How to install car speakers?

How to install car speakers?

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Johann a TV mounting Technician and Editor
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Last Updated on June 7, 2022 by Johann Holsinger

When it comes to your dream sound system inside your car or RV, higher-end brands will noticeably outperform a vehicle’s standard speakers from most sound quality readings.

Factory-installed speakers use paper and other affordable materials in their cone construction, whereas aftermarket sound system speakers can be found with much higher quality components.

Installing a brand new set of speakers in your favorite ride is a great way to improve the sound of your audio system.

If you want your favorite vehicle to stand out from the crowd and be heard from a distance when you cruise down the street, installing your own car speaker system can do just that.

Installing new car speakers is a simple process that starts with only basic tools like a screwdriver and a soldering iron the right knowledge, as well as an hour or two of your time to get done.

Car speaker system

Common problems when installing car speakers

1. Improper mounting

Speakers should always be mounted correctly to ensure no rattling and proper sound reverberation.

Take your time when installing the mounting bracket, wiring harness, and speaker to ensure everything is fully secure and wired correctly.

Tiny speaker mounted near the window

2. Forgetting to shut the power off

While first and foremost being a hazard to your own well-being, forgetting to disconnect the power from the vehicle as well as the sound system can cause shorts in the wiring.

This can easily lead to a much higher overall cost to install a car speaker than you expected.

Rado power button for car

3. Incompatible speakers

Finding a great-looking set of speakers is only the first task, you then have to make sure the new speakers are compatible with your vehicle.

Make sure the speakers fit and can be properly powered by your electrical system and audio head before making the purchase.

4. Polarity mismatch

Mixing up the polarity is a common mistake. Assuming mismatch doesn’t cause permanent short circuit damage to your speakers, amplifier, or power connections, matching the right wires is an easy fix.

Always be sure your positive and negative cables are labeled before installing.

5. Ripping off the wire harness

While built to be rather sturdy, a wiring harness should never be ripped or yanked out of any connection.

Disengage the locking tabs before attempting to remove the harness or you can permanently damage the connection posts.

Auto car speaker wire harness

How to choose the right car speakers?

Most vehicles have more speakers than many realize. If you are planning on replacing both the front and rear speakers in your car, it’s important to ensure that you purchase the same brand, size, and series of speakers throughout a vehicle.

This will give you a matched system that sounds uniform that will help improve your overall stereo and surround sound quality.

Even if you plan on replacing the entire set of speakers in your vehicle, starting with the front speakers first is a great choice.

Wire routing car door

This is especially true if you are on a budget and can only invest a bit into your upgrades at a time.

Once the front speakers are replaced, move onto the rear, side, and additional speakers in that order.

Always stick with the same brand, wattage, and series to ensure you get the same sound quality throughout the vehicle.

Different speakers offer different sensitivity measures and wattage requirements. Sensitivity will be the loudness measurement of a speaker [1] considering a meter of distance and a watt of power.

High sensitivity speakers can offer ratings of over 90 decibels, and typically use less than 15 watts per channel. These are a great speaker option if you plan on sticking with a factory-installed power system.

For those that will be replacing the factory power system with an aftermarket stereo, you can easily boost your wattage to 75 or less per channel.

This will give the best bang for your buck when audio systems come to raw sound quality.

For aftermarket amps, always be sure to match your RMS wattage to the specs of your amp. Look for this information on the back of the unit or in the user manual that came with the amp.

What do you need before installing car speakers?

  • Screwdrivers, including Phillips, flat-head, and magnetic for ease of use.
  • Drill with various bits, files, and Torx drivers.
  • Allen wrench or socket set.
  • Wire stripper, a soldering iron, and Electrical tape.
  • Panel and Retaining Clip removal tools

How to remove factory car speakers properly?

Most speakers are held in place by plastic grille covers.

These are easily removed by prying the cover from an edge or popping any plastic clips that might be holding the cover in place.

You may need to remove a few small screws before you can pry the covers off so try to get a good look before you start adding pressure to the cover.

On some vehicles, you will be forced to remove the entire dash to get to the front speakers.

Removing factory car speakers

While this makes the process a bit more involved, the task is still rather simple.

Always be sure to take your time and use a panel removal tool so you don’t damage the plastic or other accent pieces of your vehicle.

Removing the old speakers, like if you will install a car speaker in a headliner, is the simple process of disconnecting the positive and negative wire connections, and lifting the speaker out from the mounting position.

During this process, be sure to keep your cables separated so that you know which wire is positive and which is negative polarity. This will prevent short circuit issues when installing the new speakers.

How to install new car speakers?

Once you have gotten the old speakers out of the way, installing the new car speaker assembly is extremely simple. If you took note of the cables in the removal process, you should know exactly which wire goes to which terminal during installation. Here, we summarized the essential speaker parts.

There are only 2 or 3 (If there is the earth which will go to the chase of the car)!

Always connect your wires with proper clips or connection caps.

While you can use electrical tape, the adhesive is not made to withstand the same temperatures a car [2] can get to when sitting in the sun or snow. Over time, the tape will degrade and can cause loose connections.

Once you have reattached the speaker to the wires, reconnect the vehicle battery and test to be sure the speaker works.

If everything sounds right, you can place the speaker in the speaker wire housing location. Secure the new speakers in the same way the old speaker was installed.

By also replacing any dash or door paneling you had to remove to access the area before.

Connecting auto speaker wires

Testing newly installed car speakers

Testing your speakers before you reassemble the vehicle paneling is a very important step that is often overlooked. Connect your vehicle battery and start the car.

Crank up your stereo and give a good listen to the speakers. Adjust the bass levels and location the sound is coming from within the vehicle.

If everything sounds good, you can go ahead and reassemble the panels you had to remove before installation.

Double-check that all screws and clips are secured tightly, and keep in mind the vehicle will be vibrating a lot when driven. Any slightly loose connections now will become much looser overtime when driven.

Testing car audio speaker

Dos and don’ts when installing speakers

Dos

  • Always ensure to disconnect the battery before starting to work with any wiring, even basic audio/visual cables.
  • Always test-fit your speakers before you remove all of the grills, framing components, or door covers.
  • Subwoofer installation can end up costing more, especially if you don’t have the proper amplifier yet. Make sure to know what is needed before you begin.

Don’ts

  • Don’t be afraid to contact a licensed aftermarket speaker installation expert. This can help give you more ideas and pointers on the best way to install your chosen speakers.

Time to install car speakers!

Installing a new set of speakers in your car can be a great way to improve the sound quality of your stereo system. Whether your bass isn’t producing enough waves to rattle the windows or your tweeter is sounding a bit shrill, this DIY only takes only an hour or two of your time with some basic knowledge to get your speakers fully replaced and upgraded to sound significantly better.

Once you’ve made the decision to replace your speakers, you will not regret it!

Check this out to know more about home speaker wall mounting.

More information:

  1. A beginner’s guide to matching speakers and amplifiers published at https://www.qacoustics.co.uk/blog/2017/08/14/beginners-guide-matching-speakers-amplifiers/
  2. How to install car speakers, published at https://www.crutchfield.com/S-Oy3HtcQOKEX/learn/car-speakers-installation.html

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Hi, my name is Johann Holsinger, here at mountyourbox.com I share all of the tips and tricks I have professionally learned to help you set up your ultimate home entertainment system.