Have you ever been driving down the highway and noticed a loud roaring or buzzing noise coming from your tires? This annoying road noise from tires can make conversations difficult and ruin your quiet drive. Luckily, there are several ways we can reduce tire noise for a quieter ride.
In this article, we’ll explore the common causes of noisy tires and actionable tips you can take to reduce the noise both inside and outside your vehicle. With some simple maintenance and upgrades using sound-deadening material, you’ll be cruising in peace and quiet in no time.
Read on to learn how to pinpoint the issue and make your drive as silent as possible.
How to make tires quieter for a Noise-Free Ride
The sound of tire noise intruding into your car’s interior can get old pretty quickly. From a faint hum to a loud roar, noise coming from your tires while driving can make conversations difficult and ruin your listening experience.
Luckily, there are several ways to reduce the noise and get a much quieter ride. With a few simple tweaks and upgrades, you can minimize noise from tires and make your drive peaceful again.
Why Tires Get Noisy
Before learning how to quiet noisy tires, it helps to understand what causes the noise in the first place. Here are some of the most common culprits behind noisy tires:
- Underinflated tires – Tires that don’t have enough air pressure can cause uneven wear and produce more noise when rolling. Proper inflation is key.
- Unevenly worn tires – If some areas of the tread are more worn than others, it creates an uneven contact patch that generates noise. Regularly rotating tires helps them wear evenly.
- Wide tires – Wider tires naturally produce more noise than narrower ones. Switching to narrower tires can reduce noise.
- Tread pattern – Some tread designs are noisier than others, especially at high speeds. Choosing a tire with the right tread pattern for your usage helps minimize noise.
- Road surface – Certain road surfaces generate more tire noise than others. It’s often outside of your control but worth keeping in mind.
10 Ways to Reduce Tire Noise
Here are the top 10 tips for reducing road noise from tires and getting a quieter ride:
1. Keep Tires Properly Inflated
Ensuring tires are inflated to the proper tire pressure is one of the easiest ways to reduce noise from the tires. Underinflated tires get hotter, wear unevenly, and make more noise. Check pressures at least monthly and add air as needed. Investing in a portable tire inflator makes it quick and convenient.
2. Get Your Tires Rotated and Balanced
Rotating your tires every 5,000-8,000 miles helps them wear evenly so you don’t get uneven tread depths or unevenly worn tires. This prevents noisy irregular tread contact. At the same time, get them balanced to prevent vibration and wheel noise at high speeds.
3. Replace Tires Before They’re Worn Out
Letting tires get too worn down before replacement also causes uneven tread wear and noise. Monitor tread depth and replace them when they get to the wear bars around 2/32 inches of remaining tread. Quality all-season or touring tires provide a quieter ride than cheap tires.
4. Choose Tires With Noise Reducing Features
When buying new tires, look for ones designed to reduce noise. Features like sound-absorbent foam fillers, noise-dampening rubber compounds, and tread patterns optimized for quiet performance all help reduce noise from the tires. Do research to find tires known for their quiet ride.
5. Use Sound Deadening Materials
Adding mass and sound absorption makes a big difference in reducing interior noise. Use sound-deadening material like Dynamat on the doors, floor pans, trunk, wheel wells and firewall to prevent road noise transmitted into the cabin. Seal all seams and gaps thoroughly. It takes time but works very well.
6. Seal Air Leaks in Doors
Listen for any wind noise coming from gaps around doors. Air leaks let in noise. Inspect door and window seals for damage or wear and replace them if needed. For quick fixes, a rubber trim seal can temporarily fill gaps and reduce wind noise. Proper sealing blocks noise infiltration.
7. Drive at Lower Speeds
Tire noise increases exponentially with speed. When safe to do so, keeping your speed down, especially on coarser road surfaces, will reduce noise levels inside the cabin dramatically. Less speed equals less noise.
8. Replace Worn Suspension Parts
Worn parts like ball joints, control arm bushings, and shocks/struts can introduce extra vibration and road noise. Have a mechanic inspect your suspension components if you notice new rattling or louder road noise and replace any worn parts.
9. Choose Narrower Section Width Tires
Narrower tires crisscross the pavement less so they don’t generate as much sound. When buying new tires, consider downsizing section width while maintaining the proper overall diameter. Narrower tires also improve fuel economy.
10. Add More Soundproofing Material
For maximum interior quietness, cover all surfaces with soundproofing material like Kilmat or Dynamat Xtreme. Treat the entire floor, transmission tunnel, doors, roof, trunk, fenders, and behind trim panels – everywhere you can fit the rubberized butyl or asphalt-based sheets. Be thorough for the best noise reduction.
How Tire Design Affects Noise
Tire manufacturers have developed many technologies to make modern tires run quietly. Here are some design factors that affect tire noise:
- Tread pattern – Small, irregular blocks and sipes help break up noise waves and reduce resonance. A more random and complex tread pattern increases pitch variation and dissipates noise energy.
- Groove design – Wide circumferential grooves around the tire help inhibit noise generation and propagation. Variable-width grooves also help control noise.
- Pitch sequence – Varying the pitch or spacing between tread blocks helps minimize noise produced at certain frequencies. Altering pitch sequence reduces resonance.
- Tread stiffness – Stiffer tread rubber compounds generally have better wear but transmit more noise. New polymer blends aim to balance tread life and quiet performance.
- Jointless cap ply – Eliminating the stiff joint where cap plies overlap reduces vibration and noise generation. A continuous, jointless cap helps quiet tires.
- Foam fillers – Foam-filled cavities within the tire absorb noise and damping material placed under the tread reduces vibration and noise.
Quieter tires require complex tread design and advanced construction to minimize noise. When shopping for tires, look for ones specially engineered for a quiet ride.
Signs Your Car Has Noisy Tires
How do you know when it’s tire noise disturbing the peace in your car versus other issues? Here are some signs pointing to noisy tires as the culprit:
- Noise increases with speed – This is the #1 indicator of tire noise. Faster speeds generate more noise.
- Sound is a constant hum – Tire noise remains consistent as a humming or droning sound, unlike suspension squeaks and rattles.
- Vibrations felt in steering wheel – Excessive vibrations through the wheel can indicate noise stemming from imbalance or tread irregularities.
- Noise is worse on coarse pavements – Tire noise gets louder on concrete or rough asphalt due to increased tread vibrations.
- Visual signs of wear – Spotting uneven tread wear or damage during a visual inspection points to tires as the noise maker.
- Balancing doesn’t fix it – Noise persisting after balancing tires indicates the problem is worn, damaged, or poorly designed tires.
If you notice these signs, focus on the tires first when trying to tackle unwanted road noise. They’re often the culprit.
DIY Tips for Reducing Tire Noise at Home
Don’t want to spend money getting tires changed or adding sound insulation right now? Here are some quick DIY tips to help reduce road noise from tires:
- Inflate tires to max sidewall pressure when loading up the car for a trip. The extra pressure minimizes tread squirm.
- Clean tires with soapy water and rinse off any road grime buildup. Dirt in the treads can amplify noise.
- Remove unnecessary cargo weight and roof racks to lighten the load on tires when possible.
- Apply a bead of silicone sealant in door gaps to reduce wind noise from air leaks.
- Use a sound absorption panel on the rear door if that’s the main noise source. Moving blankets also help.
- Add foam insulation pieces or shop towels to wheel wells to dampen tire noise vibrations.
These quick, inexpensive tricks can help reduce the noise inside the car and restore some peace and quiet from your tires. They make good temporary fixes before you’re able to solve the underlying issue with proper repairs or new tires.
When to See a Mechanic About Noisy Tires
DIY remedies can only do so much for quieting tires. If you’ve tried the usual fixes and are still plagued by persistent, excessive tire noise, it’s time to have the pros take a look. Here are some signs it’s time to get help from a mechanic:
- Tire noise gets progressively louder
- Strange new rattling or squeaking noises arise
- Vibration is felt through the steering wheel or seat
- You regularly have to refill the air due to a slow leak
- Tires show obvious damage or abnormal wear
- The suspension feels loose and saggy
- Alignment seems off with the vehicle pulling to one side
- Tires are over 6 years old
Excessive noise, unusual sounds, and irregular tire wear all signal underlying issues that need professional attention. A technician can inspect for problems, perform needed repairs and get your tires quiet again.
How Mechanics Fix Noisy Tires
When you take your vehicle into the shop for noisy tires, here are some of the ways a technician can solve the problem:
- Rotate and balance tires to eliminate uneven wear
- Replace underinflated, damaged, or worn tires
- Install new suspension components to correct sag or looseness
- Perform wheel alignment to correct settings causing abnormal wear
- Add sound-deadening materials and patch leaks
- Mount new tires optimized for quiet performance
- Check for bent wheels and rim damage contributing to noise
- Identify powertrain issues such as bad wheel bearings causing noise
- Road test to pinpoint wheel locations with the most noise
With the right expertise and diagnostic tools, mechanics can zero in on the reason for the noise and carry out the needed tire, wheel, or suspension repairs to restore a quiet ride.
Maintaining Your Tires for Less Noise
The best way to keep your car quiet is by maintaining your tires properly over their lifespan. Follow these tips for quiet tires:
- Check pressures monthly and keep tires inflated to specifications
- Rotate, balance and align tires every 5,000-7,000 miles
- Inspect treads and sidewalls frequently for damage
- Wash tires periodically to remove dirt and debris
- Avoid potholes, curbs and hazards that impact tires
- Drive gently and avoid aggressive cornering and braking
- Change tires as soon as they reach the wear limit
- Choose quality tires focused on quiet performance
With vigilant tire care and maintenance, you can add miles of peaceful driving and minimize disturbances from noise coming from your tires.
Take action at the first signs of noise to stop it before it gets out of hand. With the right prevention and treatment, you can enjoy the quiet ride you deserve.
FAQs: How to make tires quieter
What causes noisy tires?
The most common causes of noisy tires are uneven tread wear, improper inflation pressure, wheel balance issues, loose parts, and worn components like shocks and wheel bearings. Aggressive driving habits and road hazards also increase noise.
Do wider tires make more noise?
yes. Wider tires increase road contact, so they can potentially transmit more noise into the cabin. But wider tires aren’t inherently noisier if properly balanced and aligned. Tire construction also affects noise levels.
Will new tires be quieter?
New tires should be quieter than worn out tires. However, they won’t fix underlying issues like imbalance or misalignment. Ensure proper installation and maintenance of new tires. Correct mechanical problems first.
Can I make loud mud terrain tires quieter?
Switching to all-season tires will help reduce noise from aggressive mud terrain tires. You can also install sound-dampening materials, get additional tread siping, and avoid hard acceleration/braking. But mud tires will always be louder than highway tires.
What tire tread patterns are the quietest?
The quietest tread patterns have symmetrical blocks, lots of siping, and high void ratios to release air. Avoid large, uneven lug designs. All-season touring tires from quality brands are engineered for a quiet, comfortable ride.
Reducing tire noise can lead to a much quieter and more enjoyable ride. There are several ways to reduce noise coming from your tires. Making sure your tires are properly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI can help reduce noise from underinflated tires.
Having your tires rotated and replacing unevenly worn tires provides for a smoother, quieter tread pattern. Choosing narrower tires with smaller tread blocks can also contribute to a quieter ride.
Adding sound-deadening material or soundproofing material in key locations can dampen noise, as can replacing loud factory car doors. Some manufacturers offer quiet tires designed specifically to reduce road noise from tires.
While you may never eliminate tire noise completely, taking a few simple steps to reduce road noise from tires and minimize noisy tires will allow you to enjoy a quieter ride from your efforts.
With a decibel meter, you can measure noise levels before and after changes to determine the amount of noise reduction achieved.
By implementing some of these suggestions, you can successfully transform an annoyingly loud ride into a much more peaceful and quiet ride.