Are you tired of outside noise every time you hit the road? Do you want to find a way to make it quieter inside so you can enjoy your music or phone conversations without having to shout?
A car can be a noisy place – especially when you’re driving on the highway. But there are ways to reduce the noise inside your vehicle to enjoy a quieter ride.
One of the best ways to reduce the noise inside the car is by installing sound deadening. Sound-deadening material helps to absorb and deflect noise, making the time spent in the car more enjoyable.
Tip: If you want to make a serious investment in reducing unwanted noise in your car, you can install an acoustic windshield, new tires, and a sound system that includes active noise cancellation.
These are costly changes but will significantly affect the overall noise level inside your car.
If however, you prefer standard sound deadening, there are many panel types available, with my favorite Soundskins (link to Amazon) that have not only typical mats in rolls but also ready-made door soundproofing kits.
In the article below, I will show you some of the best ways to reduce noise and make your car quiet inside.
How to Reduce Noise in Car Interior?
Reducing noise in the car interior can be achieved in several ways. Some methods are simple and easy, while others require more time and effort.
#1. Use Sound Deadening Material
One of the most effective ways to reduce outside noise in your car is by using sound-deadening materials. This type of material helps to absorb and deflect noise, making the car quieter.
There are many different types of sound deadening material available on the market, so it’s important to choose one that’s right for your car.
Some of the most popular options include:
Sound Deadening Pads
Pads are the most popular and are made from various materials, such as foam, rubber, or cork. They’re designed to fit over the existing panels in your car and reduce the amount of noise that can pass through.
Sound Deadening Mats
Mats are similar to pads but larger and made from thick materials, often foam. As a result, they offer more coverage and can be used on multiple surfaces in your car, such as the floor, doors, and trunk.
Sound Deadening Spray
The spray is a liquid sprayed onto your car’s surface. Then, it dries to create a barrier that helps to reduce noise. Sprays are used in the hard to reach areas as the last step in car soundproofing. If you want to know about the sound-deadening sprays, I created an article about them so check it out here.
#2. Install an Acoustic Windshield
Another way to reduce noise in your car is by installing an acoustic windshield. This type of windshield is made from thicker, denser, and much heavier glass that helps deflect noise away from the vehicle.
Acoustic windshields are a great option if you’re looking for long-term noise reduction. They can be more expensive than other options, but they’ll last for the life of your car.
#3. Replace Your Tires
The tires on your car can also affect how much noise is produced. So, if you’re looking for a quick way to reduce noise, consider replacing your tires with softer ones.
There are three main types of tires that are designed to be used in cars:
These tires are made from a harder rubber compound designed to withstand summer’s higher temperatures. But, unfortunately, they don’t provide as much noise reduction as other options.
All-season tires are made from a softer rubber compound that helps to reduce excessive road noise. They’re a good option if you live in an area with mild winters.
Winter tires are made from the softest rubber compound and do not offer any noise reduction.
They should not be used other than on snow or mud, and if you have them installed, be prepared for the extremely high noise from the tarmac, nearly no performance in the summer, and high wear, because they’re designed for use in snowy and icy conditions.
#4. Upgrade Sound System
If you want to reduce noise and improve the quality of your car’s sound system, consider upgrading to a system that includes active noise cancellation.
This system uses microphones to listen for incoming noise and then creates a sound wave that cancels it.
Active noise cancellation systems can be expensive, but they’re worth the investment if you want to reduce noise in your car.
What Affects the Noise Level Inside the Car?
The noise level inside the cars is mainly affected by the size of the car and its shape.
Noteworthy is also the class of the vehicle. The higher and more luxurious, the better and more soundproofing factory materials are used, and as a result, making driving quieter and more comfortable.
Car producers are competing and developing more advanced solutions to ensure their cars are quieter than the other brands.
They often use additional soundproofing materials, laminated windows, or even the curved shape of the wall between the engine and the cabin to reduce sounds coming from the front of the car.
These changes help reduce noise, but it is still quite loud inside most cars.
In addition, there are several areas from which we hear noises louder than expected:
- The most significant portion of noises we hear hits us from the engine and gearbox. That can be incredibly annoying when we drive with modified or damaged mufflers and exhaust.
- Wheels are another source of loud noise in the car. Although many vehicles have soundproofed their wheel arches, the rolling tires on the tarmac cause annoying sounds. In the case of the wheels, sound deadening is not the only solution. Critical is also choosing the right tires.
The noise level increases not only with the width of the tires but also with their type. For example, winter or all-season tires (especially M+S) are much louder than summer ones because of the different rubber characteristics.
Winter tires are softer and more sticky to the ground, so if you use them in the summer, be prepared for a lot of noise. The same applies to off-road tires when used on the tarmac.
- You can’t forget about the noise caused by the air passing through the car body panels and door seals, creaking interior, air conditioning, and vibrating doors that create noise like resonance boxes.
- The size and position of the door mirrors also affect the level of the high-frequency wind noise coming into the cabin. Unfortunately, in most cars, we cannot change the mirrors unless we replace them with smaller ones.
Types of Sound-Deadening Materials for Cars
When searching for a suitable deadening material for your car, you will come across two isolation types:
- The materials that prevent noise from coming into the passenger area.
- The materials absorb and soften the sounds created inside of the cabin, for example, acoustic foams.
The majority of the deadening panels used in the automotive industry act like sound blocking and absorbing materials at the same time. More importantly, they can reduce vibrations and rattling of the car’s metal surface.
There are a few main groups of soundproofing materials available, and each of them has a different characteristic that you should apply in specific areas in the car:
- Sound deadening car mats are the most popular and are used to cover both small sections and large areas of metal panels. The best quality butyl mats can keep material consistent in extreme temperatures.
- Foam insulation and woven fiber are the thickest of all options. They best cover car’s floor and trunk areas underneath the carpets and are excellent for filling plastic door panels. In addition to reducing noise, they are good heat isolators.
- Sound-dampening rubber sprays and foams are suitable for inaccessible areas where due to the shape, applying standard damping mats is impossible, like tight corners in the car doors or roof metal profiles.
DIY Sound Deadening Material for Cars.
If you’re looking for a cheap solution to reduce the noise in your car, there are a few methods you can try. However, remember that they might not be as effective as store-bought materials.
One of the most popular DIY methods is using old carpets or rugs. You can cut them into smaller pieces and use double-sided tape to stick them onto bare sheet metal panels.
Another way is to use old clothes, towels, or blankets. But, again, you would need to attach them to the metal using a strong adhesive.
The upside of this method is that it’s easy and doesn’t require any special tools or skills. However, the downside is that the result won’t be as consistent and pretty as store-bought materials.
You can also make your sound deadening material by mixing different substances.
For example, one popular recipe includes equal parts of mass-loaded vinyl, butyl rubber, and closed-cell foam. The mixture should then be covered with an adhesive film.
What to Look for When Buying Sound Deadener?
Most stores and workshops use specific, branded products they use and trust. But when choosing deadening materials yourself, pay attention to product quality.
It must be flexible enough not to break in the winter but, at the same time, not fall off from the metal during the hottest months in the summer.
Low-quality deadening materials often have to be replaced because they have changed the structure or worn out and contaminated the car’s interior. That is especially dangerous for the roof panels in dark cars, where the temperature is the highest.
Another thing to pay attention to is the quality of the panels’ adhesive side, which sticks to the metal areas.
Some products can be easily attached to even slightly dusty surfaces, but in the case of mediocre-quality deadening mats, you may need to entirely clean body panels before gluing.
How Much Sound Deadening Do I Need for My Car?
It depends on the size of your car, the surface area you want to focus on, and how much noise you want to reduce.
If you’re unsure how much sound deadening to get, it’s better to err on the side of getting too much rather than too little. That way, you can be sure that every area of your car is covered.
For example, to soundproof the entire floor area in a Ford F-150 cabin, you would need about 12-16 sheets of Butyl deadener (48″ x 24″).
How to DIY Soundproof a Car?
Sound deadening a car is not a difficult task, and there are many ways to do it yourself. However, it is crucial to make sure that you use suitable materials so that you don’t damage your car.
Although many leave sound deadening for professionals, there are some simple ways to deal with unwanted sounds in the car, and you can do it yourself. There are no special tools needed to remove door panels or seats and carpets from the car.
To start soundproofing your car, you must make a few online purchases to buy quality deadening materials, a free weekend, and a bit of motivation to play with your vehicle.
For example, I am the guy that spends every weekend doing car work, and for me, it is the best way to relax.
If you are wondering where to put sound deadening in the car, there are key areas to focus on if you want to notice real silence in the car afterward.
Once you’ve selected the right sound deadening material, follow these tips on how to install it in your car:
#1. Start by cleaning the area where you will be attaching the mats. Make sure the surface is free of dust and grease.
#2. If the mat is too big for the area, cut it to size with a sharp knife.
#3. Peel off the backing paper and attach the mat to the surface. Use a roller or your fingers to press it firmly in place.
#4. Repeat the process for all the areas you want to soundproof.
#5. Once all the mats are in place, cover them with a layer of acoustic foam or another sound-absorbing material. This will further reduce noise levels inside the car.
Where to Apply Sound Deadening in a Car?
The critical places to apply the sound deadening panels are:
#1. floor, wheel wells, and trunk area underneath the carpets
#2. doors (inside door skins and in between the interior panel and door frame)
#3. firewall (the area between the engine and the cabin)
#5. quarter panels
#6. rear deck area
Making the car quiet cannot be completed without sound deadening the car’s floor. You must remove all seats and carpets to thoroughly clean and degrease the entire car floor.
The first noise deadening surface will be the butyl mat, which will also protect against vibration. The second layer, which many people skip, will create thermal insulation in addition to exterior noise reduction. The best for it will be self-adhesive rubber foam.
With sound deaden doors, thanks to removed vibrations between plastic and metal elements, we can start hearing actual quality music played by speakers, rather than rattling plastic door panels.
Correctly isolated doors work like speakers’ enclosures and make sounds more dynamic.
It is like having a speaker playing in the free air; versus another one mounted into the box. The difference is enormous.
Although doors in your car can be deadened with typical bitumen sound deadening mats, this is not the best option. Bitumen can break when it is cold, and keeping it glued to other than flat surfaces can sometimes be challenging.
The best choice for doors will be butyl rubber panels. They are flexible and can be easily adapted to the needed shape without the risk of any damage.
The process of deadening the doors is not complicated, and there are a few simple steps to follow:
- Remove interior door plastic panels and speakers.
- Remove the foam, paper shield, and other elements covering the raw metal door.
- Clean the door interior and degrease metal surfaces with rubbing alcohol.
- The soundproofing mat should fill the door inside on the outer sheet metal and behind the speaker. Do not leave any air bubbles between rubber and metal.
Use thick foam rubber on the plastic door panel, such as Luxury Liner Pro. This way, you will eliminate the crackling sounds and vibrations from the plastic and will make the door sealed like a proper speaker enclosure.
A firewall is an area between the engine compartment and the cabin and is one of the most critical places to sound deadening.
The main goal is to reduce the engine noise and the heat transferred into the car cabin.
To soundproof the firewall, you will need the following:
– Butyl rubber mat
– Mass-loaded vinyl
– Closed-cell foam
The process is simple, but before the start, you have to remove the floor mats and clean the firewall from the cabin side.
#1. Apply butyl mat to the firewall, carefully around wires, holes, and other obstacles. You can use a roller or your fingers to press it firmly.
#2. Next, apply a layer of mass loaded vinyl. This will further reduce noise levels and help keep heat out of the cabin.
#3. Finally, apply a layer of closed cell foam. This will provide additional insulation and reduce vibrations.
The foam will lie right under the carpet, so it needs to be placed carefully do not to cause any floor deformation in this area.
To soundproof the roof, first, we have to remove the headliner and thoroughly clean the surface underneath. Then, you must measure roof areas accurately to cut the exact panel sizes.
The best for the roof will be butyl mats that will not melt from the high temperatures. To make sure there are no air bubbles behind the mat, use a plastic or wooden roller. As a second layer, it may be worth adding a noise-absorbing rubber foam.
If you want to reduce the noise even further, you can add a layer of mass loaded vinyl. This will also help keep heat out of the cabin in summer.
Soundproofing the trunk is often a great occasion to clean this area.
Before starting work, everything from the trunk has to be removed, including the carpet, spare wheel, and everything else you keep inside.
When empty, remove all interior panels and vacuum all metal surfaces thoroughly.
When cleaning, use a wet cloth to wipe all areas and remove oil. Do not leave oily spots because this can prevent glued surfaces from the proper connection.
Like in other areas of the car, you must cut all pieces to the right size before starting to glue deadening materials. When sticking mats to the metal elements, ensure no air between the surfaces.
After covering the entire trunk with mats, the next is the use soundproofing spray and apply it in all small hard to reach areas and tight spots.
Quarter panels are the areas behind the back doors, and they also have to be soundproofed. The process is more or less the same as with other car parts.
Remove all interior panels, clean all surfaces, and measure the area to be covered. Next, carefully cut all mats and apply them to the metal around the edges.
Use a roller or your fingers to press the mats firmly in place and make sure there are no air bubbles. Then, as a second layer, you can apply mass loaded vinyl or closed cell foam.
If you want to reduce road noise even further, you can add another layer of a butyl mat or foam to reduce noise from the rear wheels.
Sound deadening the engine compartment also has a significant impact on driving comfort.
Materials used, however, have to be placed only on the inner side of the hood. Even if matt will not touch the engine, it has to be heat resistant due to the high temperatures inside the engine area.
Before installing the soundproofing mats, open the hood and clean it entirely. Not only wipe it from the dust but also remove all kinds of dried oils and liquids.
When your hood is ready, measure the mats, cut them to the right size, and stick them all carefully to the prepared surface.
Pay attention to the side of the mat that will be closest to the muffler, this is the hottest part of the engine, so it is crucial to ensure it will not fall off.
Thanks to soundproofing mats, the engine area will reach the optimum temperature faster, which improves the engine work quality in the winter.
Reducing noise in the car is possible with a few simple steps. First, by adding soundproofing mats in all crucial places, you will reduce the noise level significantly and make driving more comfortable.
Choose the right size and thickness of the mat, as well as the type of material, according to your needs and preferences, but do not forget to check if it is heat resistant in case of installing it near the engine.
Make sure there are no air bubbles when sticking mats to the surface, and give them some time to dry properly.
In the end, add a finishing touch by using a soundproofing spray in all small hard to reach places.
All this can be done at home, but if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself, send the car to the professionals. This can be costly but will save you time.