How to troubleshoot 6 common problems with car audio system
Audio systems are one very important feature of cars. They are needed to improve the quality of a ride. When a car audio system develops problems, they often tend to be difficult to solve since they are related to the electrical systems of the car. There are lots of problems which can occur in a car audio system and below we have extensively discussed some of the common problems.
Q: Why does music sound not good?
Low quality factory speakers
Most of the OEM system contain full-range speaker that is designed to handle all range of audio frequency but cannot achieve a smooth, extended, and articulate bottom end or high frequency.
Replace full range speaker with a component speaker which provides a better quality of sound than the full range speakers.
Add a separate subwoofer to your system. This is important if you wish to get the best of your music since subwoofers are great for low-frequency sounds. It is also a good addition for getting better high notes.
A rule of thumb: Before deciding to replace the whole system or just add a subwoofer, let’s consider your needs and your favorite music.
If you listen to a lot of rock music, you should consider a system or a subwoofer that is capable of playing frequencies between 60Hz to 8,000Hz.
For Organ music; it should be for frequencies as low as 16Hz.
Most of the general music which is played uses frequency range from 110Hz to 3,500Hz. This includes the sounds produced by violins and cellos.
For a classical music loving car owner, the system should be rated for 40Hz to 12,000Hz.
Q: I replaced OEM system with aftermarket product but why it can not produce better sound quality?
Sound quality from a car speaker often depends on its position in the car. Installing an aftermarket speaker without considering the position you put it can have an effect on the quality of sound you will be getting. If you also install the speakers using wrong techniques, you might have issues with the speakers.
Incompatible aftermarket products
Most OEM systems are produced so all the parts are compatible with the other. This means that if you are installing an aftermarket head unit, it may not be compatible with the OEM speakers available in the car.
The replaced speakers are cheaply made
There will also be problems if the parts you buy are cheaply built parts. The quality on such speakers is not so good.
If all you did was add a subwoofer to the car audio system, did you do your research on the best subwoofer and the right positions to install it? If not, you should do your research and determine the best position for your car. The position for a subwoofer will differ for a microcar, SUV, or a sedan.
If you changed all the speakers in the audio system, then you need to check that there is no interference between them. If there is no proper order followed in arranging the speakers, there is a possibility that the sound waves of a speaker are being disturbed by another. You may need to call an expert to have it properly set up.
Q: Why does my head unit has no power?
Problem with alternator
As the alternator of the car gets older, it slowly becomes unable to meet up to its original capacity. In such a case, the car audio system may be running on the battery power. If the power in the battery is drained completely, the head unit loses its power. This is one of the causes of this problem.
Blown Fuse; if the Fuse is Blown
The head unit will not get any power. To determine the condition of the fuse, you should make use of a multimeter. By checking the fuse with a multimeter, it is easy to determine if there is a problem. You can also check the fuse simply by looking at it, but this method is not very reliable.
You should switch off the car radio for a while when the car is running since it places a strain on the power output of the car. If the alternator picks up and starts to function, it may also show that there is no problem with the audio system. In such a situation, the alternator needs to be replaced.
The fuse should be checked and changed if there is any problem. Sometimes the fuse may be around the dashboard area while in other cases it may be located behind the radio.
Q: Why my head unit has power but there is no sound from the speakers?
Bad connection or wiring
If the connection to the speakers is wrong or the wires used in the connection are damaged, this may be the cause of the speakers being unable to produce sound.
Head unit setting
The settings that may cause this include balance, fade, pan, and even the volume level. The settings may have been tampered with unknowingly and cause this problem.
Check the wiring
If you check the wiring and you do not see any damage to the wires, then check the connections. If you are not sure of how the connections are supposed to be made, you can call an expert to have them checked.
Before you do anything expensive to get your speakers working, ensure you check the settings. If they are properly set up, you can find other solutions.
You should also check the 12V connector to the amplifier which is required if the amplifier is to work. If it is not getting the required input, the amplifier may not turn on.
Q: Why does the amplifier shut off when volume up?
The amp is being overdriven at high volumes. This may be as a result of too much power being drawn from the amplifier. It may also occur if the amplifier is overheating.
Testing the output of the amplifier can be a good way to determine if the amplifier needs to be changed.
Q: Why do I hear unexpected noise while running the system?
Problem with head unit
A head unit with power cables running close to the RCA cable can cause noise when using the car stereo.
Low-quality power cables may also cause noise in the system.
Problem with amplifier
If you hear a clipping noise when using the radio, this indicates a problem with the amplifier. Clipping usually occurs when the amplifier is unable to provide enough power to the speakers. If the wires connecting the amplifier is burnt or damaged, it may also cause the clipping sound.
A ground loop refers to a situation where the components of a system, in this case, the car audio system, is grounded at two different points. A different current flow is introduced if the potentials at the two points are different which causes interference. This will result in noise in the audio system.
Alternator wine; this is noticed when the rpm of the car goes up and down. The higher the rpm, the greater the noise, and the lower the rpm, the lower the noise.
Crackling of speakers; this may be as a result of low-quality inputs such as the auxiliary and CD. It may also occur when the speaker is getting old
Step 1: Tracking down the source of noise
The first step in solving the problems, in this case, is to identify the source of the noise in the car. Once you are able to clearly define the source of the noise, solving the problem is quite easy.
Step 2: Solve the Problem for each Source
Power cables should be about 18 inches apart from the RCA cables.
You should also use shielded cables so that the wires are protected from induced noise.
After checking the rating of the amplifier and the speakers, it will be easy to solve this problem. A clipping sound indicates that the amplifier cannot produce the power required by the speakers.
You can solve this problem by changing the amplifier to one with a higher power rating or by buying a new set of speakers which can be effectively powered by the amplifier in the car.
This is solved by eliminating one of the grounding paths so that there is only one grounding location for the car audio system.
This may be as a result of the poor grounding. Check this to be sure. You may have also installed a new audio unit which cannot be effectively powered by the alternator as it pulls too much power. Changing the alternator can solve this problem.
Crackling of speakers
If you change the connection of the auxiliary and the CD without any improvement. It means the speakers need to be changed.
If you try all these quick fixes and you are unable to find a solution to your problem, then it may be time to get a new audio system installed in your car. To get the best out of your installation, calling an expert should give you this benefit.