How to install coaxial car speakers
The basics of do-it-yourself installation
Most of the people appearing in our videos are employees at Crutchfield. We pull in folks from around the company to share their expertise. A lot of our on-camera stars come from our Advisor Group — they help people choose the right gear via phone, email and chat every day, so they're good at explaining the products and technologies.
This brief video will introduce you to the basics of car speaker installation. With a little knowledge, plus our illustrated Crutchfield MasterSheet™ and friendly customer support, speaker installation can be an enjoyable do-it-yourself project. You'll save money, too!
Use our Vehicle Selector to see the speakers that fit your vehicle, and give us a call if you have any questions.
How to install coaxial car speakers
If you want better sound in your car, replacing your factory speakers is a good place to start. Let's take a look at how to install new speakers yourself.
First, disconnect your negative battery terminal to protect you and your gear during the installation.
The specific steps for removing your factory speakers will vary from one car to the next, but the Crutchfield MasterSheet will walk you through the process, with instructions specific to your car.
For most vehicles, the first step to installing new speakers means removing the door panels. You'll usually have to pry out the door pull or control console, disconnect its harness, and remove a few hidden screws. Once all of the fasteners are removed, it's time to pull off the panel.
A panel tool, like the one we are using here, makes this job easier. Once you find the first clip, you can slip your hand under the panel, feel for the next clip, and pop your panel off. When all of the clips are released, lift up on the panel to remove it from the door. Make sure to disconnect any electrical connectors or latch cables on the rear side of the panel.
Remove your factory speakers and unplug the factory harness. In some cars, the factory speakers are riveted to the door frame. Use a power drill to drill out those rivets, being mindful of anything that might be behind the speaker.
Test fit the new speaker by holding it up to the door panel. Often, you'll need an adapter to make the speaker fit the door. Attach the speaker to the bracket using the screws provided, then secure the bracket to the door frame.
Another common situation is that the screw holes in the factory speaker location don't match up with the new speaker or mounting bracket. When this happens, you'll have to drill one or more new screw holes in the door frame. It's a simple modification, but be aware of anything behind the panel you're drilling into and wear eye protection.
Attach the Crutchfield speaker harness to the new speaker, making sure your polarity is correct, and connect to the factory plug. If a wiring harness is unavailable, use a set of Posi-Products to make the connections. Reconnect your battery and test the speakers before you reinstall the panels.
Installing new tweeters is always considered a custom installation. If you have factory tweeters, you might be able to mount your new tweeters in the stock locations, which tend to be the sail panel, A-pillar, dash, or on the backside of the door panel.
Mounting the tweeters in these locations can require some clever thinking. We often recommend fabricating a bracket or using Dynamat or Epoxy glue to hold the tweeters in place.
Component speaker systems typically include lots of hardware to help mount the tweeters. This is especially handy if you plan to mount them in a non-factory location. To do this, first, use a pencil to trace the bottom of the tweeter mounting cup on the door panel. Then use a hole saw to carefully cut the hole in the panel. It's not that difficult, just a little scary the first time you do it. Use the tweeter hardware to mount the tweeter in the new location.
Component speaker systems also include crossover boxes that need to be mounted somewhere. Inside the doors and behind the kick panels serve as two good options for housing crossovers.
If your tweeter is mounted in the door, then mounting the crossover in the door makes the wiring easier. Make sure you house the crossover in a dry place, such as in a hollow space behind the plastic door panel. If you must mount it on the door metal, wrap the crossover in a plastic bag and tape the openings to keep it safe from moisture.
The crossover should be secure against vibration. Merely placing the crossover in the door or behind the kick panel leaves it likely to be tossed around. Also, you'll want to make sure the crossover does not interfere with any moving parts.
Once you decide where to mount the crossover, connect the wires from the speakers and your receiver or amplifier. Then secure the crossover in its new home.
Once you're sure the speakers are working, reattach your door panels and you're done. If you bought your speakers from Crutchfield, you can call our tech support team if you run into trouble or have any questions before you start the installation.
If you have any questions about car speakers, please give Crutchfield a call.