Car design engineers have done a pretty good job with insulating new car models. The loud roar of an engine has in most cases been reduced to a light drone. However, the engine is the least of our worries. If you’re a regular commuter, then there are all sorts of distracting and unpleasant noises constantly bombarding you on the roadways.
From the sound of construction, motorcycles, car stereos and more, commuting these days can be quite uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the amount of incoming noise. You’ll just need a few handy items to be well on your way to a quieter car atmosphere:
The Importance Of Car Soundproofing
Did you know that professional drivers and employees who work in the pit are at a high risk of hearing loss? According to one study published in the National Institute of Health, the drivers are exposed to up to 125 decibels inside the cabin. Exterior noises can reach up to 130 decibels.
Pit employees were found to have a higher risk of deafness, most likely due to their prolonged exposure and not using earplugs.
You may be thinking that such noise levels don’t affect you and that to reference racecar drivers is a little extreme. However, another article states that sirens can range from 110 to 129 decibels, and motorcycles range between 80 and 110 decibels. The article also mentions that even 85 decibel sounds can cause noise induced hearing loss with prolonged or repeated exposure.
So, imagine you’re a daily commuter in a big city! The varying sounds you may encounter daily could easily reach unsafe levels.
While it isn’t safe for you to omit all sounds while driving (nor is it safe for other drivers to not hear you), you could reduce up to 50 percent of the noise in your car using the below methods.
Five Best Car Soundproofing Methods
For the greatest soundproofing effect, you should focus on five separate options. These are floor insulation, which involves reflective, butyl, and MLV (Mass Loaded Vinyl) mats, door insulation and installing a new stereo system.
Car Door Soundproofing
When considering the amount of sound coming into the sides of your vehicle, not just windows are a factor. In fact, the entire door affects noise levels. Although the process of insulating your car doors requires a lot of work and attention to detail, you might be pleasantly surprised.
The first step is to remove your car’s door layers. This means loosening all screws so that you can measure the length, width and height of your doors. You’ll be prepared to purchase the right amount of materials after doing this.
Once you acquire the soundproofing material of your choice, you should then apply carefully. As for choosing the right door insulation, there are some high quality options I’d recommend.
First off is the Vibro 228 Sound Dampening Insulator, made with self-adhesive foam and equipped with German reinforcement glue. Since this insulator is made with foam, it is probably the best type of insulator to use for your doors. Also. it’s waterproof and effective at minimizing sound and vibrations.
To make installation a bit easier, you might also check out this Second Skin door insulation kit.
Furthermore, Noico offers exceptional soundproofing materials. For instance, their 80 milliliter butyl rubber and foam mat is a self-adhesive sound deadener that muffles sounds and can be used in all areas of your vehicle.
Floor Soundproofing Mats
Most of us think of a floor mat as a great way to protect our car’s floor from dirt and stains. There are also floor mats that are built specially for your soundproofing needs. Two of the best are the Damplifier Pro and the Dynamat. The Damplifier Pro uses butyl rubber, an effective sound muffling material. The company avoids asphalt because of possible health risks.
With a heat rating of 450 degrees Fahrenheit, the foil also serves as a thermal insulator and radiant barrier.
Dynamat is also a popular floor mat. It’s aluminum coated for optimal heat resistance. The mat can also significantly decrease sound decibels. Best of all, it’s easy to install.
Placing these mats in the front can greatly reduce noise associated with the engine, breaks and more. For added effect, place the mats in the back of the cabin to help reduce muffler noises and any other road noises that may occur.
MLV Soundproofing Mats
While traditional soundproofing mats has been proven effective, some of us require just a little more protection from outside noises.
It may help to add a layer of Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV). This type of material is capable of filtering out up to 80 percent of noise.
One particular MLV mat is the Luxury Liner Pro, a 3/8 inch thick vinyl and closed cell foam barrier.
The odorless material is up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit temperature resistant.
If the other floor mat options are a little steep as far as price goes, you may want to use reflective insulation to boost the noise quelling effect. Reflective mats, such as the EZ-Cool Kit, are lightweight barriers that can reduce noise and vibrations. The EZ-Cool is both weather and water proof. In addition, its thermal barrier prevents 99.97 percent of heat transfer.
- Vehicle Insulation Kit - Thermal Sound Deadener 100 Sqft (4x25) - Lightweight Automotive Heat Barrier w/ 25ft of Foil Tape and Razor
- Thermal Heat Barrier: Reflects 99.97% Heat Transfer / R8 / Radiant Barrier and R Value in 1
New Stereo System
If you’d rather avoid the financial expense and the time it would take to install sheets and mats all over your car, a new stereo might be your best option. This option wouldn’t be ideal for everyone, of course. It’s for those who greatly appreciate driving while your favorite tracks are playing.
The catch is that you’d have to install a system loud enough to cancel out noises. Sound systems with a lot of bass typically do the trick. Just be mindful of fellow drivers. The problem your stereo is intended to fix could be magnified for someone else.
More Car Soundproofing Options
If all this soundproofing has you looking for even more ways to protect your car from noise, you’re in luck. You can never be too serious about maintaining a quiet atmosphere inside your car.
Anyone who drives a truck with a flat or larger trunk has witnessed the noise pollution that comes along with it.
In that case, you might want to apply sound deadening spray to the tires, especially the back tires.
Spectrum is a heat-resistant, water-based polymer that stops vibration and noise from tires. It works by preventing heat transfer on metal, which can lead to noise.
This product is also perfect for use in hard to reach nooks and crannies. Simply spray on for high-quality sound insulation.
Perhaps this is the last place you would expect to apply soundproofing. However, it’s a fact that cup holders are designed in such a way that they can amplify noise inside your car. Applying a closed-cell foam to your cup holders can easily reduce the noise.
Back Cabin Floor Mats
Although most of the noise will come from the front of the car, where the engine resides, some noise does enter from the back. Because there is less equipment between the road and the back, there is actually more of an opportunity for road noises to enter. Any of the mats and sheets that work for the front will work in the back of the car as well.
After you’ve taken the liberty to ensure your car is free of noise, you may want to gauge the effectiveness of each method. This can save you time and money. What works for one vehicle may not be as effective in another vehicle. Of course, your ears will (and level of frustration) help you discover what’s working and what isn’t.
There’s also a more precise way to tell. Decibel readers are handheld devices that give you a reading of sound decibels in any location. There are also computer and phone apps that do the same. These methods are very inexpensive but can go a long way.
Just imagine that it’s one of those days when you’re already harried and had to drag yourself out of bed. It doesn’t help when your commute is just a noise jungle, adding to work and personal stress. That’s why reducing road noise is one of the smartest things to do.
From butyl rubber and vinyl to noise cancelling spray, there is a plethora of options. Before running out to purchase them all, however, you should assess your need. Most drivers only need to apply one or two methods while some may need to apply them all.
Do you have a preferred way of reducing noise in your car? Be sure to share your experiences with us in the comments below.