If like me you’re used to having a car with a sporty suspension and/or a stiff chassis that you drive daily (in my case that’s a first generation Mazda 6; I like sports sedans, you like sports sedans, Waldo likes sports sedans.) you may or may not have to deal with harsh or annoying interior noises. On top of that, if like me you drive about 65 miles a day both ways for your commute, it can take a toll on you.
So how do you remedy some of the annoying rattles, vibrations, squeaks, and shocks? Washers. Really I’m serious. Sometimes it takes out of the box thinking. A lot of interior trim panels may be bolted on to the frame or body of the car directly, or if not, bolted on or snapped on somehow to connecting parts. If you’ve ever rested your hand on some of them, like your center console for example, you may notice that they vibrate or you can feel the idle of the car coming through them very softly.
The concept is simple. Sound after all is vibration. You can stop those annoying sharp rattles, shocks, and vibrations, or at least dampen them enough to make them livable by actually replacing the metal washers on the bolts where these attach to the body, frame, or other connecting part, with rubber washers. Rubber will dampen the noise much more effectively instead of directly transferring it.
I experimented by removing two metal washers where my center console (where the cup holders, shift knob, and cubby under the armrest are) directly bolts to a metal attachment point that’s directly attached to my cars body underneath. You can imagine the types of road, exhaust, and wind noise that come through. Make sure you replace the washers with rubber ones that are the same thickness or will not change interior panel gap. Also, if it’s a critical part and should have the security of a metal washer, don’t replace it. You’re safety is first over comfort. After changing just the two, I noticed I didn’t feel strong vibrations on the armrest (especially pronounced with my aftermarket engine mount) coming through anymore, and that also means it’s not vibrating and making noise. It also feels more snug over bumps and doesn’t make any rattles.
The best part? If you already have rubber washers lying around, it’s a free mod. If not, washers are cheap and can be found in every size you could need at your local hardware store. And as an added bonus, you get to explore parts of your car you may not have found or known about before.