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Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Car Audio System

Finger turning dial on car radio

How Upgrading Your Car Audio System Transforms Your Driving Experience

Music. It’s one of the key elements to ensuring a great road trip. It’s what gets us through a long drive in heavy traffic and shifts driving experiences from mundane to exciting.

We all know the feeling of hearing our favourite song come on the radio when we’re behind the wheel. But when something just isn’t sounding right, it can quickly shift from a positive experience to a negative one. When this happens, it may be time to look into upgrading your car stereo equipment.

The Importance of Having Good Audio in Your Car

We spend a whole lot of time and money on making our home comfortable and adding personal touches to tailor and improve our experience. So, the same should be said for our car, considering how much time we spend in it.

A car audio system is one of the top features considered in vehicle purchases, and for good reason. The audio system is one of the most important pieces of equipment that can make a drive enjoyable.

How Often to Replace Car Speakers

Like anything else, your car audio system can wear out over time. Technology changes rapidly nowadays and over time, the quality of your speakers can diminish, creating less than pleasant noises and a less than pleasant driving experience. In fact, it is recommended to have your speakers inspected for sound quality every 3-4 years.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Car Audio System

There are many factors that can impact your car stereo. Age, malfunctioning components, diminished sound quality, amongst many others. Below, we explore some of the more common reasons for looking into a car stereo upgrade.

Abnormal Noises

Problems such as a blown speaker, broken tweeters, or issues with a subwoofer can cause cracking or popping sounds when your audio system is in use. A professional can perform an inspection to determine the cause and recommend a solution.

Audio Distortion

Distortion is one of the first signs of a blown-out speaker. In this instance, sound may become muffled, off-key, or sound like it is playing out of a tin box. It is also common for specific sounds to disappear from the audio completely.

Sound Discrepancies

A good way to determine which speaker is blown, if that is the issue you are presented with, is to adjust your vehicle’s fader, focusing on each speaker individually. A blown speaker can prevent certain sounds from playing through your speakers, significantly impacting your listening experience.

Lack of Speaker Vibration

Because sound travels in waves, your speakers vibrate to create the waves that make up the song that you are listening to, or the radio personality’s voice. Faulty speaker wiring or blown speakers can cause a loss in speaker vibration.

Poor Music Range

Your vehicle’s audio system is comprised of multiple types of speakers. Each speaker has an important role in creating sounds within a certain range. Low or high notes can become distorted or missing completely if the speaker is blown.

Strange Electrical Response

The electrical response of each speaker in your audio system can be compromised. This problem can be confirmed with the use of a multimeter, a tool used to test the electrical response of your speakers.


Static indicates a symptom of a larger problem with your car’s audio system. This can be caused by faulty or loose wiring, or possibly an improper installation. To confirm the cause, it is best to speak with your local professional and arrange for an inspection.

Upgrades That Can Help Improve Your Car’s Audio

When it comes to improving your car audio experience, you may be interested in upgrading your current system, or replacing it altogether. There are key factors to consider when upgrading. Some upgrades can strictly be for sound quality, others may be to add specific functionalities to the system, such as Bluetooth technology, GPS navigation, and playing devices, such as flash drives, iPods, or micro SD cards. Here, we explore some of the more common audio system upgrades.

Adding a Subwoofer

Let’s face it, without a subwoofer, a song just wouldn’t sound the same. It’s what makes you feel bass and rhythm. Because it has a low frequency, a special speaker is required to play bass clearly. Subwoofers typically come in 8,10, or 12-inch sizes. The cost of the subwoofer you select will vary based on the size and quality that is chosen. A subwoofer can significantly transform your listening experience.

Building a New Audio System

If you’re building from scratch, there are three pieces to consider at minimum. A head unit is the mothership which sends sound signals to the speakers and other elements of your sound equipment. Next, new speakers. They ensure clear and crisp sound and are a key factor when considering an upgrade. Finally, a subwoofer, which will ensure that you get the deep bass that is such an essential component to the way we hear and feel sound.

Upgrading Your Factory Stereo

Upgrading your car’s audio system does not need to cost a fortune, and in many cases, you can keep the original equipment. There are ways to upgrade your factory system without compromising aesthetics. Such upgrades can include the addition of tweeters and/or subwoofers, which can drastically improve the sound quality. Adding sound insulation to doors can also improve the sound quality of your current system, reducing road noise and further soundproofing the cabin.

Custom Upgrades, Custom You

Like getting a tailor-made suit that was designed specifically for you, you can select every component of your audio system based on your specific needs, desires, and budget. Your car’s audio system can literally transform your driving experience. Visit an audio equipment retailer and speak to a professional to get a taste of what you may be missing. Listen to a demo. Discuss your options. You may be one audio equipment upgrade away from taking your next road trip from drab to sensational.

About AudioMotive

For over 10 years, AudioMotive has and continues to be, Ottawa’s premier vehicle upgrade experts. With more than 25 years of combined industry experience, we proudly specialize in all things related to HID lighting and mobile electronics sales and installation.