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7 Common Car Audio Installation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Installing a car audio system for the first time can be a lot of fun. It can also be a great learning experience if something goes wrong and the installer has to figure out what happened. This blog contains 7 common mistakes first time installers make and how to avoid them.

1. Lack of Planning

Before you buy anything or pull off any vehicle panels, make sure to plan out exactly what you want. The better the initial plan is, the better (and easier) the installation will be. Ask yourself these questions to help you plan:

  • What do I want in my car?
  • What is possible to install in my car?
  • How much am I willing to spend?

These simple questions will help you have a vision of your upgraded car, provide a realistic outcome, and establish a budget for the project.

2. Not Disconnecting the Battery

Whenever you do anything with the electrical system of a car, always remember to disconnect the negative battery terminal. This will prevent an electrical short within the system and allow you to safely work on the car.

3. Mismatched Subwoofer and Amplifier

Installing incompatible equipment can cause all sorts of problems in a car. Aside from the possibilities of damaging the vehicle’s electrical system or ruining the new equipment, mismatched audio components don’t sound as good as they should. Double check the subwoofer to ensure that it is the correct impedance and configuration for the amplifier. Make sure amp does not under power or overpower the subwoofer.

Learn More! Read the Article “How to Match a Subwoofer and an Amplifier“.

4. Improper Ground

An improper ground can cause a wide variety of problems with an aftermarket car audio system. Typically, this is the first question that is asked when the Sonic Electronix techs troubleshoot a system over the phone.

Learn More! Read the article “How to Create a Proper Ground“.

5. Running Power & RCA Signal Cable Next to Each Other

To the first time installer, running the power cable and the RCA signal cables next to each other seems like a convenient and time-saving solution. In reality, this is a bad practice because it will create noise. The end result is degraded sound quality.

Learn More! Read the article “Wiring RCAs opposite side of Power/Ground“.

6. Not Upgrading the Car’s Electrical

The stock electrical system is not designed for the power demands of high-end aftermarket audio systems. When installing multiple or high-powered amplifiers, but sure to see if a new car battery is needed. Larger batteries can be installed to provide more power to the system. Another solution is to do The Big Three upgrade. That involves upgrading the wire under the hood to allow more efficient current flow to the electrical system, specifically the upgraded car audio system.

7. Not Using the Proper Tools

Tools can make or break the installation. Having the proper tools for the installation can save dash panels from snapping and prevent door panels from breaking. Spending a few extra dollars for a tool can prevent spending hundreds of dollars if the installer has to order a new part from the dealer.

Installing a new car audio system can be a lot of fun. However, that fun can be ruined when problems come up. Learn from the mistakes of others and follow the advice above. Following these 7 points will save you time, money, and a major headache.

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