12 Easy Ways to Soundproof a Car

The outside road noise can indeed make our driving experience annoying, no matter which car we travel in, doesn’t it? 

Especially when you are playing your favourite music which is hardly audible or the conversations which get louder if not better, as a result of the external noises. Well, thankfully, there are a few potential ways and materials that help in achieving acoustic comfort. 

This article will take you through some of the most effective measures that you could easily implement in your cars. 

If you are someone who absolutely cannot tolerate even the slightest of noise inside your car, then the first step you might as well take is to start researching the types of cars that are ‘quieter’. Usually, larger vehicles are quieter than smaller ones. 

Station wagons and Hatchbacks are usually known to be noisier than Sedans as they possess large open space at the back which provides acoustic resonance. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to go for a Sedan for a quieter driving experience, I strongly suggest that you need to test drive the car before purchasing any and see for yourself which suits you the best.

Don’t just obsess over the ‘quieter’ cars; as you certainly can ‘soundproof’ any car! 

Trucks, SUV’s and other larger vehicles have comparatively larger surfaces and hence, are often referred to as ‘sporty vehicles. And well, to burst the bubble, the sportier the vehicle, the noisier it gets inside! You could experience this usually while driving on rough and bumpy roads. 

The type of tire you choose also plays a significant role here. It is essential to check the type and quality of rubber that is used for the manufacturing of tires. Narrower tires are better than the broader ones. There is a rating system launched by The European Union in which the tires manufacturers can submit decibel ratings of their tires.

It’s easier to evaluate, right?

Next, Engines and Suspensions also play a big role in noise reduction; both in cars as well as motorbikes. It is a well-known fact that electric engines are the quietest. For decades, it is observed that diesel engines are known to be very loud and don’t give a very good driving experience.

However, the game has changed now and they are assumed to be quieter than gas/ petrol cars, especially on the highways. 

Did you also know that ‘windows’ play a major role in sound absorption? Laminated windows are the best. The additional plastic layer (laminate) proves to be an agent in cutting down on the noise.

Also, older cars are going to make much more noise in comparison to the newer ones. The newer cars are designed with more efficiency keeping in mind the public demands, interests and needs (soundproofing is one of them). 

a man putting ears on his ears

TYPES OF NOISES EXPERIENCED INSIDE A CAR– 

  1. Road Noise– As the name suggests, road noise is the noise generated by the vehicle’s tires moving on the surface of the road. As the tires roll across the roads, any irregularities, bumps or speed-breakers cause the metal and plastic panelling of the car body to shake and rattle, which causes the car to vibrate and make noises that are transferred to the inside. 
  1. Wind Noise– The whooshing sound of the wind hits our ears, especially while driving on highways. The noise often comes as a result of the high-pressure air trying to enter through the tiniest gaps or holes. 
  1. Worn out Tires– The screeching and squealing noise of the tires is one irritating sound for the ears. You might as well consider replacing them as soon as possible! 
  1. Rough Roads and Pavements– It is commonly observed that parking lots have rocky stones and pavers; on which the car definitely makes some noise. Another common noisy experience is witnessed while driving in the suburbs or on muddy lands. 
Traffic
  1. Traffic– Ahh! This one word is enough to ruin your entire day! The constant honking of horns surely irritates us like none other. Not to forget people yelling and shouting when in times of congestion! 
  1. Car maintenance– Yes, at times you might feel the doors making a rattling noise, the other times maybe the metal sheets and plastic sheets do, too, sometimes the exhaust is too loud and other times it’s just the engine! Hence, All you need to do is find out exactly where the noise is coming from. After all, it is a machine, right? It needs periodic cleaning and maintenance. 

Now coming to the crux of this article- 

HOW TO SOUNDPROOF A CAR? 

The first and foremost step in soundproofing your car is to find the ‘source’ of it. That’s right. Do a little investigation of where the problem lies. Once done, you are all set to fix it. 

Here are a few DIY solutions that you can easily adapt and implement.

1. Get the Right Tire 

Do not underestimate this one. Good and quieter tires can give you a pleasurable driving experience. Few things that you need to check for in good tires are-

  • Quality of rubber (softer the better)
  • Narrower tire
  • Smaller grooves 
  • Smaller voids between grooves 
tyre

Tire noise also depends largely on how fast you’re driving and how good or bad the surface is. Uneven wear and tear of the tires may also result in creating noise. Off-roading tires usually have bigger grooves for traction, which create more noise, obviously.

2. Use Soundproof Car Mats 

This is an easy and affordable one. Soundproof car mats are available in the stores and online. They are easy to install and you could do it all by yourself. All you need to do is place them on the ‘cabin floor’ in the front and back of your car. 

What’s more? They also regulate temperature and hence act as a thermally insulating material. They are also very good at absorbing vibrations. It’s like a complete package! 

You can place them directly on the car floor and top them up with your car mats. Placing them on the car roofs and doors can add to the efficiency. 

They can reduce up to 50% of cabin noise. 

Here are a few mats that are available on Amazon- 

3. Use Sprays

This is also a very easy solution. Spraying ‘sound deadeners’ on the surfaces creates a coating that helps for acoustic insulation. They are specially designed to reach places that are hard to reach. 

spray foam
Click on image to check price

They come in aerosol cans. The ones that come in professional cans require paint guns. However, let me tell you that these sprays need to be used with a combination of other materials, as they are not effective for applying on larger surfaces. 

4. Insulate the doors

Did you know that the car doors have an empty cavity on the inside? Well, if you could insulate these doors, you can immediately save yourself from the exterior noise. For this, you need to first remove the door panels first by unscrewing all the screws carefully. 

Take the help of a professional if you need to. ‘Peelable sticky insulation’ is a great material for insulating doors. By using these, it won’t be necessary for you to remove the entire door. Here is one of the best options available on amazon-

  • CloudBuyer
peelable insulation
Click on image to check price

5. Watch out for the Windows

Air can easily gush inside through the tiniest of gaps, holes and cracks. It is necessary to check your windows for this very reason. The rubber seals over time can get worn out and come out. 

It is therefore important to replace all the rubber seals around your windows and doors. This will not only stop the wind noise but also the noise from tires and engines. Installing them is easy and you can do it all by yourself. 

Rubber seals are available in shops and on Amazon. Do not forget to clean the surface before applying a new fresh rubber seal and wait until it dries out completely. 

6. Undercoat your Car

This is an amazing way to protect your car on the inside from noise and on the outside from rust and dirt. A couple of cans of spray is all you need to get going, which will cost you only about $100. 

You could also leave your car at the service centre to get it done by spending $50-$100 more. 

7. ‘Big Trunks’ need to be soundproofed

Big trunks act as diaphragms and hence amplify the noise. You can do this by using ‘soundproof car mats’ as discussed in point #2. 

8. Soundproof the wheel arches

This is not a very common method, but. If you are looking to be very precise and particular, you can go ahead with this too. 

9. Soundproof your cupholders 

Remember how the car trunks can amplify the noise? Well, similarly, any hollow spaces inside the car add to the amplifying of the noise; including cup holders too! You can line them up with acoustic foam that can absorb reverberations. 

10. Insulate the Roof of the car

Noise coming from the roof of the car isn’t too much in comparison to the noise coming from the sideways and underside. However, we cannot completely deny the fact that sound doesn’t penetrate from here at all. So here’s what you can do- remove the existing roof lining in the interior of the car and then line it with some soundproofing material such as MLV (Mass Loaded Vinyl) 

11. The car exhaust needs some help too 

If your car exhaust makes noise when you rev your car, you should consider fitting a muffler to the exhaust. You’ll save money by not replacing it right away. It’s an affordable and effective solution. 

car exhaust
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12. Soundproof Foam Panels 

These foam panels are used widely for soundproofing the houses as well. When installed in cars, they act as great shock absorbers too. It also improves the quality and acoustics in the car interiors. 

You can install it as flooring on the front and backside of your cars. You can buy them off on Amazon.

soundproof foam
Click on image to check price

Cost of Soundproofing a Car

And lastly, let me give you an insight into the overall budget required to soundproof your car. A DIY car soundproofing will cost you somewhere around $100 – $500 only. While changing tyres and other parts of the car along with basic soundproofing would run you through $500 – $1000.  

And remember, no extra skills required. All you need is to find out the problem, get some basic knowledge, watch a few DIY videos to give you an idea and BAM! 

You are good to go! Well, of course, you are free to seek some technical help if required just in case; but otherwise, it’s pretty easy.

S. No ItemCost
1.Soundproof car mats$15- $18 per 18 sq. ft of sheet
2.Soundproof Sprays$17- $20 per 15 oz of bottle
3.Soundproof window seals$15- $20 for 32.8 feet strip
4.Acoustic foam sheets$22- $100 (comes in a pack of 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 sheets)
5.Acoustic muffler$55- $70 per piece
6.Acoustic foam for the cup holders$13- $15 for a pack of 6 pieces
7.Acoustic sealing tape$8- $10 per tape
8. Car Tyre$100 – $300

Conclusion

You will need some basic things like mats, acoustic foam, and some sound deadening sprays for soundproofing your car. For increasing the efficiency you would need to change the tires and repair some other parts of the car that creates noise.

The overall cost of soundproofing a car would fall in the range of $100 – $500 depending on the level of soundproofing and the quality of materials used.

I hope I could help you get a better picture of this topic. Do let me know in the comments section if you have any further queries. I am more than happy to help you out. Thanks! I’ll see you in the next article soon ☺