How to Install Car Speakers | Installing Aftermarket Speakers in a Car

Getting the best audio gear in the world is going to do you a whole lot of good if you don’t know how to install car speakers.

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to replace your speakers and the immediate boost in your soundscape is going to make it all worth it in the end.

We’re going to focus on drop ins in this article, since the whole process of boring new holes in the door panels to resize speakers is a bit outside of the purview of the average person’s skill level.

Step 1: Remove the Old Speakers

First things first: always disconnect your car battery when you’re working with the electrical system. Mistakes can be costly if you don’t.

Pulling the old speakers is going to be the first thing you need to manage after the system doesn’t have any power.s

It’s pretty simple, and in most cases won’t require anything other than a flathead and Phillips screwdriver.

If you have a protective screen over the speaker, that will have to be the first part to go. Removal varies between models of vehicle if you still have OEM equipment, and you may want to consult your vehicle’s manual. In many cases all you need to do is pry it off and it’ll come away.

From here you’ll generally be able to just unscrew things and remove the speaker from the mount. Remove it carefully and take special care to look at the connections holding it together.

As a general rule, you’re going to be replicating those connections if you’re installing a coaxial speaker. Component speakers are a bit more complex.

Your connections will come in three usual forms:

+ Direct attachment to the loom is the most common in modern vehicles. In many cases this will result in a complete plug and play replacement.

+ Others will have connectors which hook onto spades on the back of the speaker. These can be removed with a pair of needle-nose pliers, but you need to take special care in order to make sure you know the polarity.

+ Soldered connections are a bit trickier and rare. You’ll want to either clip the wires as close to the solder as possible, then separate them so you know where they are, or use a soldering iron to heat the solder and remove the wires. We recommend just clipping them unless you’re planning on resoldering the wires.

Step 2-Installing the New Speakers

At this point, you’re going to need to see if your speaker can fit within the stock mount on the car and if the screws line up. If they do… score, you’ll be able to make things easy.

If not, you’ll need to make sure that you have a mount which will fit them and remove the old mount to replace it. This is pretty much always an easy process, so don’t get too worked up about it. If things get particularly hard you may need a drill or impact driver but that’s about as far as you’ll need to go.

Wiring the new speakers in is going to depend on what type of connection is already there.

+ If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to just tie into the loom and move on to the next step.

+ If not, you’ll have to make sure that you get the polarity correct for the connectors. If you’re moving from a previously soldered connection into a connection you’ll need crimps and some connectors.

+ If you have an older connection and a full harness attachment the manual with your speakers should tell you where each color of wire goes. Be careful to ensure that everything aligns properly if that’s the case.

+ Don’t screw things back in just yet.

If you’re installing component speakers then you have one more piece of gear to worry about: the crossover. The crossover needs to go between the receiver and the speakers so that the frequencies fed into your speakers feed properly.

This takes a little bit more electrical knowledge, but it’s easy enough. The real extra work comes in with separating the tweeter and making the holes and running the wires in order to ensure both the best sound and an aesthetic overall look.

There’s a reason coaxials are recommended for most at home installations. You’ll be making permanent alterations to the interior of the vehicle to get everything just right if you’re installing component speakers.

At any rate, you’ll also need a drill and a jig-saw to get it done, but the different placements will vary depending on taste and speakers so just make sure you know where you want things to end up before you start cutting.

Step 3-Testing Your Speakers

The next part of your at-home job is going to be to test your speakers.

Turn the car on and power the radio up, but be ready to shut things down quickly if something went wrong. From there you’ll want to push power to them through the volume knob to make sure they sound right through the full range of power handling they can provide.

If everything sounds right, then turn the car off and disconnect the battery again.

Step 4-Finalizing the Installation

Now you’ll have to properly mount your speakers in order to make sure the job is done. If anything went wrong during the test you’re going to need to try again and make sure you get it right, otherwise you’re going to put yourself through a lot of unnecessary work.

From here, remount the speakers and place any grates which were in place back over them to keep things looking original. You’ll be able to enjoy your new speakers now without any further difficulty.

Conclusion

Knowing how to install car speakers can be a great boon, especially for those who are ready for a mild upgrade. It’s a simple enough process for most people if you go with coaxial speakers, and even component speakers are easy enough to fit in as long as you’re careful about the modifications you make. Give it a shot, you might just be surprised at what you can do.

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