poor performing tires overall, and a pretty high level of noise. The reason why they still exist is that they are inexpensive, but that is not going to give a person any favors from a soundproofing perspective.

Roof

Sound does not leak through into a car too much from the roof, but in certain instances, people want to have a well-surrounded car overall.

That means that every surface that can let outside sound come in, so it needs to have some level of insulation. The roof might not need as much treatment as in the other surfaces, but it still will make a difference.

Sound deadening material that works on the floor and the doors will work best on the roof. Remember that people will be best off by looking for insulation that will help from a sound perspective, as well as controlling temperature. Heat rises, and it can start to leak through a roof that is not up to par.

Getting a nice, tight fit on the roof is also essential so that there are no problems later on. One of the biggest mistakes that some individuals can make when there are changes to the roof is that they do not use a strong enough adhesive so that people will benefit from the setup. Instead, they will need to make small repairs every once in a while, which can be extremely frustrating for individuals.

For an added amount of staying power, make sure that everything is clean and wiped off so that there is a clean slate for the soundproofing material to take the proper amount of insulation. This will ensure that it goes on smoothly, and then everything that goes over the insulation will be fine as well.

Insulation with the roof helps just as much with preventing outside noise from coming in as it does inside noise leaving. People on the road who might not necessarily want to hear loud music being played in a car will very much appreciate this type of insulation install as well. It might just be the difference between avoiding a scolding from law-enforcement for being too loud.

Trunk

The trunk is arguably the most overlooked area of a car when it comes to soundproofing. Some people just do not realize the importance of having a trunk that is probably soundproof, even if they do not have anything back there in the first place. Sounds can still leak through the undercarriage in the trunk area, and cause problems for people in the driver seat.

High-quality soundproofing and deadening material is the best option for the trunk, just like just about any other surface in the car.

It goes on pretty much the same way as putting on material for the floor, as gravity will make this a little easier to apply. The looks of the soundproofing material might not matter as much, simply because people will not be staring at everything.

Wipers

Wipers might not be the first thing you think about when wanting to soundproof a vehicle but if you’re driving around with loud, annoying wipers, you know all too well what I am talking about.

You can opt to replace your current wipers with a new set of silent wipers. You can also follow these tips from this article on how to soundproof your vehicle wipers.

Other Vulnerable Areas In The Car That Will Benefit From Soundproofing?

The short answer is that just about every surface inside the car can be soundproof to some degree. Some surfaces can benefit a little more than others, and it might not take that much effort overall to make a bit of a boost.

Cupholders

This might seem like a pretty innocent area of the car, but they have a design that is very similar to what a megaphone would look like. If there is no cup inside the cupholder, there is quite a bit of sound that can amplify throughout the car.

All it takes is some type of light insulation on the inside or outside of a cup holder. It will make more of an impact than many people realize, so it is worth putting in that extra bit of effort.

Wheel Well Insulation

Treating the tires definitely helps, but what about the wheel wells? For added sound control, using some layer of insulation will help cut down on any echoes that might form in this part of the car. This goes for the front and back tires, which are both vulnerable in certain scenarios.

Something like a sound deadener spray will work well, as a person does not have to take apart the car too much. It is a do-it-yourself option that many people will gravitate towards, but there are always professionals who will help to some degree as well.

How Easy is the Installation Process for Insulation or Sound Deadening Mats?

It always seems a little bit scary to tear apart a car and put something in as a do-it-yourself project. A lot of people are intimidated by going the extra mile and doing this type of work, but it really is a lot simpler than some people realize.

The fact the matter is, cars these days are designed so that they can be pretty easily taken apart to do different types of alterations. As long as a person has a few basic tools and a little bit of persistence, they can peel back the outer layer and put the insulation in themselves.

It is important to be a bit careful with the process, as a person does not want to rip or damage any part of their car, but it is pretty straightforward once a person gets the hang of it.

The key also comes down to making sure that the right amount of sound deadening material is purchased. Some people try to skimp just a little too much, and it comes back to bite them.

If there are too many gaps in between the mats, it is going to open up some opportunities for sound to travel through anyway. It is something that the vast majority of car owners simply do not want to have happen under any circumstances.

My Top 5 Vehicle Sound Deadening Mats.

Final Thoughts On Soundproofing a Vehicle

There is nothing worse than being overwhelmed by sound when riding around in a vehicle. It can be extremely frustrating no matter what a person is trying to do.

Cars are doing a pretty good job of letting people off the hook when making changes for themselves, but there will still be plenty of people looking to add some insulation and help with some sound deadening mats as well.

It is beneficial to still be able to hear some noise from the outside, as this will alert people if something is going on that requires attention. For example, if a person is never able to hear police or ambulance sirens, it can put everyone at risk a bit.

Sound deadening material is definitely coming down in price, and it is getting easier and easier to install without needing a professional. As long as people can follow some basic directions, they can get in a place that is much more comfortable overall.

 

Martin Poirier

For the last number of years, I've Been dedicating a lot of time in soundproofing and helping people be able to soundproof their home, business, and vehicles. I also have a YouTube channel by the same name Soundproof Guide.

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