The Whys and the Hows of Automotive Sound Deadening

Have you ever wondered how it’s possible that when you step inside some cars, close the door, and head off down the road, it’s as if you’ve entered a perfect vacuum that’s all but free from any type of road, wind or mechanical noise? Or inversely, why does the sound of just leaves brushing against other cars resonate as loudly as if handfuls of gravel were being hurled at it? Naturally, we expect nothing less than impenetrable silence from heavyweight, high-end luxury cars; but where are you supposed to turn outside of their esoterically privileged ranks?

Turning the Volume Down

Of course, even the primo models can’t eliminate every bit of sound – and even if they could, we’d rue the day we could no longer hear horns, sirens and the shouts of petrol station attendants warning us that we’d forgotten our wallets – but for those of us who simply want to enjoy a conversational commute without screaming at our fellow passengers or listen to the radio without having to max the volume, the answer is simple: sound deadener.

For the riding masses, the installation of automotive sound deadening material is the essential step toward eliminating the roar of tires and a host of other road and drive-train noises that leave us unable to even hear our thoughts.

Sound deadener diffuses all the reverberating noises you’ve grown so accustomed to hearing while driving, that you’re no longer aware that you’re listening to them. From the incessant drone of exhaust to the suspension’s endless cacophony of squeaks, growls, and clunks; sound deadener brings a quick end to it all.

Where to Install

installing sound deadening on car

Sold in 300mm x 500mm aluminium-faced sheets, a sound deadener can be installed in all of the following areas:

  • Inside doors
  • Along quarter panels
  • Against firewalls
  • Above floor pans
  • Under roof skins

In short, if you’re familiar with the expression about empty wagons making the most noise, then you’re already familiar with the principles of resonance. It’s the sound an object makes when another sound is reflected off of it, and it’s the amplification of sound off of these large flat tinny expanses of metal where the auditory assault on riders begins.

Applying sound deadening material to these areas will leave you feeling like you’re driving a different automobile.

When to Install

To be honest, any time’s an ideal time to install a sound deadener; but sometimes are simply more ideal than others. If you’re installing it in a car that’s driven regularly, then setting aside a block of time to carefully remove and replace seats and interior trim is a good idea.

If you’re in the process of restoration or installing audio components, however, then the time’s perfect. Fully exposed, wide-opened surfaces are prime slates for applying sound deadener. Not only are you able to shape and apply material at that point freely to unimpeded surfaces, but now’s also the time to employ other elements of soundproofing like underlays or other liners, that are designed to work together – en masse – to form a solid, single layer of abatement that absorbs, decouples and dampens sound before it carves its way through the passenger compartment.

How to Install

With a good pair of scissors (or knife), an application roller or soft ball-ended device, and a bottle of alcohol-based solvent or grease remover, installing a sound deadener is as easy as it sounds … no pun intended.

sound deadening on car

Wipe Off Your Work Area

Because of the adhesive backing of the sound deadening sheets, you want to be sure that you’re applying it to a grease-free, oil-free and dust-free surface for maximum adhesion.

Measure Out Your Working Area

If the area to be covered requires going over or around irregular shapes (wheel wells, driveshaft tunnels, inside cavities, etc.), measure a paperboard template to the contour of the feature, and then cut your sheet.

Apply the Sheet

Avoid touching the adhesive size, carefully remove the deadening sheet from its backing material and press it into position. As these sheets are flexible, they’ll form and stretch into shape around irregularly-shaped car body features.

Press Permanently Into Place

The sheets have a slightly raised, dimpled pattern; so use the roller to effectively fix the sheet permanently into place, working across offsetting or curved surfaces with the ball-ended device to get maximum adhesion. The pattern on the sheet will tell you precisely where you’ve already applied pressure to the material, so that no areas inadvertently escape being properly stuck.

Address Any Trouble Spots

There’s always a possibility that the aluminium facing of the sheet can be damaged or torn during installation. If that happens, you only need to apply aluminium tape over it, with no compromise to the performance of the deadener. And that’s it. With the interior back in place, you’ll be amazed at the difference.

sound deadening installment on car

The Conclusion

At the end of the day, it’d be unthinkable not to want a quieter experience while you’re driving. And sure, while some drivers love the momentary thrill of hearing their engines sound off right after a heavy pedal thumping, there’s nothing thrilling about the sound of every bump, twist, and gust of wind resonating throughout the passenger compartment. Quality automotive sound deadening material is designed to eliminate all of that … without needing to buy a high-end luxury car. Now’s the time to speak with a sound deadening expert, and they can help you work out a solid soundproofing plan.