Automotive

Increased road/wind noise

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 10th, 2020 11:55 pm
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[OP]
Member
Feb 26, 2017
208 posts
91 upvotes

Increased road/wind noise

After about 10 years the vehicle seems to have so much more road/wind noise at highway speed. It's hard to have a conversation with back passengers. Engine still sounds the same, muffler is not leaking, tires are relatively new, body has no rust holes, etc.

Back then it was very quiet.

Is it because:
a) Old spring or shock absorbers?
b) Old bushing?
c) Loose joints/couplings?
d) Door seals hardened and are no longer tight?

Any ideas? How to get it back to quiet again?

Something must have changed due to aging, and I want to replace it to bring back the quietness. I am reluctant to add sound deadening layers to the floor or spray tar in the wheel well.
17 replies
Deal Fanatic
Aug 4, 2005
8013 posts
622 upvotes
Brampton
How old/worn are the tires?

Also what brand/model?

Can make a huge difference
Deal Addict
May 23, 2009
2829 posts
1295 upvotes
Mississauga
In addition to tires as @Badman mentioned, wheel bearings can get pretty noisy as they wear out.
Banned
Sep 14, 2020
437 posts
239 upvotes
It's very easy to figure out why it's not as quiet as before. It's old!
[OP]
Member
Feb 26, 2017
208 posts
91 upvotes
Badman wrote: How old/worn are the tires?

Also what brand/model?

Can make a huge difference
Two different sets: all seasons Michelin and winter Toyo. Both are less than 3 years old.
[OP]
Member
Feb 26, 2017
208 posts
91 upvotes
bubuski wrote: In addition to tires as @Badman mentioned, wheel bearings can get pretty noisy as they wear out.
No low speed or high speed humming noise. Front and rear bearings are still ok.
[OP]
Member
Feb 26, 2017
208 posts
91 upvotes
Me262A1 wrote: It's very easy to figure out why it's not as quiet as before. It's old!
Ya, I thought about getting a new car but this one is still good. No problems at all in 10 years.
Sr. Member
Apr 5, 2017
884 posts
643 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
Any clunks?

For wind noise, it could be rubber door seals - check them, and apply a lubricant that won't further dry out the rubber. WD40 dries out rubber so maybe not that. I would even use new or lightly used motor oil. Make sure they are closing properly, even apply grease to the latches. Windows are all properly on track? There's also something you can used to lube the windows including the tracks they go up and down on - that way you also prevent future issues with the windows falling off track depending on make/model/year, some are more prone to it than others.

If plastic covers / fender liners around the wheel wells and under the engine bay are missing, it could also increase wind noise. By design in more modern vehicles, they are an integral part of aerodynamics / noise control.

If roaring/howling sound with annoying frequencies varying by speed - could very well be wheel bearings or aftermarket rims. Many different tires can get louder as they wear down, it varies depending on tire quality, age, rubber compound, design/construction, tread pattern, etc. Cheap tires can be excruciatingly loud and why I would never cheap out on tires. No reason a run of the mill looking all season should sound like a 35" 355 width A/T wrangler duratrac.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jul 30, 2007
28949 posts
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Toronto
you have aged 10 more years now and your hearings have aged as well. Winking Face
Deal Addict
Oct 1, 2015
1285 posts
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Barrie, ON
Door seals, or any exterior seal will be weathered by now. Has the windshield ever been replaced?
Deal Addict
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Mar 7, 2007
4229 posts
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Transmissions will also produce noise.

Try to determine if it is "rolling" noise (tires, bearings, suspension) ,or power train noise (transmission, engine). If you find a downhill, try driving in neutral and in gear, and see it you can tell the difference.
Deal Addict
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Sep 22, 2005
3901 posts
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Ottawa
Same problem with any car as it gets old and more pronounced in common economy cars with single door seals. I don't believe there is much you can do about it, the rubber seals around the car (doors, hood, trunk, etc.) have been compressed for 10+ years and just don't provide the tight seals when they were new, and the engine is making more noise as it gets older too. When my cars were new or around 5 years old, I didn't notice much noise and I could hardly hear the engine or wind noise. Now when they are older than 10 years and everything is still working fine even with brand new quality tires, I can hear everything - engine, wind, road noise so we just learn to live with it, that's a drawback when you keep your cars for a long time.
[OP]
Member
Feb 26, 2017
208 posts
91 upvotes
tehwegz wrote: Any clunks?

For wind noise, it could be rubber door seals - check them, and apply a lubricant that won't further dry out the rubber. WD40 dries out rubber so maybe not that. I would even use new or lightly used motor oil. Make sure they are closing properly, even apply grease to the latches. Windows are all properly on track? There's also something you can used to lube the windows including the tracks they go up and down on - that way you also prevent future issues with the windows falling off track depending on make/model/year, some are more prone to it than others.

If plastic covers / fender liners around the wheel wells and under the engine bay are missing, it could also increase wind noise. By design in more modern vehicles, they are an integral part of aerodynamics / noise control.

If roaring/howling sound with annoying frequencies varying by speed - could very well be wheel bearings or aftermarket rims. Many different tires can get louder as they wear down, it varies depending on tire quality, age, rubber compound, design/construction, tread pattern, etc. Cheap tires can be excruciatingly loud and why I would never cheap out on tires. No reason a run of the mill looking all season should sound like a 35" 355 width A/T wrangler duratrac.
No clunks. Twice a year when swapping winter/all season wheels, I wiggle the wheel to see anything loose joints. Then pump grease in joints that have the bib.

No missing plastic shields underneath. I change oil and check everything down there.

Bearings are still ok.

Rubber door seals for sure are old and no longer tight. I will check for part price and maybe replace them. They still look fine and feel fine when I touch them.
[OP]
Member
Feb 26, 2017
208 posts
91 upvotes
mxthor3 wrote: Door seals, or any exterior seal will be weathered by now. Has the windshield ever been replaced?
Original seals. I will check for part price and maybe replace them.
[OP]
Member
Feb 26, 2017
208 posts
91 upvotes
motomondo wrote: Transmissions will also produce noise.

Try to determine if it is "rolling" noise (tires, bearings, suspension) ,or power train noise (transmission, engine). If you find a downhill, try driving in neutral and in gear, and see it you can tell the difference.
A little different but not much.
[OP]
Member
Feb 26, 2017
208 posts
91 upvotes
gumby wrote: Same problem with any car as it gets old and more pronounced in common economy cars with single door seals. I don't believe there is much you can do about it, the rubber seals around the car (doors, hood, trunk, etc.) have been compressed for 10+ years and just don't provide the tight seals when they were new, and the engine is making more noise as it gets older too. When my cars were new or around 5 years old, I didn't notice much noise and I could hardly hear the engine or wind noise. Now when they are older than 10 years and everything is still working fine even with brand new quality tires, I can hear everything - engine, wind, road noise so we just learn to live with it, that's a drawback when you keep your cars for a long time.
The vehicle still runs good as when I bought it more than 10 years ago, except the noise. I still like it and don't want to find a new one yet.
Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
16486 posts
9282 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
Figman2 wrote: Rubber door seals for sure are old and no longer tight. I will check for part price and maybe replace them. They still look fine and feel fine when I touch them.
No need to replace them just yet... Use some seal conditioner first to see if it will make a difference. Most seals aren't exposed to UV light so they should not have aged too much. This stuff seems to be what's recommended everywhere for seal conditioning - Gummi Pflege Stift. It's about $20 for 100 ml.
[OP]
Member
Feb 26, 2017
208 posts
91 upvotes
craftsman wrote: No need to replace them just yet... Use some seal conditioner first to see if it will make a difference. Most seals aren't exposed to UV light so they should not have aged too much. This stuff seems to be what's recommended everywhere for seal conditioning - Gummi Pflege Stift. It's about $20 for 100 ml.
Awesome suggestion! This Einszett Gummi Pflege Stift seems very promising for conditioning seals.

I watch a few youtube videos and see in a video that it is a milky liquid similar to 303 UV Aerospace Protectant that I use for my boat. The 303 UV Aerospace Protectant is amazing for rubber and plastic. So I also tried it on my car two years ago and the plastic/rubber parts still look shiny. As an experiment on UV protection, I apply it on one side of the roof rail two years ago. I park my car outside in sun/rain/snow year round. The roof rail side with this UV aerospace protectant still looks shiny today. The other side still looks faded as ever.

With the 303 Aerospace Protectant, the plastic/rubber surface has somewhat slippery feel. I think it will have a similar effect as Einszett Gummi Pflege Stift preventing the door seals from sticking in freezing winter days. I will test this 303 stuff on door seals for a few months then decide on whether to get Einszett Gummi Plege Stift. Maybe I'll look for the datasheet to see what they both are.

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