Let's talk about car audio speakers

Every car I have owned, the factory speakers have worn out, or were worn out when I bought the car. This results in an annoying buzzing/rattling noise and heavy distortion whenever the music contains any bass at all.

I prefer to use the factory stereo, and always replace an aftermarket stereo with a used factory unit, if the previous owner decided to install one. A typical factory stereo is rated for 20-30 watts per channel, which will support most aftermarket replacement speakers.

I like to buy 2-way or 3-way speakers, which cost between $40-50 before tax and/or shipping for a pair. I have found that these kind of speakers deliver the most bang for the buck, as they sound much better than a pair costing $25 with free shipping, but probably not quite as good as a $200 set.

For my 2000 Silverado, which only has speakers in the doors, I got a set of Insignia 4-way speakers, and a used GM AM/FM/CD stereo. For my 2002 Daewoo, which has 4 speakers, when I bought it, I replaced the aftermarket stereo with a used Daewoo AM/FM/CD/cassette stereo. Last year, I got a set of JVC Kenwood CS-DF620 speakers for the rear, when the factory rear speakers went bad. Now, the front speakers have gone bad, and after a lot of careful research, I just ordered a set of Cerwin-Vega H740 speakers to replace them.

I always try to attach the speakers firmly, using fine-pitched machine-thread screws, to avoid any potential loosening which would result in vibration. I always discard the wires which come with new speakers, which are 18 or 20-gauge stranded aluminum with spade connectors, and solder on a length of 18-gauge stranded copper wire to each terminal on the speakers prior to installation. Then, I use my T-stripper to cut off the factory plug, strip back the wires, and connect with wirenuts, using electrical tape to prevent any possible loosening.

I have had good results in every vehicle in which I have replaced the stereo and/or speakers. I would like to hear your thoughts and experiences relating to replacing a worn-out car stereo and/or speakers.

I have never had to replace a radio or speakers and I have had some vehicles for as long as 18 years .

as far as speakers I had bought my son Boss speakers for his birthday one year. he seemed to like them. he runs a amp and sub and the BOSS can handle the high watts and they are fairly cheap. I have used rockford fosgate in my earlier years. I rather have good sound quality rather than having a lot of bass and boom.

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Same here.

That being said, the best car speakers that I–or any of my passengers–ever heard were the McIntosh units that came standard in my 2000 Outback.

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I’d be the last person to ask about car audio. My wife leased her current Hyundai two years ago, and I didn’t know until last week that it had an Infinity audio system with more speakers than I can count on my fingers. We’ve never used the radio.

Had to replace the door speakers in my Sierra also. I replaced them with factory AC Delco speakers from Amazon. Stock radio anyway, so I figured I’d just replace with stock speakers and not even fool with soldering or anything. That turned out to be a mistake as they went bad very quickly. So, I just used some fairly cheap pioneers. Soldered the connections, etc. No issues since.

I will say, if I have to replace the head unit, just about anything is better than stock, IMO. I kind of dislike how the backlighting is a different color than all the gauges in the dash, but the sound is generally a lot better aftermarket.

It’s odd - the more things that can be done with audio, the less I’m interested. Maybe age. I was a stereo nut in my 20s and 30s, now, with a bazillion streaming options, not so much.


Have you even heard some of the sound systems that come as standard equipment ? John bring yourself up to date .


Yup! That’s me, too.

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Yes I have. And if it fails, I’d most likely still replace it with an aftermarket unit that would most likely sound better and be cheaper than the factory option.

Any other questions from the man who said he’s never had to replace a radio or speakers?

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My 17 year old truck failed all 4 speakers after 16 years. Bought repalcements from Crutchfield, don’t know what brand… maybe Pioneer. They sound nice enough.

Original Delco head unit died at about year 6, replaced with an earlier used Delco radio died about year 13. Replaced that with a Blupunkt, replaced that with a Boss, CD, replaced that with a Boss Android head unit. Eh, it sounds OK.

MY Honda S2000 had poor speakers with the left one blowing into my left pant leg. Added tweeters high up in the doors. Helped a LOT but that was a noisy car, not good for sound.

Only my first car got an upgraded stereo from its mono AM radio with 4 speakers and my 3rd car got a Jensen radio cassette, equalizer and big Pioneer 6x9 3 ways in the hatchback. That one would pound out the sound.

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I put a pair of these Jensens in my ‘72 Duster (sorry for the flipped pic)

Couple years ago my truck’s door-panel speakers got wet and needed replacement. Somebody in the neighborhood was trashing a broken computer monitor along w/ the speakers. I’m using those speakers now, and I have to say they sound pretty good. Not quite as loud as the originals, & the bass is less pronounced, but good enough for me. The sound from these speakers is distortion free, & clean as a whistle. The only downside, I had to modify the mounting hardware slightly.

BTW, I discovered the old speakers had a great magnet. I use one of them for a parts tray, and another for finding lost fasteners etc, stuff that rolls off into the dust.


Just from personal experience I’ve never had a problem with speakers or stereo head units on anything.

While working for dealers I’ve never heard any speaker complaints nor have I ever had to replace speakers either in or out of warranty. I have seen a couple of head unit problems (Blaupunkt) but they were rare.


1972 Cadillac needed help so I took a pair of Sparkomatic speakers from a 72 Buick and put them in the back along with a $40 Audiovox AM FM Beta, um VHS? Oh yeah cassette player. Good enough.
My replacement dashboard in a 76 Caprice had no speaker holes so I hung them on a wire under the dash. OK.
Some kid looked at my 76 Impala and said “nice stereo system.” I said “It’s a Realistic from Radio Shack with 15 watts per channel and it sounds great.” He laughs and tells me that I have no stereo. I then showed him that it was under the dash near the door.
This reads like a dad joke, but hit the switch and it’s all BALLROOM BLITZ. Yes I was shouting.

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About 20 years ago I acquired 2 speakers from the old drive thearter’s and hung them behind the seat of my truck it made for a decent sound.

Do you mean speakers from a drive-in theater?

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I discovered that many years ago I have a gravel driveway or some times park on the grass to work on something and they can be lifesavers when you drop something.

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Yes the type that you had to hang on the window.

Spot on. I dropped a single ball bearing, about 3 mm diameter, while working on a bicycle a couple weeks ago. I was certain it fell into a 4 inch by 4 inch grassy area. I looked and looked over that area and was not able to find it. The magnet produced the bearing ball within 10 seconds. And it came from the exact area I was looking.