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2017-2020 Tesla Model 3

How to install your new speakers
2017 • 2018 • 2019 • 2020

tesla model 3

In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your Model 3's stock stereo system and your aftermarket upgrade options. Use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your vehicle. 

Overview of the Tesla Model 3

Building cars is hard. Just ask anyone who was ever involved in one of the many, many failed attempts to launch a new automotive brand into a harsh and uncaring world. Tesla gets a lot of stick (some of it earned), but the fact remains that Tesla has in fact built some cars. Quite a few cars, actually, and judging by the reviews to date, they’re good ones.

The Model 3 has been America’s best-selling plug-in electric car for a while now, so it stands to reason that some of those happy first-gen Model 3 customers are starting to think about upgrading their audio systems. After all, if you’re going to drive something this quiet, you might as well take advantage and enjoy some music, right?

There are things you can and can’t do in this car, and while the limitations are real, there’s also a real opportunity to enjoy better sound in your Model 3. Read on to learn what you can do and how to do it.

EV note

Upgrading the stereo gear can get complicated in an electric vehicle. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Electric vehicles contain very sensitive electronics. Be sure to only use a multimeter when testing wires. NEVER test wires in this vehicle with a test light. Doing so could cause serious damage to the vehicle.
  • An EV is not the car to choose if you want to build a massively powerful audio system. We do not recommend installing any amplifiers in electric vehicles due to the current draw that they will introduce to the system.
tesla model 3 display

The Model 3's massive display handles all the things that used to be controlled by knobs, switches, and buttons (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Factory stereo system

The 15" monitor in the center of the dash is pretty much the center of the car. Depending on your car’s trim level, it’s a gauge cluster, a smartphone, a laptop computer, a PDA, a music player, a GPS, a camera display, a garage door opener, a pager, a food processor, a label maker, and more. Okay, maybe not all those things, but close enough. Unsurprisingly, there’s no way to replace this unit.

The tuner is integrated into the computer module under the passenger's side of the dash. In vehicles equipped with the premium audio package, this module also contains the front amplifier. The front amp is built into the car’s computer, and we don’t recommend messing with it.

The premium system’s rear amplifier is located behind the passenger's side trunk trim panel and is attached to the subwoofer enclosure.

Like all plug-in electric vehicles, the Model 3 is a complex vehicle with very sensitive electronics. While we’ll happily help you improve your sound with new speakers, please bear in mind that this is not the car for a big, booming audio system.

tesla model 3 speaker

Upgrading the door speakers is a good way to improve any Model 3's audio performance (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing your factory speakers

The good news is that the Model 3’s base system offers some good (and not all that difficult) opportunities for speaker upgrades. The 15-speaker (14 speakers and a sub) system does, too, but that system has speakers in some very interesting locations, and you can’t replace all of them. We’ll discuss those below.

To see all the speakers that will work in your Model 3, enter your vehicle info to start shopping.

Note: Before you start your audio upgrade project, set the car's parking brake and disconnect the negative battery cable to prevent any electrical short. Be sure to leave one of the doors open at all times, since the doors might be inoperable when the the battery is disconnected.

tesla model 3 corner dash

The corner dash speakers are easy to get to, and aftermarket replacements are available (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing the corner dash speakers

The 4" corner dash speakers can be replaced with 3-1/2" aftermarket speakers. They’re easy to reach and remove, but you’ll need a few extra things to install your new speakers. There’s no wiring harness available for this location, so you'll have to splice, solder, or use Posi-Products speaker connectors to connect the new speakers to the vehicle's speaker wires. As for installing them, you may need to use hot glue, silicone, or our universal backstraps to secure them in the cavity.

Tools Required: Panel tool, Torx T20 driver, needle-nose pliers

tesla model 3 center dash speaker

The center dash speakers cannot be removed (Crutchfield Research Photo)

(Not) removing the center dash speaker

In vehicles equipped with the premium system, the center dash houses tweeters and a midrange speaker. Alas, there’s just not enough clearance between the speakers and the windshield to get a tool in there to remove them.

tesla model 3 headliner speaker

The headliner speakers are very cool, which is a good thing, because replacing them is pretty much impossible (Crutchfield Research Photo)

(Also not) removing the front headliner speakers

The front headliner speakers (if present) are actually glued to the headliner. Removing them could (and probably will) damage the headliner, so we don’t recommend it. That said, headliner speakers are a very cool idea and we salute whoever came up with this.

tesla model 3 door tweeter

Upgrading the tweeters will help improve the sound staging in your Model 3 (Crutchfield Research Photo)

And now, back to speakers you can actually remove and replace….

Removing the front door speakers

Tweeters: The sail panel tweeters are reasonably easy to deal with. Start at the top corner and pull off the sail panel tweeter grille to release the retaining clips, then remove the grille. Use your panel tool to pry up the tweeter housing to release two clips, then disconnect the harness and remove the housing. And then you’ll pry the tweeter out to release the three tabs holding it in place.

There’s no wiring harness available for these tweeters, so you'll have to splice, solder, or use Posi-Products speaker connectors to connect the new tweeters.To install them, you can use hot glue, silicone, or our universal backstraps.

Tools needed: Panel tool

tesla model 3 door woofer

You'll need brackets to install new speakers in the lower door location, and we'll include them with your Crutchfield speaker purchase (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Woofers: To remove the 8" factory woofers, you’ll start at the top corner of the door. Pull off the sail panel tweeter grille. If you’re replacing the tweeters at the same time (which is wise), you’ve already done this, of course.

Next, remove one Torx T30 screw located under the door armrest. Pry off the reflector lens on the rear edge of the door panel, then remove one exposed Torx T30 screw. Starting at the bottom edge, pry out the screw cover under the front of the door armrest, then remove one exposed Torx T30 screw.

Starting at either lower corner, pry off the door panel to release nine clips, disconnect the door release cable, pry off the harness clips, and disconnect the harnesses, then remove door panel and store it someplace safe.

Detailed stereo and speaker removal instructions

ResearchNotes image
With step-by-step disassembly instructions and plenty of up-close, detailed photos, our exclusive Crutchfield ResearchNotes™ takes the guesswork out of removing the factory stereo and speakers. It's free with your Crutchfield order, or you can purchase one separately for just $9.99.

Remove the four 8mm screws securing the speaker to the door, then pry out the four retaining clips, disconnect the harness, and remove the speaker.

There’s no wiring harness available for the woofers either, so you'll have to splice, solder, or use more Posi-Products speaker connectors to connect the new ones.

You’ll need mounting brackets to install your new 6-1/2" or 6-3/4" speakers, and we’ll include them with your Crutchfield order. The brackets for these smaller speakers don’t match the factory screw holes, so you’ll have to drill new ones. This isn’t hard, but you are drilling into your own car, so work carefully, know what you’re drilling into, and always wear eye protection.

In many cases, you'll also need to cut off the back of the factory plastic speaker grille to install the new speakers. Again, not hard, but you should work carefully here.

Tools needed: Panel tool, small flat blade screwdriver, Torx T30 driver, 8mm socket, ratchet and extension, hook tool, drill with 1/8" bit, utility knife

tesla model 3 rear door speaker

The factory rear door speakers are heat-fused to the door panels, so be careful when you remove them (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing the rear door speakers

The Models 3’s rear doors house 4" speakers, and these are also reasonably easy to deal with. Starting at bottom edge, pry out the screw cover under the front of the door’s armrest, then remove one exposed Torx T30 screw. Remove another Torx T30 screw located under the bottom of the armrest.

Next, starting at either lower corner, pry off the door panel to release ten clips, then pry off the harness clips, disconnect the harnesses, and remove the door panel. Carefully (we mean it) cut the heat-fuse points to release the speaker from the door panel. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to damage the door panel and grille, and no one wants that. Be sure to wear eye protection when you’re cutting, too.

There’s no wiring harness available for these speakers, so you'll have to splice, solder, or use Posi-Products speaker connectors to connect the new ones. You’ll also need to fabricate mounting brackets, use hot glue or silicone, or use our universal backstraps to secure the new speakers.

Tools Required: Panel tool, Torx T30 driver, utility knife, hook tool

tesla model deck speakers

The premium deck speakers are hard to get to, but it's a do-able project for the patient DIY-er (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing the rear deck speakers

The premium system’s 4" rear deck speakers can be removed and replaced, but getting to them is not the work of a moment. None of the individual steps are all that difficult, but there are a lot of them, so this is not a "quick and easy" upgrade.

If you decide to do it yourself, Crutchfield’s complete, illustrated instructions (included free with your order) will guide you through it, but you’ll need to work carefully, stay organized, and keep your eyes on the prize while you’re working your way through this process.

There’s no wiring harness available for the rear deck, so you'll have to splice, solder, or use Posi-Products speaker connectors to connect the new speakers. If you don’t feel like making your own mounting brackets, you can use hot glue, silicone, or our universal backstraps to secure the new speakers.

Tools Required: Panel tool, needle-nose pliers, Phillips screwdriver

Shop for speakers that fit your Tesla Model 3

tesla model 3 subwoofer

The premium subwoofer and amp are located in the Model 3's trunk (Crutchfield Research Photo)

More bass in your Model 3

Is there room for a big subwoofer box in the Model 3? Yes. Should you install one? No, you should not. You can upgrade your bass performance, though.

The premium system includes an 8" subwoofer mounted in an enclosure in the trunk. If you want to boost your bass, replacing this sub is the best way to do it. 

To remove the stock sub, you’ll start by using your panel tool to pry up and remove the trunk scuff panel. Next, you’ll pry out the two center pin clips from the upper trunk trim panel by prying out the center pin, then prying out the clip. Pry down on the trim panel to release four more clips, then remove it.

Pry out one center pin clip on the passenger’s side trunk trim panel by prying out the center pin, then prying out the clip. Pull the side trim panel out and disconnect the light harness.

Remove the two 10mm nuts and two 10mm bolts securing the woofer enclosure, then pry off the harness clip, disconnect the harnesses, and remove the enclosure. Remove the three Torx T30 screws securing the amplifier/bracket assembly to the enclosure, then remove the assembly. And finally, remove the four Torx T25 screws securing the woofer to the enclosure, disconnect the speaker wires, and remove the woofer.

You won’t need a wiring harness adapter for your new sub, but you will need to fabricate a mounting bracket or spacer to secure it in the re-used factory enclosure.

Tools Required: Panel tool, small flat blade screwdriver, Torx T25 and T30 drivers, 10mm deep socket, ratchet, and extension

weathertech floor liners

A set of custom-fit WeatherTech Floor liners will keep your car's carpets looking their best

Other options for your Model 3

There are plenty of other ways to give your Model 3 a personal touch. Here are some of the ways Crutchfield can help.

Protect your car's interior

Everyday life can be a bit much for factory floor mats. A set of custom floor liners from WeatherTech will help protect your Model 3's carpeting from dirt and damage. 

Sound deadening

The Model 3 is a whisper-quiet car to begin with, but when it comes to audio, even quieter is better. Installing Dynamat in the doors and rear hatch area can help. This sound-deadening material will keep the noise out and allow you to really enjoy your music.

Find the audio gear that fits your car or truck

Visit our Outfit My Car page and enter your vehicle information to see stereos, speakers, subs, and other audio accessories that will work in your vehicle.

Last updated 1/24/2022

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