by Joshua Thomas
Nothing can ruin your music listening experience in your vehicle like a blown speaker as it will deliver a diminished and annoying crackling sound quality.
And despite most stereos speakers being built to last the face a lot of abuse, which means it is often just a matter of time before they blow out.
A blown speaker refers to speakers with a low-quality sound or one that is not working properly. But before you start thinking about buying new speakers, it is important to know that it is possible to fix a blown speaker, and you do not have to be a professional engineer to do it.
What You Need
Step 1: Switch Off Vehicle and Music System
The first step in fixing a blown speaker, which is cutting off the power is easy to overlook, and some motorists will even just ignore it which is a big mistake.
Before you gather your tools and start working on the speaker, you need to make sure that you cut off the power, and that the audio system is also off. Keeping the battery on when fixing your speaker comes with a great risk of electrical faults.
Step 2: Inspect Speakers
The next step is to give your speakers a thorough inspection to make sure that they are blown as there are still many other possible reasons that speakers might not function optimally besides blowing.
The simplest way to do this is to play some familiar music as it will be easy to notice any sound quality changes or unfamiliar noises. And if you hear any rattling or shaking sound, you need to pump up the volume to check whether it will get worse or not. If the noise gets worse, chances are that there is an issue with the voice coil or speaker's cone.
The other important thing that you will need to do at this step is to check which speaker is damaged. If your audio system allows for speaker isolation using the system controls, this should be easy. Otherwise, you will need to get very close to the speakers and listen keenly.
Step 3: Remove Speaker
Once you are certain which speaker has issues, the next step will be to remove it. And here you will need either a ratchet or a screwdriver depending on the screw types used to mount the speaker.
Start by first switching off the vehicle and music system in case it is still on and then open the enclosure around the speaker before unplugging all the wires connected to the speakers and unscrew it.
If you still have your car’s manual, it will also be a good idea to read it as the chances are there will be more precise instructions on how to remove the specific speaker type in the car.
Step 4: Take Apart Speaker
With the speaker out of its housing, you can now take it apart. Here, you need to remove the voice coil and cone and also sand out the old glue.
The cone on the speaker is the easiest to remove, and you will only need a small pocket knife or utility knife to pop it off. The voice coil connected to the speaker should also not take a lot of effort to remove, but the old glue often requires some sanding to scour it.
Step 5: Clean up the Speaker
Speakers are often enclosed and hard to reach, which means that over time they will accumulate dust even if you wash your vehicle regularly. Hence, after taking it apart, you need to give the speaker a thorough cleaning.
For a good cleanup without damaging any component of the speaker, you will need a soft cloth and some alcohol. You should apply a small amount of alcohol on the soft cloth and use it to wipe down the speaker gently. Also, cotton swabs can be very useful as they will reach all the small crevices for a more thorough cleanup.
Step 6: Check the Problem and Fix It
There are different components in a speaker that can cause a blow. Hence after cleaning it, the next step is to identify the specific problem and then fix it.
With everything removed from the speaker, it should be easy to check every part to identify the source of the problem. First, check the cone and if it is torn or has a small cut, glue or even tape should be able to fix this. However, a severely damaged cone requires replacement.
If the cone is okay, you should check the voice coil whose main problem is often melting. A melted voice coil will require replacement and installing a new one only requires you to place it where the old one was and plug back all the wires.
Once the cone and voice coil are fixed and placed back in their rightful places, you should now place the surround. To keep the speaker's surround secure in place, make sure you apply glue before you place it back and give it enough time to dry adequately
Step 7: Reinstall the Speaker
Now that the speaker is all fixed, you need to reinstall it to its rightful place in the vehicle. And to do this, you will first need to connect all the wires to their original place.
Next place the speaker where it was initially and then screw back all the mounting screws and make sure they are tight enough to ensure it does not fall off and get damaged.
Step 8: Test Your Speaker
Even if you replaced both the cone and voice coil, you will not be sure that the speaker is working fine until you test it.
For testing, you should play some music at low volume and then increase it gradually to see if there are any changes to the sound quality. Watch out for unusual crackling sounds as they are often an indication that the speaker still has issues. If it works fine, then the speaker is fixed.
Note: If you have repaired the speaker several times, this can increase the likelihood of blowing because the power output from the stereos can easily overpower it. Hence, it is important to know when your speakers are past their lifespan and it is time to install new ones.
Besides knowing how to fix a blown speaker, you also need to tell when the speaker has issues because not every speaker problem is blowing out. Here are the most common signs of a blown speaker.
1. Rattling or Popping
One of the surest ways to detect a blown speaker is through the sound that it makes. If instead of hearing your music what you get is a rattling or an annoying popping sound, then you have a blown speaker and need to fix it.
2. Lacking Bass or Treble
If you notice a reduction in certain tones from your speakers such as the bass and treble, this is a good sign of a blown speaker.
Also, blown speakers will result in poor quality or lacking mid-tones. But, in many instances, this is often an indication of a partially blown speaker, which means it should be easy to fix.
3. Hissing and Sound Distortion
That hissing and distorted sounds coming from your speaker mean you need to check them the soonest possible as this is another good sign of a blown speaker.
To check for hissing and fuzziness, you will only need to play a CD at low volume, and if you hear them, slowly increase the volume. If the fuzziness and hissing get worse at the higher volume settings, there is almost no doubt you have a blown speaker. And you should be able to isolate the problematic speaker easily using the fade and balance controls.
4. Speaker not Vibrating
Speakers will typically vibrate when in operation, and so if you find that yours are not vibrating, this is a good sign that they are blown.
But, it is also worth noting that sometimes the lack of vibration comes from a wiring issue. Hence, you also need to check the wiring, and if it seems okay, then the chances are it is a blown speaker.
5. Checking for Impedance
For those that have a multimeter around and want a more accurate indication of a blown speaker, checking for impedance will be a good idea.
To do this, you will first need to remove the grills and test the impedance, and if it is between 4 and 8 ohms, it means the speakers are still okay. However, an infinite or very high impedance is an indication of blown speakers.
A blown speaker will ruin entertainment in your vehicle. While in some instances it will provide very low-quality sound, in some cases it will not even work.
But, the good news is that a blown speaker is one of those things that you can easily fix yourself at home. And in many cases, you will not need to buy a new speaker because cheap components like cone and voice coil are often all you need.
With a few minutes to spare and a few tools like a screwdriver, sandpaper and other components like glue, almost anyone can fix a blown speaker. However, it is also worth noting that some speakers are beyond repair, and so the only solution will be to buy new ones.
About Joshua Thomas
Joshua Thomas just simply loves cars and willing to work on them whenever there's chance... sometimes for free.
He started CarCareTotal back in 2017 from the advices of total strangers who witnessed his amazing skills in car repairs here and there.
His goal with this creation is to help car owners better learn how to maintain and repair their cars; as such, the site would cover alot of areas: troubleshooting, product recommendations, tips & tricks.
Joshua received Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University.