Cheap Sound Deadeners & How to Remove Them

Cheap Sound Deadeners
& How to Remove Them

Cheap Sound Deadeners
& How to Remove Them

If you like to rock out in your car, listen to podcasts, or chat with the fam on your way home from work, then you know how annoying a noisy car can be. When your ride rattles and shakes (and not in a good way), it’s time to think about adding some sound deadening material to dampen the distractions. But don’t cheap out on your sound deadener, or you could end up even more annoyed.

If you like to rock out in your car, listen to podcasts, or chat with the fam on your way home from work, then you know how annoying a noisy car can be. When your ride rattles and shakes (and not in a good way), it’s time to think about adding some sound deadening material to dampen the distractions. But don’t cheap out on your sound deadener, or you could end up even more annoyed.

Why Watch Out for Cheap Sound Deadeners?

First, let’s talk about why sound deadeners rock.

Adding quality sound deadening to your car will improve your overall acoustics, so you can enjoy your drive without car or road noise. And make the most of your music and conversation. Car insulation also makes your drive safer, making it easier to hear traffic sounds and car trouble. One of the craziest stories we ever heard was about a customer who completely totaled his vehicle and was told that all that extra Second Skin insulation likely saved his life by preventing the cabin from crushing him. We can't guarantee those types of results, but we figured that was a check mark in the "safer" category.

You don’t need to be an auto pro to apply sound deadeners to your vehicle. Sure, it might take a few hours to do a DIY job. But if you love cars like we do, an afternoon taking care of your baby is time well spent. Ready for some SIY? Soundproofing It Yourself. Then keep reading to find out why you shouldn’t waste your time with cheap sound deadening material.

#1: When the cheap stuff doesn’t work, you’ll spend more money on new materials and have to go through the installation process all over again. Which can be a huge mess. We’ll explain more about the mess in a minute. But for now, imagine scraping goopy gobs of adhesive for hours and hours and hours. Not a fun way to spend a Saturday.

#2: Some of the cheaper sound deadening materials are made with asphalt. Take a minute to think about how it smells when you drive by a DOT crew paving the road. Now imagine that INSIDE your car. Gross.

It’s a well-known fact that asphalt-based sound deadeners can create really unpleasant odors. And they’re not great for your health, because asphalt outgases chemicals when it gets hot and has been established as a Group 2B carcinogen by the WHO. If you don’t live in a warm climate, it may not be a big deal, but why take the risk? We wouldn’t.

Your best bet is to go with a sound deadening product made with butyl rubber. Butyl doesn’t have a nasty odor, it has excellent heat resistance, and it’s great at deadening noise. We recommend checking out Damplifier and Damplifier Pro.

low price deadeners go a different direction than high quality

Are you someone who likes to drive with the volume on your stereo turned up, but would rather hear the music instead of your car? Are you restoring an old vehicle and are concerned about driving at highway speeds in a box of metal? If so, one of the things you're going to want to consider is soundproofing your car.

However, when doing so, you’ll find that there are numerous methods available. The first key step is to stop the metal panels from vibrating and rattling. If you’ve been researching how to do this, you’ve likely come across what looks like several different methods. Some methods deaden, while others damp or dampen. What’s the difference between these methods? We’re here to provide you with a complete breakdown of how to go about soundproofing your vehicle.

Step 1: skip the Heat Gun

Any time you put something in your vehicle, there's some level of risk to have an issue. That risk is much greater if it's cheap or low quality. With sound deadening, the cheaper asphalt products sometimes have consistency issues where they literally melt and become a huge mess of tar. Sometimes the melting is due to heat, but it doesn't have to be if you got a particularly bad batch!

We decided to write this guide after a customer reached out asking for advice on how to remove the cheap deadener that had become one of those tarry messes. The poor guy was in the middle of trying melt the cheap soundproofing material with a heat gun so that he could scrape it off. Save yourself the hassle and don't try to do it this way. You'll do a lot of work and still end up with a big stinking pile of asphalt. Not pretty.

Sticky mess with cheap sound deadening

Step 2: Use Dry Ice and Alcohol

The way to get off that cheap deadener is with dry ice and alcohol, not heat. This science experiment hardens the old sound deadening material and makes it easy to break up and remove. It's by far the fastest method, and all you need is a couple dozen pounds of dry ice, some isopropyl alcohol to mix, and then tools to crush the dry ice and to break the deadener off the metal after you've frozen it.

Check out the fun video below of two buddies having a blast with this process. The only thing we'd add is that if you're having trouble with vertical surfaces, try putting the dry ice in a garbage bag.

Cleaning up cheap deadener

Step 3: Use Quality Deadener

The end result will be something like the first pic below. Now you've got a clean machine! After you've cleaned and de-rusted the area thoroughly, it's finally time to add a new high-quality butyl product like Damplifier Pro. Looks great, less mess, and superior sound deadening properties. Ta da. 

Interior finally cleaned up from cheap sound deadening
Damplifier Pro sound deadening mat applied to the car floor

Still Worried About Your Budget?

We get it. You don’t want to go overboard on your car upgrades. The good news is that you can actually get more bang for your buck when you buy quality sound deadening products, if you follow these tips. Psst...it’s all about starting with a smart application strategy.

How to Save Money on Your Installation

  • Listen before you buy. A lot of people make the mistake of buying sound deadening material before they’ve identified exactly where the noise is coming from. And they end up buying too much. Drive around, have someone sit in the noisy areas to find the culprit, take off a panel and poke around. A little detective work will help you pinpoint your noise problems.

  • Place your best bets. If you can’t nail down the exact problem, try targeting the most common noisy areas.
    • Seal door seams for noisy doors
    • Watch speakers while they’re playing to see which metal is vibrating and tackle that area
    • Decouple rattling plastic panels with a closed cell foam like OverKill Pro
    • Reduce road and tire noise with sound deadening spray inside the wheel wells
    • Block road noise, engine noise, and exhaust noise with Luxury Liner Pro MLV 
  • Limit the area you’re covering. If you only tackle 25-50% of the car’s cabin, you’ll save money and still hear a huge difference. Start with a car floor sound deadening project and soundproofing your doors, as those are the biggest sources of cabin vibrations and road noise. Also target any other other large, flat metal panels. The curved parts of the metal tend to be more structurally sound and rattle less, so need less deadening.

The Last Word on Cheap Car Soundproofing Tips

Save yourself the trouble of having to remove cheap sound deadeners later down the road. Shop smart from the get-go and make sure you’re buying the best (and safest) materials for the results you want.

Remember, time is money. So, read the application instructions carefully and take it slow. Make sure you’ve identified your key problem areas and focus on the 25-50% of the cabin that will have the biggest noise reduction impact.

When you’re ready to buy a high quality sound deadening mat or spray on sound deadening that fits into your budget, see what Second Skin Audio has to offer. And if you’ve already installed cheap sound deadeners, we’ll help you get unstuck.