Wheel Well Sound Deadening

Stop Road Noise with Wheel Well Sound Deadening Spray

Stop Road Noise with Wheel Well Sound Deadening Spray

If you’re looking to dampen or deaden road noise in your car, first look to the wheel wells. Most people want to jump in by adding sound deadening mats to the car’s floor or trunk, and while those are necessary steps to most automotive soundproofing projects, a less intrusive place to start is often the wheel wells.

For commercial trucks, sports cars, hot rods, or utility vehicles like Jeeps, the wheel wells are a huge culprit when it comes to road noise. Why? Simple — these types of vehicles usually have larger tires or performance tires that create a lot of noise (especially if you take them off road).

Luckily, Second Skin offers a variety of solutions that’ll make a big difference in the noise level. Between our sound deadening spray, mass loaded vinyl, and 100% butyl rubber sound deadening mats, we’ve got you covered. Before we get into the installation of any new products though, let’s take a moment to consider the type of wheel well noise you’re experiencing.

If you’re looking to dampen or deaden road noise in your car, first look to the wheel wells. Most people want to jump in by adding sound deadening mats to the car’s floor or trunk, and while those are necessary steps to most automotive soundproofing projects, a less intrusive place to start is often the wheel wells.

For commercial trucks, sports cars, hot rods, or utility vehicles like Jeeps, the wheel wells are a huge culprit when it comes to road noise. Why? Simple — these types of vehicles usually have larger tires or performance tires that create a lot of noise (especially if you take them off road).

Luckily, Second Skin offers a variety of solutions that’ll make a big difference in the noise level. Between our sound deadening spray, mass loaded vinyl, and 100% butyl rubber sound deadening mats, we’ve got you covered. Before we get into the installation of any new products though, let’s take a moment to consider the type of wheel well noise you’re experiencing.

Where's the Noise Coming From?

We recommend that folks with road noise consider soundproofing the wheel wells because the wheel well is the first place that gets vibrations from the tire.

Road noise is caused by two things: tire type and road conditions. Your wheel wells are directly above the road and they surround the tires, so it only makes sense to deaden sound there first. If you happen to be restoring an old car with fender skirts, a pair of your tires are nearly covered up by the body of your vehicle, which means there’s more metal catching tire vibrations.

As road noise from your tires travels into your vehicle through the wheel wells, it makes its way into the quarter panel, then spreads to the side panels, doors, and floor. As those vibrations travel, they become less and less noisy. So, if you catch them at the source (your wheel wells), you’ll make a big dent in soundproofing your vehicle. For the best results, combine your wheel well treatment with sound deadening materials inside the car.

Let’s take a look at a few different scenarios where it would pay to install wheel well insulation.

Scenario A

The owner of a 2001 Jeep Wrangler lives on a dirt road. He has trouble listening to the radio in his car on the way to work every day because loud road noise makes it difficult to hear. He wants a quieter ride, but doesn’t want to give his car a full soundproofing treatment.

Our recommendation: This vehicle owner should install Spectrum spray on deadener inside the wheel wells. Spectrum is an easy to install high-heat, water based, viscoelastic polymer. The curvature of a wheel well is best suited for a liquid sound deadener like Spectrum. It's easy to apply, waterproof, dries seamless, and has rust inhibiting properties.

Scenario B

The owner of an F150 Super Crew diesel truck is annoyed by how loud the diesel engine in his work truck is. He often has to make phone calls from the road, and the amount of noise coming from his vehicle makes it nearly impossible to hold a conversation.

Our recommendation: Start by applying the same Spectrum liquid sound deadener to the wheel wells. Then cover the interior metal with the Damplifier Pro sound deadening mat and a mass loaded vinyl sound blocking layer on the inside of the truck. Luxury Liner Pro is our best automotive noise barrier, and is the best available solution for soundproofing out diesel noise.

Scenario C

The new owner of a 1969 Pontiac GTO is beginning full car restoration project. He has stripped out the entire interior, because this car is being built from the ground up.

Our recommendation: Because you’re dealing with a wide open piece of metal, you want to spray down the entire metal body with Spectrum spray on deadener. Do the entire interior of the car to deaden the metal and add a good bit of thermal insulation. You should also use Spectrum as an undercoating and inside the wheel wells to get the exterior metal as well. As an added benefit, Spectrum contains rust inhibitors and will protect your new baby from road debris. Combine that Spectrum treatment with Luxury Liner Pro on the floor to block out road noise and Heat Wave Pro on the roof to help keep the cabin cool.

1969 Pontiac GTO treated with Spectrum

The last thing to note when we’re talking about wheel wells is that most vehicles simply don’t come equipped with great soundproofing. Manufacturers skimp on wheel well insulation and when you take your vehicle off road (or you drive on poorly maintained roads), the absence of insulation can be very noticeable in certain vehicles. Although wheel well soundproofing isn’t the end all solution, it’s a critical component and will go a long way towards a more enjoyable ride.

How to Apply Wheel Well Soundproofing

If you’re ready to attack road noise from the ground up, it’s time to soundproof the wheel wells. We recommend wheel well sound deadening as just one part of a well-rounded soundproofing project.

Before getting started, here are a few pro tips:

  • Spectrum does not require a gas mask, but you should work in a well ventilated area.
  • If spraying Spectrum liquid deadener using our spray gun, use the short straw when spraying upside down and the longer straw when spraying right-side up.

STEP 1: Prep Your Vehicle

You’ll need to start by lifting the vehicle on either a mechanic’s lift or jack. Once at a comfortable height, remove the wheels and plastic wheel liners. Then, cover the surrounding frame and rotor with plastic or masking tape. Although you want to spray as much of the metal areas of your wheel wells as you can, you don’t want your wheel hubs gunked up with viscoelastic polymer.

STEP 2: Check For Rust

Look into each wheel well and examine for signs of rust. If it’s a newer vehicle or has already been effectively undercoated, simply give the wheel well a quick cleaning and move on to the next step.

If you do see rust, you’ll need to scrub it off with a wire brush. A primer is not necessary, as Spectrum will adhere strongly to metal, wood, and most other surfaces besides plastic. When applying Spectrum to metal, make sure your first layer is no more than 1mm thick. Spectrum adheres best to itself, so you can be a little more aggressive if doing multiple layers after the first one dries.

INSTALLATION TIPS

If applying Spectrum to plastic or a high-gloss surface, you are going to need to use a primer and to scuff up the surface a bit. We recommend using POR-15.

A thinner first layer is always better, because Spectrum adheres best to itself.

STEP 3: Spray the Wheel Well with Spectrum

Once your wheel wells are free from dirt and rust, they’re ready to go. Spray Spectrum throughout the entirety of the wheel well, making sure to sweep the entire area in a continuous motion. If you’d like to apply Spectrum to your plastic wheel liners, you’ll need to first prep those with a primer. Plastic is one of the few material Spectrum does not adhere well to. Expect to use approximately one quart of Spectrum per wheel well. After you’re done applying Spectrum, you an re-attach the wheels as soon as Spectrum has cured. Wait 72 hours before driving.

We offer bundled Spectrum Spray Kits that include everything you need to spray on your Second Skin sound deadener. It includes a 10% discount too.

INSTALLATION TIPS

We recommend an 80 PSI compressor and the Second Skin spray gun. Hold the spray gun 4 to 8 inches away from the surface and apply with a slow sweeping motion. Clean your gun and bottle within 20 minutes so that Spectrum does not set inside.

STEP 4: Treat the Interior Wheel Wells and Floor (RECOMmenDED)

Now that you’ve deadened road noise from the exterior of your vehicle, support it with a sound deadening and blocking on the interior. Use Damplifier Pro or Spectrum as your deadener, and a product like Luxury Liner Pro and your noise barrier. Putting these materials on the interior of your car on the topside of the wheel wells will help block out residual sound. Luxury Liner Pro is a 2-in-1 product that combines a layer of high r-value, insulating closed cell foam with the mass loaded vinyl you need to really deaden road noise.

Start by spraying another thing layer of Spectrum to the tops of the wheel wells, then cover them with sheets of Luxury Liner Pro. Keep in mind that the average surface area of a car’s interior floor is between 35-45 square feet, so you’ll likely need 4-6 sheets of Luxury Liner Pro. If you just cover the tops of the wheel wells, it may help a little bit but you’ll still have plenty of sound going around your noise barrier and still getting into your vehicle.

Check out our Vehicle Build Packages for all of the material you need for your Sound Deadening and Sound Blocking layers sold at a bundled discount.

All Second Skin products are made of high-quality, fire-resistant materials with safety in mind. Our sound deadening mats are 100% butyl rubber (no asphalt!) and are proudly manufactured in the US.

Most cars can benefit from adding a sound deadener to their wheel wells. If you happen to drive a truck, an SUV, or a restored hot rod, and are experiencing road noise the wheel wells are a good place to take a hard look at. A solid deadening mat is effective, but for the unique shape and size of a car’s wheel well, a liquid spray is the best choice. Learn more about our signature liquid deadener and other products you’ll need for your automotive soundproofing project by shopping below!

Learn More with Our Ultimate Car Insulation Guide