Car Subwoofer Wiring Rules

When it comes to installing your ideal sound system into your car, there is nothing trickier than getting the wiring correct. You’ve got cables running from the battery, through the firewall to the dash and others from the door panels all the way to the trunk of your car. With so many different wiring options available, it can prove difficult to get each aspect wired correctly.

One of the most important connections you could make when dealing with car audio is the one between the amplifier and subwoofer. Fortunately, the internet is full of information that should be utilized to properly wire your car’s aftermarket audio project . What’s unfortunate, however, is that most of us end up learning the hard way what NOT to do when dealing with your sound system. Everyone serious audiophile has to deal with clipping, distortion, burnt voice coils, blown subwoofers, swollen capacitors, static, popping, and an array of cooked wires, speakers, amplifiers, drivers and subwoofers. What most car owners do not know is that most of these problems can be associated with bad wiring. If you want to avoid a major mishap that could cause you to lose your entire sound system, here are some basic car subwoofer wiring rules that should be observe when installing your aftermarket system:

1Always Read the Instruction Manual

All Subwoofer Sizes

I don’t care how many subwoofers you have wired in your life; only a fool would deny the importance of the manufacturer’s instruction manual. Sure, manuals may seem long, boring and dry, but they will provide you with relevant information concerning your purchase. For example, your subwoofer manual will let you know about what kind of wires you will need, how to wire them correctly, what the minimum and maximum output is, along with information regarding what the buttons and levers do on the unit. Remember, there’s no such thing as too much information, so read up. And remember asking stupid questions is easier then fixing stupid mistakes.

2Always Plan Ahead

That’s right; before you crack out the tools and start pulling apart your vehicle, you actually have to put a great deal of deliberation into your project. The better your initial plan and design is, the easier and more efficient the wiring and installation will be. For starters, you have to know what size your subwoofer is and how much space you have available for the enclosure. It also helps to know what the effect on your battery will be. Last and most importantly, you have to work with a budget to avoid overspending. Going in blind without a plan is a sure recipe for horrible outcomes and pesky, unnecessary costs.

3Make Sure the Battery is Disconnected First

All Amplifier Classes

This one is more of an overall rule of thumb when dealing with any electrical component. Whether you are wiring the amplifier, head unit or subwoofer, always remember to disconnect the negative battery terminal. This will ensure that you can work safely on your subwoofer wiring and avoid electrical short circuits. In a nutshell, if you don’t want to fry both your ass and your entire car audio system, keep the power off.

4Do Not Under Power the Subwoofer

Contrary to popular belief under-powering your subwoofer can lead to blown or damaged cones. Which means if you are trying to wire a 200W subwoofer to your stock radio, which has 4 channels of just 20 watts per channel, this will destroy your woofer. Rather manufacturers recommend that you slightly overpower your subwoofer if necessary, so buy amplifier. Furthermore the total combined RMS rating of all the subwoofers connected to the amp should not exceed the power the amp produces. For example an amplifier that specifies it has an RMS power rating of 750W and you want to wire two subs to the unit, make sure the combined watts of the subwoofers does not exceed 750W.

5Never Overdo It

After successfully wiring your subwoofer to the amplifier, many car owners are quite eager to see what their new system can do. Of course, this means cranking up the power and volume to max. If you got your audio equipment from back door dealers who probably rated their equipment erroneously, you could be a few bass pumps away from blowing up your entire system. I’ve seen subwoofers rip in half within their enclosures because they wired for the wrong resistance. Make sure that all your equipment comes from a reliable and trustworthy dealer and even then; you still don’t want to test out the limits like a caveman. Just take it slow and keep the power at recommended levels; rule of thumb the average volume you use should be half your systems capabilities.

Never DIY if You Can’t DIY

While hiring a professional to do your wiring can prove a tad expensive and degrading, you have to understand that the experts are not just there to make random connections with a nearby wire. They are hired to ensure that the job is done the right way for optimum efficiency and sound quality. If you find the project a bit overwhelming and are not sure you’re doing things right, it’s better to leave it to a pro. Your wallet and ears will thank you later for it!

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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