How to Troubleshoot a Low Volume Auto Radio
By Christopher Godwin
Fixing a car radio or stereo can be a complex task, as there are many different components that can be responsible for low volume output. While you may not be able to fix the problem without a strong background in car audio installation and repairs, there are some common problems that you can look for and potentially fix with limited equipment and expertise.
Locate the fuse panel on your car. If you do not know where the fuse panel is, check your cars owner's manual for detailed instructions. Open the fuse panel so you have access to the fuses inside.
Remove and inspect the fuses that control your car stereo's power. Look for cracks in the small silver filament or burnt glass tubing near the silver contacts on the ends of the fuses. Replace any fuses with the same fuse type and check to see if a damaged fuse was the problem before moving on to the next potential issue.
Remove your car's amplifier from its housing using a screwdriver or hex wrench. Depending on the particular amplifier you are using, you may need other tools. However, most amplifiers only require a Phillips-head screwdriver for removal.
Check that all of the cables plugged into the back of the amplifier are firmly in place. If they are not, remove them from the plug and re-insert them. Test the amplifier. Loose cabling is a common problem among car audio systems and it can often result in low audio output.
Look around the edges of the amplifier while it is out of its housing to confirm that no part of the amplifier is touching metal within the housing. If it is, cover the area with fresh electrical tape. Car audio amplifiers are never supposed to touch metal. If they do, they can work intermittently or only work at a very low volume.
- "Car Audio For Dummies"; Doug Newcomb, Mike Mettler; 2008
- Don't make repairs that you are uncomfortable making. You could damage your car radio further, which will result in an even more expensive repair bill.
- Never work on your amplifier's internal circuitry while the amplifier is on, even if you know what you are doing. There is a serious risk of electrical shock or even death.
Christopher Godwin is a freelance writer from Los Angeles. He spent his formative years as a chef and bartender crafting signature dishes and cocktails as the head of an upscale catering firm. He has since ventured into sharing original creations and expertise with the public. Godwin has published poetry, fiction and nonfiction in publications like "Spork Magazine," "Cold Mountain Review" and "From Abalone To Zest."