Hatches are slowly and quietly disappearing from car lineups in most brands sold in Australia. And rarely will you see one making the top 10 sales charts. Thank utes and SUVs for changing Australia’s motoring tastes and the car landscape all within a matter of a few years. Die-hard motoring fans though are still holding onto their hot or warm hatches, as an alternative to the hordes of high-sitting, petrol-guzzling monstrosities. The Honda Civic Type R sits fair and square with the likes of the Subaru Impreza WRX STi, Hyundai i30N, the VW Golf GTi and any souped-up and turbocharged 4-cylinder rocket pumping close to 300bhp to the front wheels.
What’s common in all these cars is the pure driving enjoyment they offer, and blistering acceleration, averaging around 5 seconds to 100kph. This level of performance though has its side effects. With the exception of fake exhaust noise pumped into the cabin through the speakers, performance hatches can get extremely loud. Noise and vibration levels can become exceptionally high and unpleasant and not something you’d want to endure for hours on end. This is one of the disadvantages of small sports cars like the Honda Civic Type R. They lack a little refinement that would otherwise translate to the perfect car.
Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) has recently become something of an artform or science all in itself. Big brands, especially the Europeans, have invested a lot of time, money and research into making the cabin the quietest place possible. They aim to reduce wind, tyre and outside noises, as well as vibrations from the suspension, chassis and steering components. This is driven to perfection in cars like the Rolls Royce Phantom, with the result being cars with high 6-figure price tags.
If you find the sound levels in your Civic erring on the harsh side, there’s a simple and hands-on solution that won’t break the bank. Retailers readily stock Honda Civic sound deadening kits, with similar packs also available for a range of smaller vehicles. either old or new. The aim is to locate the source of the noise, prevent it from entering the cabin, minimise internal noises, and reduce vibrations and rattling from different parts of the car. Specially formulated matting, in varying layers, does this well and is cheap. Another thing is that it also helps to keep heat out, and bottle up any spills or grime that can lead to developing rust pockets or wiring issues.
How is Sound Deadening Done?
Sound deadening kits for hot hatches won’t differ much for the vehicles they’re primarily intended for – utes, vans and SUVs. The materials are similar and layered in the same order. The only difference is that there’s less space to work with in smaller cars. But this also means lower costs, both for materials and labour if you get the job done by a pro, and if you’re completely clueless mechanically, then something definitely worth considering.
Sound Deadening in the Car Floor
Before doing any work, it’s understood that the car will be stripped down, removing seats, consoles and the old carpeting and underlay. Reducing sound from vibrating metal and parts in the floors is often done in 2 stages. The first consists of layering the floor with a 2mm thick butyl-based rubber noise absorption mat, reinforced with aluminium backing for added strength. Mats come in a dozen per pack, and you’ll need at least two packs for the whole floor. They need to be lined from the front firewall to the base of the rear seat. Installing is made easy with a self-adhesive that easily sticks to the flat or uneven contours of the floors. The rubber layer has high heat resistance, reducing radiant and convective heat from engines, exhaust and transmissions, is chemical, oil and water resistant, and with high-density drones out up to 90 per cent of all noise on their way to the cabin.
You can next fit a thicker 12mm foam underlay consisting of two separate layers, the first in an open foam cell structure in 6mm thickness to further drown out sounds, and a 6mm waterproof layer on top that serves as the underlay for the carpet. This too is a peel and stick product and fits well to the rubber-based layer underneath.
Complete sound deadening is achieved by adding a mass noise liner. Here the logic is to add more weight as a noise barrier, and this is what high-end brands use in upper trim models. The liner is multilayered with a 10mm closed cell foam construction to wick away oil and liquids, and a thinner 2mm mass-loaded vinyl top layer. If you don’t have the space for this, then is easily removable. You can now add the carpet.
Sound Deadening the Doors, Roof and Boot
Though the floor is the major culprit producing excess noise and related vibrations, you’d also want a Honda Civic sound deadening kit to be fitted to the doors, roof and boot. The doors can be lined with rubber mats mentioned above and these are applied directly to the sheet metal to rule out vibrations from side panels, wind noise and window regulators and mechs. Gaps in mats are covered with sticky aluminium tape, which also improves holding strength.
The roof is also lined with butyl rubber inlay. Here you’ll need half a pack, or about 6 separate mats to get the whole roof insulated. An additional 6mm foam layer with adhesive can be added to keep heat out and do away with protruding vibrations from panels. A single butyl layer is enough for the boot, but if you have more sound coming from the back than usual, you can also use mass vinyl liner on top for the quietest results.
Sound deadening packs can be sold for different car areas, like the floor or roof., or packaged for entire vehicles with all that you’ll need. Asses the total area that needs to be covered and get what’s appropriate. Retailers will have car dimensions already worked out, and hatches and sedans like the Honda Civic will the cheapest to completely rid the car of any unpleasant noises and vibrations. Also look for cheap installation tool kits which include the needed amount of foil tape, a basic utility knife and a roller to remove air pockets and get the job done.