You may have to replace your factory speakers if you are looking for earsplitting sound and excellent bass in your vehicle. Most of the OEM speakers will not live up to your expectation, forcing you to install an aftermarket speaker in your car. The best car speakers will give a much-needed boost to your car’s audio system. The big question is, do you know how to install car speakers.
Cap speaker installation may seem quite daunting but it is far from it. It is a very easy task to accomplish if you have the right instruments and full knowledge of how to go about the job. In this article, we are going to share that knowledge with you, making it a breeze for you to upgrade or replace your vehicle’s speakers.
The guide will contain the following sections for you to search for your required information without any hassle.
- Difference between vehicles
- Tools required to install car speakers
- All parts needed for car speaker replacement
- How to install car speakers in door?
- How to add tweeters?
- How to install speaker on the dashboard?
- Installing speakers in the parcel shelf
Difference between Vehicles
Unfortunately, the size and shape of the doors as well as the process of installing speakers is different for different vehicles. Every vehicle model is different from others even if they are from the same company. Therefore, we can only provide general information about how to install car speakers. We will discuss some of the most common places, such as doors, dashboard, and car parcels, where you will most probably install the speakers.
Tools Required to Install Car Speakers
You need a set of special pry tools to replace factory speakers or install new speakers without damaging the car interior. They have a slot cut down in the middle and they look like paint scrappers with flat blades. They can easily reach the door hinge and other tight places as some of them also have a bent in the middle. The best thing about these tools is that are easily and cheaply available at your local tool store.
Here is everything included in a typical car speaker installation kit.
- Angled and flat pry tools
- A drilling machine
- Crosshead bits for your drill
- Crosshead (Philips) screwdriver
- Small sockets – metric and inch
- Panel remover tool
- Craft knife if you have to cut through sealant or foam
- Crimp tools
- Soldering iron
- Hex keys
- Insulation tape
- Torx hand tools
- Retaining clip remover
- Maybe a file
- Socket wrench set
- And of course, your new car speakers
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All Parts Needed for Car Speaker Replacement
Now that you have gathered your tools, you should also buy two items other than your speakers.
1. A Wiring Harness
The first one is a vehicle-specific wiring harness. The wiring room in the very car has a dedicated plastic plug on its head. The wiring harness will help you connect your speakers with that plug conveniently. It is much easier than cutting through wires and making soldered connections.
2. Speaker Brackets or Adapters
You also need speaker adapters or speaker brackets. They will make things easier for you if your new speakers are different in size to factory speakers. Sometimes, your speaker won’t line up with the mounting holes as well. But, how you know you need a mounting bracket without removing the door trim. You may not need one if your original speakers have dimensions of 6.5”, 6×9″, and 5 × 7″ and 6 × 8″ because these are the most common sizes for aftermarket speakers as well.
How to Install Car Speakers in Door
We are now going to explain how to install new car speakers in your vehicle’s doors. Before you begin, make sure you have chosen a comfortable and properly lit place because you may have to spend quite some time here.
The following is a step by step guide to install the best car door speakers.
1. Disconnect Your Car Battery
The first and the most important step while installing door speakers is to disconnect your car’s battery. You have to keep the door of your car open while installing the speakers. Therefore, a connected car battery can result in extra power consumption or higher chances of short circuit. If you don’t want to get electrocuted, you must disconnect the car battery by removing the negative cable.
You may have to do some technical work depending on the exact place where you are installing the speakers.
2. Replace Factory Speakers
The second step in the car stereo speaker installation process is to replace the previously installed or factory speakers. However, you need to be very careful and attentive so you may not inflict any type of damage to the wiring harness.
You should not, in any case, rip the warning harness out. You may also have to remove adhesive glue or foam or remove several screws and bolts holding the speaker in the door. In the case of full-range speakers, you get everything from speaker wires to speed clips, mounting screws, instructional manuals, and grills. On the other hand, component speakers come with crossovers, separate tweeters, and tools for installing tweeters.
On most occasions, removing the factory speakers will be as easy as ABC depending upon the model and make of your car.
3. Attach New Speakers to the Wiring Harness
The third step is to connect your new speakers to the wiring harness. Most of the time, you will attach the speakers to the built-in wiring harness. Remember that the wiring mechanism may be different for different speaker combinations. For instance, a pair of speakers with one amplifier and two pairs of speakers with a pair of amplifiers will have different wiring mechanism. The included manual will only illustrate how to deal with pairs of speakers.
Basic Wiring Tips
You must map the path of the wires in the compartment in which you are going to install new speakers. Leave no stone unturned to ensure the new wires don’t touch the wrong wires or metal to avoid short circuits.
Manufacturers normally simplify the wiring process for you by color coding the factory wiring. However, you have to expose a small piece of copper by stripping the wires for your new speakers. In some cases, factory speakers come with a plug that you can directly plug into new speakers simply by removing the harness.
Note: The best way to secure electrical wires if you don’t have a harness is to use an electrical tap.
Here are a couple of things to remember.
- You should always attach the white wire with your speaker’s positive attachment as it is the neutral wire.
- You should always attach the black wire with your speaker’s negative attachment as it is the negative wire.
Speakers can also nullify each other if you try to reverse the wires or cross them over.
4. Test the Speakers before Putting them Firmly in Place
While installing vehicle door speakers, it is also important to check your speakers before permanently placing them in their compartment. This is important because if something does go wrong, you will be able to fix it without having to rip everything apart and start from scratch.
Place flexible tubing or rubber funnels between the two holes to affix the wiring to the surface to protect it from sharp edges of holes. It will ensure the insulation does not get damaged when you open and close the door. Similarly, place the wiring away from any part or hinge of the door jamb because it can damage it as well.
5. Double Check the Wire Connections
The best way to checking your wire is to switch on the radio or listen to some music. Check whether or not your speakers are working properly. Rearrange the wires if you think they are not working the way they should. Another thing you can to do check wires is to verify if your speakers match your car’s polarity or not.
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How to Add Tweeters?
By now you have learned how to install speakers in car. What about the tweeters? Many speakers, especially component speakers, also include at least one tweeter which requires separate installation. After you have installed the door speakers as explained in step 1 trough 5, do the following to install the tweeters.
- Choose a place or compartment to house the tweeters. You can create the best soundstage by putting them as far forward and as high as possible.
- Try to ensure the tweeters don’t interrupt the window operation.
- Mark the location on the metal you have to cut or inside of the door’s trim panel.
- Cut two openings using the hole saw. Cover the exposed metal with touch-up-paint. It is also better to smoothen the rough edges using a file.
- Install the mounting grill or bracket that comes with tweeters.
- Connect the crossover to the wires in the audio system. Place the speakers on the output side.
- The final step is to install the external crossover box inside the car door. You must also secure the box to prevent any kind of rattling and free movements.
How to Install Speaker on Dashboard?
You may also be wondering how to install car speakers on the dashboard. Dashboard speakers that come with removable grills are easier to install. You just have to use your pry tools to pop the grills up by fastening the retaining screws. However, you have to reach the speakers from underneath the dashboard if they don’t have mounting grills. The installation becomes even harder if there is no way to remove the upper panel.
Installing Speakers in the Parcel Shelf
You can normally access these speakers through the liftgate or the trunk. You have to make safe and secure electrical connections for parcel shelf speakers as with door speakers. However, it is harder to install parcel shelf speakers compared to door speakers because you have to contort into many different shapes to put them in place.
Concluding our How to Install Car Speakers guide, we can say that it is not very difficult to replace car speakers or install new ones. It may be cumbersome for people that have never hooked a car speaker before. However, the installation will always involve the above-mentioned steps no matter you are mounting new speakers in any vehicle irrespective of its make and model.