Have you ever noticed that your car speakers stop working after it rains? Sound familiar? Having wet speakers is one of the common issues, but there are a few common reasons why it happens.
Car speakers do not work after rain because the moisture from the rain can cause the speakers to short circuit. The humidity can also damage the speakers by rusting them or causing them to mildew. So if your speakers are exposed to rain or high humidity, they will eventually stop working.
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Tip: One of the best ways to protect speakers from direct contact with water is to install waterproof speaker baffles (link to Amazon) between the door speaker and the mounting surface.
The gaskets cover the back of the speakers and not only protect them from the dripping water but also act like a small enclosure, which improves the sound quality.
In this article, I will detail why car speakers don’t work after rain and give you some tips on how to get them working again.
Why Do Car Speakers Stop Working When It Rains?
Car speakers often stop working after rain when raindrops enter the car door and the speaker magnets or terminals.
The moisture from the rain can cause the speakers to short circuit, especially if the positive and negative speaker terminals are close to each other or the speaker wire is damaged.
This issue is common when the water comes in contact with the speakers’ inner parts, like the magnet or the voice coil.
Although those elements are covered in the speakers, the standard and especially old speakers are not waterproof, which means they do not have a sealed basket.
The moisture can also damage the speakers by rusting them or causing them to mildew, and both cases are risky. Rust on the metal parts or the connectors can cause electrical problems like a short circuit or reduced current flow, and in effect, the connections or the speaker will start overheating.
Mildew however, can damage the speakers by clogging them or ruining the cone. This is especially risky for speakers with paper cones without a protective coating.
If you live in an area with high humidity, like on the coast, or if you often drive in the rain or worse during a rain storm. In those conditions, any parts of the car audio system, including speakers, are at a higher risk of being damaged by mildew.
What to Do When Car Speakers Not Working After Rain?
If your speakers stop working after it rains, you should first check the door speaker terminals and ensure they are not wet or corroded. If they are, you will need to clean them off with a dry cloth.
Next, check the speaker wires for any signs of damage. If the cables are frayed or broken, they need to be replaced.
Look closely at the tight corners in the door panel. In those places, speaker wires can get damaged quickly due to constant movements during opening and closing doors.
Although most new cars have thick rubber protectors, in many older vehicles, speaker wires may be in bad condition, so it is time to replace them.
If the terminals and wires are in good condition, the issue is likely caused by water damage to the speakers. In this case, you must remove the speakers and let them dry out completely before using them again.
If your speakers are damaged by mildew, you may be able to clean them off with a mixture of water and vinegar. However, if the damage is severe, you will need to buy new speakers, but first, let them dry and then measure using a multimeter.
Can Wet Car Speakers Get Damaged?
In most cases, when speakers stop working due to a short circuit, they will be fine after drying the terminals. However, if they have constant contact with moisture for a long time, it can severely damage the speakers.
The water can cause the speakers to rust from the inside, which may lead to a permanent malfunction. Also, water entering the voice coil area can damage it and ruin the speaker.
You need to use a multimeter (link to Amazon) to check if your speakers are still working properly after they get wet. Next, place the speakers on a flat surface and remove the wires from the terminals.
Now, using the multimeter, set it to ohms and check if there is any continuity between the positive and negative terminals.
If there is no continuity or the multimeter shows infinite resistance, your speakers are damaged, and you will need to replace them.
Although even if the speakers can have correct resistance and look ok, check closely mechanical damages to the soft parts like a speaker cone, suspension, and the surroundings.
Those parts are sensitive to water and can easily be warped or torn, especially those made of paper or thin, soft rubber.
How to Fix Wet Car Speakers?
When the speakers get wet, you have to make a few simple steps to fix them and not damage the car’s electrical system at the same time:
#1. Disconnect the Car Battery
The first step is disconnecting the car battery to prevent any electrical problems. This simple precautionary measure will save you time and money in the long run.
#2. Disconnect the Car Battery
In most cases, to get easier access to the speakers, you need to unscrew and remove the protective grills from door panels, but in some vehicles, you have to disassemble the entire door frame.
#3. Dry the Speaker
Use a hairdryer to dry off the speaker. If you don’t have a hairdryer, the good idea is to use a clean towel to wipe away any water but do not use paper towels.
#4. Disconnect the Speaker Wires
Remove the wires from the speaker terminals and inspect them for any damage. If they are damaged, you will need to install new cables.
#5. Clean the Magnet and Speaker Terminals
Use a towel to wipe the magnet and speaker terminals clean. This will prevent rust damage and corrosion.
#6. Inspect the Speakers for Any Water Damage
If there is any visible water damage on the electrical connections or magnet, you must measure the speaker for impedance and voltage drop.
If, after measurement, there is internal damage, you may need to replace the speakers.
#7. Reconnect the Speakers and Test Them
Reconnect the speakers to the wires and test them to see if they are working correctly. If not, you may need to replace the speakers.
#8. Reinstall the Speakers
Once the speakers are dry and working properly, reinstall them in the car.
Of course, every case is unique, and rain effects on the car speakers can be different, but following the above points will allow you to quickly fix the wet speakers and identify any possible further steps.
How to Prevent Car Speakers From Getting Wet?
Preventing your speakers from getting wet in the first place is the best way to protect them.
When it rains, try to avoid driving through puddles of water, and if you must drive through them, go slowly to minimize the amount of water that splashes up on your car.
More importantly, check drain holes in your door to ensure they are not blocked and moisture can escape.
If you live in an area prone to flooding, consider installing waterproof speaker baffles (link to Amazon) for your speakers or even waterproof speakers. The covers protect your speakers from the elements and keep them working properly for years.
Waterproof speaker baffles are made from various materials, including PVC, neoprene, and nylon. They are easy to install and available in multiple sizes to fit most speakers.
If you want the ultimate protection, waterproof or marine speakers are the way to go. These speakers are designed to withstand the elements and keep your music playing regardless of the weather.
Waterproof speakers are available in various styles and sizes to fit your specific needs and are easy to install.
My favorite waterproof speakers are Polk Audio from the MM1 series (link to Amazon).
They are a newer model to the classic DB series and have much better water protection and sealing. They also have a broader frequency response and can handle more power, so I recommend using an amplifier even for the smallest 5.25″ with 80W RMS.
No matter what type of speakers you have, taking a few simple precautions will go a long way towards protecting them from the elements and keeping them working properly for years to come.
Car speakers can stop working after rain for many reasons. The most common issue is water leaking into the speakers and damaging the electrical connections or magnet, which can affect the entire car audio system.
In some cases, the speakers may need to be dried out, but in other cases, they may need to be replaced.
Taking a few simple precautions, such as installing waterproof speaker baffles or covers, can help protect your speakers from the elements and keep them working correctly.
If your door speakers have been damaged by water even after driving through a car wash, the best action is to take them to a professional to have them checked and repaired or replaced.
With proper care and maintenance, your speakers should last for many years.