Welcome to Sound Deadener Showdown

Dodge Ram roof CLD TilesTesla S doorPontiac Solstice floorPontiac GTO roofThis site is about making vehicles quieter. That's a pretty big thing, but that's really all there is to it. If you're new to this, you are probably as confused and discouraged as I was in 2005 when the combination of buying a noisy car and the Internet promise of the cure, "sound deadening" led me down a path that has apparently changed the course of my life.

I found it confusing, at least. Unlike most people, I became obsessed with the idea. For years it was an all consuming hobby and then a business. I tried every recommended treatment on my car and every other vehicle I could get my hands on. I tested. I studied. I spoke to scientists, engineers and manufacturers.

You won't need to go that far. Reducing vehicle noise after manufacture is not a trivial task. Expect a full treatment to take between 2 and 4 full days. Even a couple of doors or a trunk aren't going to be done in an hour. You need to remove the interior of the vehicle. You need to treat it and put it back together. You don't want to do this twice and you don't want to be confused about what you are going to do once you remove the interior of your vehicle. Fortunately, the concepts and techniques are not complicated at all. It takes mostly time and patience but then you are done and enjoying the end result.

My goal is to take you from novice to confident installer and to find the straightest line between the two. Read through this page and the entries on the How To page and you'll understand the materials you'll need, which areas of the vehicle to treat and how to treat them. You'll also be able to build a materials list. There may even be a materials list I've built from measurements supplied by other customers. I'll explain why I use the materials I sell and why I think you should too.

We are located in Manchester, MD.

Noise Sources

Sometimes it's a single problem, like drone from an aftermarket exhaust. The more challenging projects are those vehicles for which NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) wasn't a priority, either for economy or to minimize weight for performance. In this case the vehicle's occupants are submerged in a cacophony of noises from multiple sources and directions.

Tires/Wheels

Tire Contact Patch

Tire noise is one of the most common problems we face and one of the most difficult to mitigate. Noise originates where the tire contacts the road and radiates out from there. That makes the entire underside of the vehicle a target.

It reflects off of adjacent vehicles and obstacles along the roadway and enters your vehicle through the doors and side panels. This is why your tire noise is so loud when you drive close to a wall.

The complexity of this noise sources requires treatment to most of the vehicle to be effective …

unless

… tire noise is the only noise you are concerned with. In that case, new tires might be the best option. Tire replacement may also be part of an overall treatment. Tires may get noisier with age and wear. Some tires are just much noisier than others, even when brand new. Tire Rack.com rates tire by noise levels. Not perfect, but pretty good. If you’re on the fence, see how the tires you’re running compare to other options.

Engine

Primarily enters through the lower firewall and front floor. Can also enter the vehicle through the front edges of the front doors and the center tunnel.

Exhaust

Another complex under vehicle noise that interacts with the environment.

Air Turbulence

Treating the roof and outer door skins can help.

Traffic

Noise that originates from nearby vehicles or noise that orginates from your vehicle and reflects off of nearby vehicles.

Rain/Weather Impacts

I include this one because it's cool not to be startled by the sound of a sudden downpour hitting the roof. It's somehow really nice to have the loudest impact sound coming from the windshield.

How Quiet can we Make this Vehicle?

Time vs. MoneyHard to predict precisely. Far too many variables. It is generally true that the noisier a vehicle is and the less the manufacturer addressed noise issues, the bigger the improvement. Conversely, a luxury car will have very low noise levels to start with and most of the space we're counting on is already used.

I will guarantee that you your vehicle will not be silent. That's barely possible if you were designing the vehicle from scratch and there were no budgetary constraints. We have to work with the existing suspension, drive train and glass. Can't get to silence. It's a lot of steel, glass, rubber and composites rolling on a rough surface, propelled by exploding petroleum, (unless, well you know......hybrid or plug-in). You are going to put a lot of time and money into the project and somewhere along the line silence can become the target.

Just because it isn't silent doesn't mean it isn't drastically better. I consider a project a success if the vehicle is transformed from unpleasant to drive to pleasant to drive. That's a really big deal. If you can speak to a passenger without shouting, if your music sounds better and louder than ever before with the volume knob turned down from previous standard levels. If you can drive to work without getting a headache. All really big deals in my book.

The most interesting reactions by far are from people who parked their car and didn't drive it again until it was fully treated. It's harder to get the full impact when you've worked on the vehicle yourself since you adjust to the changing acoustics as you go. A really common reaction is for people to spend a lot of time listening to the sound of their own voices. They really can sound much different. It's also common to hear things that you couldn't hear before.

Reducing noise levels is always a good thing. What we are doing is re-engineering some luxury into the vehicle. There are all sorts of vehicles that have desirable characteristics - performance, economy, utility - but are just too noisy. Being able to influence noise levels with aftermarket treatments significantly lengthens the list of great vehicles.

Four Lines of Attack

  1. Control vehicle component - mostly panel - vibration and resonance.
  2. Block air borne sound.
  3. Decouple objects that would otherwise transmit vibration or make noise themselves by making intermittent contact (rattles).
  4. Absorb.