If you’re driving in the rain and want to enjoy some tunes, you might wonder if your car speakers are waterproof.
With the rain outside or worse, when someone spills water or drinks inside your car, you may wonder if the speakers would be safe. The good news is that most car speakers are designed to withstand exposure to moisture, but are they actually waterproof? Let’s find out.
Most car speakers are not waterproof. That’s because they are not sealed tightly enough to keep water from seeping in and damaging the speaker’s interior. However, they are usually made with materials that resist external moisture, such as polyurethane or PVC.
Tip: Speakers installed in your car are meant to be enclosed and protected by the plastic that covers them.
If you live in a rainy area or driving with an open-roof car using speakers in the open air, consider installing marine grade speakers, like Polk Audio from the MM series (link to Amazon).
They have excellent water protection and provide sounds of a truly high quality. The downside is that for the best performance, they need to be powered by an external amplifier.
In the article below, I will detail essential information about waterproof speakers, including their construction and how they work.
What Makes Speakers Waterproof?
When an audio system is initially installed in a car, several locations are built for them, and sometimes these areas are made weatherproof.
These areas can have installed standard speakers, which become waterproof when placed in sealed boxes. These are not waterproof speakers, but their enclosures are.
You can often tell if speakers are waterproof just by looking at their complete housing, with rubber or silicone seals around all cables.
In addition, these speakers have plastic or are covered with special coating cones and completely sealed magnets, including all wiring.
Waterproof car speakers are heavier than standard ones and usually require more power from the amplifier, especially those placed in sealed boxes.
What Are Marine Speakers?
Marine grade speakers are designed to withstand the harshest weather conditions, including saltwater spray and direct sunlight.
They are made of better materials that resist corrosion, such as polypropylene cone, powder-coated aluminum, or glass fiber basket.
Marine grade speakers are usually more expensive than standard car speakers, but they offer the best protection against wet conditions.
Is Waterproof the Same as Water-Resistant?
There are many ways to make products safe from water, with many labels confusing those who need to buy the products.
When installing speakers in your cars that need to survive harsher conditions knowing what the misleading labeling can be and what all information means is vital to building a proper sound system.
Water-resistant speakers are similar to waterproof with a slight difference:
- Water-resistant means that small spills and high humidity will not damage the speakers.
- Waterproof means that the speaker can be submerged in certain water depths and not be damaged.
Many people who are unaware of this difference will buy the wrong speakers and install them incorrectly, causing their damage or, worse, malfunctioning of the entire audio system.
Water-resistant speakers can withstand some heavy water for short periods. However, water will likely cause more or less damage, and speakers must be entirely dried before further playing the music after contacting the water.
Damage can include anything from rusting components after submerging to the cone breaking apart in the water.
Do Waterproof Speakers Sound Good?
The most important thing about all speakers is not how complex they are to set up or how much water they can resist before finally giving in.
Waterproof speakers are, in general, no different than regular speakers when it comes to audio quality. Most companies that offer waterproof speakers also provide great sound quality.
The universal thing that all speakers must be able to do is deliver great sounds and music.
It is worth remembering that speakers are always judged by the sound quality they eventually produce.
The quality can be equal to or greater than their standard counterparts, depending on how much you are willing to spend on the speakers.
However, with two similar sizes speakers, one being regular and the other waterproof, the waterproof speaker will usually deliver stronger sounds than the standard speaker.
This is because waterproof speakers have higher sensitivity needed for external use, like on boats or convertible cars, which means they will play louder than standard car speakers while consuming the same power.
Fortunately, any sound limitations in modern speakers are rare, and their design does not compromise sound quality.
Can I Use Waterproof Speakers in Any Car?
There are as many combinations of speakers in the world as cars driving every day.
Car owners often try to make new additions or improvements to their car audio systems. Therefore it is challenging to find two identical sound systems installed.
If you own an off-road vehicle or live in a part of the world where the rain can be consistent, you may be wondering if you can save your speakers from being damaged, and the easiest way to do this is to purchase waterproof speakers.
If you purchase the right speakers, they might sound even better than the standard speakers used in normal conditions.
Although the majority of the speakers have a standard size, waterproof speakers can be more massive, and some may require changes to the mounting positions or other modifications that standard cars will not always be compatible with.
The easiest way for offroad cars is to install waterproof speakers on the roof bars, but finding good speakers for standard car locations is also easy.
For example, when searching for new speakers, check either coaxial or systems from Polk Audio (link to Amazon), which you can install in standard mounting holes in most cars.
Why Would I Install Waterproof Speakers in Car?
While you are wondering about the benefits of waterproof speakers in your car, you may wonder why anyone would install them in a typical vehicle.
The benefits could be limited, not letting you quickly understand why someone would decide to install them.
Many people install waterproof speakers in their car because they live close to coastal regions where the high humidity damage their current speakers.
Some people like to smoke while driving even when it rains, or on the more extreme side, people with older cars live in areas where flooding occurs.
These examples are all on the extreme side, and many people will prefer knowing that their speakers are safer to bring them through the day.
Waterproof speakers in your car will make you feel much more at ease, not letting liquids inside or outside your vehicle damage your speakers.
Car owners who like to show off their speaker systems often install them to ensure they can blast music to impress those around them, even in the rain.
How to Make Speakers Waterproof?
If you are wondering how to make speakers waterproof, you first need to understand that it is a challenging task. You will need to know about electronics and be familiar with sealing.
There are several ways of making existing speakers waterproof, with some sealants or special casings that let you keep water away quickly, but those will not guarantee that water will never enter the speakers and will not damage them.
Making your speakers water resistant involves spraying the entire speaker with something like a superhydrophobic coating so that no water can enter.
This means that you will need to seal the speaker’s magnet, the voice coil, and the cone.
However, although sealing an outer side of the magnet can work, playing with the suspension and rubber surrounds can significantly change the speaker’s characteristics. This is because those elements are elastic and designed to have free movement.
Once you have sealed all the openings, you will need to test your speakers to ensure they are waterproof. The best way to do that is to spray the speaker with water but do not immerse the speaker in the water. In addition, it is recommended to install foam baffles which will also protect speakers from dripping water.
Remember that if there is no factory sealing, there is no way to make standard speakers work in the water.
It is much easier to make the speakers moisture resistant, which means that you need to spray all external surfaces with an oily waterproof coating.
This will make the speaker water-repellent, but it is not guaranteed that no water will enter the speaker if submerged.
You can use this method on any car speakers, especially those with paper cones and foam surroundings.
When you want to make a sealed box for the speaker, bear in mind that simply creating a box where the water cannot reach your speaker will not make the speaker waterproof.
Car speakers are not waterproof, but that is not the world’s end. Keeping water away from them is much easier than making them waterproof.
Installing waterproof speakers could save you money, headaches, and time. Just be sure to have the right song playing when you first test the complete system together.