Tweeters are an essential part of any car stereo system. In standard coaxial car speakers, tweeters are usually combined with woofers for a more compact and convenient design. However, if you’re looking for help on blown tweeters, your car likely has aftermarket component speakers installed.
Component speakers separate the tweeter and woofer components and so allow for higher-quality sound. If this is the type of system installed in your vehicle and you’re noticing that the stereo sound is coming out somewhat less than optimal, you may need to do some testing to hone in on the problem.
What Do Tweeters Do?
Tweeters are the small drivers within your sound system that disperse the high-frequency treble notes. These high-pitched sounds typically include female voices or instruments with high pitches, such as electric guitars, pianos, cymbals, or synthetic keyboards. You’ll normally find tweeters located in the door or dash of your car, simply because it is the closest possible location to your eardrums.
Your tweeters need to be level with your ears because higher frequency sounds tend to be absorbed by furniture and other soft surfaces instead of reflected. Proper tweeter placement will help lead to a balanced sound experience.
What Are the Signs That Tweeters are Blown?
If you’re experiencing distorted sound from your car stereo, especially when it comes to the higher frequencies, your tweeters may be the culprit. Generally speaking, detecting a busted tweeter isn’t super technical: just listen to the speaker, get as close to it as you can, and if it’s not making any sound, then it’s probably blown.
There can also be other initial warning signs when speakers are on their way out. It’s also worth mentioning that there are many steps you can take to prevent your stereo speakers from being damaged in the first place.
How To Test if a Tweeter is Blown
If one or all of your car speakers are already blown, you’ll next need to run a test to make sure whether it could be a tweeter that’s at fault. The simplest way to test a tweeter is first to turn the volume all the way up. If there’s no sound, the tweeter is likely busted.
Assuming that you’ve tried this essential step, next try playing a familiar CD or track to help you scrutinize the sound quality. It’s a good idea to use a CD rather than the radio to test a speaker since you’ll have an easier time with tracks you’re familiar with.
If the treble sound quality sounds poor, unbalanced, or otherwise off, you’ve probably got a problem with the tweeter.
One last note: before moving on to repair your tweeter, double-check and make sure that your stereo settings are correctly balanced. If the settings are all programmed correctly (or at least where you want them), most likely, there’s a mechanical issue.
How To Fix a Tweeter
Step 1: Dismount and Disassemble
If there’s more than one speaker that’s blown, you’ll need to repair them one at a time. Otherwise, once you’ve identified the faulty speaker, you’ll need to dismount and disassemble it to see which parts will need to be replaced.
For this step, you can use your car’s user manual, or you can follow this quick guide for general disassembly directions. If you decide to do it yourself, you’ll first need a screwdriver to dismount the speaker from the car and then carefully unplug the wires attaching the tweeter to the vehicle.
Step 2: Clean the Speaker
After you’ve taken the speaker apart, you’ll want to clean it gently. Cleaning the tweeter to remove any bits of dust and debris that have collected inside will allow you to locate the problem better. You can use compressed air to do this, or just a clean cloth. Whatever you do, be gentle.
Step 3: Diagnose the Problem
Now that you’ve gotten all the speaker parts cleaned and disassembled, it’ll be easier to tell where the problem is.
Among the parts you’ve disassembled, you should find the speaker cone and the voice coil underneath the cone. Both the speaker cone and the voice coil are delicate parts that can be easily damaged. And both of these parts are key to the speaker’s functionality, so if either piece looks damaged, this might be the root issue.
You can try repairing the cone with tape or glue, but bear in mind that you’ll most likely need to replace it.
It’s much the same process for the voice coil. The delicate wire may be damaged through melting or corroding, but either way, you’ll need to replace the part if it is. You can usually order a replacement part through the factory maker or dealership.
Step 4: Decide on Your Course of Action
Once you’ve confirmed why your tweeter isn’t working, you have two options. Option one is to order the replacement parts yourself, put the speaker back together, re-install, and hope for the best. Option two is to take your car to a professional and have them look at it.
If you need some guidance about whether you should attempt to repair your speakers versus replacing them, check out these helpful thoughts for more advice.
Watch the following video to learn how to fix a blown tweeter.
Keep in mind that if you do decide to follow these steps to diagnose a broken speaker, it’s very likely you won’t want to go ahead and try to mend the speaker yourself. Depending on the size, location, and the number of speakers that need to be fixed, it may not be worth the effort to attempt a repair.
Chances are pretty good that if you can confirm your tweeters have indeed blown out, you’ll need to see an audio install specialist or perhaps even take your car back into the dealership. If you’re the do-it-yourself type, though, taking the speakers apart can be a fun challenge, and if it works out, you’ve got a new skill set under your belt.