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Solving Common Car Audio Problems

iphone installed on dashboard next to car audio system


Solutions to Your Most Frustrating Car Audio Issues

The sun is shining, the car is packed, and your friends are waiting for you to pick them up for a long-weekend road trip. You sit in the driver’s seat, start your car, and your audio system is not working. It’s a cringe-worthy problem. Nothing can ruin a good road trip or try your patience like the absence of music for the length of your long drive.

Common Issues with Car Audio Systems and Solutions

To get you back on the road and listening to your favourite songs, let’s break down some of the most common car audio system issues and their solutions. 

Your Audio System is Not Working

Symptoms of this problem can manifest in several ways. However, some of the most common symptoms are: 

  • Radios which will not turn on
  • Units which turn off at random and regular intervals
  • Your radio turns off when driving over bumps
  • Car displays and sound turn off at the same time. 

The most common causes of these issues are blown fuses, the audio unit is powered off, loose connections, and disconnected wiring.  

Newly Installed Head Unit Has No Power

When this happens, it’s important to ensure that your amplifier hasn’t been switched into protection mode. If the power produced by the alternator is too much for the amplifier to handle, it may have protected itself from damage by activating protection mode. 

Your Speaker Isn’t Producing Any Bass

A lack of bass on a stereo system can be caused by a multitude of things. The first thing you would want to check is the audio controls, such as balance, fader, bass controls. Ensure that they are appropriately adjusted. If these settings are correct, you may need to adjust DSP or your EQ to different settings. Verify the polarity on the left and right speakers to ensure that it is accurate. If all else fails, you can try resetting the stereo back to factory specs. Your last resort is to visit your local car stereo expert as there may be a problem with the installation or speaker connections. 

There are Unwanted Noises Coming Through Your Speakers

Hissing, whining, buzzing, or static sounds coming from your speakers can be caused by several issues. The first thing you would want to ensure is that your receiver is securely grounded. Improper grounding is one of the biggest causes of unwanted noises. Radio static can be caused by antenna noise. The best way to verify this is to verify if is only present when listening to the radio, as opposed to the CD, Auxiliary, or USB functions. Believe it or not, whining sounds can be caused by engine and alternator noises. If these are the culprits, you can install an alternator noise filter on the power line between the battery and the alternator to minimize the issue. Noise filters for the receiver’s power can also help. Ultimately, a loose or intermittent ground connection is typically the issue. 

Sound Suddenly Cut Out

The cause of sound suddenly being cut off on a car audio system can be caused by a break or crimp in the speaker wiring. It could also be caused by a bad amplifier or faulty wiring to the amplifier. If all of these checks do not yield results, your head unit may have failed. 

Stereo Overheats

The most common cause of stereos becoming overheated is a faulty wire. If you are unable to see or find a faulty wire, it’s best to seek out professional help from a reputable company. An overheated electronic device can be very dangerous. 

Poor Grounding

Problems that occur due to poor grounding can cause your amplifier to cut in and out. When the car stereo is turned up, the amps pull more current. If the system’s ground wire is compromised, the amplifier cannot pull the needed current. This normally sends the amp into clipping. Symptoms of this would be alternator whine sounds or poor sound quality.  

Amp Clipping

Clipping is the result of an amplifier in which the power has been maxed out or reached the signal’s maximum voltage capabilities. If the power is not being generated fast enough, the signal can become distorted or clipped. Over time, if there is regularly inadequate continuous power available for a high-volume setting, clipping can become a problem. 

Strange Noises Coming from Subwoofer

A hum coming from a subwoofer can be caused by differences among the system components, power cords, and audio cables. 

Turn to the Car Audio Experts

Your best option when you cannot find a solution to your car audio issues will always be to bring it in to a professional for diagnosis. A highly experienced team can quickly find the required solution to your problem and get you back on the road with clear sound in no time. 

The Right Skills, The Right Professionals

It is one thing to have the right tools, but you must be able to use them correctly. The last thing you want is to cause more damage to your car’s audio system. If you are experienced with technical issues and wiring, you may want to take the risk, however, a professional diagnosis by a highly skilled and knowledgeable car audio expert can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. 

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.