Car Soundproofing: How to Reduce Road Noise in Car
Chances are, if you work a normal 9-5 job, you may have got yourself stuck in traffic at one time or another.
It happens to nearly everybody, and its something that is nearly impossible to entirely avoid.
While you sit there in traffic, sun beating down on top of your windshield, the noise of construction equipment, angry drivers, and stereos that are way too loud start to take their toll on you.
If only there was a way to drown out all this noise to make this experience at least a little less painful.
You happen to be in luck, as there exist many ways in which one can muffle the noise of the world outside their car.
And if you’re thinking car noise reducer – that’s exactly what we’re thinking as well!
Today we will take a look at some of the methods in which you can soundproof your car!
Soundproofing a Car: How Does it Work?
The thing to understand when soundproofing your car is that there is no way to cancel out all outside noise.
You will likely still hear noise from the road escaping into your car as you drive, especially in older vehicles, so don't expect a completely noise-free experience.
But that’s also an ideal situation since soundproofing even the smallest sound from the outside could be dangerous for your surroundings.
What you can expect, however, is a drastic decrease in the amount of noise that you hear compared to before, especially engine compartment and cabin noise reduction.
These methods help to cancel out up to 50% of the noise that you hear from the road, which is a huge difference, and makes noise almost non-existent to newer, better insulated vehicles.
If you want to compare results, one of the suggested actions is using an app on your phone that measures decibel levels.
Doing this, you can do a “before-and-after” comparison of the outside noise while you drive after using one of these soundproofing methods.
Related: Best Automotive Sound Deadening Materials to Achieve a Quieter Ride
How to Soundproof a Car: 4 Best Ways
What You'll Be Needing:
Method A: Soundproof Floor Damping Mats
Most cars have floor mats that help to catch dirt and make for a more comfortable ride, but they don't do an awful lot for soundproofing your car from the elements.
For this issue, you should use something called Dynamat or Damplifier Pro.
This is quite often used for undercarriage soundproofing – which is what we’re doing to block sounds coming in from your floor (the floor is not as thick as you think it is).
These products are made of butyl rubber with a foil constraint layer on one side and an adhesive on the other to help the mat stick to any surface.
The foam material is what helps to absorb the noise from vibrations that can come into your car, keeping road noise down.
While there are several different “soundproof floor mats” that you can install into your car, we find that the Damplifier Pro and Dynamat are a cut above the rest.
With that said, these damping mats cost a pretty penny, but no one said that soundproofing your car was going to be a cheap endeavor.
On the bright side, these help reduce road noise which is definitely worth it (especially if you’re stuck for at least 2 hours a day in a traffic).
Where Do I Apply Soundproof Mats?
As you might expect, soundproof mats work best when applied to the bottom of your car's floor mats, in particular those in the front seats.
This is due to most of the outside noise coming from the area of the front of the car, with the engine compartment and the like being closer to the front.
Adding soundproof mats to the bottom of the floor mats in the back seat is preferable too, as this helps to further reduce noise from the road and the muffler.
This is especially true in older vehicles, which may be a bit louder due to their age.
You might also like: Dynamat Vs HushMat: Which is Better?
Method B: Soundproof Mats w/Reflective Insulation
So you tried out some of those Dynamats that we were talking about and, while they were good, they were not quite as effective at deadening the noise as you would have liked.
So what do you do now?
You might want to try adding a MLV noise barrier like Second Skin’s Luxury Liner Pro. The only way to block out that extra noise that’s coming through the floor of your car is with a second, denser barrier layer.
Luxury Liner Pro is the best option available for automotive use.
An MLV barrier will help to increase the amount of noise that is blocked by the Soundproof Mats even further, sometimes canceling out as much as 80% of the noise.
Not only this, but Luxury Liner Pro’s combination of closed cell foam and mass loaded vinyl will add insulation will keep the cold out of your car.
This will help tremendously when trying to heat up your car in the cold winter months.
If you’re looking for a lower cost option, you can add Reflective Insulation to your car instead. It’s not dense enough to block much noise, but it will do a ton to increase insulation.
Where do I Apply Reflective Insulation?
The Reflective Insulation that you buy should be applied directly underneath the soundproof foam mat.
These two products are meant to work in conjunction with each other in order to bring your the best noise canceling experience.
If you want to save time and to be on the safe side, you can even apply both the soundproof mats and the reflective insulation to your car at the same time and eliminate the hassle.
Method C: Soundproofing Car Doors
If you are really desperate to get rid of outside noise, one of the most effective methods is to soundproof the doors of your car.
While most people focus on soundproofing car windows, you should focus on the door in whole, and here’s what you have to do.
Prepare for an arduous task, however, as this method of soundproofing can take some effort, time, and a bit of frustration.
The best method of soundproofing your car doors is with foam insulation, similar to that which is used for soundproofing your floor mats.
And if you do this properly for all doors of your car – you might be very close to drastically reducing noise in the cabin of your car.
The difference will be very noticeable. In order to do this “properly”, you should have a look at some of the best insulations out there.
The best insulation for this are those that are provided by the Noico: a company that is known for the quality of their sound deadening materials.
We also found this Audio Door Kit on Second Skin Audio’s website that includes everything you’d need to masterfully insulate your doors all in one easy to purchase bundle.
So What Makes This Task a Pain in the Butt?
What makes soundproofing your car windows and doors hard to do is the amount of labor you have to do to accomplish this task.
For starters, you are going to have to remove the first layer of your car door (screws and all) and measure the door so that you will buy the right amount of sound deadening materials.
Next is the process of actually applying the foam. You are going to want to make sure that you cover as much of the area inside of your door without causing obstructions or adding too much weight.
This will give you as much noise canceling area as possible without hindering the process of putting the car door back on or making your car harder to drive due to added weight.
You might also like: Dynamat Vs FatMat: Which is Better?
Method D: New Stereo System
Let's say you don't want to go through all the work involved with installing foam all over your car to soundproof it. What do you do now?
Jam out, that's what! If noise canceling through damping mats and foam isn't your thing, you can always install a new stereo system inside of your car to help with outside noise.
If you choose to do this, then you will want to get a system for your car which will be loud enough to cancel out the noise. Something with a lot of bass capability will usually do the trick for this.
Please be courteous of your fellow drivers, however. But ain’t this a great way on how to quiet road noise and yet still enjoy your trip?
After all, part of the reason for soundproofing your car is to eliminate the outside noise you hear, so you don't need to make it harder for other drivers as well by adding to the noise.
Anywhere Else in the Car That I Should Soundproof?
Outside of the areas mentioned above, you can also try soundproofing the following areas for the best results:
Cup Holder: Okay, it sounds weird, but trust me here.
A cup holder can act as a giant megaphone for outside noise due to how they are designed, so soundproofing these may help to eliminate a little bit of excess noise (sometimes even a few decibels).
Second Skin has a great product for this, it’s their OverKill Pro closed cell foam.
Back-seat Floor Mats: While it is most important to soundproof the front cabin of the car, as this is where the majority of noise comes from, it doesn't hurt to soundproof the floor in the back as well.
With less machinery in the back the floor can actually let more noise from the road itself escape into the car, so it would be worth your time to add some foam underneath the back-seat floor mats.
Back Tires: If you have a vehicle that has a larger, flat trunk, then a lot of noise can escape into the car through the back tire area, which echos the noise into the vehicle.
To prevent this, add a layer of Luxury Liner Pro on top of the wheel wells and in the trunk area.
You can also spray a sound deadener, like Spectrum Sound Deadening Spray, into the wheel wells under the car to help deaden the noise.
On Car Soundproofing: Did You Reduce the Road Noise?
Trust me when I say that I know how annoying and loud the commute to work can be, and I understand where someone is coming from when they say that they wish they could soundproof their car.
While these methods won't get rid of all the noise, they will significantly lessen what you hear and will hopefully give you a bit more peace during your commute.
If you think your car cabin is full of noise – try driving an electric car. They have no engine sound which just leaves more space for road noise inside the cabin.
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How to Soundproof a Car
Too noisy to have a conversation in your car? Here, we talk about car soundproofing and how to reduce road noise in cars so you can have a peaceful drive.
- Reflective Insulation
- Method A: Soundproof Floor mats
- Method B: Soundproof Mats w/Reflective Insulation
- Method C: Soundproofing Car Doors
- Method D: New Stereo