How Do I Stop Engine Noise from Coming Through My Speakers?

Written by david lipscomb Google
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How Do I Stop Engine Noise from Coming Through My Speakers?
Stopping engine noise in a car stereo is a methodical process. (car trip image by Andrey Kiselev from

Engine noise is the bane of any car stereo system. Installers everywhere dread the moment when the key is turned, and the persistent whine comes from the tweeters indicating a ground loop. Although proper installation techniques can help, often steps need to be taken even after doing everything right to squelch the noise. Hunting for this noise in a methodical and patient manner can help mitigate the noise to a level that, if not completely drowned, makes it too low to notice under normal driving conditions.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Small flat head screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Turn on the vehicle's engine, and the car stereo. Turn on any vehicle accessories known to exacerbate engine noise, such as the air conditioner, etc.

  2. 2

    Turn the stereo up to the point where engine noise is obvious. Turn down the amplifier's gain all the way, by hand or using a small flat head screwdriver. Increase the volume on the car stereo to 100 per cent, maximising line voltage to the amp. The gain knob should be nestled among other amp controls, such as bass boost and other adjustments.

  3. 3

    Slowly increase amplifier gain. Set the gain and leave it at the point where volume and residual noise it balanced.

  4. 4

    Separate the RCA cables and power lines to opposite sides of the vehicle. Keep these wires as independent from another as possible up to and including the amplifier's input terminals. This reduces further the possibility of radiated engine noise from entering the system.

Tips and warnings

  • Line drivers are devices that increase system voltage to such a level that radiated engine noise has little to no chance of entering the system. These are useful devices, even in systems where engine noise is not present, due to their ability to counteract the effects of long signal cable runs through the vehicle.
  • Never make system connections with the vehicle turned on. Shock or system damage can occur.

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