Singing along to your favorite tune while feeling the bass in your chest make driving bearable amid heavy traffic.
That’s why it’s such a bummer when you have a blown car speaker. The scratching sound from the audio JUST. KILLS. THE. VIBE.
We can only drive so far without any jam on the side.
The GOOD NEWS is it’s possible to repair a blown-out speaker. Whether we’re talking about car speakers, guitar amp, or home speakers, there are many ways to spin that bad sound into something BANGING!
But just to set expectations, this guide is intended for non-professionals searching for a SIMPLE PROCESS to fix their blown-out car speaker.
Interested? Let’s do this!
How to Determine a Blown Speaker
Speakers are specifically designed to operate within their advertised audio power. BUT that doesn’t mean you could blast your speakers, with bass boosted, in high volume as much as you want.
If you do, you’ll probably blow them out.
A blown speaker is NOT a technical term. It’s just a short way of saying your speaker:
- creates a distorted sound
- produces no sound
- has a torn cone
- churns out high noise level
The non-technical translation for this is: your speaker is CRAP.
It’s not easy to detect blown speakers in their early stages.
Once the audio starts to make popping and cracking noise, that’s the only time you come in full panic mode (AHHHH!). And it’s probably completely blown by then.
Thus, it’s best to catch the early warning signs of a blown-out speaker so you can save yourself from the hassle of replacing your car’s sound system.
So, how will you know?
First, check for any physical damage.
Visually inspect the cone. Remove the grill, amplifier, and all other parts that might obstruct you from observing it (but, of course, do it CAREFULLY).
- If the speaker cone was separated from the foam, you don’t need further inspection. The foam naturally falls apart through time.
- If the sound quality of your car speakers deteriorates because of this, it means you have an old speaker, and it’s time to bid goodbye.
There’s no amount of fixing that can help you with this problem. Fixing one part means waiting for the next ripped cone.
We’d suggest that you thank your speaker for its service and start replacing the whole sound system.
You’ll also know if your car speaker is blown by listening closely for distortion.
- Set your volume to a low or mid-level and listen to a CD (if you’re old school that way), or pair your phone with your stereo and play some music.
- Check if you hear some hissing. NOTE: Don’t listen to the FM radio when doing this. They naturally have some static, so you can’t check if the speaker is blown out.
- Now, try turning the volume up. Does the distortion get worse? Use the fade and balance to separate the faulty speaker.
In most cases, you’ll discover that at least one of your car speakers has a loose voice coil or a torn cone.
Check Frequency Response
In some instances, your speaker may play a song perfectly fine, and then there’s total silence (i.e., sound blackout) OR severe sound distortion.
This is exactly what happens when you have an incomplete or inaccurate frequency response. Simply put, you hear less of the bass or high frequencies from at least one of your car speakers.
This surely indicates a blow-out on your woofer.
Rattling and Cracking
What if you hear some cracking or popping sound from your car’s speakers or worse–there’s no music AT ALL.
This could be a sign that your speaker has multiple issues like:
- torn cone
- partially melted/burned voice coil
- loose wire between the amp and speaker
- other loose parts (e.g., grill, mesh, etc.)
- distortion in the audio signal
Rattling and cracking may not immediately mean you have a blown speaker, but it’s a MAJOR RED FLAG.
If you have a multi-meter, try removing the grills and checking the impedance of each speaker.
NOTE: Impedance refers to the load a speaker transfers on the amp.
A perfectly working speaker has an impedance of 4 or 8 ohms. But if you have a car sound system higher than this or has infinite impedance, your speaker is most likely a problematic one.
Absence of Cone Vibration
The cone of speakers moves rapidly to push air and create sound. But if it’s not vibrating even with bass-heavy audio, it’s a sign that it’s not receiving power (and, probably, experiencing a blow-out).
What should you do? Try checking for any loose wire or a glitch on your speaker assembly.
How to Fix a Blown Speaker
You know your car speakers are blown. What’s next?
You have two options: repair or replace.
Common sense dictates that if you have something broken, you need to, well…fix it. And that’s partially true. There are cases where you don’t need professional help to mend a bad speaker.
Unfortunately, some damages are irreversible, and no amount of DIY can fix a blown stereo. HOWEVER, you can still try to repair your car speakers before replacing them.
You can also apply some of these methods to fix your studio monitors.
TIP: If you’re sure you have faulty car speakers, don’t apply more audio signals to them. You’ll only create more damage to the system.
Replacing the Surround
We know what you’re thinking: what’s a surround?
Without getting too technical, the surround is a suspension piece that connects the cone to the speaker’s housing.
- Throughout a speaker’s life, this piece suffers a lot of mechanical stress.
- It’s often the first component to fall apart because of wear and tear.
Now, what if you learned that the surround had come apart?
Repairing it is EASY-PEASY. Get a repair kit and a replacement surround.
You’ll need re-coning if:
- the cone or spider is torn, or
- the speaker’s voice coil was burned or melted.
This technique will probably SAVE YOU TONS CASH (if done properly).
Because, instead of purchasing other speakers in the market, re-coning allows you to replace all the moving parts in the speaker cone assembly.
Re-coning is not a simple thing to do. But it’s possible even for a newbie.
- First, you need to cut the cone, voice coil, coil former, and spider assemblies of the blown car speaker. Make sure to take off any adhesive remains and burned materials.
- Afterward, install the replacement cone assembly. While doing this, remember the speaker driver is joined up with its enclosure. So, make sure that you’re using a matched driver.
- After this, your equipment will sound just like a new speaker!
NOTE: Cheap car speakers are not worth re-coning. Many stores will not have the replacement parts needed for proper re-coning.
Fix Fuse and Loose Wires
Fixing loose wires and blown fuses are needed to avoid any blow-out.
Replacing a fuse (if your car has one) is quite simple. You have to remove the blown fuse found in the fuse box and replace it with a new one.
TIP: A lot of speakers come with an extra fuse. You can see it in the pocket near the power source.
- If you’re still not getting any sound, try to trace the wiring to the amplifier. Were there any loose wires?
- Loose wires can often lead to speaker burn-out in the form of distortion, popping, and crackling.
- When attempting to fix them, you need to replace the connection cable between the speaker drivers and amplifier. This part requires the re-soldering of connections. So, BE CAREFUL.
If that still doesn’t solve it, you probably damaged voice coils.
Dealing with a damaged voice coil can be tricky. We don’t recommend that you tinker further–UNLESS you’re a technician.
A voice coil blow-out can get expensive. However, if you don’t mind damaging your car speakers, we won’t stop you from ordering replacement parts and repairing them yourself.
What Causes a Blown Speaker?
What exactly causes a speaker to blow out?
It’s primarily because of too much electrical power supplied, and this happens in any of the 3 circumstances:
Incorrect Amplifier Power
This is the most common reason for blown speakers.
An incorrect amplifier power happens when the equalizer settings are abused before bumping extremely loud music.
How could this happen?
Let’s say you’re hovering at your subwoofer settings and you decided to:
- Boost the bass.
- Reduce the middle frequencies.
- And lessen the treble.
Afterward, you turned the volume high enough. You could easily get a torn cone and a burnt voice coil on your subwoofer.
The same principle goes for your four speakers. They work at different volumes. Adjusting the frequency response outside the normal range can blow out a speaker easily.
Mismatched Equalization and Volume
Another common cause for a blown speaker is mismatching the equalizer settings before bumping the music extremely loud.
- If you’re not paying attention to your car speakers, you might overpower or underpower your amplifier. This leads to clipping, which results in the unnatural movement of the cone and voice coil.
- Because the average power used is higher than expected, your speaker could produce a distorted sound, or worse– the voice coil could overheat. Over time, the car speakers distort or stop working altogether.
But for those with guitar amplifiers and similar instruments, you’ll be glad to know you don’t have to worry about mismatching. They’re built to avoid these problems.
This is a rare problem. BUT it could still be a possible cause of a blown speaker sound.
Some enhance the bass of their audio files before uploading them to their phone. By doing this, you introduce clipping to your source material.
Now, let’s say you hooked up your phone with your car speaker and played the “enhanced” audio file. Your speaker has to contend with the clipping–more so if you tried to high volumes.
This puts much pressure on your sound system that it can cause a blown speaker.
NOTE: Again, this case is very rare. If you don’t alter the source material, you don’t have to worry.
How to Avoid Blown Out Speakers
We’ve already talked about why a speaker blows out and what we can do to fix it.
But, let’s be honest. Sometimes, any other speaker replacement is better than repairing your own car’s sound system!
So, to avoid all these hassles, our advice is to take care of your speaker.
Purchase A Quality Speaker
The first key is to purchase a quality speaker for your car. Cheap ones are often made with less-durable material that is prone to damage PLUS wear and tear.
Older speakers may have a nostalgic feeling for those who are vintage collectors. But you also have to understand the consequences of buying it.
You probably need to order a replacement for some of its parts because of corrosion and disintegration caused by aging.
Get the Right Amplifiers
Another important factor is to have the right amplifiers.
If the speaker and amp are incompatible, your sound system can receive too much signal–which could blow it out.
A speaker wouldn’t handle an amp that feeds higher sound output into it. On the other hand, weak amplifiers tend to cause damage if maxed to the point of extreme distortion.
NOTE: The speaker and amp don’t have to be compatible ALL THE TIME. Just make sure to listen to a safe volume.
Protect Your Speakers
Finally, you can avoid blow-out by keeping your speaker protected.
We suggest placing a grill and handling your speaker with EXTRA care so you could have better road trips ahead!
That’s a wrap! You’re now familiar with what to do when your speaker is blown.
But, remember, if what we’ve shared didn’t do the trick, STOP TINKERING ON YOUR CAR SPEAKER! You’ll only do further damage.
It would be best to talk to a technician or look for a replacement immediately.
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