Car Speaker Not Working (One Side)

Hi everyone! I have a Honda Accord 1997 and I have noticed that the left speakers are not working in my car. The radio is working just fine and the right side speakers play just fine also but the left side is not working whatsoever. Anyone have any ideas on what might be happening and what action to take? Thanks so much!

Well, it pretty much has to be from among

  • the radio is broke
  • the left speaker is broke
  • the wiring between the radio and the left speaker is broke

How to decide depends on how hard it is to try various experiments. You could for example swap the left and right speakers, if that was easy to do, and see if the problem follows the speakers or not.

The problem could also be a bad balance setting. It may be set to the “right” side only. The left speaker will not work and that’s a normal function.

I don’t know how much you know about electronics, but If it’s a broken radio, the most probable cause is one of the audio output transistors is blown. They’re large, metal-cased devices that pump the audio current into the speakers.

Possibly off topic a bit, but here’s something folks with speaker problems – either car or home systems – should be aware of. As posted by @jmcarc an audio output transistor is heat sensitive and can fail sometimes. In certain circuit configurations this can result in the full 12 volts on the speaker wire. Which immediately burns out the speaker of course. The insidious thing about this problem is that you think the speaker is bad, so you buy a new replacement speaker and install that one. Which promptly burns out for the same reason. 2 speakers destroyed, and still no audio.

The takeaway is whenever you have an apparent speaker problem, measure the voltage on the speaker wire before installing a new speaker. It should be very close to zero volts.

If you have the owner’s manual, check the balance setting, as missileman suggested. If not, perhaps the radio operating instructions are available from the dealer’s parts guy or the internet.

If you’ve done all this, see if you can swap the speaker sires to see if the missing audio follows changes along with the swap. If it doesn’t the speaker is dead. If it does, the audio unit is dead.

If you end up getting a new audio unit (radio), I strongly urge you to get an “adapter cable” to install it. They’re made to mate with the OEM wiring harness on various cars. You can then solder/splice the adapter to the new head unit on the kitchen table using the included simple instructions, and then just unplug the old unit and plug in the new unit. It save having to butcher the OEM wiring harness and all the potential problems associated with doing so. I NEVER butcher an OEM harness. Doing so is just asking for trouble.