How to install a car subwoofer & amplifier

Written by kate evelyn
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Tired of carrying a boom box in the passenger seat? It’s time to spiff up your car’s sound system. A great way to do this is by installing a subwoofer and amp in your vehicle. Not only can you boost the sound of your base, you can improve the overall sound quality of your stereo system. Instead of just hearing your music, you can almost experience it. This is definitely worth a little time and effort.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Car with working battery
  • Amp
  • Subwoofer and box
  • Power cable
  • Ground cable
  • RCA cables
  • Fuse distribution block
  • Grounding distribution block

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Find an appropriate amp for the sound you are looking for. Don't just go for the loudest bass. Be sure to listen for other aspects of quality too. Ask an employee at a car audio shop or electronics store to show you all of the options they have available or check out the Crutchfield website.

  2. 2

    Pick up your cables. Along with your RCA cables, get a power cable and a ground cable. Eight gauge copper wire is best, with red shielding for positive and black shielding for ground. Also get a fused link to put inline from the battery. Then grab a fuse distribution block and a grounding distribution block. Not sure what any of this is? An employee will be happy to help you.

  3. 3

    Disconnect your car’s battery and run your ground and power cable from the battery through the firewall to where you will place your amp.

  4. 4

    Terminate your ground cable into a grounding block and your power cable into a fuse block (using the fused link to connect them). From those blocks, run the cable to your amp. These allow you to have one main feed and multiple devices should you decide to add equipment in the future.

  5. 5

    Mount the amp in a well ventilated space. Make sure it is secure so it doesn’t shuffle around. This can not only mess up your sound but can also ding your amp.

  6. 6

    Run your RCA cables from the back of your stereo head unit to the RCA inputs on the amp.

  7. 7

    Use speaker cable to connect the amp to the subwoofer. Some subs will require you to bridge them in order to power your sub. This means you have to combine multiple channels on an amp into one channel. This process will vary depending on your amp, so contact the manufacturer for instructions.

  8. 8

    Install your sub’s box in your boot and get ready to impress.

Tips and warnings

  • You can hide your cables by putting them under the carpet in your car's boot. Don’t be afraid to use duct tape to clamp them down.
  • Use zip ties to fasten your cables together so that you don’t end up with a tangled mess.
  • If the amp is not well ventilated it can overheat and possibly catch on fire.
  • Make sure your connections are tight or your cables could come unhooked and shut off your music mid-song.

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