Quiet Engine and Exhaust Noise

Engine Insulation: Quiet Noisy Lifters and Mufflers

A Guide to Reduce Engine and Exhaust Noise in Your Car

Engine Insulation: Quiet Noisy Lifters and Mufflers

A Guide to Reduce Engine and Exhaust Noise in Your Car

Too much engine noise in your car? Is the sound of your car’s exhaust driving you crazy? You’re not alone. Engine and exhaust noise are standard features of most vehicles, but excessive noise can be truly irritating. If you want to know how to quiet a muffler or reduce the sound of your engine (and shield yourself from uncomfortable engine heat in the process), you’re in the right place.  

Before installing aftermarket products in your vehicle, start by considering the most common reasons for engine and exhaust noise — then, pinpoint what’s happening in your car.

Too much engine noise in your car? Is the sound of your car’s exhaust driving you crazy? You’re not alone. Engine and exhaust noise are standard features of most vehicles, but excessive noise can be truly irritating. If you want to know how to quiet a muffler or reduce the sound of your engine (and shield yourself from uncomfortable engine heat in the process), you’re in the right place.  

Before installing aftermarket products in your vehicle, start by considering the most common reasons for engine and exhaust noise — then, pinpoint what’s happening in your car.

What Causes Noise and Heat Issues in Engines?

Your car’s engine and exhaust are tied together, so many cars experience noise and heat issues from both. In most cases, you’ll notice the noise first.

Keep in mind that most car engines produce noise of about 70 decibels at 60 miles per hour. If you’re driving a diesel truck, souped-up Subaru, or restoration hot rod, that number is probably higher. Too much noise can be more than an annoyance, since 80 decibels or more can cause damage to your hearing, according to the CDC.

80 decibels is about as loud as a vacuum cleaner, so what’s causing all that noise? The answer is different for every car, but it can usually be tracked down to a handful of things.

Upgraded Engines and Turbos

So you couldn’t help yourself, and felt compelled to add a little something extra under the hood? Manufacturers often skimp on vehicle sound blocking material, which means it’s common to experience quite a bit of engine noise - even if you don’t supercharge your vehicle with a new twin-turbo engine. With that turbo though...

THE SOLUTION

Install mass loaded vinyl on the floor, cabin-side firewall, and trunk. We recommend Luxury Liner Pro™, our ⅜” thick sheet of fused MLV and closed cell foam. It’s the best automotive noise barrier we sell. By using the sheets to create an unbroken barrier layer in your car, it’ll block sound about as well as a wall in your house and insulate your cabin to keep that heat off your feet.

Loud Diesel Engines

Do you drive a diesel truck, but can’t hear yourself think inside the cab? It doesn’t have to be that way. With all that power comes great responsibility. You owe it to yourself to keep your truck cabin like a soundproof vault while everyone on the outside gets to hear that engine rumble.

THE SOLUTION

Install firewall sound deadening on both sides of the car's firewall and the underside of the hood. Damplifier Pro™ Sound Deadening Mats are an industry-leading solution that will kill the vibration noise caused by your engine. For unmatched sound blocking, also add Luxury Liner Pro™ to the cabin-side firewall.

Lifter Noise

Your car’s hydraulic valve lifters, or simply “lifters,” are designed to reduce noise from your engine. In older cars or cars with high mileage, lifters can wear out and become ineffective. Noisy lifters won't typically won't harm the engine, but they will give you less power. And they're annoying.

THE SOLUTION

First, change the oil. Make sure you’re using the recommended oil type and consider cleaning your lifters with synthetic oil additives. If all else fails and you can't stand the noise, replacement is an option. While the lifters themselves are relatively inexpensive ($100-200), you're talking about internal engine repair so at least 5, but likely 10+ hours of labor.

Mechanical Issues

Are you hearing grinding or severe rattling from your engine? It’s possible that there are mechanical issues at play, most of which are best suited for a professional.

Second Skin is pretty awesome, but there are some sounds that should be addressed, not just soundproofed. If you’re experiencing mechanical issues as well as noise problems, bring your car in to have it checked.

What Causes Unwanted Exhaust Heat and Noise?

As is the case with your car’s engine, you’re more likely to experience unwanted exhaust noise after installing upgrades. The difference is that if you’re getting a lot of loud noise from your exhaust, you’re probably already dealing with excessive heat, too. Fortunately, Second Skin's solutions solve both problems at once.

Aftermarket Turbos or Stock Sports Cars

If you’ve got a performance package Corvette, it’s likely you’ve also got a hot drivetrain and loud exhaust. If you supercharged an old hot rod, the same may be true. We frequently hear from customers who either feel their center console is way too hot or have their feet cooking a bit while driving.

THE SOLUTION

Install a sound deadener (Damplifier Pro) to the entirety of your car’s floor, front-to-back. Just like with engine noise, a MLV barrier of Luxury Liner Pro will block noise while more than doubling the insulation. If you're just looking for heat insulation material and don't want to add weight to block the noise, use Heat Wave Pro instead.

You can also add Thermal Block™ Radiant Heat Reflector in the transmission tunnel, which will take care of unwanted heat in the cabin.

Corvette sound deadening package
Factory Five Roaster soundproofing and insulation kit
Corvette sound deadening package
Factory Five Roaster soundproofing and insulation kit

Old Muffler / Catalytic Converters Not Working Properly

Of course, when a muffler is old and has lost its structural integrity, it no longer muffles the noise coming from your engine. Check your muffler and catalytic converter. Dual exhaust? You’ve got two mufflers. Although we all wish exhaust systems would last a lifetime, you should expect to replace part or all of it every five years or so.

The Car is Just Built to be Loud

Some mufflers are simply built to be loud, as is the case with many Nissan, Subaru, and Honda street-racing vehicles. If you own one of these cars, it’s likely you want the noise, but you probably only want it outside the vehicle.

THE SOLUTION

Install Damplifier Pro sound deadening mats on the entire trunk/hatch floor area. Add Luxury Liner Pro to finish off the job. Although many car owners want to avoid adding weight to their vehicle, it’s a small price to pay for premium acoustics on the inside of the cabin.

Nissan 370Z soundproofed with Damplifier Pro

This Nissan 370Z from the Second Skin Garage went with this exact strategy and loved the results.

Kit Car Overheating

Factory Five Roadsters, kit cars, and any other car you're custom-building from the ground up needs lots of insulation. Kit cars in particular are well-known for having no or very poor heat insulation included. Poor insulation is most often accompanied by poor soundproofing. Get yourself out of that tin can and into one of our Factory Five Roadster kits to fix those heat and sound issues! You also may want to consider additional under hood insulation or a car heat shield.

A layer of Damplifier Pro throughout the entire cabin and trunk will do wonders to reduce the heat and noise level. If you're just looking for OEM style insulation and have no sound issues, go with Heat Wave Pro thermal insulation.

Cars With the Most Engine & Exhaust Noise Issues

We see every type of restoration project, custom build, and aftermarket add-on project at Second Skin Audio. These are the most common vehicles we see with heat and noise issues stemming from engines or exhaust.

Second Skin Customers Vehicle Type Noise/Heat Issue

Hot Rod

  • Malfunctioning lifters, mufflers
  • Loud exhaust
  • Poor soundproofing and insulation in cabin

Performance Car

  • Overheating drivetrain
  • Loud exhaust

Street Racer

  • Poor soundproofing due to reduced weight
  • Loud exhaust

Pickup Truck

  • Engine noise (especially diesel)

Semi-Truck

  • Diesel engine noise
  • Overheating drivetrain
  • Echoes in the cabin
  • Increase comfort of the sleeper cab

Boat

  • Engine noise
Vehicle Type Noise/Heat Issue

Hot Rod

  • Malfunctioning lifters, mufflers
  • Loud exhaust
  • Poor soundproofing and insulation in cabin

Performance Car

  • Overheating drivetrain
  • Loud exhaust

Street Racer

  • Poor soundproofing due to reduced weight
  • Loud exhaust

Pickup Truck

  • Engine noise (especially diesel)

Semi-Truck

  • Diesel engine noise
  • Overheating drivetrain
  • Echoes in the cabin
  • Increase comfort of the sleeper cab

Boat

  • Engine noise
Vehicle Type Noise/Heat Issue

Hot Rod

  • Malfunctioning lifters, mufflers
  • Loud exhaust
  • Poor soundproofing and insulation in cabin

Performance Car

  • Overheating drivetrain
  • Loud exhaust

Street Racer

  • Poor soundproofing due to reduced weight
  • Loud exhaust

Pickup Truck

  • Engine noise (especially diesel)

Semi-Truck

  • Diesel engine noise
  • Overheating drivetrain
  • Echoes in the cabin
  • Increase comfort of the sleeper cab

Boat

  • Engine noise

Engine and Exhaust Noise Reduction - Start Today!

Reducing the noise in your vehicle’s engine is not always a matter of adding soundproofing materials. Sometimes, it’s an indication of a more serious mechanical issue. In those instances, it’s always best to visit a professional.

However, if you’re a car enthusiast with some recent installs that are keeping the neighbors awake, consider some sound deadening, sound blocking, and heat insulation products — you’ll be glad you did!