Insulating Your Vehicle

By: The Auto Guy Email
By: The Auto Guy Email

Most people are familiar with insulation product for their homes, but did you know that there are insulating and sound deadening products for your vehicle as well?

Let’s take a look at some of them starting at the top in the headliner. The headliner material itself is not that thick, but the plastic or rigid foam product that it’s attached to is what insulates and blocks road noise. It goes all of the way across the top of the roof and insulates the interior from outside cold and heat.

The doors can also be a source of road noise and you also usually have speakers for the sound system located in there as well. There needs to be good, sound deadening material inside the trim panel of the door to keep the road noise out and the musical sounds in.

In the rear cargo area of SUVs and smaller CUVs there is a lot of open space and lots of interior trim panels. All of those trim panels usually have sound deadening insulation on the inside of them to block road noise. There also are sound deadening pads under the spare tire that are applied at the factory to keep road noise down. They are self-adhesive on one side and stick right to the body of the vehicle.

The trunk lid on cars usually has some sort of trim panel on the inside of it and it’s not just for looks. That material blocks a lot of noise and sometimes less expensive cars do not have them on the inside of the trunk. So remember to take a look for things like that when you are purchasing a lower-priced vehicle. Most times, lower-priced vehicles are not as quiet as the more expensive models due to the lack of sound deadening insulation.

Obviously a lot of road noise is going to come up through the floor because it’s right above the road. The material under the carpet not only cushions under your feet, but more importantly keeps sound from transferring up into the passenger compartment. But sound isn’t the only thing that needs to be blocked from coming inside the vehicle.

Under-car heat from the exhaust would destroy electronics that are mounted on the floor inside the car, plus it would make you hot as well. So there has to be an insulating barrier between the two. The insulating material underneath the vehicle is different than the interior insulation because it has to stand up to a lot higher temperatures and the elements out on the road.

An example is a metal heat shield that is mounted between the very hot catalytic convertor and the floor of the vehicle. Have these checked at every oil change just to make sure one has not been knocked loose under the vehicle.

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