Between physical damages to the components and the evaporation of the crucial fluids, there are many potential consequences of overheating your vehicle. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to avoid the negative effects of heat. Better still, most of them can also help you soundproof your car from outside noise as well. With that in mind, today we’re talking about more than 10 of the best automotive sound deadening and heat insulation materials on the market.
We’ve already discussed the causes of excess noise in a car’s cabin in my article about reducing wind noise. Cracks, gaps, and other vulnerabilities in the construction of the vehicle are the most likely culprits there. Additionally, like sound, heat can also pass through those cracks. So if you want to deal with these problems, you’ll need to locate the root cause and use the appropriate insulation materials.
Before I tell you about the best products you can use for your car, I wanted to go over two things. First, we’ll talk about the types of insulation products that are out there; then we can go over the general features you’ll want to be on the lookout for. So without further ado — let’s just dive in.
Pure butyl insulation
Long tradition & high price
High Heat Resistance
Mixture of butyl & asphalt
Tough to cut
Pure butyl insulation
Long tradition & high price
High Heat Resistance
Mixture of butyl & asphalt
Tough to cut
Which Sound and Heat Insulation Product Should You Use?
When it comes to heat and sound insulation, the main principles are the same. Basically, we want to eliminate any weaknesses that may be letting sound or heat into the vehicle. The easiest vulnerabilities to spot are the actual chinks in the car’s armor — the places where the air is free to flow. Because heat and sound both travel by air, your first task will be to get rid of any places that might let air into the cabin.
However, heat and sound also pass through materials, especially since the sheet metal most vehicles are made of is an excellent conductor of both. In fact, the metal can even make random noises like rattling car doors much more pronounced. Fortunately, there are plenty of materials you could use to make your vehicle more sturdy and less prone to rattling.
For example, rubber is an excellent option to use for both soundproofing and heat insulation, and so are some other materials I’ll talk about. Basically, it’s all about adding a bit of bulk to the thin metal car parts. However, if you want to combat overheating, you’ll want to use materials that are heat-resistant as well. So let’s review the types of materials you might come across.
Rubber and Foil Mats
If you have some experience shopping for automotive sound deadeners or heat insulation, you’ve probably seen foil mats before. Foil sound deadening mats have a foil front side and a black rubber or asphalt-based material on the back which is usually adhesive as well.
These materials are particularly effective, as they can help absorb excess engine noise and stop loose metal parts from rattling against the sheet metal. Those that are heat-resistant as well can also help you manage the temperature of your vehicle.
Mats are somewhat tricky to apply since you have to rub them into the sheet metal and avoid getting it stuck to your skin or your clothes. Still, once you stick it to the inside of your car doors, the headliner, the trunk, on the floor, or under the hood, you’ll be all set.
Most manufacturers make sound deadening mats in rolls or rectangular-cut packs. However, some of the products I’ll tell you about also have kits for the hood, floor, or trunk.
Fiber and Foam Insulation
Fiber and foam insulation products are typically used underneath the floor mats or the carpeting. They’re supposed to thicken up the floor of a car, which can have several effects when it comes to sound and heat control. Namely, fiber and foam can greatly improve the acoustic quality of the car cabin and make your conversations or the speakers sound better.
Now, most of these products aren’t waterproof by any stretch of the imagination, which is what bothers me about them. After all, our vehicles need to be able to withstand a decent amount of rainfall, not to mention whatever you track inside on the bottom of your shoes. Still, there’s a time and a place for these kinds of products.
Liquid insulation is the most recent invention in the world of automotive sound deadening and thermal management. Basically, these kinds of products are dispersed using an air compressor-powered spray gun. A spray product allows for a more even application that isn’t always possible when you’re using other insulation products.
In my experience, liquid insulation also lasts longer than adhesive or non-adhesive mats too because they fuse to the metal in a more reliable way. However, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of spray insulation.
Even though most people still only use foil mats, sprays have been gaining in popularity. Still, most of the materials I chose to feature today are regular sound deadening mats. After all, they’re the most popular solutions by far.
After I go through 10 of the best sound and heat insulation brands on my list, I also wanted to talk about finishing tapes. These products are fairly similar to the foil and rubber mats I already mentioned. In fact, some companies make both types of products. However, finishing tapes are obviously only for adding the final touches to your self-adhesive mat installation.
When you roll all of your mats into the sheet metal, you can use finishing tape to close the space between different pieces of mats. The tape is usually thinner and therefore less effective than mats, so it wouldn’t make sense to use it on the entire surface you’re looking to insulate. Still, I’ll link to a few great options after I tell you about the main types of insulation products, so you have the full scope of options laid out before you.
Things to Keep in Mind When Looking for Automotive Insulation
Before you buy the first product you run across, you ought to ask yourself a few questions. The most I can teach you is which brands you can trust. However, you’re going to have to determine which products are the best for your vehicle. With that in mind, let’s talk about some of the most important questions:
- What determines the efficacy of each of the products?
- Which base materials will you come across the most frequently and what are their characteristics?
- How would you go about installing or applying the different types of insulating materials?
Answering these questions should help you figure out the pros and cons of the products I’ll feature later on, so you can decide for yourself which of them is the best for you.
What Determines the Effectiveness of the Products?
The effectiveness of insulating products most often boils down to their thickness. After all, most insulating products are made to handle either sound or heat — or both of those things. So they should all work to an extent.
Still, some insulating materials are undoubtedly more effective than others. A key piece of evidence to support that is the fact that many people only use sound deadening mats and never give so much as a thought to the other options I’ve mentioned. Sure, some of that has to do with the familiarity of the products. But is it possible that mats are simply more effective than sprays and non-adhesive fabric and foam products?
Well, that’s not necessarily the case. As I’ve already mentioned, most of the time you’ll want to keep your eye on the thickness of the product. Usually, that measurement is expressed in mils or thousandths of an inch.
The most effective mats on the market are 80 or even 60 mils thick. Still, there are also thicker and thinner versions of most of the products I’ll tell you about. However, thicker mats are usually harder to install, so most people stick to the high mid-range of thicknesses of around 60 mils. Make sure to read user reviews for each specific product to check if it’s hard to cut.
Alternately, you can also use materials you don’t need to cut, like sprays. An even coating of liquid insulation dispenses about 20 mils of product. Clearly, that’s not enough to make a real difference in your car. Fortunately, you can pretty much apply as many layers of the stuff as you need — but I’d cap it at 3, maybe 4.
The Question of Base Materials
In addition to the thickness of the products, there is one more thing that affects the performance of insulating products. Of course, I’m talking about the base material they’re made of. As I have said, if you’re worried about thermal resistance, your best choice would be to go for a rubber-based product.
More specifically, the best deadening mats usually have aluminum foil on the front while the adhesive material on the back is made of a synthetic rubber material called butyl.
However, the adhesive layer of sound deadening mats can also be asphalt-based. If you’re wondering whether you should get butyl or asphalt, I always recommend going for rubber. Basically, my preference is due to the heat-resistance of the materials.
Namely, butyl is certainly more heat-resistant than asphalt, as it can handle temperatures of up to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Conversely, asphalt doesn’t tend to handle heat well at all. It can melt, leak, and even omit a particularly strong odor for long stretches of time. Still, if you don’t live in a hot climate, and if your car isn’t prone to overheating, you should be able to use asphalt-based mats without worrying about the consequences.
When it comes to spray insulation, though, it’s a different story. These kinds of products can be rubber-based too. Still, ceramic liquid insulation is definitely more prevalent. Fortunately, both of these materials can withstand similar amounts of heat, so ceramic insulation should be able to give you some thermal protection as well.
The Best Car Sound Deadening and Heat Insulation Materials
When I was compiling my list of products to feature here, I wasn’t really thinking about the order in which I’d put them. However, now that I see the finished result, I can’t imagine a different list.
Naturally, we’ll begin by talking about the most popular and most effective products on the market. As we move toward the end of the list, I’ll get into some more surprising and lesser-known brands. So without further ado, let’s check out the first contender.
Noico Sound Deadening Mats
Noico is the number one brand in automotive insulation, at least as far as I’m concerned. Admittedly, I may be a bit biased, but it’s cheaper than it’s main competitor, Dynamat, and about as effective. However, unlike Dynamat, Noico mats are a mixture of both butyl and asphalt, which does come with minor inconveniences (read Noico vs. Dynamat for more info).
Still, Noico mats are actually both thicker and more malleable than the more expensive Dynamat products. Noico’s 80 mil mat is one of the most popular products in this category. It comes in 9 squares that are 29.5 by 19.5 inches, making a total of 36 square feet of material.
As you’ll see if you check out the product’s Amazon page, the sheets have the black adhesive material in the back, covered by a protective paper you’ll be able to simply peel away. The silver foil front of the material is also notable, as it doesn’t have any brand markings on it, instead opting for an elevated pattern. When you go to install this material, you’ll be able to see exactly which parts you’ve applied enough pressure to by the depressions in the pattern.
This material is highly heat-resistant and mostly odorless, after the initial smell that comes from unpacking and installing the product. The exact same product is also available with black foil on the front. If the insulation is going to be visible, I recommend opting for the black foil rather than the silver.
Noico Green Liner
While we’re on the subject of Noico products, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention their Green Liner. The product consists of a layer of closed-cell polyethylene foam with a green adhesive rubber layer in the back. At 170 mils (or a sixth of an inch) thickness, this material is truly excellent for keeping out the heat and the cold as well.
The material is also waterproof (as well as oil and petrol-resistant) and fairly cheap as well. Noico’s Green Liner is available in packs of 18 square feet and 36 square feet. You could even get it in 9.5 square foot packs of 340 mils (a third of an inch) thick material.
This combination of materials can easily withstand up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and they’re sure to lessen the amount of noise that’s coming from your engine.
Dynamat has long been the reigning champion of the automotive insulation game. However, there are certainly valid reasons why it was so easily knocked off the first place position. Namely, it was the most expensive material on the market, and also one of the most difficult ones to install.
Still, if you’re someone who wants to really invest into the sound and heat insulation of your vehicle and you can pay someone else to install it — by all means, go for Dynamat.
Dynamat products are probably the purest butyl insulation you’ll find. Most of them have the standard black foil with Dynamat’s logo printed over it in white or silver.
The Dynamat Xtreme pack consists of nine 18 by 32-inch panels, which brings it to 36 square feet in total. The 67 mil version of the mat is the thickest they have available. Yet even that should be enough to provide vibration damping, sound absorption, and heat-resistance to your vehicle.
Unlike Noico, Dynamat doesn’t have a pattern on the foil to tell you when it has adhered to the metal. So you may have to buff it in a bit more thoroughly just to be sure. What’s more, even though it’s not as thick as Noico, Dynamat is apparently harder to cut and bend into shape.
Still, this brand has given us a lot of firsts we should be grateful for, and they keep innovating. For example, their Dynamat Xtreme material also comes in conveniently pre-cut shapes for the doors, speakers, and various other areas.
Dynaliner, Hoodliner, and Dynapad
In addition to the Dynamat Xtreme packs, this company also makes several other insulating materials. For one, they have several options for people looking to prevent engine overheating with their hood liners.
Dynaliner is a synthetic rubber foam product that can be installed inside of the car doors or under the hood. If you often worry about having your fluids evaporate — which is a common side-effect of leaving your car in the sun — consider installing a self-adhesive hood liner.
Dynamat offers three 32 by 54-inch products of varying thicknesses. They have the quarter-inch thick Dynaliner, a half-inch one, and three-quarters of an inch Hoodliner. Any one of these would be able to prevent your engine or your cabin from overheating if used correctly. However, you ought to keep in mind that Dynaliner isn’t waterproof.
Fortunately, the company does make a product that is waterproof. Dynapad is an almost half-inch thick non-adhesive product that also comes in 32 by 54-inch sheets that should cover 12 square feet. Since this product can’t stick to a surface, you’ll either have to tape it in place or hold it down. After all, Dynapad should go onto the floor of the car, so you can basically just drop it in place and cover it up with your rubber floor mats and carpeting.
If this were an official popularity ranking, these next few products would be sharing the third place. Hushmat is an even less expensive alternative to products from the previous two brands. The material is pure butyl, so you can expect a high degree of heat resistance and sound control.
In fact, according to the manufacturer, Hushmat is supposed to be very easy to mold to the lines of a vehicle. It should also be able to withstand temperatures between minus 30 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit and even reduce heat by up to 40% — which is admittedly impressive. The fact that many users agree with the company’s assessment of their products’ abilities is even more promising.
However, unlike the previous brands I’ve mentioned, Hushmat doesn’t really have a wide assortment of different products. Their most popular product is certainly the 10-piece door kit which is actually just a regular black foil kit of 12 by 12-inch square pieces. You can cut them into whichever shapes you need them to be, so there’s nothing that prevents you from utilizing this “door kit” elsewhere.
Still, keep in mind that insulating an entire vehicle takes about 36 square feet, so this 10 square foot kit isn’t likely to be enough. Instead, you’d do well to purchase one of their bulk kits, such as this 30-sheet 58 square foot one. And for smaller projects, though, they also make a regular 4-piece kit as well as a 4-piece speaker set.
Kilmat is probably one of the most understated products I’ve ever heard of. Not only is it affordable, but it’s also a great solution for lessening rattling and vibration noises. Of course, since the adhesive back is pure butyl, it’s extremely heat-resistant.
Like Noico, Kilmat’s 80 mil mat has a rectangular relief pattern on the silver foil side of the product that’ll come in handy when you buff it in. The pack I’ve linked to contains 34 sheets that are about 10 by 16 inches in size. So the pack would be enough to cover the 36 square feet surface inside of an average passenger car.
The one complaint I’ve seen about this particular product is that it can be a bit tough to cut through. However, many people have said the same about Dynamat, and it’s still one of the most effective products on the market.
Still, if you don’t want to bother cutting through 80 mils of butyl, you can always get one of the 50 mil packs. One of them is enough to cover 50 square feet, and the other is suitable for surfaces that are half that size. The 80 mil product would certainly be more effective, though.
Fatmat has been making exemplary automotive insulation materials for years now, but if I had to pick a single product out of their lineup, I’d go for the 80 mil RattleTrap mat. The 18-inch wide material comes in a 33.5-foot long roll, though you can actually choose the square footage you need. The specific product I’ve linked to here also comes with instructions, a knife, a buffing roller, and a brand sticker for your car.
According to the brand, Fatmat products use a patented “rubberized compound” — although they haven’t stated that it’s butyl-based. Still, it’s supposed to be heat-resistant and completely odorless. So that gives us more clues about the base materials they used. Like other similar products, this one is supposed to cut down on noise and make your car more bearable in extreme weather.
However, that’s not the only kind of product Fatmat makes. Indeed, their other products may be even more impressive. For example, the Fatmat hood liner is a 34 by 54-inch foil and foam product that’s meant to reduce engine noise and overheating. The mat is three-quarters of an inch thick, so it should effectively protect the paint on your hood from peeling due to the excess heat coming from the engine.
On the other hand, if you’ve noticed that most of the AC air is escaping through the floor of your car, you can also use the Fatmat floor kit. These rubber-based quarter-inch thick 24 by 54-inch pieces should provide sound absorption as well as thermal insulation.
6. B-Quiet Viscoelastic Insulation
Now, these next few brands aren’t exactly at the top of anyone’s list, but I thought they deserved some recognition too. The B-Quiet insulation is one of the lesser-known butyl-based sound deadening mats, but it’s certainly worth checking out, if only for its price.
The company makes incredibly affordable 45 mil mats, which obviously aren’t the most effective option. According to the company, that material is actually a “rubberized asphalt” compound, which means that it’s probably not the best at thermal insulation.
Still, it should make a noticeable difference in your vehicle, especially when used in combination with the B-Quiet Vcomp composite noise barriers, as per the recommendation of the manufacturer.
On the other hand, if you want something more substantial, you can also get a much more sensible 60 mil material. The product description states that the viscoelastic deadener has a “supercharged butyl-based adhesive”, which also doesn’t rule out the presence of asphalt. Still, even though reviews of this product are fairly sparse, they’re also overwhelmingly positive.
Siless is the one brand that kept popping up while I was researching products that exist on the intersection of affordability and efficacy. The brand likely isn’t one you’re familiar with, but that’s exactly why I included it here. Their 80 mil mat is actually very similar to Noico, so you can expect a similar performance.
They’re both butyl materials of the same thickness. Therefore, we can assume that both can achieve similar results when it comes to sound deadening and thermal insulation. As far as I can tell, the only difference is that the Siless mat comes in packs of 7.5 square feet, so you’ll have to place your order with that in mind.
Like Noico, the Siless mat even has a textured foil front, which makes it easier to see which parts of the material have been buffed into the surface you’re working on. According to users, this product is very easy to apply, and it settles into the contours of the metal perfectly.
8. SoundQubed Q-Mat
The Q-Mat by SoundQubed is another great option for those looking for a thick butyl-based insulation mat. When I first found this mat, I dug into the company’s other products, as I always do. Consequently, I found out that SoundQubed is primarily a manufacturer of automotive sound systems.
That piece of information made me feel very optimistic about the quality of their sound deadening mat. But could this thing handle the heat?
Well, since this mat is an 86.6 mils thick pure butyl rubber (with the addition of the black aluminum front), I’d say that the answer is: yes. In fact, it should do just about everything you’d want your mat to do: reduce rattling, vibrations, and road sounds, as well as regulate heat.
The Q-Mat comes in 16 square foot rolls. If you decide to go all in with it, you’d have to order at least two packs. Overall, customer satisfaction seems to be high, so I felt compelled to mention this insulation mat on my list.
Now if you don’t really trust 80 mil mats to do a good job of heat and soundproofing your vehicle — try this mat one for size. The two Uxcell products that caught my attention are both upwards of 300 mils (or 0.3 inches) thick.
The thinner one of the two is 315 mils thick and contains only one 40 by 24-inch piece of material. That only covers 6.5 square feet — although you can also get a pack of 2 pieces. Because this product has an adhesive layer, you can use it on the hood, the ceiling, the doors, the floor, and wherever else you can think to place it.
The mat is made of a dense, waterproof cotton foam and it has a strong black glue in the back. Despite its thickness, it should be easy to cut and install. But this product isn’t even the thickest one in the company’s lineup.
Instead, that honor goes to their most popular product on Amazon, the 394 mil mat. According to the company, that product is heat and scratch-resistant, in addition to being waterproof. It also comes in rolls that cover either 16 or 33 square feet, so there should be enough of the material to go around. If you’re unconvinced by the thickness of the other products I’ve mentioned, these two should prove to be great replacements.
10. LizardSkin Liquid Insulation
Finally, let’s talk about the newest addition to our roster of automotive insulation products — liquid insulation. I’ve already said a few things about how these kinds of products work, but let’s reiterate before we go into the specific brand that made it famous.
Basically, you get a gallon or a 2-gallon bucket of the stuff, mix it up with a drill bit, and pour some of it into a spray gun powered by an air compressor. From there, you can give your vehicle two or more passes until you apply about 40 mils of the product.
Typically, a 1-gallon bucket would be enough to cover a surface of about 25 square feet. So a 2-gallon bucket should be enough to cover vehicles of all sizes. You can learn more about the application process and the Lizard Skin insulation in this video.
In short, because we’re dealing with ceramic insulation, you can expect a huge improvement in your car’s heat-resistance. It’ll definitely keep cool in the summer and hold the AC heat inside during winter.
Personally, I’m less than impressed with its soundproofing capabilities. I’m sure that’s only because I suspect that once the layer of insulation hardens, it wouldn’t be able to provide the padding a foam or rubber-based mat might provide. Still, the additional thickness alone should be enough to cut down on the exterior sound, at least. As for the rest — you could always apply a bit of finishing tape to keep various pieces from rattling.
At this point, I ought to reiterate that the rollers and the tapes aren’t unavoidable parts of the mat installation process. The rounded handle of a screwdriver or simply rubbing the mat in with your hands would work just as well. Many materials also have patterns in the foil that flatten out as you buff them in. So you should have a pretty good idea of how well the installation process is going.
Of course, all this assumes that you’re going to use the sound deadening mats to insulate your car. However, that may not be the case. It’s possible that another type of insulating material has caught your eye.
Even though spray insulation hasn’t been around for a long time, it’s definitely promising. At the very least, you wouldn’t have to worry about the product sticking to your clothes.
Hopefully, this article has given you a few ideas about your automotive insulation. Installing one of the products I’ve told you about here is sure to lessen the amount of noise you’re experiencing. Best of all, it’ll even protect your car from the heat — and just in time for summer!
- Noico Review and Dynamat Comparison
- Lizardskin vs. Dynamat: Spray vs. Mat
- How to Fix Rattling Speakers
- How to Reduce Tire Noise