During the early days at school, you are taught the concept of noise. Aside from being a topic in your science subject, you are introduced to it on a more personal level.
When the teacher is not around, you probably have a list of your hyperactive classmates on paper or on the board captioned: Noisy.
Tires are one of the most important parts of a car. They are the four wheels rolling on the road responsible for bringing you to your destinations.
It spins and keeps traction on the ground while supporting yours and your passenger's weight. It is essential that we keep it in check for our safety and overall car performance.
Putting aside the ambient noise from the road- road surface, tire, engine, wind, and brakes -tires can be one major contributor to road noise.
Road noise is the biggest player in noise pollution. Therefore, tire noise reduction will not completely vanish pollution but will greatly help.
On long drives, we often prefer a quiet ride. This is most especially true to drivers who get easily distracted by sound, better yet, noise.
Some drivers even choose to turn off their radio or music player. If they have passengers, they request to keep their voices down.
In some extreme scenarios, front-seat passengers make cutting remarks about how noisy drive can be very irritating.
It is true and even more bothersome if the noise you hear is from your own tires. It is directly heard by those who are inside the car cabin.
It'll be too stressful to just ignore it so tips on how you can do to reduce road noise from tires are oh so helpful.
What causes loud tire noises?
Health hazard of noisy tire
First of all, road noise is part of pollution. So basically, they will pose health issues.
People usually hear a clear sound between 3-4kHz. This range is enough to increase alertness in an individual.
To understand it much better, it is like the sound of a crying baby or a siren from emergency vehicles.
If your car is not well soundproofed, tires can produce the same frequency and since a car cabin is a confined space, you can perceive the sound double or triple in intensity.
Long exposure to this sound can cause deafening, sleep disturbance and stress. The most immediate effect is a distraction and sometimes, though rare, it can cause an accident.
here are some tips that can reduce road noise from tires
1: Check and if needed, alter door seals
Door seals are the thick, rubber gasket around your door frame. Ensuring that they are tightly shut is the first tip you can apply to your operation tire noise reduction.
Check the door seals if there is no gap when you close your car's door. The gap can be a highway for sounds not only from the tires can pass through.
An easy step to do this by shouting outside by a friend or whoever is with you. If you hear it something might be wrong in your shut door.
More accurately, use a compressed-air outlet or a water hose spraying a fine spray instead. If you'd still hear the hissing sound, your gasket isn't performing well.
In time, door seals can worn out. If possible, it is better to replace it with a new one although this can cause extra bucks. New door seals can fairly reduce noise coming in the car.
If budget is a problem, you may try to check and replace it on your own. The door seal can be fixable by some adhesive.
Weatherstrips can be used especially for minor loose or crack. You can also try installing a second rubber seal. For sure, noise reduction will be greater.
For bigger problems, just buy a new one. You'll have to spend either way.
2: Feel your tires
Avoid the hassle of replacing all your fours by a regular check-up from your part. Before use, it will be a nice hobby to always check tires. Visual inspection is the easiest and fastest way to prevent further problems.
Reduce road noise by early prevention before it happens. Feel your tires for any irregularities because over time tire tread wears and break down.
Grab a good pair of rubber gloves and feel the wheel. You should spin it too so you'll have to use your rear tires first.
If you have time, bring your front tires at the back. The treads should be even. If you felt that something's wrong or weird, ask for help. It'll be better than an abrupt problem on the highway.
3: Thicken your wheel wells
The fundamental idea of soundproofing is to use thick, dense and mass loaded materials. As such, wheel wells can be thickened by adding sound-absorbing material.
Foam is possible because it will absorb sound vibrations from the tires.
However, the installation of another material will be easy if there is enough space with the tires on. Or else, you will have to remove the tires first before adding on the wheel well.
While you're at it, clean the wheel well first so whatever you decide to stick will stick.
4: Soundproof car cabin floor
The place closest to your interiors, specifically the tire gears, is the cabin floor of cars. This is where the transmission of tire noise happens. Realistically, it will benefit a lot if you soundproof your cabin floor.
The easiest way to do this is by placing thick, fluffy rugs. They are sound absorbent so noise generating from below will fade.
Similar to mass-loaded vinyl, soundproofing mats are much welcome to use. These mats are sure in the sound reduction world.
5: Soundproof car doors
Doors are shut, cabin floor is soundproofed yet there's still audible noise?
From your tires, you guess? You may be right. You know it's your tire because you can hear it whenever you drive.
What's left to soundproof is your car doors. You are already safe from door seals if you already did number one.
The techniques are quite identical to soundproofing your cabin's floor minus the rag. You can install soundproof mats or other materials.
The challenge is that you'll have to remove the car door first. This is physically demanding but the effect is surely rewarding.in
6: Do a monthly tire inspection
Avoid all these by just a simple monthly check-up. That's the most practical tip you can apply to reduce road noise from tires.
Regularly check it or have it checked. It'll save you from the hassle of it being noisy and you'll have to solve it then.
7: Get Quiet Tires To Give You A Silent Drive
General AltiMAX RT All-Season Tire
AltiMAX RT is a quieter tire thanks to its AMST (Acoustic Modulations Sound Technology) combined with a reactive contour technology.
"Quiet. Good handling tire. Very satisfied.-Kathy Stuit, Amazon buyer"
Continental ExtremeContact DWS All-Season Tire
The ExtremeContact DWS All-Season tire is one of the strongest competitors of quiet tire types available. Designed tough exterior, and frame. The tire offers wet traction and even in snow conditions.
"Best UHP all-season tire - I. Duimovic, Amazon buyer"
Continental ContiProContact SSR Run-Flat All-Season Tire
TheContiProContact SSR Run-Flat All-Season is an all-season passenger with improved stability on wet surfaces and dry road. Its central rib reduces the tread pattern noise level for a quiet ride.
"...safe considering how strong these tires are- D. Defoe, Amazon buyer"
HankookOptimo H724 All-Season Tire
Hankook'sOptimo H724 All-Season is a high-performance tire with increased durability through improved bead fillers.
As for its design to reduce tire noise, the Pitch design technology of this specific tire assures the reduction of tire noise for a quieter drive.
"Unbeatable combination of quality, performance, and price!-AlcoluJohn, Amazon buyer"
Goodyear Eagle LS Radial Tire
Goodyear Eagle LS Radial Tire is another variation of an all-season tire. It is designed with a Special tread block sequence for improved handling and traction. This also reduces tread noise so you will have no issue of a noisy drive.
"Great experience, not one problem! - StepheneCrumpton, Amazon buyer"
Features of Quiet tires
How to measure the road noise decibel level?
Say you have applied the tips mentioned or changed your tire to what is claimed to be quieter one but to see is to believe. You may want to check it yourself if it really did change.
Without any instrument, you can check it with your ears. It is not accurate but rather fairly subjective to how you'll perceive the sound. Just sit on the driver's seat like usual and sensitize your ears.
Now into the digital measurement: Note that decibels are a base 10 logarithmic unit. This means that increasing a sound by 10 decibels results in a sound twice as loud. Your reading will be on this unit.
One digital way to measure the decibel level of noise is by using a computer. Some programs are available for decibel reading.
If you want it handier, using smartphones gives pretty much the same results. However, be reminded that both gadgets will use its built-in microphone.
It may not be as sensitive as an external microphone intended for sound level reading purposes.
For a more precise reading, the best alternative is a professional decibel meter. It has a sensitive microphone that collects and reads the decibel level of the environment.
Decibel meter is not only used in cars but a portable tool wherever you want to measure sound. Since this reader is precise, you can expect to own one at much higher prices.
Disclaimer: This post is not in any way an endorsement of the YouTube channel mentioned.
A good vlog regarding tire noise reduction among road noise was uploaded by Freakout.
In his caption, his wife experienced tire noise and immediately brought the car in for repair. The culprit is the rear wheel bearing. The repairman did the following steps:
- Remove the tire first. Rear tires are more likely suspects than the front wheels.
- Remove break cover.
- Clean the bearing from dust. By this time, it has accumulated a lot.
- Disconnect abs from connectors.
- Replace plugin.
- Check abs if properly installed.
- Screw bolt.
- Put back the tire cover.
- Put back the tire.
- Ensure all nuts are tight.
Just like that, his car is again driving quietly. You don't have to go through all our steps if you can pinpoint the problem at once.
These are a few tips to reduce road noise from tires. It will be a lot of help for you and your passengers as well who are fed up with the noise from your fours entering the cabin.
I hope it helps!
Jessica is a Acoustical Engineer, currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. After graduating from her degree in Master of Engineering degree in Acoustics from Solent University in 2014, Jessica worked for a few companies before She will be blogging about her past and current experiences in the studio and sharing her journey as she pursues her career goals. She enjoy the balance of work inside and out of the office, solving practical problems on a daily basis as every project is different and requires a different solution, the variety of work (sound insulation testing, background noise survey, mechanical plant commissioning, external plant assessment, plant room breakout assessments) and the mix of independent and team work.