How to Reduce Noise in Car Interior
Noise can come from all over the place while driving. Tire hum, engine and exhaust drone, wind, and all sorts of body rattles. This article on sound insulation will teach you how to reduce noise in car interior.
It’s the best way to achieve a considerable noise reduction, making your car cabin quieter by reducing engine rumbling, and road and wind noise.
This will also translate in a reduction of rattles and vibrations, improving the stereo sound quality and isolate your car interior from extreme heat and cold, by decreasing the heat transfer.
If you drive an older vehicle, chances are that it is not comfortable to have a conversation at normal speaking volume while driving along the motorway. At highway speeds, both road and wind noise can cause fatigue, which you can prevent with sound deadening, reducing some decibels.
Also, a car without rattles feels much more solid when going through a pothole or when riding on degraded pavements, as the only sound you hear is a muted noise of the suspension working.
Engine and exhaust noise can also be disturbing. Diesel and loud gasoline engines can get you tired during a long trip and even disrupt your concentration while driving. And it’s frustrating not being able to properly hear the music or maintain a conversation with other passengers in a regular tone.
Even in most modern vehicles, a big difference can be attained with sound deadening. Making your car entirely soundproof to outside noise is impossible, although you can greatly reduce the amount of noise in the car interior by sound insulating it.
How to Reduce Cabin Noise in car
In this article, we’re going over part of the answer to how to reduce cabin noise in car.
Now we’ll be focusing on the materials you should apply and why.
Please read carefully until the end of the article. In the end, you’ll find links to other incredible articles on sound insulation, including our Ultimate Guide on Car Sound Insulation.
Remember that these articles are not independent, each one of them gives an important contribution to your end goal.
Automotive sound-deadening materials serve different aims. You have a lot to chose, from damping materials, sound blockers, sound absorbers.
All of them have their purposes and applications and all are essential for an effective insulation process.
Metal surfaces act as sound amplifiers. Inside a car cabin, there is a lot of vibration and structure-borne noise coming from sheet metal panels like the floor pan, doors, and the roof. You can quiet down those noise sources dramatically by installing sound-deadening products. These vibration-deadeners work by absorbing sound-causing vibration energy, eliminating resonance, and baffling out the excessive sound.
Most common vibration dampers come in form of butyl rubber mats bonded to an aluminum alloy skin. They stick to the inside surface of your car’s metal panels and are easy to stretch and contour. It will conform easily to all interior surfaces, and the sticky butyl rubber will adhere to a surface and stay in place.
There are also vibration dampers made from tar with adhesive backing, instead of butyl, which are usually more affordable, although heavier and thicker. Some can be a bit smelly when exposed to heat and not so easy to contour as the butyl mats.
Sprays of liquid butyl and other elastomeric damping polymers are also available and their purpose is to be used in hard to reach parts of the vehicle and also for undercoating sound deadening and wheel wells.
All of the above-mentioned damping materials not only do a great job eliminating structure born noise but also act as strong sound blockers, keeping the noises from entering the vehicle. Therefore, if only one type of material is to be used when insulating a vehicle, this would undoubtedly be the most appropriate to chose from, for its polyvalence and results.
Sound blockers act as airborne noise barriers. In addition to the sticky butyl rubber and tar mats mentioned above, other sound blockers are usually made of thick foams, hard rubber or mass loaded vinyls (MLV). Mass loaded vinyl is a high-quality noise abatement material that can substantially decrease the noise level inside your car cabin.
An effective airborne sound blocking material has to be dense and heavy, without any gaps in the barrier where the sound waves can travel through.
Sound blocking materials often do a great job as thermal barriers and may be installed under the floor-carpet, inside the door cards and roof-liner, behind the dashboard on the firewall, and on the trunk bottom and sides.
Sound absorbing materials won’t block exterior noises from entering your vehicle. They will absorb interior airborne sound waves and cut some medium to higher frequencies, creating a more comfortable car environment, reducing interior noises and echoes. Open-cell foam is excellent absorbing mid-to-high frequency sound waves.
The best places to apply these materials are inside the roof-liner and the pillars, and also inside the center console and dashboard, to fill empty gaps and neutralize airborne sound waves.
Is Soundproofing worth the money?
It’s a legitimate question you should ask. Yes, you want your car with better sound insulation but you have to consider its cost. Is soundproofing worth the money?
If you are after a more effortless and relaxed driving experience, if you want your car to move up some steps in terms of comfort and refinement and give it a more premium feeling, sound insulation is surely an improvement you should consider.
Even if you just want to improve your sound system, be able to enjoy your music, hear your favorite tunes or have a conversation in your car without having to raise your voice, sound deadening is the way you should go.
If you aim the best possible results to make your car quieter, you should go through the whole process and utilize all the mentioned materials without regarding costs. That way you’ll effectively reduce noise in car interior.
By killing structure born noise coming from vibrating sheet panels you’re taking the main step to have a quieter car, as this plays a huge part in the noise that is audible inside the cabin.
Blocking exterior airborne sound is another essential stage to reduce the noise level inside. This will muffle the engine rumble, exhaust drone, tire hum, and some wind noise.
Neutralizing interior airborne sound waves using absorbing materials is also important for that intended ultimate comfort and luxury perception. This helps reducing echoes and also plays some role in wind noise inside the doors and pillars as well as other mid-to-high frequency sounds.
If for any reason, only one type of material is to be used when insulating a vehicle, butyl rubber or tar damping mats are the most appropriate. They work very well as a damping material, neutralizing sheet panel vibrations and they’re also great sound barriers, blocking airborne noises from the outside. They also do a great job as thermal barriers, especially the ones bonded to an aluminum alloy skin.
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