How to Rewire Your Car Speakers for Better Sound Quality Without Professional Help
Improving the sound quality of your car's audio system often requires upgrading the speakers. However, you don't need to hire a professional to rewire your speakers - with some basic tools and knowledge, you can do it yourself. Here is a step-by-step guide on how I rewired my car speakers for better sound without professional help:
Determine if Your Speakers Need Rewiring
The first step is to determine if your speakers need rewiring in the first place. Here are some signs that your speakers could benefit from rewiring:
- The sound is distorted or fuzzy - This usually means the speaker wires are picking up interference.
- There is no sound coming from some speakers - The speaker wires could be damaged or incorrectly connected.
- The sound volume is uneven between speakers - Rewiring can help direct more power to specific speakers.
- You upgraded your head unit or amp - More powerful units require thicker speaker wires to handle the increased power.
If you notice any of these issues, rewiring your speakers will likely improve the sound quality.
Choose the Right Gauge Speaker Wire
The gauge (thickness) of the speaker wire greatly impacts sound quality. Thicker wires can handle more power with less resistance and signal loss. Here are some guidelines on choosing speaker wire gauge:
- Use 16-gauge wire for speakers under 100 watts
- Use 12-gauge wire for 100-150 watt speakers
- Use 10-gauge wire for speakers over 150 watts
I used 12-gauge wire as my new speakers were 120 watts. The lower resistance meant more power reached the speakers.
Remove the Door Panels to Access the Speakers
To rewire your speakers, you need access to the speaker terminals behind the door panels. Here are the steps I followed to remove my door panels:
- Remove any door handle screws - usually found on the armrest or near the latch.
- Pry off any trim pieces - use a small flathead screwdriver.
- Remove the panel retaining screws - located around the edges of the panel.
- Lift the panel up and off - disconnect any wire harnesses plugged into it.
Taking your time helps avoid breaking the plastic clips and tabs that hold the panel in place.
Disconnect and Remove the Old Speaker Wires
With the door panel removed, you can access the back of the speakers.
- Disconnect the positive and negative wires from the rear of the speaker.
- Cut away any zip ties bundling the wires together.
- Pull all the wire out - it may be attached to the door with clips.
Removing the old speaker wires fully clears the way for the new wire installation.
Run and Connect the New Speaker Wires
Now you're ready to install the new speaker wire:
- Run the new wire through any routing clips in the door.
- Pull enough wire to comfortably reach the speaker terminals.
- Connect the positive and negative wires to the correct terminals on the rear of the speaker.
- Secure any loose wiring with zip ties to protect against vibration damage.
Repeat this process for all speakers that need rewiring.
Reinstall the Door Panels
With all the new speaker wiring connected, you can now reinstall the door panels:
- Feed any excess wiring back through the access holes.
- Reconnect the door wire harnesses that you unplugged earlier.
- Position the panel back on the door and press firmly to set the retaining clips.
- Reinstall the trim pieces and screws you removed earlier.
Taking care during reinstallation ensures all plastic clips slip back into place.
Testing and Adjustments
After reinstalling the door panels, test the sound from each speaker. If needed, you can adjust the balance settings on your head unit to optimize the volume across speakers.
And that's it! With quality speaker wire properly installed, you should enjoy significantly better sound. Let me know if you have any other questions!