How To Replace A Car Speaker!

by Jul 28, 2020Interior Cleaning/Restoration, Routine Maintenence0 comments

car restoration

How To Replace Car Speakers Correctly!

If you have been wondering how to replace a car speaker, we have some good news. You’re going to learn how today. Your vehicles audio system may not crucial to keep it running, however it is frustrating when it doesn’t work correctly.

The correct steps to replace a speaker correctly is to remove any panels in the way, unhook the speaker, and then finally verify wiring and prep for installation. Installing car speakers is actually a simple task that anyone can do. 

A speaker is typically held in by 4 bolts, and will have 2 wires typically that need to be removed.

We always recommend replacing your speakers in pairs (they usually come in pairs anyway) we’ve always had great luck with Sonic Electronics or Amazon.

Without any further words, let’s get started on your speaker install!

Replacing A Car Speaker – Removal!

Every vehicle is going to be different when following these steps. Make sure you either look up an online guide or find/follow the correct panel removal procedures before continuing.

The first step we need to take is determining which speaker is at fault. This is typically done easily just by listening for sound coming from each speaker individually.

Pro Tip: Using your radio, adjust your fader/balance settings so each individual speaker only plays one at a time. This will help rule out which speaker is the culprit.

Some cars will have speakers in the front of the dash, inside the doors, and even in other small areas like the A-pillar. Always verify your speaker size and location first before beginning any removal.

Remove The Panels.

We always recommend a car audio installation kit for proper install. These usually include some wire strippers/grips, wire connectors, and usually a trim removal tool. We recommend this tool because it’s easy to break the plastic retainers that hold everything in place.

It also prevents you from scratching any interior car paint or plastic that you don’t want damaged.

Once you have everything ready to go, start by removing the interior panel that your speaker falls behind. This will differ on every vehicle so make sure you take your time, remove all screws and trim pieces and then finally remove the full panel.

Remove The Speaker.

At this point you should be looking at a speaker behind your panel. It will be mounted in by 4 screws or bolts that hold it down and into place. Simply remove these screws to dismount the speaker from the frame.

Don’t go quite yanking on things just yet though.

Looking at the back part of your car speaker, make sure you carefully remove any connections from the back of the speaker. This is typically held in by wire clips and needs to be cut, however if you already have an aftermarket set in, you may just see 2 pieces of wire hooked up to car speaker.

If you have to cut the factory harness, make sure you leave enough bare wire in case the factory speakers need to be wired back in.

One of these wires is your positive wire and the other will be the negative.

After you have successfully removed the wires/clips you can now remove the speaker fully and place it aside. Now onto the fun stuff!

Preparing The New Car Speakers! how to replace a car speaker

There isn’t much prep work needed on the actual speaker itself, but we did want to hit a couple of points on this topic first. There is quite a bit of different ways to properly install these, your experiences, knowledge and ease of access may change how you install your car speakers.

From here we will go over a couple of different ways to install your car speakers. Results will go from best to worst results.


Soldering your wires together makes sure they don’t come apart and ensures a quality connection. This is our preferred method when replacing car speakers as it holds up well and ensures stability.

Your speakers will have small terminals on them that need to be connected. These terminals when touched with the positive and negative wires will power up the speaker producing sound. Your wires and speakers will both need to be hooked up correctly to produce quality sound.

Start by soldering some new speaker wire to the old wires you cut earlier. After you have made sure they are secured, wrap some of the heat shrink tubing around it and melt it shut. This will prevent any unwanted moisture from getting on your wires and into your system.

With both of your wires connected it’s now time to move onto the speakers. Repeating the same steps as last time, get your wire prepped and give yourself about an inch of bare wire to work with. Slide this inch of wire into the respective terminals 1 positive, 1 negative.

Depending on your year make and model your positive and negative wires will be a unique color or feature a strip down it to distinguish what wire it is. Positive to positive, negative to negative.

Feed the bare piece of wire into the small holes on your speakers terminals. Once you have it securely through, wrap it around and solder it shut.

Screw the speaker back into the panel you removed it from and fire it up! You should now hear crystal clear sound through your door speakers! Onto the next method!

Utilizing Connectors. how to replace a car speaker

This is by far the easiest and most common way of installing your car speaker. No need for any crazy tools or soldering required.

Once again, with the speaker out, take one of the wire connectors you should have purchased, since these are usually individual wires, the red colored wire connectors works great here!

Strip your wire bare again leaving about 1 inch of working room on your wire. We personally like to fold this in 1/2 and twist the wire to make it easier to put into your wire connector. Place the wire that goes from the car inside of the red connector and crimp it shut using your wire strippers/crimpers.

From here you will need to repeat the same process but now the other end will contain your speaker wire. Simply give yourself another inch of bare wire and insert it into your red connector and pinch it shut.

Your speaker wires should contain a large metal pin and a small metal pin. These will be your positive and negative terminals on the new wires. Simply slide these pins over top of the speaker terminals and viola! You should have a speaker that’s powered up and playing some beautiful sound!

The Bare Bottom…

We absolutely DO NOT recommend this method as this can lead to shorts and power problems and possibly damage to your speakers. If you are in a pinch though and need a quick fix then all you need is some electrical tape and your tool to remove the speaker.

Repeat the same processes as above by removing the speaker, cutting the wires and stripping them, and then prep for install again. This time if you don’t have access to solder, don’t know how to or don’t have access to any connectors, electrical tape works in a pinch.

Simply twist the speakers wires together and wrap a nice amount of electrical tape tightly around the wires. While this isn’t the most secure method it will get you back up and running sound through your car speakers in no time.

Once you have wrapped your electrical tape around, make sure to take precautionary measures and install some heat shrink tubing to them once again in case it happens to wobble and touch the body/metal frame of your car/panel.

If this happens without anything protecting your speakers from an electrical short, you may be headed into loads of electrical problems and failures down the road. Once again we DO NOT recommend using this method to replace your car speakers.

Tools And Quality Of Life Assistance!

Wire Strippers/Cutters/Crimpers.

This is your jack of all trades tool when it comes to car audio. This cuts wires, strips wires, and allows you to crimp connectors with relative ease. Make sure you have one of these in your arsenal when you go to tackle any car audio job.

Wire Connectors.

There are many different forms and sizes of wire connectors. These are usually indicated by color. Anytime you are splicing together thicker gauge wires, you may need a bigger size to continue.

The typical color pattern based on size is usually red (small), blue (medium), and yellow (large). Typically when you work on just car speakers you will only need to utilize the red ones but depending on gauge you may need to go up in size.

Keep these readily available as sometimes getting them to pinch tightly shut correctly can be tricky. That’s why we recommend folding and twisting your wires together first.

Always give a small tug on your wires to make sure they won’t pop out after crimping them down. If no wires pop out, you have pinched them together correctly!

Dash Removal Tools.

We have seen it so many times where clips and panels get busted. This is usually because of forceful actions or not using the proper tool to release these clips correctly.

Make sure you are using a trim removal tool instead of a screwdriver to remove these panels. Using metal tools can lead to scratching pieces of your car you don’t want blemishes on. It can also cause clips to break causing you to have to replace them. Cost efficiency is key!

Don’t cut yourself short when you go to tackle a car audio project, avoid the broken clips and scratches, use the proper removal tool.

Heat Shrink Tubing.

More of a luxury item more than anything but certainly does have it’s purposes. Tubing protects your wires from moisture and other nasty stuff you don’t want getting onto your wires. Make sure you have some of this available and do the job right the first time.

Even if you don’t need to use it for protection your wires, you can also use it to merge lines together for a clean and professional look as well. As an example: if you have 4 wires going towards your speakers and even more headed to an amp, you can wrap all 4 wires in tubing to make it look like 1 solid clean wire.

Protection and safety all in one go, sounds like a great idea to us!

Final Tips/WARNING!

When replacing your car speaker make sure you also match up your power requirements as well. We have seen our fair share of speakers go bad due to under powering them and over powering them.

Your speakers will run at a certain rate of wattage or RMS. Making sure your speakers have the correct amount of power is absolutely critical to ensure quality and longevity. Failing to do this can cause all that hard work you just put in to go to waste.

This is because your speakers can be over powered causing the cone on the speaker to overextend and not return to it’s normal positioning. This is typically what’s known as a “blown” speaker.

To avoid this make sure you find out how much RMS your radio/amplifier is pushing out and match that up to the appropriate size speakers with the appropriate power levels. This will guarantee you quality sound without distortion, crackling or other dreadful and unwanted noise.

Our final tip for you is to make sure you turn on your radio after the speakers are turned on and turn it up to your normal operating volume. This will verify that your speaker install was successful and will allow you to tune your new speakers so they sound just like you will want them to!

Enjoy your new speakers ladies and gents! For more guides and how to’s check out our blog. Additionally, if you think it’s your radio that is possibly at fault, check out our guide to wiring up and fixing/replacing a car radio as well!

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