A complete guide to installing all types of car speakers
Car speakers can significantly improve the music listening experience while travelling and one can easily buy new speakers from market and install it easily using the simple instructions we are providing here. Before starting to install the speakers, one must ensure that he/she has the required tools for installing the speakers. One must keep in mind that every car requires different level of expertise and specialized tools for installing speakers as speaker location, mounting depth and height and factory wiring of every car is different. But still every installation requires the following tools:
- Different types of screwdrivers ( flat blade, stubby Phillips, magnetic, offset, Phillips, etc.)
- Drill with bits and screwdrivers
- Torx drivers and bits
- Socket wrench set
- Wire cutting/stripping tool
- Soldering iron with solder
- Crimping tools and connectors
- Tools for removing panels
- Retaining clip remover
- Electrical tape
- Hobby knife, etc.
Things to keep in mind while installing car speakers
Type of installation
According to the selected speaker and type of car, there can be different type of installations for a car speaker. Some speakers do not require extra effort and fit accurately into the present speaker opening of a car while others require factory grilles and brackets for installation. Many speaker sizes also fit with the help of a mounting bracket that comes with a speaker with a few modifications such as drilling screw holes, cutting metal and filling plastic/cardboard to perfectly fit into a speaker opening inside a car.
Specialized component speaker set that include woofers, tweeters, subwoofers/crossovers, etc. require special steps to be taken for installation even when the component woofer fit in the factory speaker area. The tweeters coming with the kit almost every time are required to be installed using custom techniques even when a car has factory tweeters. One can choose to drill holes in door panels or dashboard or can mount them on sail panels among other choices.
How to replace your dashboard speakers?
To replace a dashboard speaker, just remove the grilles that are tighetened using screws and friction fitting. Use a 90 degree offset screwdriver to unscrew the screws near the windshield for easy access. In case the speaker grille is tightened using friction fitting, prying using a panel tool can work much better and help in avoiding scratches and cracks around the dashboard.
Usually a grill comes out by applying slight pressure, but in case it is not helping you should take care of not to break the speaker grille. Sometimes the grille is tightened using screws from below or plastic studs to keep the grille in place, which breaks if force is applied. If you are facing such an issue, then you will be needed to remove the entire dash panel for installation of a dash speaker.
Once you remove the old speakers, make sure to take a note of the polarity of each terminal. The positive terminal is usually larger with a ‘+’ or colored dot. Use a wiring harness to connect the new speaker. Alternatively you can also solder or crimp the connection according to your requirements. Using posi-product connectors are also an easy way to connect and are much more secure than using the above methods.
After you have connected the speakers using soldering or crimping make sure to use a high-quality electrical tape to secure the connection. But make sure that the tape is ideal to be used for such purpose as the temperature in an automobile fluctuate which make the tape can deteriorate to loosen with time.
How to replace door speakers?
Door speakers are either easy to replace or hard depending on the car. There are many cars where speakers can be replaced by just removing the grille and swapping them with new pair but there are also cars where a grille is mounted and secured by screws/friction fittings that are required to be unscrewed or pry to remove the speakers. To replace a door speaker in a car, just follow the following step:
Step 1: First of all, make sure to safely remove the factory grille and speaker while being gentle. Mostly speakers are attached to a wiring harness and are secured using a sealant or foam by car manufacturers. To safely remove the same without harming the factory speaker, use a utility knife to cut through the sealant or material and remove the speaker, thereafter.
Step 2: Once the speaker is off its place, carefully unplug the factory wiring harness and connect the wiring harness to the new speaker while ensuring that the polarity of speakers is correct. If wiring harness is not available, you can also use posi-products and connect the new speakers to the wires of the car electrical system. Once you successfully connect the speakers, test the same before sealing and screwing into place.
Step 3: Once you are satisfied with the connections and test the speakers, rework to attach the factory grille on its actual place.
Many new models require removing door panels to replace factory speakers. If your car has manual windows, then first of all remove the window crank to remove the door panel. Just unscrew the crank at the pivot by removing the snap-on trim at the center. In case the crank is connected using a spring clip, use the retaining clip tool to remove the spring clip. Just look behind the cramp by pushing the nearby door panel and rotate the panel and apply a bit backward-forward motion to remove the clip from the crank. In case of a door panel with automatic electric windows, simply pry out and disconnect electronic control module to work ahead on removing the door panels.
Once you remove the window crank/disconnect power windows, remove the remaining retaining clips/screws to bring the door panel out like a piece of cake. Carefully pull the panel straight from bottom corner and go on slowly using a trim panel tool to bring out the door panel without any damage.
Once you are through with the corner of the door, go along the bottom and then ahead on upper side without using much force. Go on to loosen the panel and lift the same slowly to free it from clamps. Once the panel is free, replace the door speakers as described above.
How to modify a door for mounting full range speakers?
Sometimes to install a door car speaker, it is essential to modify the current structure of the car door. This lets you choose the position of the speaker like top or bottom and you can mount the speaker appropriately according to your requirements. Modifying a door is a specialized process that involves cutting various components and material like plastic, metal or fabric and requires specialized skills. To install an aftermarket tweeter or crossover, first choose the best location by looking at the position template that comes with the speaker box. The template will guide you to choose the best mounting position. Once you finalize the position, carefully identify any obstruction or hidden material behind the surface of the door and start cutting the door once you are sure that the speaker installation will not come in way of any other mechanism inside the door. Sometimes the lock or windows mechanism obstruct the path inside the door panel, so make sure to avoid cutting door panel in that path.
Once you finalize everything, just tape the template to the spot where you plan to make a cut in the door panel. Trace the template’s edge with a pen and put the removed door panel on a clean flat surface to cut out a clean circle with a sharp knife carefully. Make sure to use a sharp knife as a dull knife can damage the fabric/material of a door panel permanently.
Once you are done with plastic/fabric parts, move ahead to cut the metal using a jigsaw. But cutting metal is harder than cutting plastic. Use eye protection and cut the metal surface separately from the door panel to protect the panel covering from being ripped. Once you are done with cutting both surfaces, vacuum the remaining debris for safety.
How to connect a full-range speaker to the modified door panel?
Once you are done with modifying the door, you will be required to install the speaker unit to the modified door. It will require extra effort as it is not a factory specified position for speaker, so to wire full speakers, you will need factory rubber tubing between the door jamb and the door for running wire of speakers from doors to the body of the car. Once you bring wire to the car body, find a factory plug, boot or hole to take the wire inside, but if you do not find the same, use a drill to create a 5/8 inch hole. Make sure that the hole is aligned to the speaker location as the hinges for door isolate edges of doors to the car body. Once you are done with the hole, use a rubber grommet or flexi tube to protect wiring from the sharp edge of the drilled hole. This tubing will protect the wiring from damages due to door opening and closing and make the wiring completely safe. Make sure to keep the wire loose enough to facilitate easy opening of door.
Carefully put the door panel back in place but do not fix it before putting the speaker in place because you would be required to open the door panel again in case there is some issue. Once you perfect the wire and put the panel in place, insert the new speakers into the door cutting, mark holes for screwing and then remove the speakers. Drill the marked holes and crimp the connection terminals to the speaker wire while taking a note of the polarity. After the speakers are attached to the panels and screwed, you can connect the wires to receiver or amplifier to test the newly installed speakers. Once you are satisfied with connection quality by listening to the sound, re-install the door panels, window crank, other handles and pieces to bring the door panel in correct shape, as it was before.
How to install rear speakers inside your car?
Installing rear speakers inside a car is a dynamic process the difficulty of which varies from car to car. Some cars require prying up the grilles and swapping the speakers while others require you to crawl into the boot space to disconnect speakers. While some others also require removing backseat to loosen the rear trim pieces to replace the speakers. We here present you step by step basic instructions that can be used to install rear speakers in any car:
Step 1: Disconnect the car battery
First of all, you should disconnect the car battery by removing the hinge of negative terminal of battery to ensure you are safe from short circuit. Also, removing car battery ensures that the battery does not unnecessarily drain because of the impractical usage of car features during installation. So, disconnect the car battery before moving ahead.
Step 2: Gather essential components and parts
Before starting up with the installation process, gather all the necessary equipment, components, parts and hardware. Take out all the speaker parts from the manufacturer box and ensure you have speakers, speaker wire, screws, clips and factory instruction with you before installation. You will have to make sure you are clear about the position of tweeters and crossover if you are looking to install component speakers inside your car. You will also have to choose between various kinds of mounting options like angled, flushed or surface, you will use to mount the speakers on the panel. Ideally you should install the speaker in a range of one foot to the woofer to create a uniform sound field. Take a note of all these decisions before proceeding with installation.
Step 3: Disassemble the door
In case your factory speakers are located inside your door panels, you will have to disassemble the whole of door panel to remove the factory speaker. To remove the door speakers, you will have to first remove the window crank to let the door panel loose. Use a window crank removal tool to remove the crank or use the instructions in previous section on how to remove window crank from the car doors. Once you are done with window crank, you can carefully remove the door panel while ensuring there is no cap or any hooks/internal locks to hold the panel intact. You can also look the door panel removing instructions in the above section of installing a new speaker into door panel.
Step 4: Remove the Factory Car Speaker
Carefully unscrew the factory speakers from its position and remove the factory harness from the connections. Once the speakers are free from obstructions and connections, pull them off from the position and remove them to free up space for new speakers.
Step 5: Prepare the crossover speakers for installation
The crossovers are essential to divide the bandwidths of frequency between woofer and tweeter. So to install a crossover, you will be required to solder a free wiring harness to the input wires of the crossover speakers. First cut the wiring harness connectors and strip the wires off from the crossover speakers. Then strip the crossover’s input wires to place heat shrink tubing and twist the wires with wiring harness wires to solder both. Once you solder both the wires, use a heat shrink tube to protect and safeguard the connection. As you solder and connect both the wires, then connect the crossover to factory wiring with the help of a quick connect wiring harness.
Step 6: Installing the woofer
Once you are done with crossover, install the woofers using the unused factory speaker screws. Secure the mounting bracket of woofers to the factory opening and carefully screw the woofers by placing the woofer baffle in assigned spot i.e. the bracket of the car door.
Step 7: Installing the tweeters
You can use angle flush mounting method to install the component tweeters. This method is the best method to install tweeters both aesthetically and acoustically. However to angle-flush tweeters, you will be required to drill hole in the door of your car door panel and install the tweeter cup.
To install the tweeter using angle flush method, take the tweeter in your hand and trace the outline of tweeter with a pencil on the door panel where you decide to mount the tweeter. Use a saw kit to drill a hole as per the traced outline and trim the edges using a hobby knife for a perfect finish. Use a spring clip to attach the back of a tweeter and secure the tweeter to the mounting surface. A spring clip ensures a safe, tight and secure fit. Angle the tweeter according to your preferences, preferably towards driver’s seat for optimal sound quality and imaging.
Step 8: Finalizing the installation process
Once you connect the woofers, tweeters and crossovers with the help of quick slides attached, use the wire ties to collect excess cable and route them around the window crank. Once all components are in place and you have tested the audio, re-attach the door panel to the door and screw it up or attach it using the locks for finalizing the installation.
Where to place crossover?
A crossover can be placed between the door panel and frame. Secure the same inside the leftout space and replace the screws, door pull cup and crank. Through this method, you can be assured of a great sound quality with deep, detailed sound and vibrant stereo imaging.