How to locate the source of static in car speakers

Written by todd bowerman
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How to locate the source of static in car speakers
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There are several possible causes of static in car stereo speakers. Blown speakers, interference from other devices, poor signal strength, or objects pressed against one of your speakers can cause static. You can isolate the cause of speaker static with a few quick troubleshooting steps.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Digital multimeter

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  1. 1

    Adjust your radio settings and try a different radio station. Some radio stations have irregular coverage that causes bursts of static in different parts of their coverage area. This is the most common cause of static.

  2. 2

    Use your balance and fade controls to see if the issue affects one or all of your speakers. To do this, use the balance to push all sound to the left-hand side of the car. Next, use the fade to move all sound to the left rear speaker. Check this speaker for static, then use the fade and balance to check each speaker individually.

  3. 3

    Examine each of your speakers to ensure that they are not coming into contact with something else in your vehicle. For instance, speakers that are touching a plastic grocery bag can create a sound very similar to static.

  4. 4

    Turn off any devices you may have in your vehicle, including third-party navigation or computer systems, satellite radios and cell phones. These devices could be causing radio interference.

  5. 5

    Set the meter on your multimeter to "AC Volts," at the lowest range possible. Connect the "COM" tip to the negative post on your car battery, then connect the "VOLTS" tip to the positive post. Start your engine and run it at around 1500rpm. Turn on your air conditioner. If the reading on your multimeter exceeds 0.09 volts AC, the static is likely caused by bad diodes in your alternator.

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