Troubleshooting problems with faulty speaker wire can be a troublesome task but is commonly an easy fix once the problem is found.
Step 1 - Disconnect the Speaker
The first thing to consider when trying to access and troubleshoot the problems with faulty speaker wire is if it is actually the wire, the speakers, or the amplifier that is faulty. To do this you need to disconnect the speaker wires from the amplifier (while still connected to a speaker) and then get a 1.5-volt battery.
Touch the plus end of the wire to the plus end of the battery. If the speaker and wires are working you will hear a “pop” sound from the speaker. Do this only for a short time. Any longer may damage the wires and the speaker. This means that the amplifier is faulty. If you tried this and you did not hear a “pop,” then switch the wires with a different speaker and repeat the process. You should be able to conclude from doing this with each set of speaker wires you have if it is the wires that are bad or the speakers.
Step 2 - Check Your Speakers
If you have a device where one set of speakers play fine while the others do not, check to see if the channels are correct before considering a faulty wire. The channel outputs will be located on your amplifier. Remove the end of the wire from the amplifier and make sure if the wires are loose that they are not frayed out in a haphazard way. This can affect the way they function. Simply twist them together to a point and before you place it back into the amplifier. Make sure that the wires are correctly being placed in the right place; the plus and negative wires to the plus and negative of the amplifier. If it still does not work, switch the wires with the set of speakers that does work. If the good set of speakers suddenly does not play then it is a faulty speaker wire.
Step 3 - Check the Sound of Your Speakers
Sometimes there will be an issue where the stereo seems to work perfectly fine, then suddenly becomes “choppy” or the sound completely cuts off for a few seconds. The easiest way to see if it is faulty wiring is to grab the wires and slightly move them as there is something playing over the speakers. You will know something is wrong if the sound over the speakers begins to crackle or stop completely. Check to make sure that the wires are properly connected to the amplifier and the speakers. Once you do that, play with the wires again and see if the sound still crackles or stops. If it does, then it is most likely faulty wires.
Step 4 - Follow up by Checking all Other Problems
A couple of other troubleshooting tips to look for is if the speaker wires are crossed then they tend to short out very easily. Make sure that there is no exposed metal near the wires or this could not only short out the wires but could damage your stereo. Also, if you smell a sort of burning while your stereo is playing then stop the stereo immediately and check the wiring. This is an indication that the wiring is faulty.