How to reduce Miata's road and engine noise (within reason; I like the exhaust note)?
November 19, 2011 7:33 AM   Subscribe

Partly on AskMe's advice, I bought a 2006 Miata. Got a good deal and love it, including the exhaust note. Road, tire and engine noise are part of the deal, I know, but they're louder than I'd like. Can you suggest fixes?

Hey, it's a convertible sports car, so it's gonna be loud. But are there ways to moderate the noise a little so we can converse like normal earthlings and enjoy the nifty Bose sound system?
Thanks, and thanks for recommending the Miata over the Mini. Glad I listened to you.
(Now to sell my Element!)
posted by fivesavagepalms to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Ooh, Miata, lucky you.

There are various sound-dampening products that you can put in the doors, under the carpet, etc. Dynamat is a fairly well-known one that's popular with audiophiles and cars-go-by-with-the-boomin'-system types.

Some tires create more road noise than others--I wouldn't go out and buy a new set for this reason, but, next time you replace a worn-out set, it might be something to consider.
posted by box at 7:45 AM on November 19, 2011

I had a miata for 8 years, I'm jealous!

This is the perfect question for the folks over at

It's a robust and extremely helpful community. They walked me through all sorts of projects I never thought I could do on my own. They also love answering questions like yours.

Good luck!
posted by xotis at 7:58 AM on November 19, 2011

I used about 15 square feet of eDead 80 to line the trunk of my 2006. It really cut down on the road noise.
posted by djb at 8:09 AM on November 19, 2011

so what is the connection between your car and the road? the tires! on a miata, depending on your option setup, you could have 15", 16" 17" wheels. the original had 14"! but tire choice makes a giant difference when it comes to road noise.

it being a used car, maybe it needs tires already. even worn tires can make a ton more noise than the same tire with low miles on it. right now, start by checking the pressures. make sure it's even all around. take it into a tire store and have them balance all 4.

if you do need new tires, do your research at TireRack. in particular check out the surveys for the tires. noise comfort is one of the categories.

because I'm generally a car nerd, I like messing with them. i like having an extra set of wheels and tires. some people don't have space for that kind of thing, but i'm fortunate enough to have that. with a miata, maybe you need to drive it in winter if you live in a place where that happens. with sportscars, what i've always liked to do is have a set of super-sticky tires on light-weight wheels for performance/summer driving. and then a set of all-season-ish tread on usually the OEM wheels for winter/rain/etc. but the benefit in your case would be being able to switch the setup around and find out what kind of effect that would have on noise.

for small sports-cars i've always felt like 15" or 16" is the best compromise between tire contact size, lighter weight, and price. 17" + always felt like it was going more for looks than actual performance (at least for me).

so, in summary, tires tires tires. :)
posted by ninjew at 10:42 AM on November 19, 2011

It has new tired, properly inflated, and I think 17" wheels (I'll check). It's in Florida. I'm stuck with this tire and wheel setup, I guess.
Given this limitation, is lining the truck with sound-deadening material my best shot? Would really rather not start pulling out seats and cushions . . .
posted by fivesavagepalms at 11:40 AM on November 19, 2011

tires, not tired
it's me that's tired
posted by fivesavagepalms at 11:41 AM on November 19, 2011

Would really rather not start pulling out seats and cushions . . .

Start rathering, or start with djb's trunk strategy. You can pay people to do this, too, though. Try a stereo shop or body shop if that sounds like a direction you want to go in.
posted by rhizome at 11:45 AM on November 19, 2011

well, as has been said, check the forums and find out if others have complained about the tire that is on the car now, especially if this is a tire that was specified by Mazda. there'd be a higher percentage of owners using them. but again, i think the miata generally has quite a few tire/wheel options. or read up on the surveys for it as well. you say you're stuck with it, but are you really? look around on craigslist and the forums, maybe someone is selling a different setup. you could always change out that way and then sell yours to someone who may want an upgrade.

lining the trunk would definitely help. lining the interior under the carpet would help as well, but like you said, that involves pulling the interior apart. not a hard job, just time-consuming.

i think what you're saying is you like the car, but it needs a little fine-tuning. but you started in the right place by asking questions. research is your friend now.
posted by ninjew at 12:10 PM on November 19, 2011

Tools needed: utility knife, flat-head screwdriver
Time: 30 minutes
  1. Remove the contents of your trunk.
  2. Use your fingernails or the screwdriver to remove the plastic rivets holding the trunk liner in place.
  3. Cut several pieces of dampening material to fit with the utility knife.
  4. Peel off the backing and press into place. It should look like this.
  5. Cut holes for the rivets
  6. Replace the trunk liner and press the rivet back into place. If you broke them, buy a six-pack for $2.50 at Autozone.

posted by djb at 12:22 PM on November 19, 2011

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