Your car’s audio system can be greatly improved with the addition of aftermarket speakers. Coaxial speakers provide you with the full range of sound from a single set of equipment, while component speakers are best known for their efficiency and versatility in sound positioning.

In this blog, we’ll go over the basics of installing car speakers to help you ramp up your ride’s audio quality. If you’re still looking for a replacement set, you can save time by utilizing the Fit Finder on Sonic Electronix to narrow down your search results based on your car’s make and model.

Prepare the tools you’ll need

Depending on the location of the original speakers, the mounting depth and height, and the factory wiring in the vehicle, each car has its own unique installation challenges. While most setups are simple, component speaker installations can be more labor-intensive. If you’d rather not bother with setting up your new system, you can have the professionals at Sonic Electronix do it for you.

But if you’re set on pressing on, these are the basic tools that you will need:

  • Plug & Play Harness
  • Panel Removal Tools
  • Screwdrivers and/or Power Drill
  • Speaker Adapters dependent on door build
  • Socket & Ratchet Set
  • Wire Cutter / Stripper Tool
  • Soldering Iron
  • Crimping Tool & Connectors
  • Electrical Tape

Disconnecting the negative battery terminal

By disconnecting the negative terminal of the battery, you can keep it from running out of power and leaving your car without power. It also protects you against a dangerous short circuit in your car’s electrical system.

Once you have your tools, speakers, and necessary accessories ready to go, disconnect the negative battery terminal from the car to prevent shorts, blown fuses, and personal injury.

Removing door panels and factory speakers

Remove the mounting screws surrounding the door panel and potentially in the side pocket. This may not be the case on every door, but all door panels will be held in with plastic clips. It’s recommended to use panel removal tools to take off the door panel. We recommend Belva BTK112 as it features a collection of 12 tools made from nylon, plastic, and metal to accommodate various panel shapes and sizes. If you can go without a panel removal kit, be careful to not break any clips that hold the door in place.

On two-door vehicles, you may need to remove your rear seat first when replacing the rear speakers. Some seats can easily be taken out while others may have bolts that need to be undone. There may be some wire harnesses for other accessories that need to be unplugged before the panel is completely detached.

Determining your tweeter placements

The tweeter location will vary depending on the vehicle’s make and model. You can consult your car’s manual or you can use our Fit Finder to know your car’s tweeter placements.

Tweeters are most often found in the door panel above the woofer, in the corner dash, or in the pillar of the car. If they’re located in the pillar or dash, an additional panel will need to be popped off. Tweeters in the corner dash could either be in an “ear” shaped piece on top of the board that can be detached, or the entire dashboard panel will have to be removed for access to the wiring.

Some factory speakers will be held in by Phillips screws, while others will require you to remove the entire bracket held in by bolts. Keep track of the hardware from your speakers because you may need to reuse some of these materials.

Tweeters will either be mounted flush or on the surface of the dashboard or car door panel in the aforementioned locations. Some tweeters could be secured into an adapter or mounted with hot glue or silicone. Be gentle when removing these in case you’d like to re-install your stock equipment.  

Connecting your new component or coaxial speakers

After freeing the old factory speakers, gently lift them out and unplug each from their wire harness. Check the inside of the mounting location for any leftover nuts, rivets, or plastic bits that may be floating around to prevent rattling after installation. 

The next thing you’ll going to do is to connect the aftermarket speakers. Speaker harnesses make this step simple. With the help of these harnesses, you will be able to connect your new speakers to the factory connectors that are already installed in the speaker openings of your vehicle.

With the speakers mounted in place, slide the quick disconnect connector onto the corresponding speaker connection. Double-check the wire polarity: positive on positive and negative on negative.

When securing the tweeters with brackets or an adapter, be careful not to get any glue materials on the speaker cone – this will ruin your equipment and void your warranty. 

Mounting the crossover (for component speakers)

Component speakers utilize a crossover network – an electric circuit that splits the audio frequencies into separate signals. The separate signals are then channeled to the appropriate speakers so a woofer isn’t trying to do the work of a frequency and vice-versa.

With the door panel off, find a place near the hinge of the door to mount the crossover. A crossover ideally sits between the car amplifier and speakers. Keep it as far away from the opening as possible. This way the crossover doesn’t come loose and or cause an electrical failure from slamming the door shut. 

Connect the speaker wire from the amp to the crossover input. Then connect the corresponding woofer and tweeter wires to their labeled outputs. 

Check for additional speaker accessory needs

An aftermarket speaker may not have a perfect fit for your vehicle. Here are some problems that can easily be fixed with an installation accessory:

  • A spacer may be needed if there isn’t enough clearance or depth behind the speaker in the door panel. The spacer will bring the speaker forward for a proper fit. 
  • Small gaps could exist occur between the speaker and factory bracket or too much space between the speaker surface and door panel. This can be fixed with some extra sound-deadening material.
  • We recommend placing a foam ring around the speaker once it’s secured, so it’s flush with the door panel. This will negate any front and back wave sound cancellation. 

For all available car speaker installation & accessories, you can browse everything you need at Sonic Electronix – with high-quality installation kits and products made by Metra, NVX, Stinger, Scosche, and more.

Replacing the door panels and seats

Before reassembling the door panels, reconnect the negative battery terminal to ensure the new speakers are working. Play audio and adjust the balance on your head unit to each speaker to check individual functions.

Put the factory panels back into place. Check the clip positions on the panel and how they line up with the door. Snap the panels back in place and secure the screws. Replace any seats you removed.

Consider adding sound dampening

Consider adding sound-dampening materials around the speaker locations and inside the door panels while the speakers are removed. Once the material is installed, line up your new speaker with the factory bracket to see if it will fit. 

We recommend NVX sound-dampening material as the premium solution for deadening vibration and rattles in your car. This high-end material is thicker than competitors (such as Dynamat, Hushmat, Stinger Roadkill, etc). By installing this sound-damping material in your car, you will experience a quieter ride, enhanced music, fewer vibrations, and reduced rattles.

Sonic Electronix is your premier online shopping destination for car audio and car electronics. Our wide selection of car speakers has all the types, sizes, packages, and bundles you need – including installation kits and other accessories! If you need our help, our customer service and technical support teams are available to you five days a week.