How To Make Your Car Speakers Louder With and Without an Amplifier

Tired of sub-par volume and scratchy audio quality? Here are some pro tips to make your car speakers louder.
Written by Abbey Orzech
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
You can make your car speakers louder by installing a high-quality amplifier, adding sound dampening materials, or checking your speakers’ wiring to ensure everything is connected correctly. 
Whether you favor music, podcasts, or audiobooks as a car ride companion, the quality of sound from your speakers can contribute to an enjoyable commute or make it downright unbearable. If your speakers aren’t performing how you’d like them to, you may first consider installing an amplifier—but that can get pretty pricey. 
That’s why
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, has researched a variety of methods to help you fix your speakers’ volume. We’ll talk about causes of low sound quality, ways to make your speakers louder without buying an amplifier, and guidance for buying an amplifier should you choose that route. 

How to correct your speakers’ sound without an amplifier 

So you’ve noticed that your car speakers are producing mediocre audio quality. An amplifier may seem like the most obvious and direct method of improving the sound from your speakers, but high-quality amps can run you a pretty penny. 
Luckily, there are ways for you to improve your car speaker sound without having to shell out for a brand new amplifier and its installation. 
Before heading to your local auto audio shop, try these DIY methods for making your car speakers louder

Install sound dampening materials

One of the biggest enemies of good car speaker sound quality is external road noise. Whether it’s traffic, the engine, or simply the sound of your tires on the road surface, external noise can ruin your listening experience. 
Sound deadening mats are widely available and are a great way to improve sound quality. They can be added all over your car, including the doors, floors, and inside of the hood. 
Just make sure you’re getting materials designed for vehicles—especially if you plan to dampen the sound of your engine—to avoid a fire hazard. 

Seal the edges around your speakers 

Your car’s speakers are being held in place by their mounting panels. If there are gaps around your speakers while they are in their mounting panels, air can pass through the gaps and distort the sound
If you check where your speakers are mounted and notice gaps, remove the speaker and place gasket tape, or a spongey, moldable material with one adhesive side, all around the opening of the speaker mount so that the speaker will fit snuggly. 
Then screw the speaker back in and, ideally, there will be no more passing air or sound cancellation. 

Remove loose items that rattle around your speakers 

That’s right, your collection of spare change from to-go windows may be affecting your speaker quality! 
Any loose objects near your speakers, like change or even the wires that hang behind your speakers, can rattle around from the sound vibrations and dilute the quality of the sound
Check in your door pockets, center console, glove compartment, and any other space near a speaker and remove or secure any loose items.
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Choose a more balanced toning and higher quality audio files 

This one may hurt the bass-heads out there. If you’re not in the market for an amplifier or subwoofer, it’s a good idea to lower the bass levels of your stereo system so they don’t blow out your sound quality. In general, more bass means more distortion and sound quality strain. 
Also consider the quality of the audio files you’re listening to. The more compressed an audio file is, the worse the sound quality is. Purchase, download, or stream your music, podcast, audiobook, or other listening selection in the highest quality available to enhance your listening experience. 

Adding an amplifier: what to look for when buying

If you’ve tried the above methods and your sound hasn’t improved, adding an amplifier can be a great way to improve your speaker’s volume and clarity. Provided, of course, that it works with your existing speaker system and you have the money for it. 
Buying an amplifier that doesn’t integrate with your vehicle’s existing speakers is not likely to help your sound clarity in a substantial way.
When shopping for an amplifier, make sure you know whether you’re working with a stock head unit or an aftermarket head unit
If you’re looking to improve the sound quality of your stock head unit or the factory-installed sound system, you will want a speaker-level amplifier. Speaker-level amps are designed to integrate into factory speakers. 
If you’re jamming with an aftermarket head unit, choose an amplifier with line-level outputs
In most cases, it’s a good idea to discuss your needs with a professional car stereo installer since you may need special adapters for either kind of head unit. 
Also, amp installation requires work with wires, cables, fuses, and power supplies, so if you plan to DIY it, be sure you’re capable of the task! 
Key Takeaway If you have a stock head unit in your vehicle, you’ll need a speaker-level amp. If you have an aftermarket head unit, you’ll need an amp with line-level outputs. 

Why your car speakers may be quiet

Whether it’s an everyday occurrence or just noticeable with some songs, there are several reasons why your car speakers may produce subpar sound. 

Incorrect wire polarity 

First things first, give your speaker wires a once-over. Each speaker in your vehicle has a negative (-) and a positive (+) connection that should be attached to their corresponding negative and positive outputs. 
This may seem obvious, but other than the (-) and (+) signs, the connections look very similar and can be easily mixed up during installation. And when their connections are mixed up, the sound quality can be distorted and lacking, particularly when it comes to bass. 

Incorrect tuning 

The tuning controls that come with your car’s stereo system can alter sound aspects like the bass, treble, and fade. 
Maxing out your tuning controls can distort the sound from your speakers, so it’s best to try to balance the controls in order to create the optimum listening conditions. 
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Too-compressed audio files 

In general, the smaller and more compressed the audio file, the worse the quality of sound. So if you’re listening to burned CDs, downloads from YouTube, or sketchy MP3 files (LimeWire, anyone?), you’re likely listening to highly-compressed audio files.  
Most modern music streaming services have high-quality downloads or streams available, so choose those when you can. If you’re still rocking out with CDs, original CD records will also have good sound quality. 

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Whether or not you’re investing in an amplifier, upgrading your car stereo system can get expensive. Upgrading your car insurance with
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You can make your car speakers louder by installing sound-deadening materials around your vehicle, sealing the gaps between your speakers and their mounting holes, removing or securing loose items around your speakers, balancing your sound system’s tone controls, and only playing high-quality audio files.
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