Car Speakers Not Working But Subwoofer Is (Quick Fixes)

Norvan Martin
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When your car speaker stops working but your subwoofer still works, it could mean they are blown out. In other cases, it may signify that your car stereo is not sending the correct signals. Typically, the head unit is not usually the cause of this problem and this may be a wiring issue of some kind. If your subwoofers work but your speakers don’t, there are a few troubleshooting tips and quick fixes to solve this quickly.

How To Troubleshoot Car Speakers Not Working?

Several devices make up a fully functioning speaker and any one of them could be faulty. Outlined below are the guidelines to follow when troubleshooting.How To Troubleshoot Car Speakers Not Working

1. Make Sure the External Amplifier Is Getting Enough Power

If the car amp is not getting any power, your car speakers will not work. See if you can see the power light come on when you start your car.

If you don’t,  check the power, ground, and remote wires. If you find out that your amplifier is not working and it can’t be fixed or you don’t have the budget for a new one, you can connect the subwoofer to the rear speakers in the car

2. Make Sure Your RCA Cables Are Connected Properly

If you’re using an external 4-channel amplifier to power up your front and rear speakers, ensure that they are connected to the right input. The front set that goes into the front RCA outputs on the car stereo needs to go into the front inputs on the amp.

The same goes for the rear, if you have not connected these correctly or into the wrong connector the sound will not come through and into your car amp. This can cause your subwoofer to work perfectly, but your speaker will have no sound.

3. Properly Connect Your Speaker Wires

The speaker wire can sometimes not be securely fitted into the screw terminals of the amp and can come off creating a short. This can place your car amp in protect mode and will not make your speakers work. Check all the speaker wiring is clean and tidy on the car amp or the back of the car stereo.

Check the connections on the back of the speakers as well, and ensure that each connector on the back of the terminals is secure.

This is because it could come off and touch the other terminal and create a short, stopping your amp from playing music. You can only see this when you remove the speaker and check each one individually.

4. Check On Gain Levels

This is sometimes mistaken for volume control by people who are new to the car audio game. The gain is used to match the signal with the amp that is coming from the RCA cables.

Check the gain for the front and rear speakers on your car amp, since there is a small possibility that you have turned it down by accident. You might not have done but it’s essential to check.

You can try switching your car speaker amplifier with a different one that works. If that doesn’t work, this could be an indication that your speakers are blown out.

This usually happens as a result of overuse and playing music at loud volumes with plenty of distortion.

What Causes a Speaker to Stop Working?

Speakers are large coils of wire that can stop working when they are damaged or blown. If your speaker is blown, its coil takes too much current and gets cooled too slowly.

When the wires in the speaker coil are shorted or broken, the speaker is completely damaged and can’t work until you fix it.

How Can You Tell If a Car Speaker is Blown?

The main signs that your car speaker is blown out are distorted sound, hissing, fuzziness, rattling instead of music, telltale popping, and lack of mid-tones, treble, and bass.

Another one is the lack of vibration from the speakers. At the same time, if the impedance is infinite or too high, or too low, it is already blown.

How Do You Tell If A Speaker Fuse Is Blown?

Modern speakers come with fuses that are designed to blow to prevent further damage. To establish whether this safety feature has blown, you should look at the fuse wire.

If you notice a dark metallic smear inside the glass or a visible gap in the wire, the fuse has blown. The only solution is to replace it with a high-quality fuse.

How To Fix Your Car Speakers?

In other cases, the speaker itself may be faulty if the sub works. 

Car speakers not working are often due to incorrect selection of source, low power input, and disconnected or shorted speaker wires. They can also be caused by broken speakers, or a malfunctioning source component.How To Fix Your Car Speakers

However, similar to diagnosing a defective speaker channel, troubleshooting a stereo system that’s not producing sound begins by isolating the problem—a problem that usually isn’t revealed until the corresponding fix has been tried. 

The following steps will help guide you through the most common problems.

Note: Remember to always turn off the power to the system and components before connecting or disconnecting cables and wires. Then turn the power back on after each step to check for correct operation.

1. Make Sure Your Power Source Is Secure

Ensure that all plugs are firmly seated in their respective sockets because sometimes a plug can slip out halfway and not draw power. Double-check that wall switches operating any outlets are flipped on.

Confirm that all units in the system, including any power strips or surge protectors, can turn on. If something doesn’t power up, test it with a properly functioning outlet. It’s a good idea to connect equipment to outlets that don’t have wall switches.

2. Verify Correct Source Selection

A large number of stereo systems have a Speaker B switch for adding more speakers. Make sure that the right ones are enabled, and check that the correct source has been selected.

3. Make Sure Your Speaker Wires Are Correctly Connected

Inspect and test each of the wires leading from the receiver/amplifier to the speakers, paying close attention to damaged or loose connections.

Inspect the bare ends to ensure that enough insulation is stripped off. Also, confirm that the speaker wire connectors are correctly installed and inserted far enough to make steady contact with the speaker terminals.

4. Make Sure Your Speakers Aren’t Blown

If possible, connect the speakers to another working audio source to ensure that they still operate correctly. If the speakers still don’t play, they may be damaged or defective. If they do play, reconnect them to the system and continue.

You’ll need a 3.5 mm-to-RCA stereo audio cable to connect speakers that have 3.5 mm or RCA connections, such as a laptop or smartphone.

5. Check On All Source Components

First, test whatever source component (device) you’re using—such as a CD player, DVD/Blu-ray player, or turntable—with another working TV or set of speakers. If the device still doesn’t play properly, then your problem is most likely with the device.

If all source components are good, connect them back into the original receiver and set them to play some input.

Toggle through each input source on the stereo receiver one by one. If the receiver works with some input sources but not others, the cables connecting the component to the receiver could be the problem. Replace any suspect cables and try the original component again.

If you have tried all the methods above and your speaker is still not working, it would be advisable you call an experienced and trusted electrician to fix your device for you. 

Other Fixes

Please check these guides for other specific fixes if you are having these issues:

Car Speakers Sound Muffled (Easy Fixes)
Rear Car Speakers Not Working (Quick Fixes)
Car Speaker Not Working On One Side

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Norvan Martin is the founder of He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin