There is nothing more frustrating than being on the road and not being able to have a nice conversation with someone or listening to music because the noise your car is too overpowering.
In this post I will give you some pointers on how to soundproof your car, be it from engine-, road- or wind noises.
All the tips I share with you will help a LOT with the reduction of noise, and I mean a LOT. It’s definitely worth doing.
Car soundproofing comes down to reducing the vibrations coming from the road which resonate inside your vehicle.
The best ways to do this are;
Using soundproofing floor mats under the car’s floor mats and insulating the car doors and also the trunk, which generates a lot of noise.
Table of contents
- Use Soundproofing Floor Mats to reduce Road Noise
- Use Soundproofing Mats and Reflective Insulation
- Insulate the Car Doors
- Reduce Wind Noise
- Where should you prioritize insulating first?
- Soundproof Everything
1. Using Soundproofing Floor Mats to reduce Road Noise
The best way by far, in my opinion, is to install a Dynamat.
This is a sound deadening material which is extremely easy to install, and it only takes between 30 min to one hour to do.
Dynamat is a fantastic choice because of two reasons; For how much it reduces the external noise and also for how quickly anyone can install it.
Dynamat, however, is quite expensive and what’s the point in spending more if you don’t need to?
There are other manufacturers who also sell similar sound deadening mats for almost half the price while still conserving the same quality.
The Noico sound dampening mats are the ones I recommend the most, you can’t go wrong for that price.
How to install it?
First you need to take out the car’s floor mats.
Next, you simply install the Dynamat which has one adhesive side which makes the installation super fast.
I’d suggest also applying it to the floor on the back and the trunk. You may not realize this but if you have a large trunk area, the noise from the rear wheels will come straight into the car’s cabin .
Using sound deadening mats to cover up the whole of the trunks floor will make a huge difference.
How much insulation can you expect?
This all depends on how naturally loud your car is, you will never be able to remove a 100% of the outside noise. But believe me, this method will make a huge difference.
Another factor to consider is how much of the cars surface you cover with the sound deadening mat.
If you only apply it to the floor in the front of the car, you will get a significant noise reduction, but there is still a lot more surface you could cover.
Note: If the trunk of your car is really small, then applying the insulation mat won’t really be of much use. It will still help, but the difference will be hardly noticeable.
2. Using soundproof Mats AND Reflective Insulation
If the previous method alone didn’t reduce the noise level as much as you’d like, then you could also use Reflective insulation.
Apart from helping with noise reduction, reflective insulation is great at blocking both the heat and the cold coming from the floor of the car.
To be honest, I’m surprised at how well reflective insulation works, both for noise reduction and temperature isolation. If you ask me, you should definitely use this method.
The one reflective insulation mat I would recommend is this one Amazon, you won’t find any bad reviews about it plus the price is very affordable.
You could certainly do a search for other ones if you’d like, but honestly just get the one I recommended, you won’t regret it.
How and where to apply it?
The great thing about reflective insulation is that it can be used simultaneously with soundproof mats, in fact, they are meant to be used together.
Reflective insulation has to be under the soundproofing floor mat.
You need to use an Adhesive spray on the car’s floor and place the reflective insulation on top of it. After it dries, you can apply the Soundproofing Mat on top of it (remember that the mat comes with an adhesive side, no glue or spray needed).
Following these two steps will lower the noise you perceive inside your car by about 50% (this depends on a lot of factors, more on this later).
3. Insulate the Car Doors
The first step is to remove any panels that cover up the door, the goal here is to gain access to the inside of the door.
You will also want to remove the speaker.
You will notice that most doors are completely hollow, just an empty cavity inside. This doesn’t provide any noise insulation whatsoever.
The last step is to use Rubbing alcohol to clean every surface of the door to remove grease and oil.
Next you need to apply the insulation material. The two I recommend are these Soundskin acoustic foams, or if you’d like you could use the same mats used in the first step.
How to apply the insulation foam to the car’s door?
Start by cutting up a couple of pieces into squares and remove the protective backing.
Next, use its adhesive side to apply it to the inside (inner side of the outer sheet) of the door.
Now that you have applied the material to the inner side of the outer sheet of the door, it’s time to work on the inner side of the door (if this sounds confusing watch the video that’s a bit further down).
Here I would recommend just using one big piece of the material to insulate the inner side. This is easier than having to cut lots of small pieces and adhering them to the door, plus it’s actually better.
You could place a cardboard against the inner side of the door and using a pencil trace the whole surface you want to apply insulation to.
Make sure to leave room for any moving parts, such as the lock, and for the screw holes.
Next, cut the cardboard and use it to transfer the shape to the Soundskins/insulation foam.
Once you cut it, remove the protective backing and adhere it to the door and you’re done.
4. Reduce Wind Noise in your Car
This usually happens when the rubber seals around your doors and windows are old and no longer work properly.
All you need to do here is replace them, which is quite easy, just follow these steps…
Remove the old ones
Note: You should do this with an open door, it makes the whole process easier.
Locate the spot where the seals are damaged and using a screwdriver, very gently move it along to separate the rubber from the metal.
Once it’s loose enough, you should be able to peel it off easily.
The next step is to clean everything with a solvent to remove any residue of rubber and adhesive.
After you’ve done this let everything dry for a bit.
The next step is to sand the metal so that the new adhesive can stick properly.
Note: Be very careful while doing this. Use a very fine-grit sandpaper and only sand where the rubber was, don’t go anywhere beyond where the seals were.
Apply the new adhesive
Apply the weather stripping adhesive exactly where the seals will sit. Make sure to check properly before doing this since you don’t want to apply glue anywhere else.
Lastly, put a bit of glue inside the rubber itself.
Make sure to give it a couple of minutes before the final step, since the adhesive needs about 10 min to work properly.
Put the seals in place
The final step is to put the seals in place, press down firmly on them to make sure that they bond properly.
5. Where should you prioritize insulating first?
First you should cover every one of the big surfaces since these are the ones that will generate the highest amount of unwanted noise.
The most important place by far is under the diver’s and passenger’s floor mats. This is because it’s where you’re going to be 99% of the time when you are in your car.
It’s also the most important part of the car to soundproof since the floor panels of the car act like a huge sound diaphragm. All the vibrations of the road will resonate throughout the cabin.
Once you did that, you should move on to insulating the trunk (if it’s a big one).
Like I mentioned earlier, if your car has a big flat trunk with no seats, you should absolutely cover it with a soundproofing mat. This is essential since the trunk will act as a sound diaphragm for all the vibrations of the road.
The third area you should focus on are the doors. This takes a bit more work than any of the other areas in the car since you have to take the doors apart and reassemble them later on, but it’s well worth it.
The last place, and least important, is under the floor mats of the back seats. Still, even though there are no axles or wheels underneath this part of the car, it still acts like a large diaphragm.
I don’t think the window seals are as crucial as any of the other steps, but you should check them to see if they are torn or broken.
6. Soundproof EVERYTHING
Applying a little soundproofing foam here and there “can” help a bit, but you should really focus on covering every nook and cranny.
Why is this important?
Well you surely had this happen to you; You close a door completely and the noises outside the door almost disappear entirely, but if you open it just a centimeter you are able to hear everything on the other side of the door as if it wasn’t even there.
The same concept applies to your car; You need to cover every hole where sound can come in, because even the tiniest one will let a lot of sound through.
Therefore, it’s really important that besides covering up every little hole you can find, you also make sure to not leave any gaps between the pieces of soundproofing foam/mats you use. That’s why I recommend to use one big piece for the doors instead of using a lot of small ones.
How much does all of this really reduce noise?
You’d be surprised about how effective all of these methods are. The louder your car is, the easier it will be to notice a difference.
If your car is already silent, you probably won’t notice more than a 15% improvement.
But if you drive an old one with bad sound insulation, then I expect to see up to a 50% improvement.
Try the ones you feel will benefit you the most, I’m certain it will help you out a lot.