What Is Wind Buffeting and How Can You Fix it?

Spring is upon us, which means that it’s a nice time to head outside and go for a drive. So you get in your car, open the sunroof up, and head out for the open road to enjoy the wind in your hair. But once you get going, you’re met with a loud helicopter-like booming noise that’s so unbearable that you have to roll the window back up. What is that noise and how can you keep the car from doing it?

That noise you hear is a wind buffeting effect

A reflection of car windows in the side mirror
A reflection of car windows in the side mirror. | Unsplash

RELATED: Is Your Car Windows’ Tinting Illegal?

That hideous sound that you hear is called “wind buffeting” and it’s what happens when one of the windows in the car is rolled down when driving at freeway speeds. According to Family Handyman, the sound is the “outside air passing over and interacting with the contained air inside the vehicle.” Apparently, when these two air masses collide with each, they compress and decompress repeatedly and produce that throbbing effect that makes you feel like you’re stuck in a small wind tunnel.

There are many different factors that can contribute to wind buffeting. For example, you can have all of the windows up and the sunroof open and get the buffeting effect. You can even have one window halfway up and another one down and still gets it. We think you get the idea by now.

Wind buffeting is more prevalent in modern cars

If you currently own a newer car, then you may experience wind buffeting more so than in an older one. The reason wind buffeting is worse in newer cars is due to their increased aerodynamic designs. The outside air travels over the car much more efficiently, so when a window is cracked, the airflow is disrupted and it magnifies the effect.

If you want a quick lesson in how bad wind buffeting can be in a newer car, then go test drive a 2022 Toyota Supra. The new Supra is notorious for having the worst wind buffeting in the business and now we know why. Maybe Toyota shouldn’t have made it so aerodynamic.

How can wind buffeting be fixed?

A passenger looks out a car window
A passenger looks out a car window. | Mariya Tarakhnenko via Unsplash

The fix for wind buffeting is quite simple: open another window. When doing so, the wind turbulence in the car stabilizes and the buffeting effect should stop. Also, if you do happen to own a car like the Toyota Supra, then you can buy little wind deflectors that can be placed on the front edge of the windows to redirect the airflow.

It’s a simple and cheap fix that’s also available for other new cars as well. Additionally, if you want to stop the wind buffeting effect when you open the sunroof, you can buy a wind deflector for that as well. That way, you can drive around with the wind in your hair and you won’t have to listen to the deafening sound of a small helicopter floating in your ears. Of course, if it gets really bad, then just roll the windows up and use your air conditioning instead.

RELATED: How to Defrost a Frozen Car Window