Taking a road trip can be an exciting and memorable experience. Whether you’re traveling with your family, friends, or significant other, having the windows down and listening to your favorite music is always a great way to pass the time. However, if you’ve ever driven in a convertible or with the windows down during windy conditions, then you know how annoying wind noise can be while trying to enjoy your tunes!
What Causes Wind Noise in Cars?
Wind noise is caused when air flows over the exterior of your car. It’s usually more noticeable in convertibles because there are no windows or doors to help reduce the wind flow into your vehicle. And while it can be found in cars with tinted windows, it’s less likely to be heard.
1) Convertible Top Misalignment
A convertible top that has not been properly aligned can cause excessive wind noise, especially when it is in the down position. A proper alignment ensures that your top opens and closes completely and lays flat on the trunk and sides of your car. This type of misalignment can result in poor performance like:
Rattling during operation Squeaking or creaking at start up or as windows go down Difficulty opening or closing Broken latches
2) Improper Weather Stripping
Excessively worn weather stripping around windows, doors, trunk openings, and convertible tops creates gaps where air can pass through into your vehicle. Worn weather stripping can affect both heat and sound insulation which causes more exterior noise to enter your vehicle.
3) Unbalanced Tires
Unbalanced tires can cause excessive vibrations, which in turn may create wind noise. This is often caused by one tire that is heavier than the others. If you are still able to drive your vehicle, then consider replacing the front and back tires with an even set of four tires .
4) Cracked or Damaged Windows
Basically any damage to your car’s windows (i.e. small cracks, chips , discoloration, etc.) will contribute to excess wind noise since the structural integrity of the window has been compromised to some extent. If there are no obstructions blocking your view through the window (tinted film), then it should be replaced as soon as possible . The same applies to any door or window with a broken seal .
5) Torn Convertible Top Seams
When there are loose or torn seams on your convertible top, air can push through and cause annoying wind noise. The material around the seams should be checked for rips and then glued back together to prevent further damage that may increase wind noise.
6) Tinted Windows
Wind noise is most commonly found in convertibles because there is no roof or windows to block air flow. However, tinted windows do reduce the amount of exterior noise coming into your car by blocking out harmful UV rays and reducing glare on sunny days.
7) Improperly Installed Headliner
If your headliner has not been properly installed, then it may look fine from the outside but be loose on the inside. This can cause wind noise around the edges since it’s not sitting flush against your vehicle’s roof . A professional will need to install a new headliner if this is the case.
8) Cracked or Loose Seals Around Windows/Doors/Convertible Top
If you can see daylight around any of your windows, doors, or convertible top seams, then their seals may be cracked or worn out. This will cause wind noise at high speeds since there is nothing blocking air flow into the car’s interior .
9) Torn Dashboard/HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) Foam Insulation
Torn pieces of dashboard foam insulation allows unwanted noise to enter through the vents and dash area. It also reduces heat and air conditioning effectiveness by restricting airflow . If it’s torn beyond repair, then a new piece needs to be installed.
10) Loose Body Seals/Exhaust Piping
Any kind of loose body seal around the trunk opening is a cause for concern. The same goes for exhaust pipes that are not properly connected or secured. Air can pass through these gaps and cause excessive wind noise in your car.
How to Reduce Wind Noise in a Car
There are several ways to reduce wind noise in your car. First, you should try one solution at a time and then test drive to see if it helped or made the problem worse. Once you know which method works best for your specific situation, then it’s much easier to pinpoint what needs to be repaired/replaced in order to successfully make the change permanent. Here is a list of possible solutions:
1) Adjust Your Windows/Convertible Top Downward
The idea behind this solution is to make sure that all windows and convertible top edges are flush against the body panels. This makes it harder for air to pass through gaps between windows or doors since they are not up against anything. A professional may need to adjust some window frame nuts so that this is possible.
2) Use Rain-X on Windows
This product should be applied to both the inside and outside of your car’s windshield so that rain will bead up and not create puddles. This makes it much easier for water to slide off the glass instead of staying in place and causing wind noise where the wipers glide across the surface . If you don’t have any Rain-X, then several other brands also carry products specifically designed for this purpose.
3) Tighten HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) Foam Insulation
If your dashboard or HVAC insulation is loose at certain points around your car, then all you need to do is tighten them by hand. This eliminates any gaps that allow wind to travel through them and can reduce annoying noise immediately .
4) Apply Sealant Tape
If you have several cracks or holes in the weatherstripping around your car, then you should seal them up with silicone caulk or rubberized tape. Caulking is an inexpensive solution that anyone can do on their own by following the DIY instructions included on many products. Sealing these cracks stops all airflow from getting into your vehicle, which reduces annoying whistling wherever it occurs inside your car. Plus, any kind of tape for this purpose will be relatively cheap to purchase .
5) Add (More) Sound Deadening Material to Floor Panels/Trunk Area
The floor panels and trunk area are the best place to add more sound deadening material because these are the places that usually accumulate the most wind noise. There are several DIY tutorials online that show how you can cut out your trunk’s floor and install new, thicker insulation . If it’s just loose foam insulation panels you need to patch up or replace, then they can be snagged for cheap at your local auto parts store.
6) Install Rain Guards on Your Side Windows
When you don’t have side window rain guards installed, water can collect in puddles between your windows and door frames. The wind will push air through these small spaces and cause whistling at high speeds since there is nothing blocking airflow into your car’s interior. It also allows dust to blow into your vehicle. Installing a pair of rain guards in each window is a cheap, quick solution to this problem.
7) Repair Windows and Windshields that are not Flush against Body Panels
When your car’s windows or windshield don’t sit flush against the body panels, then it becomes easy for wind noise to result from this gap between them. In order to properly repair this issue, you may need a professional because some cars have different types of weatherstripping around their doors or other features that require specialized tools/skills when making repairs. However, if you know what you’re doing, then Plexiglass adhesive putty works well in most situations and only costs about $5 per tube . If there are any gaps around the windshield or windows, then you should apply this around where they meet the car’s body panels .
8) Lower Your Car’s RPMs
If it is possible for you to drive in a lower gear and still maintain the same speed, then do so. When you let off of the gas pedal and can feel your car begin to slow down, shift into a lower gear before hitting the brakes. If there are hills involved in your route, then avoid shifting gears while going up them since this increases wind noise because your engine doesn’t have much resistance to push against. However, keep in mind that driving with low RPMs does lead to increased fuel consumption and may not be practical when you’re just trying to get from point A to point B .
9) Increase Your Car’s Aerodynamics
Aerodynamics is the science/study of how air moves around objects, specifically cars. If you think about it, then you can probably figure out that smooth shapes produce less wind resistance than more boxy-shaped objects . By making your car’s exterior features as streamlined as possible (rear spoilers, front lip kits , etc.), then you improve its overall aerodynamics and wind noise goes away on its own. This is because there is hardly any turbulence to cause holes or gaps in your car’s weather stripping and the airflow has a better flow over your vehicle’s body panels . The downside to this solution is usually financial since these aftermarket upgrades aren’t cheap and not everyone wants their car to look like a space shuttle .
10) Purchase Acoustic Insulation Material for Your Car
There are several companies that sell acoustic insulation material designed specifically to reduce annoying wind noise in your car. The type of insulation that works best is usually upholstery foam because it’s soft, easy to cut into the shapes you need, and doesn’t lose its insulating properties over time. Plus, if you have kids , then you can use this stuff on their car seats to help keep them quiet …now that’s priceless! To get an idea of how much sound deadening material will cost for your car, use our online calculator to estimate how many square feet you need .
11) Fix/Repair Any Holes or Gaps Around Your Car’s Windows or Door Frames
Since the wind will push through any gap it finds, then this is something you should fix as soon as possible. If there are holes in your car’s weather stripping that allow air to flow into your vehicle, then you will hear a whistling sound once the wind picks up. You can purchase kits at most hardware and automotive stores for this which include rubber and foam gaskets and adhesive. To fix holes around car windows/windshields , apply a bead of silicone sealant first before sticking on the new gasket. For doors, carefully take out each glass frame (usually done by removing screws) and replace all of the seals with fresh ones . The parts department at your local dealership may also be able to help you with this, but be prepared to pay a premium.
12) Tweak Your Audio System for Better Sound Quality
One of the best ways to solve wind noise problems is by upgrading your car’s factory audio system. Since most stock units aren’t very powerful, then they don’t have the ability to drown out outside noises which leaves you searching for other solutions. Experts agree that adding more speakers will significantly increase bass response , allowing you to enjoy music at lower volumes and drown out background sounds . If possible, use an amp or head unit with built-in EQ settings so you can adjust your sound levels accordingly. A subwoofer enclosure will also deliver more impactful bass compared to their small counterparts . However, there are limits as to how much sound you can produce in your car. If you have to turn up your stereo’s volume to the maximum just to hear it, then this is a good indicator that more speakers are needed . Of course, adding this type of equipment isn’t cheap either so you’ll have to determine if making these modifications are worth the cost for your vehicle.
13) Block Out Unwanted Noise with Soundproofing Materials
One way of dealing with wind noise problems is by installing sound-absorbing foam or fiberglass panels behind interior panels . This material works best when installed directly underneath windows where air escapes most often. Just keep in mind that these types of products aren’t 100% effective and won’t work on all vehicles. It’s also a good idea to check with the manufacturer of your car’s interior panels first before making any attempts at soundproofing . Self-adhesive sound-deadening material works just as well, if not better compared to pieces that need installation. All you have to do is peel off the adhesive side and place them around problem areas in your vehicle. This stuff comes in either polyester or noise-reducing foams so be sure to purchase the correct one for your needs.
14) Repair Cosmetic Damage on Your Car’s Exterior
The exterior of your vehicle can get damaged easily from rocks being kicked up by other cars while driving on roads with gravel or dirt . Since metal parts are susceptible to rust over time, then properly fixing dents and dings will go a long way in making your car look good as new. To learn how to do this yourself, follow the instructions on our guide that teaches you how to fix minor dents on your car’s body. This doesn’t require too much work and only costs around $100 (at most) if you don’t have access to these types of tools already. Another option is to take it to an automotive body shop where you’ll likely pay several hundred dollars depending on the size of the damage.
15) Lay Down Carpeting Throughout Your Vehicle
For those who live in areas with lots of rain and snow, then another solution for reducing wind noise is laying down carpeting on top of existing floors. Just keep in mind that this isn’t a durable solution and will only last for a few years before wearing out. Furthermore, the installation process is quite time-consuming so it’s recommended for those with prior experience in removing car interiors. In order to add more sound absorption, add insulation on top of the carpeting as well. It goes without saying that this type of project can get expensive when done at home because you have to purchase all of the tools and materials needed beforehand. As mentioned earlier in this article, if you’re up for a challenge then there are how-to articles on our website that show step-by-step instructions on how to do these types of projects properly. However, most people won’t want to spend their free time doing any sort of car modifications so it’s best to take it to a professional instead.
Wind noise from your vehicle’s wind can become bothersome quickly and can pose as an unsafe driving condition. That’s why it’s important to tackle this issue as soon as you notice the problem because chances are it might be too late to prevent damage already . It will take some time before you find the best solution for your car but keep in mind that there is help out there if you know where to look. Just try starting with the simple things first like cleaning up your vehicle, checking for any problems with your window seals, or adding soundproofing materials on top of existing interiors. This guide should get you started but feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions on how to reduce wind noise.