All you need to know about damping
What is damping:
Damping, in car audio terms is adding a sheet on the door & panels of your car to reduce vibrations and increase bass and punch. In simple terms, its sticking a sheet on the door panel.
Is damping a must?
It is only needed when you go for a sound quality setup or high end setup. If you are a music connoisseur damping is for you. If you are ready to live with that jarring vibration of the panels, you can skip damping. However, if you are planning to upgrade speakers, add an amp & subwoofer, damping is highly recommended.
What part of the car needs to be damped?
At the very least, the doors must be damped. Enthusiasts are known to apply damping on the entire car. The car would be stripped down to the metal and damping sheet would be pasted on the metal. Then the car plastic's panels would be assembled again. The roof, floor, all doors, boot, boot/dicky door, bonnet/hood need to be damped for best effect.
What are the types of door-damping?
There are three types of door-damping available
Single Damping: Damping sheet is applied on the inner panel of the door's outer shell.
Double Damping: Damping sheet is applied on the inner panel of the door's outer shell & outer panel of the inside facing door metal.
Triple Damping: Damping sheet is applied on the inner panel of the door's outer shell & outer panel of the inside facing door metal and on the inner side of the plastic door panel.
How to buy damping sheets?
Identify what all area you want to damp.
Select a sheet with high butyl content. Preferable buy the ones made in India. Ones made in US & Europe have less Butyl content, owing to cooler climates in that regions. This might not suit hot tropical conditions in India, especially in Tamil Nadu.
Shop around for size of sheet, thickness of sheet & price. Don't ask price only.
Ask the shopkeeper for total sheets needed to damp & agree upon the total cost.
Should we apply roller or not?
Roller tool is used to evenly apply the sheet and press rolling it with roller creates a very good grip. The good part is it creates a good grip but the bad part is removal is difficult. If roller is not applied, we are not guaranteed a good adhesion bond with the panel.
Long story short, I recommend damping installation with roller.
Scams and Short-changing tricks on damping.
Ask for the total number of sheets needed, total area that will be covered and the total cost beforehand. Many dealers only say Rs./- xxx per sheet and they keep adding sheets as you go. This is wrong as you would not know the upper budget.
Ensure installer applies roller tool
Enquire labour cost. This is 300-400 per door and boot & around 1000 -1500 for floor & roof.
Ensure the cost of sheet includes taxes
Can damping be done DIY?
Absolutely yes. This is not at all complicated. We just need patience and time. All you need is a "minus" screwdriver (Rs. 50/-) to remove the trim & a roller tool (Rs. 500/-). TNOC will come up with a DIY video very soon.
Points to ponder
It takes around 30 minutes for single damping a door, 45 mins for double damping & one-hour for triple damping a door.
Boot takes one hour, Hood & Tail gate take 30 mins each.
Entire car takes 8 hours, including stripping & re-fitting, assuming one person works.
If you have an accident, you might need to re-apply damping sheets
Replacement of the same type of sheets are difficult. The manufacturer keeps upgrading the sheet as frequently as mobile phones.
There is a chance of leakage & smell if the sheet is not of good quality.
Advantages of Damping
Door closes with a thud.
Door feels heavier and stronger
Bass and punch is louder and crisp.
Improves audio quality
Reduces vibration on door
Makes cabin a little more silent
Some brands that manufacture damping sheet
Blaupunkt, Dr. Artex, Rockstar, 3M, STP, Dampmat, Dynamat, Vibrofiltr, DD Audio, CTK etc.