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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Is Sound Deadening Your Rig Worth It?

 photo by asikkk via iStock

Most 4x4s – and specifically the old ones – aren’t what one would call quiet and refined. 

 They turn big chunky and noisy tires, they usually run big diesel engines, they have the aerodynamic properties of a brick and on top of that, they do not have much sound deadening from factory.

 Sure, not all of them are like this, if you get in a new Defender or Landcruiser I am pretty sure they will be silent. 

 However, what about the bare-bones vehicles out there? The noise older Landcruisers, 4Runners, Defenders, or Jeeps make on the motorway can lead to a throbbing headache. 

 The most obvious solution is to go for some sound deadening; therefore, in this article, we will be having a look at whether sound deadening is worth the fuss or not. 

What is Sound Deadening?

Sound Deadening Material

 photo by asikkk via iStock

Most sound deadening materials on the market are available in sheets with a sticky surface on the back. These sheets are usually made of butyl rubber and a layer of aluminum.

The aluminum exists to provide structural stability to the material.  

A thin layer of foam is added on top of the aluminum to prevent buzzes and rattles from wiring harnesses and door lock actuators.

The blend of these materials acts as a buffer to vibrations and sound from the steel surface of the vehicle’s body; therefore, bringing in-cabin noise levels down.

Where Should You Add It?

Muddy 4x4 Tire

 photo by 4X-image via iStock

If your vehicle isn’t loud to the point where it annoys you then you only need to add sound deadening to the doors. 

Remove the door cards from all doors and get the material behind the window and window regulator. This will reduce the noise coming from the outside but not to a great extent.

If you want more drastic changes then you can remove the headliner, seats, carpets, and door cards to cover the whole body of the vehicle with sound deadening. This will drastically reduce noise levels but does come with a few small drawbacks.

Drawbacks of Sound Deadening Your 4WD

Muddy Tire

 photo by nuwatphoto via iStock

Most of the drawbacks are minor to most, but for a small number of us, they may be a deal-breaker. 

The first one is weight. Now, sound deadening material has gotten more advanced and therefore lighter. However, if you cover the whole car with it, you will still be adding weight. 

This may not be an issue for most people. However, for those who are close to their vehicle’s maximum load capacity due to all the accessories added, more weight may not be an option.

The Material Gets Old and Brittle

Muddy 4x4 truck

 photo by schlol via iStock

This is an issue for those who are planning on keeping their rig for many years. Because of heat, cold, and age, the material gets old and brittle and will no longer do its job. 

To replace all the sound deadening will mean you have to remove all the interior and try to unstick glue that’s been on there heating up for the best part of 10 years – have fun with that. 

They Can Be Expensive to Install

Installing Sound Deadening Material

 photo by Aleksandr Potashev via iStock

To do such a job you will need to buy the material and pay for the labor of the installer to remove all your interior install the sound deadening and put it all back together again. 

Is a reduction in sound worth the money and time? I would say no.  

Your Vehicle Will Never Dry If You Flood It

4x4 Driving though a river

 photo by urbancow via iStock

This is niching down now, but we must address everything. Imagine you get bogged in a mudhole and your car fills up with water. As far as I am concerned this is a common phenomenon for those who like to push the limits.

Worst case you will take the carpet out to give it a good clean, let it dry, and put it back in. 

If you have sound deadening all the foam will absorb the water and there will be no way of cleaning it without destroying the material. Not to mention that it will never dry out. 

So, for those who like to push their rigs, sound deadening may not be the best idea. 

So, Should You Install Sound Deadening in Your Vehicle?

Install Sound Deadening in Your Vehicle

 photo by  Aleksandr Potashev via iStock

I would say sound deadening has its place in a classic 4×4 restoration project. For newer cars, it may be worth installing it in the doors to reduce noise levels. Doing the whole body, I believe  is too expensive and not worth the fuss. 

You can decide on your own though. Analyze the situation you are in, and if adding some will solve a problem you have, then go for it.

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