Car Soundproofing: Mass Loaded Vinyl Guide

Car Soundproofing: Mass Loaded Vinyl Guide

Vibrations and rattles can accompany the sound of your car’s engine and make your 4-wheeler a less comfortable vehicle, especially on longer trips. If you do happen to drive a vehicle that has been out for a while now, keeping the cabin quieter will involve more than just fixing stuff. When all mechanical problems are out of the picture, all you’re left is to add an extra layer of sound insulation.

Sound deadening your vehicle does not only reduce road noise but interior noise too. You get to enjoy a quiet ride and focus on your driving rather than on something clanking away on the motorway. There’s also the fact that with added sound insulation you get better privacy when driving at lower speeds and improved sound quality of your car’s stereo.

Mass Loaded Vinyl

What Is It?

mass loaded vinyl
source: hushcitysp.com

Mass loaded vinyl is one of many materials used to manufacture sound-deadening materials. MLV is made up of vinyl and either barium sulphate or calcium carbonate. These dense compounds are what make a mass loaded vinyl noise barrier effective at keeping noises at bay. Although barium sulphate is known to be toxic, the one used in MLV is not elemental barium which is quite toxic but only if you’re exposed to high levels of it.

Benefits

Also known as limp mass barrier, MLV is well known for its high level of flexibility. This allows you to install MLV in any gap you want. Its thin profile also makes it much lighter than other sound-deadening materials. MLV has a high ST or sound transmission class. This is a unit that measures noise reduction. The higher the number of this measurement the better the noise reduction.

MLV has an STC score ranging from 25 to 27 which is considered to be high as the material is quite thin. Mass loaded vinyl is temperature resistant too since it can withstand temperatures up to 149 °C. The main benefit of using MLV isn’t just the fact that it is a great sound barrier but the fact that it is also effective at absorbing sound.

How to Install MLV

installing mass loaded vinyl
source: quiethomeguide.com

1. Installing MLV in your car is a simple task but also one that will take up more time the more areas of your car you want to insulate. The first thing to do before you start covering your vehicle with MLV is to remove the upholstery. This needs to be done to the point where you see only bare sheet metal.

2. Once you’ve removed everything and only metal is what you see, clean the inside of your car from any debris or rust and waxy oils. A clean surface will ensure that the vinyl noise barrier sticks to it properly and provides the best possible insulation.

3. With your vehicle all prepped up, start taking measurements and cutting some of the material in pieces. Use a sharp utility knife for this and don’t forget to fill up small gaps too. With all the necessary cuts made, start peeling off one piece at a time and putting it up or down – where ever it needs to go.

4. Use a roller or a smooth item to put pressure on every piece of mass loaded vinyl noise barrier you put in your car. This will ensure that no bubbles form and thus making the mass loaded vinyl soundproofing material last longer and provide adequate sound insulation.

Types of MLV

MLV & Foil

mass loaded vinyl foil
source: soundproofcentral.com

Although on its own, this combination of MLV and foil isn’t highly effective it still offers a decent level of sound insulation. Because an MLV and foil combo is so affordable it is often used together with an MLV and fibreglass combo to increase its effectiveness.

MLV & Aluminium

An aluminium and mass loaded vinyl soundproofing material combination is durable and sturdy while being able to provide a good level of sound insulation. Because of its ability to be combined with stone wool, ceramic fibre, and even fibreglass this MLV combo is used in both industrial and commercial applications.

MLV & Fibreglass

For the level of sound insulation they offer, MLV and fibreglass are quite light. Usually thicker materials offer better insulation but this combo proves that this isn’t always the case. 

MLV & Foam

If you want to get the highest level of sound insulation then go for an MLV and foam combo. This combination of materials is usually quite thick but it is not heavy like an MLV and aluminium combo.

Conclusion

No vehicle, new or old, is ever going to be free of noises. Even if it’s an electric one there are still noises coming from the road or tires. With MLV you have the perfect tool or rather material to help add some standard yet luxurious features found on more expensive cars. This way you can rely on your tried and trusted car for the years to come without the feeling that you’re driving in an older model.

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