A Car Audio system is an in-car entertainment and information hub. It consists of many components, including stereos, speakers, and amplifiers. Whether it’s a crackling noise, a high-pitched whine, or an infotainment system that won’t turn on, there’s something wrong with your car audio.
When your stereo turns on, but you hear nothing but static, the problem is usually caused by one or more of the following. Read on below to learn more about car audio repair.
This occurs when the copper from two wires contacts each other where it shouldn’t and causes a short. This can result from a loose or broken connection at the back of your head unit or when driving over bumpy roads jostling the wiring. Eventually, the contact breaks, and you lose power to your audio system.
Before trying to fix this, you want to ensure all connections are tight and free from corrosion. You must also check the fuses for blown ones and replace them with good ones before trying again.
A blown capacitor will usually sound buzzing or humming, which makes it easier to identify than other problems. You can test for a bad capacitor by connecting an ohm meter to the terminals. A bad capacitor will have little-to-no resistance to its polarized terminals, so the ohm meter will register a low reading.
If you don’t get any bass from your speakers, they may need to be replaced or you might need to add a car amplifier to give them enough power to produce bass. You can also test the speaker cable connections to make sure they are firmly connected and that their polarities are aligned correctly.
If you notice that your radio cuts in and out, this might be a sign of overheating. Ensure that there is plenty of airflow to the amplifier and that it isn’t located near other hot components in your vehicle, like the radiator. If the amp is still overheating, you should take it to a specialist as soon as possible.
While today’s cars are quieter than the clunkers of old, certain sounds from your engine and other hard-to-pinpoint locations still make their way into your cabin. If you hear a bang, clank, click or squeal while driving your car, it’s important to take note of it and visit a mechanic right away. Delaying a visit to the shop could make the noise worse and lead to more costly repairs down the road.
If you’re not sure what the problem is, learning about some common car sounds can help you decide whether to turn up your radio or call a professional. Some of the most common sounds include:
BANGING – A brief, sharp sound like the sound of a gun backfire or thunder.
CLACK – Similar to a click, but more harsh. Often heard when the front lower plastic engine covers are loose.
CLUNK – A heavy thumping sound without reverberation that may even seem to be muted. Often caused by worn shock absorber or strut mounts.
CHIRPING – A repetitious, bird-like sound that often comes from misaligned accessory belts.
GRAINDING – A harsh metal-on-metal scraping sound that can be felt through the steering wheel or floor of your vehicle.
Your car’s factory-installed sound reduction devices keep much of the engine and other loud noises from making it into your cabin. If your cabin sounds a lot louder than usual, it’s likely time to have the muffler checked out and repaired. A damaged muffler can increase noise, cause fumes to leak into the cabin and decrease your gas mileage. A simple muffler repair can fix all these issues and bring your vehicle back to normal.
When your car is making strange sounds while driving, it is a clear indicator that something is not right. Some of these noises are normal, like a whining sound from the alternator or power steering pump, while others warn you that there is damage to your engine.
Whines are typically high-pitched, and they usually indicate that there is a problem with one or more parts of your vehicle. If the noise occurs when you accelerate, it is a sign that there may be problems with the transmission or differential gears. The noise could also be caused by low levels of transmission fluid or worn-out gears in the torque converter.
A hissing sound while the engine is running may be a sign that there is a leak in the cooling system or vacuum system. This is most likely caused by a broken hose or a loose fitting on an internal part.
Serpentine belts are used to run the accessories in your vehicle, including the air conditioning, water pump, and power steering. A humming sound that changes with engine RPM could be caused by worn or loose belts. It could also be a sign of problems with the alternator, air-conditioning compressor, or tensioner pulleys.
If the transmission whining starts only when your car is in motion, then there could be an issue with the planetary gear sets. These gears are stationary unless the transmission is in gear or in neutral, so this is likely a sign that they need to be replaced. A whining noise that is only heard when accelerating can be caused by the torque converter, which converts mechanical energy to electrical power for your car’s wheels to spin. If this is the case, you will need to have the torque converter replaced.
If your car radio isn’t turning on at all or won’t play anything, you may have a broken antenna or tuner. The problem can also be caused by a damaged speaker wire. These run throughout the cabin and connect your speakers to the amplifier. If the cable that connects your head unit to the amp is running near any power or ground wires it can pick up interference and cause sound distortion. Using high quality patch cables can help avoid this problem.
Another common car audio issue is that the battery keeps draining when the car isn’t running. This can be caused by aftermarket systems that draw more power than the alternator can charge or by poor wiring. If this is a persistent problem it’s worth having one of the top rated mobile mechanics do a thorough inspection of your vehicle. They can conduct voltage testing, check for blown fuses and trace wiring.
If you find that your stereo won’t turn on at all, try hooking it up to a set of working speakers that aren’t in the car. If you can hear a signal but still can’t get the system to work, the problem is probably with your RCA patch cables. The RCA cables run between the amplifier and head unit and if they’re too close to any power or ground wires they can pick up interference that causes your speakers not to play. Changing out these cables should fix this issue. A faulty battery or alternator could also be the culprit. A technician can inspect your battery and compare it with the power demands of your stereo to determine if you need an upgraded alternator or a capacitor to curve the power demands on the engine and batteries.