Snap, Crackle and Pop on the Radio


I have a 2002 Mazda Prot?g?. About three months ago, the radio started sounding very ?stacticy? and crackling. I solved the issue by using the ?fade? function, and only having sound come through the speakers on the driver?s side of the car. Earlier this week, I started getting the static and crackling through that side as well, but amplified about three times. Now, the radio intermittently goes mute, in addition to the horrible static and crackle. It also does not matter is the radio is on, or if I am playing a CD. However, the noise is significantly worse when listening to talk radio (such as NPR) than when broadcasting music. I drive many miles in this car every day, and need a radio to stay alert, and sane!

My question is, where does the problem most likely lay: in the speakers, in the wiring, in the amplifier? How much is this going to cost me to fix? Can someone with a reasonable amount of car knowledge, in conjunction with another person with extensive electrical knowledge, safely and easily fix the problem?


I’d start with speakers. Unless you paid extra for a premium sound system, the speakers tend to be cheap. Better speakers that will fit in place are fairly inexpensive and can be found at . Use thier vehicle search engine to find what will fit directly.

If the speakers check out, then the radio is next. Crutchfield can help you there, too. But, I’m guessing bad speakers, if I read your post correctly.


Based on the information provided, I would say the problem is related to the amplifier since the problem seems to be common to both the radio and the CD player.

One easy possibility is the multi-pin connector that provides the external connections to the unit. If it is loose and the electrical connections are intermittent it could be the source of the problem. You will have to remove the radio/CD player from the dash to get to it. This is not as difficult as it may appear; you just have to know how. Get a Haynes manual for your vehicle for information on how to remove the radio. Check all of the electrical connectors and make sure that they are fully engaged and tight. If this does not help, you will be faced with replacing the unit because having it repaired may be more expensive than simply replacing it. Unfortunately, most of today’s modern consumer electronics are designed to be replaced and not repaired.


Sounds like either blown speakers, or a bad amplifier. As Busted Knuckles suggested, Crutchfield will sell you replacement speakers at a pretty fair price. You should be able to get them under $50/pair for pretty good ones. A replacement head unit will cost under $100 if the speakers don’t fix the issue.