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[Solved] Reducing cabin noise of Toyota Auris/Corolla E180/E170

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Topic starter

Related to this thread, am considering of buying Toyota Corolla/Auris E180/E170 consider both of them kind of noisy. I was thinking based on the video Scotty has published, and based on readings elsewhere, that changing to narrower tires and possibly also smaller rims could help on that. Unfortunately there is no before and after test drives with decibel meter.

The Secret to a Quiet Ride in Your Car (5:16)

Where I live E170/E180 Corolla/Auris comes with 205/55 R16 tires, typically equipped with aluminium rims. I was thinking of replacing these with 195/65 R15 ones, with ordinary plate rims. As per the local Toyota mechanic shop, these can fit to E170/E180.

Anyone has any experience on this, on any car?


Insulation

The other options I guess would be doing some soundproofing like Scotty suggests on this video.

The Secret to Turn a Normal Car into a Luxury Car - Sound Proofing (4:28)

Am a bit surprised by the decibel values he gets though:

Lexus 41.7 - 48.0 dBA
Toyota Matrix non-insulated 45.8 - 68.9 dBA
Toyota Matrix insulated 36.3 - 54.1 dBA

Not sure which Lexus his wife has, but as per Auto-decibel-db only few Lexuses can get under 48.0 dBA even at 50 km/h. At 80 km/h none, so I wonder how fast he was driving with it. This site is German though.

For Matrix the insulation seems to have dropped noise levels significantly indeed.

Should get some sort of decibel meter myself too, as mobile ones are not that reliable. Same app can give +/-10 dBA value on a different device.

10 Answers
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I wouldn't mess with the wheel and tire sizes. Not only will you throw off the car's handling characteristics, you'll throw off the drive ratios the engineers set in the drivetrain to make it most efficient, if you're not careful. If the tire's outer diameter doesn't match the original, the speedometer will be off, and it will throw off the car's "gearing" in the same way the guys in their lifted wannabe monster trucks do. Smaller wheels might reduce strain on the transmission (less mass at a smaller distance to spin) but not much. Smaller wheels and tires might actually make your noise "problem" worse, because smaller tires spin faster at any speed than larger tires.

 

Cornering will be adversely affected. Checking a tire comparison tool, the tires you want are very close in outer diameter to the original size, but that's by adding 1" to the sidewall height. That will reduce your handling while cornering and make it feel more sloppy. You're allowing more flexibility in the sidewall while driving normally as well, which could also increase noise. 

 

It's an economy car, not a Lexus or BMW. I'd live with it. Implementing any "solution" is going to create a lot more headache than some road noise. 

 

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Posted by: @timebelt-travis

changing to narrower tires

Don’t do this unless you only drive in the city at crawling speeds.

Also consider investing in good quality quiet tyres.

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Roll up your windows.

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Why the down votes @timebelt-travis?  Did you have your sense of humor surgically removed?  Heads up - it's a joke.

Aha, didn't realize up- or down votes are notified for the poster.

Thank you for clarifying it was a joke. As the posts are being sorted (by default) by votes, thought that one wasn't very informative one.

For the surgery mentioned, haven't been in one as far as I know.

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Buy a quieter car.  Decibel level is more dependent on the engine, transmission and wind noise than the size of the tires, unless they are major off road knobbys.

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There's another way to skin this cat - I got noise-cancelling earbuds to use on my motorcycle and for phone calls, but I liked them so much I use them in my car on longer trips and on airplanes.  They are amazing at removing noise, but letting you listen to music and calls at a more pleasant volume.

 

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Topic starter

@doc
I believe tire noise is the dominant source of cabin noise on these models of Auris/Corolla, especially on highway speeds on rough North European roads.

@glen_stet
That true, some sort of ear protection is another solution too, especially for longer trips. Would have just thought it's a bit more comfortable if the car itself would be more quiet already. I have been using some silicone ear plugs on my current noisy E110 Corolla on longer trips.

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Topic starter
Posted by: @itwt

Don’t do this unless you only drive in the city at crawling speeds.

Why is that?

Because the OEM specifically designed (and tested) your vehicle with the stock size, for adequate high speed handling characteristics. If you instal narrower tyres, the vehicle’s high speed handling may be adversely affected. I recommend you stick to OEM tyre size at a minimum.

Good to have you back ITWT.

I didn’t realize I was away for that long!

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Topic starter

Thank you for all responses. For now, I think I will skip the idea of changing to smaller size than manufacturer set minimum size tires and wheels.

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Topic starter
Posted by: @itwt

Because the OEM specifically designed (and tested) your vehicle with the stock size, for adequate high speed handling characteristics. If you instal narrower tyres, the vehicle’s high speed handling may be adversely affected. I recommend you stick to OEM tyre size at a minimum.

In fact it seems that Toyota Auris Hybrid Life comes by default with 15" steel rims, so it is OEM minimum tire size. Not sure of exactly what is the tire size they use on it, and it's only for Hybrid, not for gasoline engines. Well, will stick on my current 16" ones for now anyway.

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