Soundproofing a Car

Car Soundproofing & Reducing Road Noise- The Five Essential Steps

Nothing is as frustrating as being in a car driving somewhere and not being able to hear the radio or the person next to you simply because the road noise is overpowering. Before reading this, you might have thought you were stuck with this problem. However, you can take a few steps to remedy the situation and perform the car soundproofing or sound deadening process.

Soundproofing a Car

Successfully soundproofing a car is simply down to how effective you are at keeping the noise generated by road vibrations from the cabin. The most effective way to do so is by installing soundproof floor materials on the inner parts of the doors and the floors. This sound deadening process can result in a 15 to 50% reduction in noise levels. This article will highlight the five essential steps you can take to soundproof your car and reduce road noise.

Prioritizing Soundproofing in a Car

When applying soundproof materials to your car to help reduce road noise, you might wonder which part of the vehicle requires soundproofing the most. For the most part, you need to focus on the large areas as they are likely to generate the highest amount of unwanted noise.

The most important areas to soundproof in a car are under both the driver and passenger seats and floor mats. The reason for this is that the cabin is where you will be most of the time in your car. Additionally, soundproofing is also an essential part of the car.

The floor panels can act like a massive sound diaphragm, resonating all the vibrations from the road into the cabin. As soon as you are done with soundproofing this part of the car, you can then move to soundproof the car’s trunk. This is particularly important if your car’s trunk is a large one.

If your car’s trunk is large with no seats, then you should consider covering it with a soundproof mat. This is one of the elements of car soundproofing. The trunk also acts like a massive sound diaphragm channeling all the road’s vibrations into the cabin.

The third area to concentrate on is the doors. Car soundproofing also involves the doors, even though it might take a little more work than other areas of the vehicle. The doors have to be taken apart and then reassembled; however, this process is worth it.

Last but not least, the floor under the back seats should also be soundproofed. This area might not seem that critical considering that there are no wheels or axles under it; it can still act like a sound diaphragm.

You can also choose to soundproof your windows; however, soundproofing the doors does take out most of the noise emanating from this area. The key is to ensure you use quality soundproofing materials at all times.

Using Soundproof Floor Mats for Car Soundproofing

The most effective way to reduce unwanted noise is to install soundproof floor mats. They are just like regular floor mats with one difference – they have been constructed using soundproof, deadening materials which deaden the car noise. This process is relatively easy, and installation shouldn’t take you more than an hour.

There are many brands to select from when it comes to soundproof floor mats. Two of the most notable brands, however, are Noico and Dynamat. Dynamat Xtreme is one of the best-known floor mats brands, and rightly so since it can be seamlessly installed by just anyone and can significantly reduce external noise. As a top brand, it can be pretty expensive to purchase, so it might be necessary to look at other less expensive competitors such as Noico.

Noico sound dampening mats provide nearly the same effects as the top brands but at a lower price range for car soundproofing.

Installing a Soundproof Floor Mat

Installing a soundproof floor mat is relatively easy.

  • You first need to remove the car’s stock floor mats
  • The next step would be to install the soundproof floor mat, which typically has an adhesive side to make installation quicker. To get the best out of your soundproof mat, you should install it in your trunk and at the back

Having an ample trunk space can be one of the reasons why the noise generated by the rear wheels on the road enter right into the cabin. Using soundproof floor mats to cover the entire floor of your trunk can make a significant difference.

When it comes to using soundproof floor mats to reduce road noise, don’t forget that you might be unable to remove all of the outside noise, especially if your car is naturally loud. However, this method can make a massive difference.

Another factor you might want to consider is covering as much surface area with your soundproof floor mat. Applying the soundproof floor mat to just the front of the car might provide you with a significant noise reduction, but you could get a lot more by covering more surface area.

Note that if the trunk space in your car is minimal, then applying the soundproof mat might not make that much of a difference. Covering as close to 100% of the surface area of your car can yield a 50% reduction in noise, but this all depends on how loud your vehicle is to start with.

Reducing Wind Noise in the Car

Sometimes, how much road noise you experience in the cabin results from how the car was manufactured. You are less likely to experience wind noise for new vehicles since the rubber seals used around the doors and windows are still fresh.

However, the rubber seals can begin to deteriorate for older cars, particularly those in harsh weather conditions. This deterioration causes the amount of wind noise you hear in the cabin to rise. To solve this, you have to replace the rubber seals using the following steps:

How to Replace Rubber Seals in a Vehicle

The most effective way to replace the rubber seals is to start by opening the doors.

  • Find the areas where the seals are broken or damaged, and then use a screwdriver to gently remove the seals going all along the door frame to remove the rubber
  • Once the rubber seals are loose enough, peeling them off should be easy
  • The next step would be to clean the door frame down using a solvent. The solvent removes any adhesive or rubber residue
  • Let the car door dry for a bit before moving to the next step
  • Once the car door is dry, you can use sandpaper to sand the metal down so the adhesive you apply sticks properly

Be very careful when doing this and only use fine-grit sandpaper. Make sure you only sand the area where the rubber seal was, as going beyond that could cause damage to your vehicle.

  • Once that is done, you can apply the new adhesive where the seals should sit. Ensure you properly check before proceeding with this step, as you don’t want to put the glue somewhere else
  • You should also put a little bit of glue onto the rubber seal
  • Wait for a couple of minutes, usually about 10, for the adhesive to work correctly
  • After 10 minutes, you can move to put the seals in place by firmly pressing down on them. Doing this ensures the seal bonds with the adhesive properly

Soundproofing the Roof of the Car

While this part of the vehicle might not be so crucial for car soundproofing compared to other features like the floor, the roof has a large surface area that can vibrate when the vehicle is in motion. Additionally, when you soundproof the top, you notice a significant noise reduction, particularly during rainy days.

To do this, you can use any soundproofing materials with adhesive properties. The most effective material to use is the peel and stick material, as it helps make the installation easier.

How to Install Soundproofing Material to the Roof

To access the inner part of your car’s roof, you will have to remove the headliner. When doing this, you need to be careful as any misstep could cause you to damage it.

You can then use rubbing alcohol to clean the roof’s entire surface. Doing so will help the soundproof stick better to the top.

When it comes to installation, you can get by using large pieces of soundproof material. This helps to cover a more significant portion of the roof’s surface. For the leftover empty spaces, you can measure them out and cut out appropriately sized pieces to fit those areas.

Insulating the Car Doors

Insulating the doors is also part of the car soundproofing process. The first step is to remove the car panels that cover the entrance. This will enable you to gain access to the inside of the door. It might also be necessary to remove the speaker.

When you do this, you will discover that most doors are fully hollow, with just an empty cavity inside. This space doesn’t have any soundproof qualities and, in extreme cases, might amplify the sound coming from the road.

Before insulating the doors, you will need to use rubbing alcohol to clean the entire surface of the door. Doing this helps eliminate oil and grease that might have accumulated on the door. It also helps ensure the soundproof material sticks to the door frame.

You will then need to apply the insulation material. There are many brands to select from, and whichever one you choose needs to provide adequate soundproofing. It should be great at absorbing vibrations.

How to Apply the Insulation Foam to the Door

  • Since the insulation foam comes in large pieces, cut them into squares and remove the protecting cover.
  • Also, apply the adhesive side to the inner part of the door. This should be the side facing the outside of the door.
  • Once the material has been applied to the outside of the door, you can then apply it to the inner part of the door. This might sound confusing, but you want to apply the insulation foam to both sides of the door rather than one side to achieve an adequate soundproofing effect.

The outer sheet of the door is the essential part the insulation should be applied to. This part is also the most difficult one to cover. As a result, you need to be patient and cut the foam to fit all the nooks and crannies of the space until there is nothing uncovered. After this, move to the inner part of the door.

To soundproof the inner side, you should use a single piece of insulation foam; it is a lot more effective than trying to cut out small pieces to adhere to the door one by one. You can use cardboard to accurately trace the contours of the inner part of the door to help you better apply the insulation. You must leave space for moving parts like the lock and the screw hole.

Once the insulation has been cut, you can eliminate the protective backing, adhering it to the door, and that’s about it.

Utilizing Reflective Insulation

Reflective insulation provides more than just loud noise reduction. It can also help block both the cold and heat emanating from the bottom of the vehicle.

How to Apply Reflective Insulation

To install the reflective insulation for car soundproofing, you will need to spray some adhesive onto the car’s floor before placing the reflective insulation right on top of it. Some people tend to utilize reflective insulation in conjunction with soundproof floor mats.

However, the reason why they tend to do this is down to cost-effectiveness. Since soundproof floor mats reduce road noise, adding reflective insulation on top is just another bonus.

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