How to Test for a Short in Car Audio Speaker Wires

Written by william kinsey
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How to Test for a Short in Car Audio Speaker Wires
Good speaker wire is important for a strong audio system. (speaker wire image by Paolo from

A good audio system is only as good as each part that makes up the system. The most common audio problems are with the equipment, such as an issue with the radio, amplifier or speakers. Another possible problem is a short in the speaker wires. This type of problem can cause the speakers to pop or cut out. When this happens, it is a good idea to test the speaker wires.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Ohmmeter or digital multimeter

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  1. 1

    Disconnect the speaker wires at the radio for the speaker wire section in question. Also disconnect the wires at the speaker itself. Connect the speaker ends of the wires. You may have to use a jumper wire if the speaker wire ends have connectors.

  2. 2

    Set the digital multimeter to measure resistance in ohms. Connect the positive test probe of the digital multimeter to the positive speaker wire. Then connect the negative probe to a metal part of the car frame. The meter should give a reading of an open circuit or infinity. If the reading is very low or zero, then there is a short in that wire.

  3. 3

    Repeat Step 2 for the negative speaker wire. If both wires pass this test, then reconnect this speaker to the radio and move on to the next set of speaker wires and begin testing them. Make a note of the current temperature the wires are tested under. Changes in temperature can affect the speaker wire insulation if the insulation has been damaged. If these wires have been subjected to higher temperatures, they need to be tested during these high temperature periods.

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