How to Install a Car Stereo Speaker

What You'll Need
Car Stereo Speakers
Electrical tapes
Wire nuts
Wire Strippers
Work light

If you love good music, but have only poor or average quality speakers in your car, consider improving your sound system by installing better car stereo speakers. This replacement is relatively simple and can be performed by most car owners with a few simple tools and some good instructions such as those below.

Step 1 – Locate Your Car's Speakers

Replacing all your car's factory-installed speakers means you'll need to first find where they are located in your car. This may not be as easy as it seems because they will not be visible. First, look for perforations in the exterior surfaces of your door panels, dashboard and rear window shelf. Your speakers will probably have tiny holes through which your speakers sound will travel—though not always.

Step 2 – Gain Access to Your Speakers

Next, you must find a way to gain access to these speakers. For instance, to work on your rear window speakers, you may need to access them from inside your car's trunk. For a dashboard speaker, you may need to get under the dashboard.

Door speakers will require you to remove door panels. To remove door panels, push the edge of a large, flathead screwdriver between the edge of the panel and the door, and then pop off the panel by prying with the screwdriver.

Step 3 - Choose Your Wiring

In installing only those new speakers that will replace existing speakers, you can use existing speaker wire. However, if you'd like to add new speakers to areas of your car that don't already have wiring, this may be a challenge. You will need to hide the new wiring in the car's trim panels, a job that is not easy to do. In addition, you'll need to ground your new wiring to prevent introduction of engine noises into these speakers.

Step 4 – Connect Speaker Wires

You can purchase and install a new wire harness to connect speakers to factory wiring, or you can bypass the factory plug and connect your new speaker wires directly to wires from your amplifier. To do this, you'll need to cut plug wires, which may not be wise unless you're positive as to which wires to cut. If you decide to cut wires, you'll need to determine whether wires from your amplifier are connected to the speakers by spring clips in the speaker, or whether you'll need to connect to wires coming from your speaker.

In either case, be careful not to reverse polarity. Normally, the wire with the black stripe is negative and should be attached to the negative terminal. White wire connects to the positive terminal.

Step 5 – Attach Speakers

Once the speaker wire is properly connected, attach the actual speaker to the car surface with screws that came with the speaker when you purchased it. Remember to attach the gasket that fits between the speaker and the car. This gasket will absorb stereo noises caused by vibration. When finished, replace all speaker covers and panels and test your new stereo speakers.

Need new speakers or a better stereo for your car or truck? Find out which speakers are right for your vehicle with our Car Speakers and Subwoofers Buyer's Guide, or click to compare car stereo systems with our Car Audio Buyer's Guide. If you'd like to boost your sound quality, also check out our Car Amplifiers Buyer's Guide.