The tires of a vehicle can either make or break the driving experience. Whether cruising down the highway, slamming on your breaks, or speeding through the backwoods, it's nice to have a peaceful, smooth ride. But when excessive road noise is wreaking havoc on your drive, there are ways to mitigate it. Let us discuss the causes of tire noise and the different ways to reduce them.
Common causes of excessive tire noise
- Off-road tires and Performance tires
Off-road tires like the Toyo Tires Open Country M/T tend to be more aggressive in the tread design than street tires. It means they have deeper grooves and more siping on the tread face generating more heat when driven on pavement. As the tires heat up, they expand, which may lead to excessive road noise.
Performance tires are designed for high speeds, generating more heat in the tire, causing it to expand more than it would at lower speeds. So if you're driving at 80 mph or faster with performance or off-road tires, you may notice an increase in road noise compared to driving at slower speeds.
- Wide tires
Wider tires cause more road noise than narrow ones because they deform more easily under pressure from bumps and irregularities in the road surface. This deformation causes vibrations that get transmitted through the axle and frame of your vehicle, producing more noise inside your car or truck.
- Insufficient tire pressure
Tire pressure is one of the most vital factors when it comes to driving comfort. Underinflated tires can cause excessive road noise, premature wear, and poor fuel economy. If you're hearing a constant humming noise while driving, it's time to check your tire pressure.
- Tire imbalance
Unbalanced tires cause excessive road noise because they create a vibration transmitted to the rest of the vehicle via its suspension system. Wheels that aren't properly balanced also tend to wear out faster than they should because they constantly go through an uneven rotation pattern. It causes uneven tire wear, which leads to more adjustments and more repairs down the line.
- Tires that need rotating
When tires don't rotate, they can wear out unevenly. It causes them to squeal when they turn, leading to other problems, such as blowouts and handling issues. Tires that don't rotate also tend to develop flat spots along their tread, making them more likely to skid or hydroplane on wet pavement.
Ways to reduce tire noise
- Replace loud tires with quiet tires
Quieter tires have a tread pattern with deep grooves that help veer the water away from the center of the treads. This design helps reduce hydroplaning, which occurs when too much water collects between the treads and causes reduced traction on wet roads.
The rubber compound used in quieter tires also differs from standard ones. The softer rubber compound is more flexible than standard ones and can absorb more surface vibrations before they reach your ears as noise. It also has larger grains that allow sound waves to travel through them easier without bouncing back into your ears as regular tires do.
- Soundproofing the vehicle doors and floors
Soundproofing your vehicle's door and floor will reduce excessive tire noise by dampening vibrations that travel through your vehicle's body.
Soundproofing is an essential factor in reducing tire noise. It can be done by installing new insulation on your doors and floors or adding extra padding inside your existing interior paneling.
- Regular tire balancing and rotation
Tire balancing is a process wherein you match each wheel to the vehicle's weight so that all four wheels weigh the same amount. If one wheel has more weight than another, it will vibrate more and cause excessive tire noise. Balancing your tires helps to eliminate this problem.
Tire rotation is another way to keep your tires in good shape, but it doesn't directly affect the amount of noise they make. Rotating your tires helps them wear evenly and last longer by moving them from side to side every few thousand miles.
If you notice that one set of tires is making more noise than others, have them checked out by an auto repair professional before driving any further. The problem could be simple, like a loose lug nut or hubcap, but if there's an underlying issue with your truck tires or wheel bearings, it could cause significant damage if left untreated.
- Avoid overspeeding
The friction between the tire treads and the road surface causes tire noise. If you drive faster, this contact area increases, which means more friction and, thus, more noise. The only way to reduce tire noise is to minimize this contact area as much as possible by easing up on the gas pedal.
- Proper tire pressure
Inflating the tires to the recommended level will reduce the amount of road noise transmitted to your vehicle's cabin. Tire pressure is among the most critical factors affecting tire performance and ride quality. The proper air pressure in each tire helps to ensure an even contact patch between the tire and road surface for more consistent handling, better fuel economy, and longer tire life.
- Soundproofing the wheel wells
The best place to start is by soundproofing the wheel wells. It is essential because they are located close to your car's body, so any noise generated by these areas will easily make its way into your car. Soundproofing them can help reduce tire noise coming from outside of your vehicle.
The first step in this process is removing your wheels and tires from your vehicle. Then, you need to remove anything that could cause additional sound to be created within the wheel well area. Afterward, you can apply some acoustic foam material around the inside edges of each wheel well. It will help prevent unwanted vibrations from entering through this area and causing more noise to hear inside your car's interior cabin area. Once this has been completed, put everything back together so it’s ready for use when needed.
- Replace worn-out tires
If you have noticed that your tires are worn, replacing them with new ones will help reduce excessive tire noise. The rubber in old tires becomes hard and brittle over time, which makes them more prone to cracking during use. It leads to more flexing and vibration in the tire carcass during driving — which increases the amount of tire noise.
Whether it is due to worn-out tires, wheel balance issues, or insufficient tire pressure, there is no reason to settle for noisy and uncomfortable rides. We hope you now have a clear understanding of the causes of tire noise. If you still experience excessive tire noise after applying some of the solutions we have cited above, we recommend visiting an expert for additional help.