How to install component speakers in a car

Updated July 20, 2017

Component speakers offer better sound by using a set of speakers, rather than just one. Component speakers consist of the tweeter, for high frequency sound, and a woofer, for low frequency sound or bass. Installing component speakers into a car can be trickier than the average installation because many cars do not a have clear area to mount tweeters so the installation process often calls for custom fitting the tweeter. The easiest way to do this is to purchase surface mounting tweeters that fit against the surface of the door panel rather than flush inside the panel. Component speakers also need a crossover cable to properly allocate power to each speaker in order to prevent damaging them.

Locate the area where you'll install the tweeter. Usually this area will be no more than a couple feet from where the woofer will be installed and have no vital car components, such as wiring, behind the panel where the tweeter will be surface mounted. You'll also want to choose an area where the panelling can be easily removed in order to wire the tweeter properly.

Remove the panels surrounding the area in order to have enough space to wire the tweeter and the speaker together using the crossover cable later during installation.

Place the tweeter surface mount against the area where you'd like the tweeter mounted in your vehicle. Screw it in place.

Drill a hole in the panelling directly behind where the tweeter will be installed where you'd like to run the speaker wire up through to connect to the tweeter.

Run the crossover cable's high frequency leads up through the hole and connect them to the tweeter, connecting the positive crossover cable lead to the positive input of the tweeter and the negative crossover cable lead to the negative input of the tweeter. Mount the tweeter to the tweeter mount to finish installing the tweeter. Most tweeters will simply snap into place inside the tweeter mounts while some may require additional screws. Refer to your specific manual included with the tweeters mounts.

Disconnect the negative terminal of the car battery and remove the door panelling surrounding the original speaker or woofer.

Unscrew the speaker from it's mount and pull it out. It will be connected to speaker wire, so disconnect the leads behind the speaker by pulling on them.

Connect the crossover cable's low frequency leads to the inputs on the back of the woofer in the same way you connected them to the tweeter. Be sure the negative crossover cable lead connects to the negative input on the woofer, and the positive crossover cable lead connects to the positive input.

Screw the new woofer in the same place the original speaker was mounted using a Phillips-head screw drive. Some speakers may require custom mounting, which would come included with your component set. Follow the instructions included with your custom mounting set to attach the custom mount and speaker to the door panel. To prevent having to do a custom mount on the woofers, buy components speakers that are compatible with your vehicle.

Solder the crossover cable's input leads to your stereo's input wires. The input wires will be the speaker wire that was originally connected to your car's stock speakers. Be sure to connect negative leads together and positives leads together.

Mount the crossover body inside the door panelling in an area where it won't jostle.

Reconnect the battery and turn on your stereo and test to make sure everything was connected properly.

Re-install the panelling once you've confirmed proper installation, making sure all wires remain hidden behind the panelling.

Things You'll Need

  • Component speakers
  • Tweeter mounts
  • Drill
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Crossover cables
  • Solder iron
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About the Author

Aaron Wein is a copy editor for Skagit Valley Publishing. He has been a writer and editor since 2004, contributing to Washington-based publications and clients such as the "Bellingham Herald," "Western Athletics," "GNAC Sports" and Microsoft. Wein obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism from Western Washington University.