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How to Replace Car Door Speakers

A Mercedes-Benz Door panel.

Nearly every car built since the 1980s has a basic audio system. Speakers are almost always found in the doors, particularly in the front panels, and with frequent opening and closing of the doors and windows, these speakers can eventually break and require replacement. Fortunately, by using the right tools and following the instructions outlined below, you can easily replace your door speakers.

Tools of the TradeA car door speaker

Please note that these are general instructions. You may need to adapt them to your vehicle’s specific requirements.

To begin, you will typically need a panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, socket wrench, Torx screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, utility knife and flush cut pliers. Gloves and protective eyewear are also helpful. Naturally, you’ll need replacement speakers and possibly speaker adapters as well. We recommend replacing your current speaker setup with the exact same parts as were previously installed, if possible.

If you have space to work in your garage or carport, they’re the ideal places to get the job done. Otherwise, choose a favorable weather day and do it outside in a location such as your driveway. Always disconnect the car battery before replacing your speakers to avoid electrical damage or shock.

1. Remove the Door Panels

The front door panels must be removed to access the speakers. Begin removing the screws on the panels with an appropriate tool, such as a screwdriver. Some screw locations may be hidden. For instance, they might be behind a door handle or under a cosmetic cover. Use a flathead screwdriver to gently separate the panels from the door. A panel tool may also come in handy for removing door handles. Be sure to disconnect any wiring you encounter, such as the power door locks.

2. Remove the Old Speakers

Speaker kits will often include a pair of speakers. You could replace just the broken speaker, but replacing both is often preferable to storing the second one, which can easily be forgotten. Besides, the task is fairly easy, and you’ll likely move more quickly with the second installation.

Remove the screws holding the speaker in place, and then remove it from the door cavity. Next, disconnect the speaker harness, and set the old speaker to the side.

3. Install the New Speakers

Remove the new speaker from the packing. Ensure that the speaker connector fits into the speaker harness. Connect the positive and negative wires to the speaker as labeled. To avoid future damage to the wires from your power windows moving up and down, secure them in place by wrapping them with a zip tie. Use flush-cut pliers to trim the excess tie.

Before you slip the new speaker into place, reconnect the battery, activate the ignition, and turn on the audio system. If the new speaker is working, slot it into the cavity and secure it in place. Otherwise, troubleshoot until you find the problem. The last step is to reconnect the door panel in reverse order of the instructions provided above.

Caring for Door Speakers

Once your new speakers are in place, you can enjoy a more satisfying listening experience. When you clean the cabin, don’t forget to wipe the speaker covers with a clean cloth or use a vacuum brush on the low setting to remove dust.

Check out all the car audio products available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Matthew C. Keegan View All

Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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