When going at speeds higher than 70 mph on highways, every car engine gets naturally louder. However, this noise shouldn’t be so loud that it’s distracting you or making the ride unpleasant. If that is the case, you’re probably dealing with a vehicle issue that needs your urgent attention.
Read on to find out the most common causes of increased acceleration noise, as well as some advice on how to reduce it.
Where Is the Noise Coming From?
Before trying to determine what’s causing your car to be noisy on the highway, it’s essential to pinpoint where the noise is coming from. In most cases, the noise originates in the front of the car (the hood), where your engine is located.
However, your tires might also be causing the ruckus, as well as the back of the car (the exhaust system, for example). Either way, it is crucial to ascertain which part is causing trouble before you can begin tackling it.
We’ll go over all the possibilities below.
If you can hear your tires tread on the highway more than usual, several factors might be behind the issue.
For one, you might be carrying too much cargo in your car, so the tires are protesting under the weight. Alternatively, you could also be dealing with low tire pressure, or your tires might need replacing because they are worn.
Whatever the case, if the problem only persists the more you accelerate, you have to do an inspection on your tires to find out what’s wrong. In newer cars, you might also have a light on your dashboard that will notify you in case the tire pressure is low. If it blinks, then you’ll know exactly what needs your attention.
And in case you’re not that well-versed in tires, you can always take your vehicle to a professional and have them take a look. That way, you’ll catch any other potential problems as well and ensure your car is safe and in tip-top condition once again.
Your engine is under a lot of pressure on the highway, as it works overtime to accommodate the higher speed limits. To ensure your car runs smoothly and doesn’t break down at the worst possible moment, it’s pivotal to take care of any underlying engine issues on time, no matter how small they might appear.
Here are some of the most common engine issues that could be causing the noise.
Engine bearing failure is usually accompanied by loud knocking noise that increases when you start the car, accelerate, or turn. In most instances, this issue is caused by the bearings becoming worn from heat.
If you hear your engine knocking and rattling on the highway, you should take it to a mechanic as soon as possible. The fixing process won’t take long, and it can save your engine from seizing up and malfunctioning in the future.
Do you hear grinding sounds as soon as you pick up speed on the highway? If so, your car might be in need of an oil refill. Although your oil indicator should notify you of low oil levels, the sensor can malfunction.
So, if you notice loud noises (or you have trouble starting your car), definitely check your oil levels. This issue is, perhaps, the easiest one to fix, as you can replace the oil on your own and continue with your journey noise-free.
Every automatic car requires a torque converter to run. So, if this essential part gets worn or damaged in any way, you will hear grinding, bumping, and ticking noises coming from the engine. The same will happen if there isn’t enough fluid in the converter.
The noise will be amplified on a highway, especially as you try to increase your speed. Therefore, if you notice it, call your mechanic and set up an inspection date right away. Although your car will likely be able to operate for some time yet, you should address a faulty torque converter as soon as possible to avoid further, more severe problems.
Next, your car might also be louder than usual due to worn or damaged mufflers. As their name suggests, mufflers ensure your internal combustion engine makes as little noise as possible.
Even though they are made of sturdy materials, mufflers can easily get damaged. Namely, they are exposed both to the elements and the heat from your vehicle. As such, they can easily tear, causing noise to come through the holes and disrupt your drive.
Aside from silencing your engine’s roar, mufflers also reduce a vehicle’s gas emissions. Thus, they help you be a more eco-conscious driver and reduce your carbon footprint.
Although a faulty muffler isn’t a problem that requires urgent attention, it is still something that you should not neglect. For example, it can wreak havoc on your engine exhaust system, causing the engine to overheat and malfunction.
Thus, if you suspect that your mufflers need replacing, try to get new ones as soon as you can. Your car will be a lot quieter, and your engine won’t be at risk of seizing up when you accelerate on the highway.
The Exhaust System
Lastly, if the noise you hear is coming from the rear end of your vehicle, you are most likely dealing with exhaust system problems. Your exhaust pipe might be clogged, leaking, or otherwise damaged, causing it to make thumping and grinding sounds when you speed.
Again, it is best to take your car to a professional if you suspect that the exhaust system is faulty. It is not an issue that requires immediate attention, but it is best to get it checked and repaired quickly.
Noise Reduction Tips for Your Next Highway Cruise
Sometimes, your car can be in excellent shape and still make more noise than usual on the highway. As already mentioned, it is all because of your increased speed, and it is a normal occurrence.
However, if the noise annoys or distracts you, there are some easy fixes you can try to make your drives more seamless. We’ll go over them below.
Buy Sound-Deadening Mats
Sound-deadening mats are handy tools that can help you reduce all car noise while driving. Most of them are adhesive, so you can place them around your car easily. Plus, they’re made of material that is easy to cut, meaning that you can easily customize them to fit any car model.
To ensure they are at their most effective, it is best to put the mats on the inside of your door skin, the inner side of your door card, or the speaker mounting panel. That way, the mats will muffle most of the noise and help you drive in peace.
The best thing about the mats is their durability. Namely, after making the initial investment, you won’t have to give any more money to make your car quieter on the highway for at least a year.
Get Sound-Deadening Foam and Spray
As you might have guessed already, sound-deadening mats cannot be applied to every single surface in your car. To complete the package and truly insulate your vehicle, you can also invest in some soundproofing foam or spray.
A single can of this spray covers approximately 20 square feet. As such, it is more than enough to service most regular cars. The obvious advantage of this type of sound insulation is that it is suitable for all hard-to-reach places, including the edges of your windows and doors.
Now, most people have found that combining the spray with sound-deadening mats gives the best results. So, if the noise really bothers you, it might be best to use both solutions.
You should bear in mind that sprays and foam are usually slightly more expensive than mats. Thus, make sure to plan your budget accordingly when purchasing them.
Seal Any Gaps
In some cases, the outside noise comes in through tiny cracks and gaps in your vehicle. These holes can appear anywhere from your window to the trunk area, and they let excess noise in regardless of their size.
To ensure the noise remains outside, you simply have to seal all cracks on the vehicle. Your windows can be fixed with some resin, while automotive caulk or sealant is a suitable solution for any other gaps.
Besides reducing the noise coming from your engine, sealing holes will also ensure you don’t hear other cars around you. In other words, it will help make your car ride a lot smoother and more enjoyable.
Last but not least, music is a fun and inexpensive way to reduce noise while cruising down a highway. You can turn on the radio or play your favorite CDs. Alternatively, you can connect your phone to your vehicle via Bluetooth. If you do, you’ll be able to stream your favorite artists on Spotify, Tidal, or any other service you use.
If you choose to use music as your soundproofing fix, it’s important to keep the volume at a moderate level. By doing so, you’ll ensure you won’t get carried away when driving, as listening to music can be quite a distraction. In addition, if you notice that music makes it hard for you to concentrate, it might be best to choose another of our suggestions.
The Importance of Regular Car Maintenance
Finally, we’d also like to emphasize how crucial regular car maintenance is when it comes to reducing noise on the highway. As we have already mentioned, underlying vehicle issues are often the culprits behind the noise.
Thus, you should take your car to the mechanic regularly, from once to a few times a year (depending on its age). That way, they can detect any problems on time and ensure your car is as quiet as possible.
Aside from noise reduction, forming this habit can also help you save money in the long run. By taking care of any small issues on time, you’ll significantly lower the chances of your engine requiring serious repairs.
Many factors influence how loud your car is going to be on the highway. If it’s louder than usual, it is essential to check your tires, engine, mufflers, and exhaust system for any damage or malfunctions. If you discover any issues on time, repairing them won’t cost a lot, and your car will get back to its normal sound in no time.
And if you’re confident that your vehicle is in good shape and you simply want some noise reduction solutions, you can’t go wrong with sound-deadening sprays, foams, and mats. By applying them to problematic areas, you can seamlessly seal off your vehicle and drive down the highway without any distractions.