Skip to Content

Are Frozen Car Speakers Ruined? How to Fix Cold Car Speakers?

If you’ve ever had your car speakers freeze up on a cold day, you know how frustrating it can be.

Frozen car speakers are usually caused by moisture getting into the speaker; when the temperature drops, that moisture can turn into ice. But can this actually cause the speaker damage? Let’s find out.

Car speakers can get damaged if the ice expands and puts too much pressure on the cone, causing it to crack. However, as long as you defrost the speaker carefully, dry it out, and prevent moisture from getting in again, the speaker should be fine.

As an Amazon Associate, ImproveCarAudio will receive a small commission from qualifying purchases made through the links in this article.

Tip: If any parts of the speaker are frozen, you can use a hair dryer at a low speed to blow warm air and unfreeze them. Be careful not to overheat the speaker, as this can damage it.

Another issue may be if your frozen car speakers are thawing out but still don’t seem to be working right. The cold weather may have caused the wires or other components to become brittle and break.

In this case, you’ll need to consult a professional to get a closer look at the speakers and have them fixed.

In this article, I will show you how to thaw out your frozen speakers and get them working again. You also find some tips on how to prevent your speakers from freezing in the first place.

Can Car Speakers Be Stored in Cold?

Like any other electronic device, car speakers can be damaged by extreme cold.

If you must store your car speakers in a cold environment, ensure they are properly sealed so that moisture can’t get in. You can also try using a speaker cover or wrapping them in a thick cloth to insulate them from the cold.

can car speakers freeze

The problem is not leaving speakers in cold weather, but it is temperature cycling, which is an abrupt shift back and forth between extreme cold and hot, and when this happens, moisture can condense inside the speaker, causing it to freeze.

#1. When speakers heat up quickly, condensation or moisture can cause electrical short. A plastic covering is recommended, but ensure humid air is not trapped between the wrapping by squeezing out as much air as possible.

Either wrap carefully or allow unwrapped gear condensation to evaporate naturally before turning on to avoid a short circuit.

#2. Melting ice is another culprit, as it creates water condensation, and oxidation or corrosion can occur. If dried quickly, no harm may come to the speakers, but prolonged moisture is damaging.

#3. Cold speaker drivers may become brittle and resistant to bending or moving, causing cracking if the power is turned on, generating heat quickly within a cold speaker system.

#4. Air leaks stemming from cracks may affect sound responsiveness and power handling.

Ferrofluid is a magnetic viscous fluid used in tweeters, mid-range drivers, and woofers. The liquid is dispersed into the voice coil gap to cool the voice coil, thereby enhancing performance.

As the speaker sits in a freezing environment, the fluid will thicken, and the speaker may react sluggishly. Slowly warming up the speakers will prevent the issue.

Prevention

While cold is not bad, going from cold to warm may cause sweating, and as you know, electricity and moisture do not mix. Therefore, warm elements gradually before turning them on so there are no shorts.

In the cold, materials can contract and can crack.

The key is preparation by gradually increasing the baseline temperature by warming the car before turning on the audio. Subsequently, do not blast the speakers immediately; instead, turn the volume up progressively over a few minutes.

Take a look at this 3-minute video demonstrating how cold weather could harm speakers and how this music lover sidesteps the weather with a space heater.

Subwoofers are played at high volume at freezing temperatures. So, as you see, it can be done.

If unsure what your garage temperature is, purchase a Temp Stick Wireless Remote Temperature & Humidity Sensor. Then, you will always know what is going on, especially if you have an unheated garage.

There are many different models to choose from, but I prefer this one mainly because of the Bluetooth so that I can watch the temperature in the garage on my mobile phone.

Remote car starters are popular in cold climates, and they are straightforward to use. You need to press and hold a button to start the engine.

However, the engine will automatically shut off in 15 minutes for safety reasons. The Compustar CS4900-S Remote Start and Keyless Entry System is an excellent example and is available on Amazon.

Can Car Speakers Freeze?

On the whole, speakers do not freeze. Instead, the rapid transition from cold to an average temperature wreaks havoc and changes in moisture content.

Consequently, the components that make up the speakers may become damaged. Most metals, wires, paper speaker cones, or speaker magnets are not affected, but the following items are.

#1. The adhesive in speaker glue can be affected by cracking due to quick temperature changes. However, if warmed up slowly, it is not an issue.

#2. Foam, a material found in surrounds or cones, is also more easily damaged in a fast temperature fluctuation by becoming brittle and cracking with the temperature rise.

In addition, moisture on the foam could affect the sound and cause damage.

#3. Any material attached tightly by a substance that expands and contracts with the weather may be affected by cold, but it is unlikely since manufacturers test for extreme hot and cold temperatures.

You have to be aware that the moisture expands when it freezes, which can damage by splitting speaker parts. If suspicious, check for cracks and separations to determine if the temperature change has caused damage.

Carefully read technical documentation to prevent issues with the cold. 

For example, although popular BOSS Audio CH6920 (link to Amazon) are created to withstand “exposure to many types of weather fronts,” according to the advertisement, they contain rubber used to connect the cone to the basket. Therefore, proceed with caution in cold weather. 

Why Do Car Speakers Not Work in Cold?

Cold is not the problem, but it is more dangerous when you are blasting the volume when the speakers are cold.

If the voice coil is cold and a large amount of power runs through it, the inductance and the pole piece change, causing the speaker to operate outside acceptable operating parameters.

If surroundings are affected due to extreme cold, the cones will not move freely, causing a softer volume. An in-depth article on the website, Explain That Stuff explains how “speakers make sounds of different volume and frequency.”

Damage can occur in the cold if one motor structure part heats up faster than another. Or parts lose flexibility in the cold, and pushing the volume past the breaking point without warmup overworks the structure.

Once it’s warm, after 5 or 10 minutes, feel free to turn up the volume as loud as possible. 

Remember, temperature affects the speed of sound because it travels slower in cold environments. If your speakers sound different to you, calculate the Speed of Sound in the air with an online calculator from Georgia State University.

In the winter, lower humidity also affects the dynamic range of the sound. Lower humidity is better for acoustics, which is why sound doesn’t have the same characteristics when it’s raining

Manufacturers’ specifications identify an operating temperature range that works best for that particular speaker’s performance.

Sometimes, a storage temperature is indicated, but it is not likely to undergo damage even if stored outside that range.

Specifications are created to protect manufacturers from unusual circumstances that could hold them responsible for speaker performance errors. As a consumer, avoid significant fluctuations for the best performance.

How to Unfreeze Car Speakers?

If frozen, you must slowly and carefully thaw the speakers to prevent damage.

You cannot use an oven or any other heat source because it can destroy the glue and other materials. The process will be slow, but here are some tips:

#1. Use a hairdryer or a heat gun on a low setting and hold it about 6 inches from the speaker. Move it around, so you don’t overheat any one area.

#2. Place the speaker near a heat source, such as a radiator, but not too close.

#3. Once unfrozen, place them on paper towels and let them dry out completely before using them. If they were frozen for an extended period and damaged, you may need to replace them.

Check for moisture before using the speakers again. If frozen, the water expands and can cause cracks. You should examine any suspicious looking areas for damage.

If you must leave your car outside in cold weather, cover the speakers to prevent snow and ice from building up. A tarp or other type of coverage will work, but make sure it’s not airtight. You want to allow some circulation to prevent moisture build-up.

Frozen speakers are not the end of the world but can be prevented with a bit of care. Take the time to understand how cold weather affects your car audio system and take steps to protect it.

Do Speakers Need to Warm Up?

Frozen or not, your speakers need time to warm up. Warming up lets the moving parts become pliable and allows the system to achieve optimal performance.

If you have ever turned on a car audio system that sounded “off,” give it a few minutes to warm up. The same applies to frozen speakers. Once they have thawed and dried out, give them time to adjust to the new temperature.

Using a frozen speaker can be destructive because the frozen glue can break apart, and the metal can warp.

Loud popping sounds are an indication that this is happening. If you hear this, turn off the system immediately and do not try to use it until the speakers have thawed and dried out completely.

How to Prevent Car Speakers From Being Frozen?

If you want to prevent your speakers from freezing issues, you can do a few things.

#1. Keep them dry. Make sure they’re properly sealed so that moisture can’t get in.

#2. Try using a speaker cover or keeping them in a room temperature-controlled environment.

#3. For speakers installed in a car, use gaskets or other materials to help insulate them from the cold.

With some care, you can keep your speakers functioning correctly during winter months.

Conclusion

Manufacturers sometimes test their products in harsh conditions, display the information on their specification sheets, and recommend keeping speakers within that range to extend life.

The speakers’ elements will most likely break due to moisture or quickly heating cold speakers.

Consequently, prevention is the key to extending your speakers’ lives and continuing to get the best audio quality.

By paying attention to your environment and a little patience when powering up cold speakers, you will be pleased with your audio, no matter the outside temperature.