No matter how much you care for your car audio system, malfunctions are bound to happen. A wire could come loose or a speaker could be blown from general use. Unfortunately, the more you pump up the volume and turn up the bass the more likely speakers are to die out early. This is most common with hip-hop and electronic genres or any song that features a strong bass line, but it can happen with any frequency on any speaker if it’s pushed too hard for too long.

If you think you’re dealing with a blown car speaker, here are the tell-tale signs.

  • Distorted sound, hissing, and fuzziness
  • Telltale popping or rattling instead of music
  • Lack of bass, treble, or mid-tones
  • Lack of vibration from the speakers
  • Checking speakers for impedance

Take a Listen

For the stereo to play, the car needs to be turned on but the motor doesn’t need to be running. Turn your key to the halfway position for access to electronics without starting the engine. Any excess car sounds could conceal the speaker distortion you’re listening for. 

With only the stereo on, play one of your favorite songs with a fuller frequency range. Set your equalizer to zero/ neutral before cranking up the volume and listen for tell tale signs of speaker damage. If your volume is too low, it’s going to be tough to tell. 

Avoid using the radio, to avoid the general static that comes from the airwaves.

Why they Underperform

Blown speakers tend to underperform for a variety of reasons. Unless the voice coil is completely detached from the cone, you will still get some incomplete audio. 

If the speaker has been blown, certain bass, mids and high frequencies will be noticeably distorted. This is why experts recommend you use a song you are familiar with to identify the problem.

With the audio properly set, the unmistakable fuzz or hiss that comes from a blown car speaker is tough to miss. If increasing the volume only leads to greater distortion, something is wrong. Fuzzy speakers with a muffled, crackling sound is usually the result of a damaged voice coil.

Speakers make sound by recreating sound waves – literally moving the air. If you touch your speaker and can’t feel any vibrations, then the cone is not receiving power. 

This could be a result of malfunctioning components or a wiring problem, but chances are that the speakers are blown. Whatever the case may be, you’ll have to crack open your speakers to solve the problem.

Taking a Look

Take off the speaker cover and look for splits, holes, cracks or tears on the speaker. Typically, the majority of the damage can be spotted on the cone. Gently run your hands over to make sure there aren’t any scrapes, while you clean out dust and accumulated dirt.

If you find some small holes and tears on your car speaker, you can fix them with a special sealer designed for speakers. This will help improve sound quality, but it wont restore the cone back to its original state. That is why most people prefer to replace their blown speakers to maintain sound integrity. 

If your favorite speakers get severely damaged, and you can’t bear the thought of parting with it, there is a better solution. Just take your car speaker to an automotive audio specialist and let them work their magic. More often than not, the experts will revive your speaker’s lost functions and even reinforce it to add to the lifespan.

Test It

Once you remove the wires from the amp, attach them to a 9-volt battery and remove the speaker cover. This will allow you to observe the speaker, and see if the cone is functioning properly. 

If it is then the connection is the problem not the speaker. Next it is recommended you get a multimeter tester to measure the ohms and voltage. Once your meter is set to ohms, ensure the speaker is turned off and touch the lead of your multimeter to the speaker terminals. If you get a reading of 1.0 ohms, the speaker is not blown but if you get infinite ohms the speaker is blown.

Often the amplifier is overlooked when assessing if a speaker is broken because it is not an audio producing component. However, the amplifier is the power source of your aftermarket system and should always receive special attention. If the amp is damaged it is going to distort your sound, meaning there is probably something wrong with the amp’s fuse or capacitor. 

Open the fuse box on your amp and get out your multimeter reader. Touch the red wire on the multimeter to a pole on the fuse and then touch the meter’s black wire to another pole. If you hear a beep the fuse is good and the problem is most likely the capacitor. However if you don’t hear a beep then the fuse needs to be replaced because it is blown.

Check out the Sonic Electronix YouTube for visual tutorials on how to diagnose speaker issues– or to watch us blow them up.