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Why Does the Car Amp Turn off When the Bass Hits?

When you’re driving, and the bass hits, does your car amp turn off? If so, you’re not alone.

Many drivers find their car amps turning off when the bass gets too loud. But why does this happen, and is there anything you can do about it? Let’s find out.

There are four leading causes of the car amplifiers shut off due to heavy bass:

#1. The car’s battery can’t handle the power

#2. The car’s alternator can’t keep up with the current demand

#3. The subwoofer overloads the amplifier

#4. Wiring problems

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Tip: When the subwoofer’s power exceeds the amplifier’s ability to produce enough power, you do not have much choice but to reduce volume levels to avoid damage.

However, if you want to continue listening to the loud bass, you may need to replace the amplifier with a stronger one or add either a second battery or the capacitor to the car audio system (links to Amazon).

Replacing the amplifier may seem the easiest, but it will not increase the power storage, so the solution is personal and depends on the specific case.

In the article below, I will detail how to deal with the issues when the car amplifiers shut off.

Causes for Car Amplifier to Shut Down After Bass Hits

It does not happen often, but when it does, the first thought is that something has been damaged.

Well, not necessarily, because there are several reasons for car amplifiers to turn off by themselves:

#1. The Car’s Battery Can’t Handle the Power

The car’s battery may not be able to provide enough power to keep the amplifier running when the bass hits. As a result, the amplifier will turn off to protect itself from damage.

This is because the bass tones require much more power than other frequencies, and you will most likely not see the same effect with the speakers.

Optima Batteries OPT8022-091 8022-091 75/25 RedTop Starting Battery

You can solve this problem by making sure your car battery is in good condition and by using a car audio battery with a higher amp hour rating.

Sometimes, you may need to add a second battery to your vehicle or install a capacitor. This will provide the amplifier with the power it needs to stay on, even when the bass is pounding.

Especially if you notice that the headlights are dimming while the bass hits, you should consider adding the capacitor.

#2. The Car’s Alternator Can’t Keep Up With the Demand

The car’s alternator may not be able to keep up with the demand from the amplifier when the bass hits, and here again, the amplifier will turn off to protect itself from damage.

In this case, you’ll need to upgrade your car’s alternator to a higher capacity one that can charge a battery and provide extra amperage for the strong amplifiers.

Most popular among car audio enthusiasts are Mechman alternators (link to Amazon), which are fully designated for specific car models, so their installation is straightforward.

Mechman Alternators Alternator, E-Series Billet, 370 amp, 12V, 1-Wire, 6 Rib Serpentine Pulley, Black Anodize, GM Fullsize Truck 2007-08, Each (B8302370B)

#3. Subwoofer Overloads the Amplifier

The subwoofer may be drawing too much power from the amplifier when the bass hits, especially when it has lower than the amplifier impedance. 

As a result, because of the overheating, the amplifier will turn off to protect itself from damage.

If this is the case, you’ll also need to upgrade your car’s amp to a stronger one.

#4. Wiring Problems

Another reason why car amplifiers may turn off is due to wiring problems. 

If the wires are not thick enough or not correctly connected to the battery, it can cause the amplifier to turn off.

Check all the connections and ensure they are tight and secure, especially the ground connection with the chassis that often become loose from the vibrations.

#5. Incorrect Equalizer Settings.

It’s also possible that your car stereo’s equalizer settings are causing the problem.

If the bass is set too high, it can cause the amp to shut off. You can try lowering the bass level on your car stereo’s equalizer to see if that fixes the problem.

What Does It Mean That Amplifier Has Turned Off?

When an amplifier turns off, it is called “protect mode.” This failsafe mode kicks in when the amplifier gets too hot, or there’s insufficient power to keep it running.

In protected mode, the amplifier will shut down to prevent damage. In most cases, the amplifier will turn back on automatically when it cools down or when the power issue is resolved.

However, in some cases, the amplifier may need to be reset manually. To do this, you’ll need to find the “reset” button on the amplifier and press it or completely disconnect it from the battery for a minimum of 20 seconds.

If the amplifier still won’t turn on, it may be damaged and need to be repaired or replaced.

How Can You Prevent Car Amplifiers From Shutting Off?

There are a few things you can do to prevent car amplifiers from shutting off:

#1. Make sure your car battery is in good condition.

#2. Use a car audio battery with a higher amp hour rating.

#3. Add a capacitor to your car audio system.

#4. Upgrade your car’s alternator to a higher capacity one.

#5. Upgrade your car’s amp to a stronger one.

#6. Check all the connections and make sure they are tight and secure.

#7. Lower the bass level on your car stereo’s equalizer.

Following these tips can help prevent car amplifiers from shutting off.

What to Check When Car Amplifier Turns Itself Off

After the amp stops working, you need to investigate the reasons, but where to start? Below I listed a few car troubleshooting tips.

#1. Check the Car Battery.

A weak car battery may cause a car amplifier that shuts off due to bass hits. To check the car battery, use a voltmeter to measure the voltage at the car battery terminals.

#2. Check the Car Amplifier’s Power Supply.

A faulty power supply can also cause the car amp to shut off. To check the car amplifier’s power supply, check the voltage at the car amplifier’s power terminals.

#3. Check the Car Amplifier’s Ground Connection.

Another thing you have to check is the ground connection. To inspect the car amplifier’s ground connection, use a multimeter to check the voltage drop between the amp’s negative terminal and the battery’s negative terminal.

#4. Check the Amp’s Fuse.

A blown fuse may also cause a car amplifier that shuts off due to bass hits, so make sure you use the fuse of the right size and high-quality power wires.

For all the cases when you measure the voltage, and it is showing at 12V or below, the car power supply has a problem, and you should closely investigate either battery or alternator.

Is Amplifier Damaged After It Shuts Off?

If the car amplifier shuts off due to bass hits, it may be internally damaged, although it is rare.

To check if the car amplifier is damaged, use a multimeter to measure the resistance of the car amplifier’s power terminals.

For example, if you measure the resistance between both terminals and find it infinite, the car amplifier is damaged and needs to be replaced.

Conclusion

A car amplifier that shuts off due to bass hits may be caused by a weak car battery, a faulty power supply, a poor ground connection, loose speaker connections, or a blown fuse.

To troubleshoot the problem, use a voltmeter to measure the voltage at the car battery terminals, the car amplifier’s power terminals, the car amplifier’s ground terminal, the car amplifier’s speaker terminals, and the car amplifier’s fuse terminals.

If the voltage is below 12 volts, the car power supply has a problem, and you should investigate the battery and the alternator.

To prevent the car amplifier from shutting off due to bass hits, make sure that the car battery is in good condition and also it has a good connection with the fully functional alternator.