Cars, especially cheap ones, often rattle and vibrate. Every part of your car transmits noise, from the engine itself to loose panels to parts that transmit vibrations from elsewhere. This annoys most drivers, but it bothers you even more if you play music. The car's noise disrupts the stereo system, and the bass makes panels vibrate even more. You can apply sound-deadening material to the area around the speakers, and also to the number plate, the doors, the underbody, the engine and every other part of your car that makes noise.
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Lay mats over and between the car's panels. Mats absorb vibrations and convert them to heat, deadening sound. By changing the panel's overall composition, they also change the panel's resonant frequency. This prevents a resonance, a primary cause of noise, when vibrations at a particular frequency increase the wave's amplitude. Simply weighing down panels further prevents vibrations. Companies such as Dynamat sell high-quality damping mats. For cheaper options, use mats containing asphalt or rubber. Also, consider cheap roofing material, but apply a lubricant such as powdered charcoal before installing it. If you use mats in your engine, remember that they create heat. Line them with metal foil to raise their resistance to radiated heat.
Insulation works secondarily to mats and costs even less. Stuff the area below mats or below your car's carpet with a layer of fibre, such as hemp or jute. This also adds some bounce to the carpet, which could make sitting and driving more comfortable. Use a thinner layer of insulation if prefer to minimise the space it takes up.
Layers of foam might appear similar to mats, but they deaden sound in a different way. Foams don't convert sound to heat; they disperse vibrations, reducing sound. Install sheets of foam as you would a mat. Foam also comes in sprays, which fill crevices that mats can't reach. Professional sound-deadening sprays cost a lot, but all foam sprays disperse vibrations. Consider using spray-on polystyrene, better known as styrofoam. Beware of toxic fumes, though, and check to see if your community bans this spray use for environmental reasons.
Sound-deadening paint uses elastic polymers to stop panels from resonating. It cuts noise without adding much weight. Paint bonds directly to metal, so spray it on doors and on the chassis as well as in the boot or on the floor. Remove all other insulation before painting. Unlike when you paint a house or when you ordinarily paint a car, lay the paint as thickly as you can. Apply at least three coats.
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