We all spend a lot of time in our vehicles, and much of that time we spend listening to music or podcasts. Knowing this, it’s easy to see how to get into your car for your morning commute, only to find a speaker was playing, it’s a bad day, the broken speaker may not be making sound, or worse, it can Cracks and distortions occur.
You can easily remedy this issue at home by installing a new speaker. Installing new speakers is the most affordable upgrade you can do to your vehicle’s audio system. Aftermarket speakers are not only relatively inexpensive but also generally not very difficult to install.
Upon getting new speakers for your car, you might be thinking of taking your car to a car audio center for speaker installation. However, that might cost you an arm and a leg. After all, you have already spent hundreds of dollars on the new speakers.
It would therefore make sense to save even more money by installing the new car speakers yourself. While this may seem like a challenge to beginners, it isn’t that difficult to do on your own. All you need is a few tools and a guide on how to get the job done. Read this article for the easy steps on how to install the car speaker by yourself.
Table of Contents
What Is a Car Speaker?
Speakers, in any scenario, translate audio signals into real audio in any environment. They are the things that provide sound in your home, vehicle, and airport to remind you that boarding is done in five minutes. In cars, we generally see a few different sizes and types of speakers, each designed to handle a different audio frequency.
Types of Car Speakers – Five most suitable car speakers.
- Super tweeter
You just have to find one that suits your car’s sound system.
What you’ll need to complete the job
You might not need everything in the list below, but it’s a good idea to have more than you need. Every car is different, so check your vehicle’s repair manual to determine exactly what you need.
- Various screwdrivers (flat-head, Phillips, etc.)
- Allen wrenches
- Electrical tape
- Box cutter or small knife
- Soldering iron
- Socket wrench set
- Wirecutter and stripper
- Crimping tool and connectors
- Drill with screwdriver attachment
- Panel removal tool
- Hobby knife
- Additional speaker wire
Organizing your tools and gear so everything is easily reachable will save precious minutes waiting for your handy-dandy child or four-legged helper to bring you the sandpaper or blowtorch. You also need a level workplace, e.g. a garage floor, a driveway, or a street parking lot.
Installing Car Speakers In The Door
You’ll hardly miss finding speakers on the doors. Whether you have door speakers or not, the door is one of the best locations to install car speakers. After all, getting great car audio requires having door speakers. Moreover, they’re relatively easy to install. Here’re the steps to follow when installing car speakers in your car door.
Step1. Removing The Factory Speaker
If you have matching speakers, you’ll only need to remove the existing speaker and install the new one. First, remove the grille by removing any screws or fittings holding it in place. Once the speaker is exposed, you’ll need to remove any screws holding it in place.
Be careful when removing the speaker as it may be connected to a wiring assembly that you may want to reuse with the new speakers. In some cases, you might find that the speaker is mounted with a type of foam rather than screws. If this is the case, cutting the material using a knife will detach it.
Step 2. Connecting The Wiring Assembly
Upon removing the wiring assembly from the stock speaker, attach it to the new speaker. Ensure that each speaker terminal is connected to the correct polarity. In case there’s no wiring assembly, you might have to solder the existing wire onto the terminals of the new speakers.
Step 3. Attaching The New Speaker In Place
Once you’ve confirmed that the polarities are properly connected, you can insert the speaker into the speaker hole and screw it in place. Then attach the speaker grille in place. Once done, repeat the procedure for any other door.
Well, that sounds quite easy. Doesn’t it? If you’re installing a matching speaker, the installation process is that simple and straightforward. However, if you want to install custom speakers or speakers that don’t match the existing speaker hole in terms of size, then you’ll need to remove the door panel. Also, you might be having matching speakers but they can’t be removed without removing the door panel first.
Cutting New Speaker Holes and Installing Custom Car Speakers
Sometimes, you may want to install a speaker that cannot fit in the stock speaker hole on the door panel. Now that you have already removed the door panel, you can go ahead and learn how to cut out new speaker holes.
Step 1. Choose The Mounting Location
You can choose to mount the speaker at the top or bottom section of the door panel. Mounting at the top section takes less time and effort than mounting at the bottom section. However, you’ll choose to cut new holes on the section of the door that’ll suit your car and preferences.
Before cutting any hole, check whether the speaker will fit in that area. Check whether there’re obstacles behind that section. You can place the speaker over the door and see whether it’ll fit in that section.
Step 2. Cut Out a New Mounting Hole
Once you’ve spotted the best door section to fix the speaker, double-check to confirm that cutting out a hole around that section will not affect any door or car functionality, especially the door locks and windows.
You can check the room that’ll be left between the speaker and the window when it’s rolled all the way down. If there’s enough room, then you have the best spot for your new speaker.
You can now start taking measurements of the hole to cut out. Trace the shape of the speaker over the desired mounting location. Use a temporary marker pen to make the sketch. Don’t use a permanent marker pen since the ink won’t come off until the next time you repaint your car.
Next, lay the door panel of a flat surface and cut out the traced shape with a sharp, sturdy utility knife. Cut out the shape slowly and carefully.
You’ll need to use a jigsaw to cut out any metal surface. Be cautious when cutting out a metal surface. Wear protective gear such as eye protection. Cut out the metal surface carefully without causing any damage.
Only cut through the panel and metal frame one at a time. Cutting them together may rip out other door parts. Vacuum any debris upon cutting the frames.
Step 3. Do The Wiring
Before installing the new speaker, it’d be better to do the wiring first. Run the cables through flexible tubing to keep them protected. Ensure you do the wiring in a way that it won’t get squeezed by any door part. Run the wire from the speaker area to the nearest plug, else run it to the crossover or receiver.
Step 4. Installing The Speaker On The Door
Position the speaker in place and mark locations for new screw holes. Then drill the marked screw locations using a drill. Next, fix the speaker in place and connect the speaker wires to their respective terminals. You can drive some screws through the speaker to temporarily hold it in place for testing in the next step.
Step 5. Test The Speaker
At this point, reconnect the car battery and turn on your car stereo to test the speakers. If they’re sounding right, then you’ve done everything the right way. Once you’ve confirmed that the speakers are properly connected, you can disconnect the battery again and put everything back in place.
Ensure you reattach any wiring modules you removed from the door before screwing everything in place. Screw the speaker firmly in place and reattach the door panel. Then attach the speaker grille to hide and protect the speaker cone.
Installing Car Speakers in the Dashboard
Another great location to install speakers in the dashboard. Most cars already come with dash speakers. Get a replacement speaker of the same size as the factory dash speaker.
You can easily remove the factory dash speaker by detaching the grilles first and then detaching the speakers. Most grilles are held in place by screws or friction fittings. Remove them carefully to avoid damaging the dash.
You can use a panel removal tool to pry off any fittings holding the grilles in place, but avoid scratching or cracking the dashboard. Once done, detach the stock speaker.
Note how the polarities are connected. Then attach the new speaker to the old one in the correct polarities. You can either crimp or solder the wire in place depending on the setup you want or the existing factory setup.
Once done, you can test the speakers before screwing everything in place. If they sound right, wrap the wire connections on the terminals with electrical tape. Add cable ties on the tape to ensure it won’t melt due to heat.
Now screw the speaker in place and reattach the grille. You may want to test the speakers again to confirm that everything is still okay.
Installing Rear Speakers
The ease or angst of replacing a set of rear speakers varies wildly, depending on the type of car you have and the way the manufacturer designed the interior. In some cases, all you need to do is pry up the grilles and swap out the speakers.
In others, you need to crawl into the trunk and disconnect them there. And in some cases, you’ll need to remove the back seat and most of the rear trim pieces. It all depends on your car. Here’s how to install rear car speakers, including woofers or subwoofers.
Step 1. Removing the factory rear speakers
Start with removing the factory rear speakers. The removal process will depend on their location. If they’re hidden within the trunk, you’ll need to get into the trunk to access them. Simply remove the grilles, then unscrews the speakers and detach them.
If the rear speakers are hidden in the back seat area, you’ll need to push the bend the seat forward to access the speakers.
Step 2. Connecting the new speaker
Connect the new speaker and remember to connect the polarities correctly. Once done, screw the speaker temporarily for testing.
Step 3. Testing
Test the new speaker before attaching everything back in place.
Installing Component Car Speakers
Component speakers are always the best choice when you want to get full-range sound in your car. This will mean installing woofers, mid-range speakers, and tweeters. Note that component speakers have to be wired to the crossover for the best sound balancing.
Here’s how to install component car speakers.
Step 1. Choosing The Locations
First, choose where each speaker will go. Midrange speakers can be installed on the doors and dashboard. Woofers or subwoofers can be installed on the rear part of the car or even in the trunk for larger woofers and subwoofers. Twitters can be installed anywhere around the car. You can have one at the front and another at the rear for the best sound balancing.
Step 2. Installing The Component Speakers
Mid-range speakers and standard woofers can be installed in the doors using the already mentioned steps for installing car speakers in the doors. In most cases, installing component speakers may demand cutting new holes especially for the woofer or subwoofer.
You can also install a woofer or sub in the trunk by simply adding it with a cabinet. You’ll simply tuck the cabinet somewhere in the trunk and do the wiring.
If you’re installing a woofer in existing holes, you may want to add a mounting bracket if the woofer doesn’t match the size of the existing hole. You’ll also need to place a buffer between the bracket and the woofer.
Tweeters are quite easy to install. You can use choose between mounting them on a panel and putting them under a factory speaker grille.
Option 1. Installing Tweeters On The Door Panel
The best panel area to mount a tweeter is the door panel. This will also make the wiring process easier. You may have to remove the door panel for wiring.
Once you have removed the door panel like mentioned earlier, trace the diameter of the tweeter on the preferred location on the door panel. Use a temporary marker pen to trace the diameter. Then cut out a hole from the traced diameter.
Next, slide in the base cup that comes with the tweeter into the newly cut hole. Then insert the tweeter cable through the base cup such that the cable goes into the back area of the door panel. Then wire the cable to the crossover or receiver.
Once you’ve wired the tweeter, put the door panel back into position. Next, insert the tweeter into the base cup. Basically, the base cup holds the tweeter in place.
Option 2. Installing Tweeters Under a Factory Grille
If you have unused factory grilles, you can take advantage of them to install tweeters. This way, you won’t have to cut out any new holes. You’ll simply remove the grille and add a speaker bracket for the tweeter to fit in.
If you’ll be adding a bracket, you’ll cut out a hole through the bracket that is of the same diameter as the tweeter. Then insert the base cup of the tweeter. Next, wire the tweeter to the crossover. You might have to pry off some panels when doing the wiring to access the crossover.
Once you’re done with the wiring, test whether the tweeter is sounding right. Then reattach any panels you pried out. Next, insert the tweeter into the base cup you already installed. Once done, reinstall the grille to hide the tweeter.
Pro Tips To Install A Car Speaker
A few pro-tips we’ve learned along the way.
- Even if you’ve done the research and are sure that you have the right speaker, it’s best to do a test fit before moving too far into the installation process.
- If you’re installing subwoofers, the process will look different, because of the specific enclosures and installation locations. You’ll also need a standalone amplifier, so there are additional costs involved.
- Replacing speakers is a great way to improve your vehicle’s audio system, but to get the full experience you may need a new head unit as well.
- If you still have your factory OEM radio installed, installing aftermarket speakers may not improve sound quality for you. You may find that your radio lacks the deep bass like it used to have with the original speakers. This is because factory original speakers are generally constructed with paper cones, which require less power to deliver bass.
As you can see, you don’t always have to pay someone to get a job done. Some tasks such as installing car speakers are DIY jobs. You’ll only need to have the right tools, pry out any panels carefully, cut out new holes if need be, and wire the speakers correctly. You’ll also choose between installing components and coaxial car speakers.
A good car sound system can enhance the fun of driving. The new speaker can put life back into your car’s music system. You can change your top-quality car speaker any time for your desired sound system.
Always remember to test out your speakers before attaching everything firmly in place to make it easier to rectify any mistakes. With these tips and steps on how to install car speakers yourself, you’ll end up finding it fun to always do it yourself.