Troubleshooting a Car Stereo Speaker

A car stereo speaker.

An area of your vehicle that gets the least amount of attention, but can have a tremendous impact in the overall enjoyment of owning your car, is the car stereo speaker. If the speakers in your vehicle are not working correctly, then you are not going to be able to listen to your stereo which can mean very long drives. When the stereo speaker in your car does not work, there are ways to troubleshoot it for repairs or replacement.

Check Wires from Stereo

There are times when the stereo will work, but it cuts out between playing music, static, or dead silence. When this happens the problem is usually going to be found in the wiring. The first thing to check out is the connection of the wires from your car stereo. The wiring harness may have come loose causing a small disconnection between the speaker and the stereo.

Check Wires on Car Speaker

Besides the wires coming from the stereo, the wire connection at the speaker may be a little loose. Remove the speaker from the housing and make sure that the wires are connected properly and are tight at the connecting nuts.

Trace Route of Wire

A car stereo.

If the connections at the stereo and speakers are tight and without any type of corrosion on them, then you will need to trace the entire route of the speaker wire to check for shorts or breaks in the wire. Most of the time, the wires break after a few years if they are under the rugs on the floor. Sand and grit act as an abrasive to the wires causing cuts in them that lead to shorts and disconnections.

Loose Speakers

A speaker that is not securely tightened to its housing will vibrate and sound horrible. The buzzing that is caused by the vibration of the speaker will greatly interfere with the sound. Use some cloth, or small rubber shims around the housing before you install the speakers and make sure the screws are tightened.

Weak Sound

A car stereo.

If it does not sound like you are getting the full potential out of the speakers you just installed, it could be a problem of compatibility. If the speaker can not handle the wattage output of the stereo, it will cause internal problems within the speaker which will damper the sound. The reverse is also a problem. If the speakers are too powerful for the stereo the music will be muffled.

Blown Speaker

One of the worst problems with a car stereo speaker is that they can "blow" at high sound levels. This means that the cone has separated from the coil by the force of the music. You will hear a distinct buzzing sound when the music is up high and barely anything at low levels. Use a multimeter set to measure Ohms to test the speaker. Place the leads on the terminals. If it has a reading of anything other than 1.0, then the speaker is blown and will need to be replaced.

Touching Ground

All speakers should be grounded, but if they are "touching ground" it will have a thumping noise in the sound. Check the wires to make sure they are properly grounded and not touching, or crossing, a ground of another wire.