If you work in a commercial van, you've likely experienced cabin noise. When you're driving your work van from one location to the next, your tools and equipment may be rattling around in the back and disturbing your peace. The metal interior may be shaky, and the cabin might be open to the cargo area in the back of your work van. A noisy cabin has several effects on the driver and passengers.
At best, cabin noise can be irritating and cause a headache that you have to manage for the rest of the day. In other cases, road noise creates a potential hazard for drivers if they're taking their eyes off the road to check on the source of the sounds. In this environment, the chances of an accident increase drastically. In 2018, an estimated 400,000 individuals were injured due to a distracted driver.
Besides being a hazard on the road, excessive cabin noise can cause hearing problems in both drivers and passengers. Prolonged exposure to sounds that reach or surpass 70 decibels can damage your hearing, and most normal conversations begin at 60 decibels, meaning that any excess road noise will likely exceed this number. Being proactive and addressing any sound issues as they appear will eliminate the effects of cabin noise.
Tips and Tricks for Eliminating Cabin Noise
Noise can come from anywhere in your van, and it's best to identify the source and attack it head-on. Here are some common ways to reduce noise in your van so you can get back to the work that matters most.
1. Install a Partition
Driving down the road is bound to generate some noise as your work equipment jostles around in the back. Partitions, or bulkheads, are a barrier between you and the rest of the van. Workers often use these to keep them safely separated from their equipment, but partitions also lessen the noise that makes it to the cabin. You can choose from a wide range of options to suit your individual needs.
Select from aluminum, steel or composite as your preferred material and make your commercial van a more pleasurable working space. The thick material of a composite partition makes them an excellent choice for sound reduction.
Partitions also have the added benefit of climate control. By separating the cab and the cargo area, you'll only have to control the temperature in one location rather than the whole van. There's no need to blast the air conditioning or the heating to keep comfortable, and you won't have the added noise to distract you.
2. Secure Tools and Equipment
Your tools and equipment are crucial to performing your daily work tasks, but when they're not secured tightly, they can create extra noise as you drive. These distractions can pull your attention away from the road and create a hazardous work environment.
Van shelving and drawer systems are perfect for securing your cargo to optimize organization and keep you safe. When secured correctly, your equipment will fit perfectly in your work van, and any noise created as you drive down the road will be drastically reduced. If you have a partition in place, you'll block even more sound from especially noisy equipment.
Advantage Outfitters, LLC offers shelving packages fitted to your van type. Each industry has a package curated for its needs with multiple options for electrical, plumbing and HVAC professionals. The general or base packages are best suited to those looking to reduce their costs but increase organizational efficiency. Take it a step further and customize your storage by choosing bins, racks and other accessory options to create the ideal arrangement for you.
3. Install Wall Liners and Rubber Floor Mats
Securing your tools and equipment can eliminate a lot of noise, but you can implement a few other methods to reduce distracting sounds even further. Lining your van's walls and floors is a popular method and offers many benefits, one of which is sound insulation.
Insulation helps absorb excess noise so it doesn't leak into your cabin and pull your attention away from the road. It also keeps your tools from rattling against the metal interior of your van. Wall liners and rubber floor mats make for excellent insulation material. Wall liners are effective at dampening sound in your van's cargo space, while floor mats are ideal for absorbing road noise.
Combining these materials creates a 360-degree silencing effect. With these distracting sounds eliminated, you can enjoy a peaceful ride and focus on your work. Advantage Outfitters offers each of these materials according to your van model so you can experience an easy, precise fit to get you back on track sooner.
4. Close off Gaps With Weather Seals
Faulty doors or gaps in your windows can result in a whistling noise that infiltrates your cabin space. Windy, cold days often compound this issue. A quick and easy solution is to seal any gaps with specialized weather seal tape. Apply this to any areas where a gap exists or where you hear noise coming from.
The added protection from the environment also keeps you from adjusting your climate control settings frequently, which helps keep the cabin noise down when you're not blasting the heat to make up for wind chill leaking in from your window or door gaps.
5. Run Routine Maintenance
If you've tried all of the previous tips and some unwanted sounds still seem to be leaking into your cabin, check your engine, exhaust system and tires. Issues with your vehicle often produce various noises, from simple grinding to a loud rumbling.
If you hear a rattling noise but have already secured your equipment, your exhaust system could be out of alignment. Low tire pressure or improper alignment can also emit a thumping sound.
To eliminate the strange noises that your van can make, perform maintenance regularly. For most vehicles, this means taking it down to the shop or having it serviced every 5,000 to 10,000 miles for a routine oil change where you can also check your tire pressure, brakes and other parts. Of course, if you notice a problem with your van and it starts to make strange noises before your next service date, take it into the shop to be on the safe side.