Apart from fulfilling satisfaction, the common emotion most car speaker owners experience is the fear of blowout. A blown car speaker is definitely one of the worst things that can happen to your vehicle’s sound system.
Things may get out of hand if you aren’t sure what’s going on and what you should do about it. I know, this is too much to handle! But relax, and take a deep breath because this article will erase all your problems.
In the following sections, you will learn why do car speakers blow out and how to prevent it. By the end, you won’t be left with any confusion at all. Trust me, we have it all here.
How Can You Tell If Your Car Speakers Have Blown Out?
If you have blown out car speakers, then I genuinely feel bad for you. I guess your speaker is not working at all, or it sounds horrible. But these aren’t the only things that tell you the condition of your car speaker.
Few other signs can inform you that your vehicle’s sound system has blown out and that it requires immediate action before further problems arise. No, a blown-out stereo will not destroy your car. But it will surely burn a hole in your pocket. Such an expensive fix is not worth it.
Hence, to avoid painful expenditure, be aware of the signs of a blown-out speaker. In the following section, I have mentioned how I know whether a car has blown out speakers. If you follow these points, you will be able to determine your sound system’s condition before the real problem arrives.
Fuzziness, hissing, and buzzing are the most common sounds a blown-out speaker makes. Chances are, you are reading this article because your speaker is generating such noises.
Especially… when you are playing MP3 audio on stereo, listening to any music on CD, or just playing the radio, a wave of distorted noise just ruins your mood. Did I guess your feelings accurately? I know this because I have gone through a similar situation.
Absence Of Vibration
The lack of vibration is a not-so-common (and not very apparent) sign that your speaker has blown.
You may not know that your sound system doesn’t have any oscillation unless you touch the speaker’s surface. Can you feel any vibration when you put your hand on the device? No? Then your speaker probably has blown out.
Yes, “Probably.” The lack of vibration can also mean that there are some issues with the wiring. I know, things got a bit confusing now. How do you make sure what is the issue here! Listen closely. Do you hear any sound coming out?
If yes (even if you hear the faintest sound), you are looking at a blown-out speaker.
If your answer is ‘no’, the wiring is probably wrong or damaged. Go check that out.
Rattling & Popping
Did your favorite music turn into popping and rattling noises? Then your speakers are surely blown. These types of noises are wake-up calls. If you notice such high-pitched noise from speaker, don’t waste a minute and fix your stereo immediately.
You will get into situations where you find every component of your speaker in a sound condition! Still, you may have some uncertainty lurking in your mind. It can be anything that sets you off. What can you do to make sure your speaker is, in fact, fine?
Simple. Just take a multimeter and check the resistance of the speaker. The resistance (or impedance) should be around 4 to 8 ohms. Anything higher than this range indicates that it’s time for you to replace the device.
You don’t need to take your speakers to a professional to know whether it’s blown out or not. Just keep these points in mind, and you should be able to make your own judgment.
Absence of Treble, or Bass
It is very annoying when you are enjoying a good funky song, and then the bass suddenly goes away. You have every right to be irritated, but you have to be cautious here as well. Lack of treble and bass is a major red flag. It says that your sound system is almost surely gone.
If you want to be sure that a blowout is a reason, try to control the car radio with an equalizer. Can you set up the treble, bass, or the mid-tone? No? Sorry to say, but your speaker has already blown.
Reasons of Car Speakers’ Blowout
Let’s cut to the chase. Car speakers mainly blow out due to thermal failure and mechanical failure. They are exactly what they sound like.
Thermal failure takes over your speaker due to the constant overpowering of the speakers. This generates excessive heat, more than the sound system is built for. As a result, the voice coil melts. In my experience, the worst thing you can have is a burning voice coil.
On the other hand, mechanical failure occurs due to the excessive movement of the cone. The Voice cone is supposed to go back and forth in the sound system. If it takes too much pressure, the cone moves beyond its elasticity. As a result, the cone breaks, resulting in a blowout.
The voice cone can have such movement due to the overpowering of the speaker. Though this happens temporality, it leaves a long-lasting effect.
Another common reason behind the car speaker blowout I have often faced is an excessive power supply to the system. If your speaker consumes too much electricity, it will generate an amount of heat that can melt the wires and burn the voice coils.
Though this sounds like the issue of thermal failure, the consequences stemming from the overflow of electricity are actually far more destructive. It can be the most catastrophic thing your vehicle’s sound system goes through.
To draw a clear picture, let’s just say you may not find your speakers where you left them.
The most unfair cause behind speaker blowout is excessive volume range. You should be able to listen to your favorite songs just the way you want, right? But some speakers (especially the cheap ones) don’t allow you to enjoy loud music.
If you increase the volume to the extreme on these sound systems, you will hear the gritty noises of your volume coils. Eventually, all the other parts will get dislocated as well. You may not initially know what’s going on inside your speaker. But with time, you will discover that the device is on the brink of a blowout.
Apart from the issue of extreme volume, amplifier clipping is a common reason for speaker blowout. Although, I must mention that this situation is not applicable for every speaker out there. Only the speakers with dedicated amplifiers can have the issue of clipping.
Now let me clarify what happens. When the amplifier is overdriven, the bottoms and tops of the audio waveform are clipped off (literally). This draws more power into the speaker system. As a result, the speaker overheats to the point of a blowout.
The most unlikely cause for blowout can be physical issues. Loosely installed speakers or worn-out internal components can’t function properly, resulting in a devastating failure.
Moreover, if there isn’t a protective cover on the speaker, any external object can damage the speaker cone. It all leads to extreme damages to the sound system.
Another unusual reason is placing the speaker in a large enclosure. Sounds weird? Let me explain. When your speaker functions, it basically vibrates the music it’s playing. You know what vibration is… right? It’s nothing but the forward and backward motion of the cone.
The enclosure has to hold the speaker tightly for this movement to be stable. Otherwise, there will be too much flex, and (as you already know), taking the cone beyond its elasticity will lead to a blowout.
Knowing these reasons is quite helpful in preventing and fixing blown-out speakers. How? Keep reading!
How Can You Fix Blown-Out Car Speakers?
Yes, you can fix a blown car speaker. But I would strongly recommend you not to do that. The repairing process can be troublesome and costly. It’s not worth it.
With the same amount of money and way less effort, you can get a new sound system for your car. It may sound weird, but replacement of speaker is a better option than repairing here.
But what if you don’t have a replacement option near your reach. In that case, you have no other choice but to fix the device. Below I have elaborated on how I fix blown-out car speakers.
Overall, I just replace the damaged parts, and this is what fixing is all about.
Let’s talk about the voice coil first. The hardest part of fixing a blown car speaker is replacing the recoil. It’s hard to pull out, and it’s harder to install a new one. If you don’t set everything correctly, it can push your speaker toward a worse condition.
When I set to fix the voice coil, I first took the old one out. Any wire cutter works best here. But I am very careful while performing any cut. It’s very easy to damage other components while conducting this task.
Once the coil is free from its place, I detach it from all the connections. Now comes the most challenging part. While installing a new coil, you have to get a voice coil set that perfectly fits its slot.
The problem I face is, if the coil and the slot are the same in diameter, the coil doesn’t slide in. On the other hand, if the coil is larger than the slide, it won’t fit.
This is why I take a coil set 3 mm larger than the slot. Then I delicately slide it in bit by bit. It’s also crucial to maintain a steady grip on the coil. In a word, too much trouble.
In the case of other parts, the process is quite the same. Let me put it in simple words.
I start by finding the problem. It means I identify the component responsible for the blowout. Then I unscrew the speaker and open it to expose the external components. Once everything is near my reach, I locate the components I am supposed to work with.
Now, as I lay my eyes on the part, I delicately pull it out and install a new replacement part in its place. The whole process demands caution and patience. Once everything is set, I put the cover back on.
It may sound easy and simple, but in reality, it is very complicated and anything but cheap. Moreover, you may need to buy some tools. Sigh!
Thus, take my suggestion, and consider replacing your blown speaker.
How To Replace Blown-Out Car Speakers
Let’s say, you decided to replace the speakers instead. Anyone with proper knowledge of car speakers will approve of your decision. And now, here, I will walk you through the process of how I replace blown car speakers. But before getting to the process, let me share two tips with you.
If only one of your speakers is blown or broken, you should replace both (or all the others, in case you have more). You may think I am asking you to spend your hard-earned money for no reason at all. It’s not like this. While your other speakers are working fine, they won’t be the same as the ones you are about to install.
The sound quality of car speakers declines over time. You probably haven’t noticed any difference in your vehicle’s sound systems performance. But believe me, once you compare it with a new speaker… you will see it.
Hence, make sure to replace all the speakers even if only one of them is broken or damaged. However, this is not applicable for you if your car’s speaker set is only a month old.
My second tip is using aftermarket speakers. I know I will probably get loads of hate for saying this but hear me out! If you have ever compared originals with aftermarket car parts, you will notice how the latter option is way better. This is especially true in terms of speakers.
The sound production of these parts is definitely crisper, and at the same time, they tend to be durable while being within your budget. This is everything you can literally wish for!
Now, how do you replace blown-out car speakers? It’s no Gordian knot. I can perform the replacement within an hour, and if you follow my lead, you will be able to say the same!
Before starting with the process, I make sure to get the perfect speakers for my vehicle. My car manual helps me choose the ideal speaker. The size and the model are all that matter here (don’t forget to check the quality of the speaker though!).
Once I have the speakers ready, I collect other necessary tools and keep them within my reach. Here’s a list of the equipment I need:
- Crimping tool
- Wire strippers
- Socket wrenches
- Soldering iron
- Electric drill
- Electrical tape
You don’t need to have these exact tools. There are thousands of alternatives to these items, possibly in your own basement. Find them before setting to work.
Another important part of the preparation is to disconnect the car’s battery. This prevents accidents and makes the process smooth. So don’t forget to do this!
I begin with the first part of the process, which is removing the factory speakers. For this, I need to take the speakers grilles off. In most cases, prying the edge of these frames is enough to dislocate it.
After removing this frame, the speaker is exposed to me. Unscrewing the nuts holding the device in its place helps me remove it. But I don’t pull it right away because there is a delicate set of wires attached to it. Instead of pulling the wires off, I simply cut them from the edge. A simple swipe of the wire stripper exposes the main wire.
As the blown speaker is out of the way, I will now install the new one. It’s basically the reverse of what I have been doing till now. I will solder the wires to the new speaker and then screw it in its place.
Finally, I will glue down the grill or the panel (or whatever it was in front of the speakers). It is crucial to set the protective grills. This way, the speaker is saved from physical damages.
What comes next? Nothing!
I will just test the speakers now. If everything was correctly done, there shouldn’t be any distortion in the sound. See, it’s not complicated at all. So don’t be afraid and give it a try.
How To Prevent Car Speakers Blow-Out
Let’s face it, dealing with a blown car speaker is not the easiest thing in the world. I guess if you are anything like me (and everyone else), you would like to prevent such a catastrophe.
But can you really do it? My experience tells me it’s 100% possible. And here, I will be sharing my tips and tricks with you. I regularly practice these maintenances, and it has kept my speakers in the best condition for years.
If I were to put my tactics in a word, I would say that I just avoid the reasons that can blow out a car speaker (you already know these causes!). Here are the details:
Using Correct Crossover
Connecting crossover to speakers correctly and using right one is crucial. I use the correct crossover to ensure that the speaker’s frequency level doesn’t exceed its limit. However, just using the right device is not enough. I make sure to set it on the right level as well.
In case you don’t know, crossover helps maintain the speakers’ frequency level. How? By preventing the overflow of electrical power. Simply put, they split the power into small chunks and only supply a specific amount of power. This is measured on Hz.
But how to use it? Speakers come with clear instructions regarding frequency. However, I don’t consider the level they set up. What I do is I set the crossover’s frequency a bit higher than the recommendation. This way, the speaker gets enough space to function properly while reducing the risk of a blowout.
Allow me to clarify everything with a simple example. If the speaker works from 50 Hz, I don’t set the crossover at 50 Hz precisely. Instead, I adjust it only a bit higher to around 60 to 70 Hz. This way, I get the best music experience without worrying much.
Underpowering and overpowering car speakers are the most common reason behind blowout. As you already know, too much electricity supply generates enough heat to melt and even burn the internal components.
I have tried several methods to prevent such overflow and finally came across the best solution: an amplifier.
An amplifier matches your speaker’s requirements and works according to the conditions. The device is set between the power supply and the speaker. This is how it can determine how much electricity will your sound system get. Though you can adjust this limit, the amplifiers usually determine the rate on their own.
Setting it up is also a breeze. Just install the RCA cables of speaker here, and connect the amplifier to the power supply. This should be enough to ensure the perfect flow of power to the speaker.
Prevent Physical Damage
Foreign bodies can badly damage a speaker. Even the slightest hit from a sharp object can destroy the cone. And let’s face it, it’s not possible to monitor your sound system 24/7.
This is why setting up a protective frame in front of the device is a wise decision. A steel grill or even a plastic cover should save your sound system from a blowout or any other damages. I personally prefect steel girls because they are robust and more durable than the speakers!
And these are all I do. I think you can get away with only these maintenances too. If you haven’t noticed yet, these processes are not difficult. But they can save you from more than you think.
By now you must have learned how to prevent car speakers from blowing out. However, I won’t blame you if you have further questions. Honestly speaking, I couldn’t manage to include certain points.
But these issues are as important as all the others. This is why here I will be addressing the questions you probably have. If you don’t find the answer, you were looking for, comment below, and I will update this section soon.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Blown Speaker?
If you take professional help, it can cost around $700. This includes the new set of speakers and the fees. However, if you need to replace only one speaker, it can take $300. But I don’t take expert help. Instead, I take on the task by myself. This way, I get the job done in around $100.
How Long Does It Take to Replace a Blown Speaker?
Replacing a blown speaker is not that simple. In my experience, this task can take around 2 to 4 hours. However, this duration differs based on the problem and skills. I have seen professionals getting the job done within an hour.
How Often Does a Car Speaker Blow Out?
The answer to this question greatly depends on the model of the speaker and the condition of your car. Maintenance matters a lot as well. On average, the durability should keep the speakers working for at least 5 years unless you are using a really shitty speaker brand. In that case, no one can assure you whether the sound system will last a year or not.
My Last Two Pennies on The Topic
Whether your car speaker is already blown or smoothly running, this article should’ve helped you. From the signs of a blown speaker to preventing the issues, everything mentioned in this article aims to increase your vehicle’s durability by at least a few more years.
And, who knows, if you are lucky and dedicated enough, your present speaker may just be the only one you are ever going to need.