Car Door Sound Deadening

Car Door Sound Deadening Strategies:
Max Out Your Car Audio

Car Door Sound Deadening Strategies: Max Out Your Car Audio

Whether you’ve got a fully upgraded car audio system that you turn up to 11, or you enjoy playing some smooth jams to relax and de-stress. For a lot of us, our car is our mobile concert hall. But it can be tough to get into the rhythm when unwanted noise is infiltrating your sanctuary from all angles. From wind noise, to road noise, to rattling sheet metal - most of us wish our car ride was a little quieter.

If you’re here you’ve probably heard of sound deadening. Sound deadening works by adding soft materials such as mats or foam to the metal surfaces of your car to absorb and help block unwanted noise.

By utilizing sound deadening material, you can simultaneously quiet the unwanted vibrations you hear as road noise and add some much needed thermal insulation to protect you from extreme heat during those summer months.

Whether you’ve got a fully upgraded car audio system that you turn up to 11, or you enjoy playing some smooth jams to relax and de-stress. For a lot of us, our car is our mobile concert hall. But it can be tough to get into the rhythm when unwanted noise is infiltrating your sanctuary from all angles. From wind noise, to road noise, to rattling sheet metal - most of us wish our car ride was a little quieter.

If you’re here you’ve probably heard of sound deadening. Sound deadening works by adding soft materials such as mats or foam to the metal surfaces of your car to absorb and help block unwanted noise.

By utilizing sound deadening material, you can simultaneously quiet the unwanted vibrations you hear as road noise and add some much needed thermal insulation to protect you from extreme heat during those summer months.

Where's the Noise Coming From?

car noise pollution
  • Tire noise, bumpy and poorly maintained roads
  • Wind noise
  • Outside noises. Construction, other cars.
  • Rattling from inside car
  • Road noise & tire noise from bumpy/poorly maintained roads
  • Wind noise
  • Outside noise. Construction, other cars.
  • Quarter panel, door panel, and other sheet metal rattling inside your car
  • Tire noise, bumpy and poorly maintained roads
  • Wind noise
  • Outside noises. Construction, other cars.
  • Rattling from inside car

Anatomy of a Car Door

When you’re in your car, you’re essentially sitting in a small metal room. And unfortunately, sheet metal is the absolute worst acoustic material that exists. This is most apparent in your car doors due due to the way that car doors are constructed, essentially being made of three layers.

outer door skin with Damplifier Pro sound deadening

Outer Skin

This is material on the outside of the car, right behind your front quarter panel. Unless you’re driving a machine from Mad Max, this material tends to be more flexible as it’s built to crumple in a collision - which means wind or even your own door speakers can cause vibrations that create unwanted sound. Your car door might be great for safety, but it’s not ideal for car audio.

inner door skin with Damplifier Pro sound deadening

Inner Sheet Metal

This is the rigid metal frame that houses mechanical parts like window cranks, door switches, and door speakers. This metal is stronger and vibrates less, but is built with a large hole in the middle so mechanics can easily access those moving parts we just talked about. Ever heard a firecracker go off in a mailbox? Ok so it’s usually not that bad, but you’ve basically got four echo chambers surrounding you while you drive.

car door panel

Door Panel

The door panel is what you can see from the inside of your car. It’s usually thin; it’s usually plastic; and it’s usually held on with flimsy clips. You may find s foam layer inside. The door panel isn't doing a ton to keep noise out and likely is making noise as vibrations cause the plastic to rattle against other parts of the car door.

Strategies for Sound Deadening Car Doors

If you want to keep light from getting through your car windows, you add tint. The more tint you add, the darker it gets. Similarly, the more quality car sound deadening material you add to your door, the quieter they get. And an insulated door means better car audio quality.

We'll walk you through the installation process of the four levels of car audio sound deadening from simplest to most complicated.

What you can do right now to find and stop car door noise

  1. Find out where the noise is coming from by adjusting the fade and balance settings on your audio system.
  2. Tighten any loose screws to stop rattling. Try adding washers or a foam layer if it persists.
  3. Replace blown or broken speakers.
  4. Install Speaker Tweakers to improve car audio by preventing speaker back waves from bouncing directly back into your door speakers.

Method 1: The Speaker Cradle

If you’re experiencing a small amount of rattling, or reverb from your speakers, then a quick solution is to cut sound deadening material to size and place it around your speaker. By wrapping a sound deadening mat immediately around the speaker, you're attacking the root of your car audio problem as efficiently as possible. Couple this method with Speaker Tweakers to keep the audio focused towards you and help stop speaker back waves from distorting the speakers in your car doors. Speaker Tweakers won’t stop 100% of the reverb from your speakers, but they will help a great deal.

Installation Tips

Use plastic panel popper tools to carefully disconnect the plastic clips when removing the door panel to avoid scratches.

Recommended Materials

Damplifier Pro  |  Speaker Tweakers

Recommended Materials

Steve Meade Cutting a Speaker Hole in Damplifier Pro

Do Your Research

When buying deadening materials, pay close attention to what it’s made of. You want 100% butyl rubber. There are a lot of poorly made aftermarket products out there with many manufactured overseas and made out of asphalt and other roofing materials. Not only do these products do a bad job of sound deadening, they can be dangerous to your vehicle and your health.

Method 2: The Car Audio Standard

If you want to ensure that your car doors stay quiet and don’t rattle, you’ll want to cover the outer skin and inner sheet metal with sound deadener. Focus on covering the door's outer skin as the metal surface is less rigid and more prone to vibration noise. You may see a plastic “vapor shield” covering the inside of your car door, you can remove this since you’ll be replacing it with sound dampening material.

Take it a step further by adding high density closed cell foam, a denser material that will improve car door insulation inside the door cavity while absorbing some low frequency sounds like road noise and speaker distortion. Besides giving you an insulated door, closed cell foams are an excellent decoupler to ensure plastic parts, like those in your door panels, won’t make noise rattling together.

Installation Tips

Use clear plastic or tape on your door and draw a template to cut your material to size. Be sure to mark mounting points and holes for mechanical parts.

Recommended Materials

Damplifier Pro  |  OverKill Pro

Recommended Materials

Method 3: The Premium Car DOor

To make the inside of your car quieter than thanksgiving dinner at your in-laws, you’ll want to go the extra mile by combining 100% butyl rubber sound deadening mats with hydrophobic melamine foam (HMF) on the door's outer skin and Luxury Liner Pro on the inner sheet metal. You may be wondering why we recommend two materials. HMF is an aircraft-grade insulation and sound absorption material great for off-roading vehicles, older cars, premium sound systems, or… aircraft. Because it's excellent thermal insulation, it'll help keep your car cool in the summer, and warm in the winter.

Luxury Liner Pro (LLP) on the other hand is built as a sound barrier material. So any sounds that aren’t absorbed by the HMF get blocked by the LLP. It’s a soundproofing one-two punch that keeps your car audio system sounding awesome.

Installation Tips

Use High Temp Spray Adhesive or Super Strong Double Sided Tape to apply these materials on top of your sound deadener. When installing LLP make sure you have at least ⅜” clearance between the inner sheet metal and your door panel. If applying LLP without the Mega Zorbe, we recommend applying it to the to the outer skin instead. Just make sure you use one of our extremely strong adhesives and your window still has room to roll up and down. MLV is heavy and will fall down without a strong bond.

Recommended Materials

Damplifier Pro  |  Luxury Liner Pro  |  Mega Zorbe

Recommended Materials

Method 4: The Artisan

Ok, we get it, quiet isn’t good enough. You don’t just want to eliminate road noise you want to amplify your audio quality. The inside of your car should rival the recording studio at Abbey Road, concertos at the Sydney Opera House, your 9th grade country-rock band in your neighbor’s garage.

Check out how our friends over at CarAudioFabrication used a combination of Second Skin sound dampening materials to transform their car doors from echo chambers into beautiful speaker enclosures.

Installation Tips

This one's a little complex. Just watch the video.

Recommended Materials

Recommended Materials

Damplifier Pro  |  Luxury Liner Pro  |  OverKill

Mark from CarAudioFabrication Upgrading the Door Panel

Quick Tips for Improving Car Audio

Sound deadening for car audio should really start with the doors, as that’s where most of the noise and speaker rattles are coming from. But once you’ve done that, here are a few other ways to utilize sound deadening materials to get the most out of your car audio system.

  • Use a combination of sound deadener and Luxury Liner Pro to cover your wheel wells and trunk. This keeps out road noise (see our article: sound deadening trunk), and helps your rear speakers and subwoofers perform better.
  • Look into roof sound deadening. Remember what we said earlier about your outer skin being a flexible material that loves to vibrate and cause noise? Well double that for your roof. Adding sound deadener to the roof will go a long way to keep out wind noise.
  • Use liquid deadener on your subwoofer box. Our Spectrum Liquid Deadener adheres great to wood, turning a simple subwoofer box into a professional speaker enclosure.

When it comes to sound deadening car doors the keys are to control vibration, absorb sound, and block out noise. Cars are different, and so are drivers - that’s why we create a variety of products for all needs. Whether you prefer your car to be a quiet getaway, or sold out rock show, you should be in control of the volume of your vehicle.

Learn More with Our Ultimate Car Insulation Guide