Speaker Buyer's Guide
- Car speakers work with the help of electrical impulses, voltages, electromagnets, and voice coils that work together to produce sound.
- There are two common types of car speakers: coaxial and component speakers.
- Coaxial speakers usually have a woofer and a tweeter integrated into one unit. This type of speaker is usually more affordable than component speakers.
- Component speakers, on the other hand, are composed of multiple individual speakers installed in different locations inside your vehicle.
- Once you start to hear distorted sounds, hissing, fuzzing, or a lack of bass or treble, it may be time to have your car speakers replaced.
- Car speaker prices can usually range from $50 to $500.
Your car speaker system makes your car ride extra fun and exciting. Whether you’re on your daily drive to work or an out-of-town road trip, you and your passengers could surely use some good music. The fun might stop, however, if your car speakers start to fail.
In this article, you’ll learn more about car speakers, how they work, and what to consider when looking for a replacement.
Just like any other audio device, your car speakers work with the help of electrical impulses, voltages, electromagnets, and voice coils that work together to produce sound. Thanks to science and physics, car manufacturers have found a way of incorporating this technology into our vehicles so we could enjoy the audio systems we have installed in our vehicles today.
Types of Car Speakers
Generally, car speakers can be categorized into these two categories: coaxial and component speakers.
Coaxial speakers are the most common and the most affordable speakers you can find in the market today. With this type of speaker, midrange sound is integrated by incorporating a woofer and a tweeter into one unit. If you’re not familiar with these terms, a woofer is a type of speaker for low range sounds, while a tweeter refers to a special type of speaker that produces high-range sound.
These speakers are usually easy to install compared to other variants. They are usually installed near your car doors or on the rear deck right below the rear glass.
Component speakers refer to multiple units that are installed in different locations inside your car. They include both woofers and tweeters. Each of these speakers produces individual sounds simultaneously. Together, these speakers are able to produce high-quality concert-quality music for you and your passengers.
Since these speakers are more complicated than coaxial variants, they are generally priced higher. Installing them may also need the help of a professional. For instance, you may need to cut a hole in your A-pillar just to have one of the speakers installed.
If you would want a low and deeper bass, you may also consider spending on a subwoofer. Subwoofers are speakers that are usually installed in the trunk or somewhere near the rear compartment of your vehicle.
If you’re really the type of person who loves music and you have the budget for it, then component speakers may be the best option for you.
When to Replace a Car Speaker
Since your vehicle already comes equipped with a built-in speaker, why would you need to replace it with a new one? There are two reasons why that may happen.
Damaged/Blown out speakers
Who would want to listen to distorted sounds all day? If your speaker is blown out, you will surely want to replace it with a new one. Damaged speakers aren’t ideal for a comfortable ride. You don’t need to worry about finding a replacement because there are many aftermarket speakers that are sold at very reasonable prices.
Car Speaker Upgrade
The second reason why you may need a new speaker or a new set of speakers is for upgrade purposes. As mentioned, modern vehicles come with built-in speakers straight from the factory. However, some car owners would want to level-up their experience by replacing it with more advanced variants.
Symptoms of a Faulty Car Speaker
The most obvious sign of a blown car speaker is hearing no sound at all. But other than that, here are other signs you should watch for:
- Distorted sound
- Hissing and fuzziness
- Hearing popping or rattling sounds
- Lack of bass or treble
Once you notice any of these signs, have your speakers inspected right away. If it’s just the damaged wiring that is causing the problem, then you might not need to replace the speaker itself.
What to Consider When Looking For Speakers
Since you’ll be faced with many options when looking for car speakers, it would be best to filter down your options. To help you do that, here are things to consider before deciding on what to buy:
Type of Speaker
Consider what type of speaker you really need as well at its compatibility with your make and model. Do you just need a coaxial speaker or would you prefer a component speaker instead?
Aside from the type of speaker you want, you also have to consider the quality of sound it produces. This will ensure that you’re getting the value of what you have paid for.
Speaker Sensitivity and Power-handling
These are two very important things to consider when choosing speakers for your vehicle.
Sensitivity refers to how much sound a speaker can produce using the power applied to it. If your vehicle is equipped with a low power car stereo, speakers with high sensitivity ratings of over 90 dB will produce the best sounds. Usually, this applies to factory-installed stereos. However, If you have a high-powered audio system, go for speakers with low sensitivity ratings.
Power-handling refers to how much power or watts a speaker can take. If your system is equipped with powerful external amps, it may require speakers with powerful handling. Remember to read up on these things before making a purchase.
How much does a car speaker replacement cost?
Car speaker prices can usually range from $50 to $500, depending on the type of speaker and the brand you choose. They are usually sold individually or in sets depending on the type of speaker you choose. Remember to take note of the location of the speaker and its compatibility with your vehicle before buying one.
Finding the right fit
To ensure that you are getting the right fit for your vehicle, enter the correct details of your vehicle into our built-in search function. You may also filter your search according to the brand and price range you prefer.
There are many self-help videos online on car speaker installation. However, if you’re not a skilled automotive DIYer, it is best to leave the job to a trusted professional.
Improve Your Car
Upgrading your car’s speakers is probably one of the easiest and most popular ways to improve your car’s audio system. You’d just need a little bit of electrical know-how, an hour or so of your time, and a good set of replacement speakers to drastically improve you in-car listening pleasure. With thousands of different products to choose from, it can get pretty confusing, so let our short guide help you out so you could get the most bang out of your hard earned cash for the perfect set of speakers in your car.
Stick to a budget
You can easily go overboard and splurge on some high-end speakers, but we highly recommend that you set a budget so you could stick to a price that you’re comfortable with and work from there. If you’re a typical driver who’d only want to listen to clear music from your radio, then you’d definitely be fine with just ordinary replacement speakers. Chances are, you simply just want to replace your worn out set. If you’re an audiophile or an enthusiast, then you’d probably be a little bit more meticulous about your choices, and would be prepared to spend a whole lot more for an upgrade instead.
Power and sensitivity
Once you’ve determined your budget, then you would need to check your car’s audio system so you can pick a suitable set of speakers based on their sensitivity ratings. Speakers with higher sensitivity will produce sound better when paired with low power systems while those with lower sensitivity are best setup with high-powered rigs. You’ll also need to check the wattage of your sound system, and that it has enough juice to drive your speakers of choice. If you are unsure of these terms, then it’s best to ask a vendor to help you out or consult a professional who’s familiar with in-car audio systems.
Don’t forget to get cables
One thing that most people forget to purchase with their speakers would be an appropriate set of cables. Expensive speakers would be practically useless if you use cheap factory installed wires, so it’s best to get compatible cabling as well.
Get something that fits
For the average driver, we recommend that you don’t confuse yourself too much when looking for replacement speakers. Simply stick with designs that would fit your car’s door panels and you should be pretty much good to go. You can’t go wrong when choosing an OEM speaker, you’ll be able to install those with minimal tools and you won’t need to hire a mechanic to help you out. For audio enthusiasts, you’d want to do further research on audiophile grade sound systems where a specialist can recommend a better set of high-performance systems for your ride.
Improve Your Car
Have you ever been stuck in traffic with a messed up sound system? Or maybe you’ve been putting up with busted speakers all these years? Either way, you could easily improve the sound quality of your music by installing some brand-new speakers on your own. With just a couple of simple tools, you’ll soon be listening to your favorite tunes. Check out our quick guide and you’ll be able to upgrade your old set with the latest car audio tech in no time at all.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Tools that you’ll need:
- Car door poppers
- Compatible speakers
- Wire crimpers
Removing your old speakers
Step 1: As a safety precaution, we recommend that you disconnect your car’s battery first, in order to avoid accidental electrocutions or even short circuiting your electronic equipment.
Step 2: Begin by removing the door panels on the driver and passenger doors. You’ll probably have to take a look at your car’s manual in order to locate all the screws holding the panels in place, or you could simply look for them one by one and unscrew them.
Step 3: Once you’ve taken out all the screws on your door panels, you should be able to pull out the trim to expose the inside of the door and the old speakers themselves.
Step 4: Next, you should remove your old set of speakers by removing the screws and pulling them out from their mounts gently. You will notice that there would be two sets of wires connect to each speaker. You’ll need to unclip it from the speaker, if they are the removable kind, or use a pair of wire crimpers to take them out.
Installing brand new replacements
Step 1: After you’ve removed your old set of speakers, you should be able to install a new pair by simply doing the entire process in reverse.
Step 2: Connect the wires to your new speaker while making sure that you attach them to their respective positive and negative terminals. Most wires are color coded and a lot of speakers will have markings at the back labeled as "+" and "-".
Step 3: From here, you should mount your speakers back into place. Make sure that you screw them on tightly, since you won’t be able to access them quickly once you’ve placed the door panels back into place.
Step 4: Before you attach the door panels, you should to a quick test by turning on your radio and sound system, to see if both speakers are working perfectly.
Step 5: If all sounds good, then simply reattach your car’s door panels and you are done!