How do I Know if my Car Speaker is Blown?

Sooner or later, every car audio system experiences one kind of malfunction or another. It could be the result of something as trivial as a loose ground wire or it could be that your speaker is blown and now you need to replace it. Bumping your favorite jam with the windows all the way down comes at a hefty cost.

Even with a killer audio system, speakers blow out all the time it’s inevitable. Of course, this will largely depend on how often you pump up the volume as well as what you listen to. Heavy bass and music genres such as rap, hip-hop, house and electronic music are notorious for blowing out plenty of speakers at the right volume. If you think you’re dealing with a blown car speaker, here are a few ways to diagnose the problem and identify  the tell-tale signs of a blown speaker.

1Listen for Damage

For the stereo to play, the car need to be turned on. So start by turning your key halfway to gain access to the electronics but not the engine. Next, play an audio track with a full sound range of notes that you are familiar with. It should also have a clear and familiar bass line. Now, it’s time to crank up the volume and try to catch some tell tale signs of speaker damage. If your volume is too low, it’s going to be tough to tell, so turn up the volume. You should also equalize the bass and treble to a neutral position to avoid making any wrong conclusions. It’s time to put your ears to work. Here are some symptoms of a blown car speaker you should be aware of:

All Car Speaker Sizes

Distortion

That unmistakable fuzz or hiss that comes from a blown car speaker is tough to miss once you know exactly what to look for. If increasing the volume only leads to greater distortion, it should be obvious that something is wrong. Fuzzy speakers with a muffled, crackling sound is usually the result of a damaged voice coil.

Incomplete Range

Blown speakers tend to underperform for a wide variety of reasons. Unless the voice coil is completely detached from the cone, you will still get some audio, albeit incomplete. If your car speaker has been blown, certain bass, mids and high frequencies will definitely be noticeably distorted. This is why experts recommend you use a song you are familiar with to identify the problem.

All Car Subwoofer Sizes

No Vibration

As you are well aware, speakers and subs create sound by vibrating and moving air. If you touch your speaker and can’t feel any vibrations, then the cone is not receiving any power. Now, this could be a 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.

2Test the Connection

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 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.

3Test the Amplifier

All Amplifier Classes

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. Start by opening 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.

4Determine Extent of the Damage

Once you have ascertained without a doubt that your speaker is blown, it’s time to determine just how severe the damage is. This involves giving the speaker a visual inspection. Take off the cover and look for splits, holes, crack 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.

5Repair Minor Damages

If you find some small holes and tears on your car speaker, you can fix them with a sealer designed just for speakers. This will help improve sound quality, but it should be noted you can never restore the cone back to its original state. That is why most people prefer to replace their blown speakers to maintain sound integrity. However, 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.

Born in a subwoofer box, music has always been my passion. At the proud age of 9 I began driving. The two eventually met and led to my career at Sonic Electronix.

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