If you have used your car’s stereo system a lot or if you bought a used car, you may find that your speakers aren’t working properly. Perhaps they sound really grainy, are making a clicking sound, or the sound quality is just overall subpar? Regardless, you can replace your speakers and end up spending a considerable amount of money, or you can fix them yourself.
How to tell if your speakers are blown
In order to diagnose whether or not your speakers are blown out, check for the following signs of a damaged car speaker:
- Unwanted distortion, grainy sound, or fuzziness. If for any reason you think your speakers may be blown, turn the volume to a low level and listen for any uncharacteristic noises such as fuzziness, distortion, or grainy sounding music. It is important to differentiate between these sounds coming from the speakers, and other fuzziness which often comes from FM radio.
- Popping or clicking sounds instead of music. If instead of music you hear popping or crackling sounds, your speakers are definitely blown.
- Lack of treble, base, or mid-tones. Use your car’s equalizer controls to make sure that you have a full range of sound from your speakers. If you notice a complete lack of base, mid-tones, or treble, you probably have a blown speaker.
- Check speaker’s impedance. You can check your speaker’s impedance using a multimeter. Properly working speakers typically have an impedance of 4 or 8 ohms. If your speaker’s impedance is extremely high, your speakers are blown.
- Lack of vibration from the speakers. If your speakers aren’t working at all it may mean that they are completely blown but more commonly it is simply a wiring problem. While the system is in operation, feel the front of the speaker grills. If there is no vibration at all, you need to see if the wiring connections are broken.
How to fix your speakers
The first step of fixing a car speaker is removing the parts of the speaker to access the damaged part. Before you begin removing components it is best to check the car’s owners manual which may contain instructions on how to remove parts of the speaker. Then follow these directions.
First, remove the speaker’s casing with a screwdriver. You may need to pry off the grill that is in front of the speakers in many cars and is designed to protect the speaker. Whether or not you will have to do this step depends on what car you have. Next, unplug all wires connecting the speaker to the car. At this point, you will notice a rubber piece surrounding the speaker’s cone. Use a knife to carefully cut this piece off of the speaker.
The next thing to do is to remove the speaker’s cone with a knife. Once it is removed you will see the voice coil. Unplug every wire that connects to the voice coil and remove it. Then scrape any extraneous glue with a knife or scraper.
Next it is important to thoroughly clean the speaker. Use a paper towel with isopropyl or rubbing alcohol to remove any dust and grime inside the speaker mechanism.
After you remove everything the next task is to identify which part is broken. You should check the speaker’s cone first. If there is a tear in the cone simply glue or tape the torn part back together. However if the cone is severely damaged you will need to replace it altogether.
The next part to check is the voice coil. Check to see if there is a part of the voice coil that has melted. If you see a melted spot on your voice coil you will need to get a new one. Next you will need to check if the speaker’s surround is broken or has detached from the the cone. If so attempt to use glue to reattach or repair the surround. Again, if it is too damaged to fix you will need to buy a new one and install it with glue.
After you have identified and fixed the problem. It’s time to reassemble the speaker system.
Make sure to put the parts back in the same positions they were in originally. Once the speaker is back to one unit you can plug it back into the car using the same plugs that were unplugged when we originally took the speaker out of the car.
In order to make sure they’re now working properly, it is time to turn on the radio and test your speakers. Start with a low volume and gradually increase it to see if the issue persists. If the speakers are sounding normal then that’s great! It’s fixed! If not you will need to take your car to be looked at by a professional mechanic.
What causes speakers to blow
A blown speaker is caused by the speaker’s cone vibrating in a way that it isn’t meant
to.This mostly happens when the driver turns the volume too loud for a long period of time. This causes the cone to bump into other parts of the speaker and can rupture the cone. Sometimes the erratic movement of the cone can tear the rubber piece which connects the cone to the rest of the speaker known as the surround. This also causes the speaker to blow.
Another form of blown speaker is thermal car speaker failure which is when excessive volume can cause a buildup of heat in the speaker which can melt the glue that holds components of the speaker together, as well as melt the voice coil in which case you would have to get a new one.
Although it is great to know how to fix your speakers yourself,it is always important to keep the volume at a reasonable level in order to avoid bowing the speakers in your car. But if for whatever reason you find yourself with a blown speaker, it is very helpful to be able to eliminate sound imperfections by yourself and minimize the money you spend on repairs.