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Why Does My Car Subwoofer Make a Popping Noise?

Car subwoofers put the music experience to another level, but only when functioning correctly. Unfortunately, we sometimes hear strange popping noises coming out of the subwoofer and wonder if the subwoofer is still working OK.

But why do car subwoofers make a popping noise? Let’s find out.

There are several reasons that may be the source of the popping noise in car subwoofers:

#1. A bad or loose connection between the subwoofer and amplifier

#2. A problem with the car stereo receiver or RCA connection between the radio and the amplifier

#3. The subwoofer itself is damaged 

#4. The settings on the car stereo are incorrect 

#5. Too much power is being sent to the subwoofer

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Tip: If your car subwoofer is making a popping noise, the first thing you should check is the connections. Make sure all the cables are plugged in securely and that there is no loose wiring.

If the problem persists, it’s time to look at the car stereo settings. First, check the bass boost and volume levels to ensure they are not set too high. If they are, turn them down and see if the popping noise goes away.

If adjusting the car stereo settings doesn’t fix the problem, the subwoofer itself may be damaged. In this case, you will need to replace the subwoofer or have it repaired by a professional.

In the article below, I will go into more detail about each of these potential causes of car subwoofer popping noise.

What Is a Popping Noise?

A popping noise is a sound created by the subwoofer when the bass is turned up too loud.

The subwoofer may also make a popping noise if the enclosure is not sealed properly, allowing air to escape and causing the subwoofer to make a popping noise.

A popping noise is a sound that often occurs when there is a bad or loose connection between the subwoofer and amplifier. This can happen if the wires are not securely connected or if they are damaged.

The popping noise can also be caused by a problem with the car stereo receiver or RCA connection between the radio and the amplifier.

For example, if the car stereo is not receiving enough power, it can cause the subwoofer to make a popping noise.

Where Does the Popping Noise Come From?

The popping noise comes from the subwoofer itself, but this is the audible effect of the voice coil movements.

When the bass is turned up too loud, the subwoofer may make a popping noise even when not playing.

What Causes Car Subwoofers to Make a Popping Noise?

Generally, subwoofers make popping noises because of squared waveforms, incorrect cone signals, or overpowered setups.

The distorted sounds often indicate a mismatch between the input and output based on the speaker’s specs.

There are several other potential causes for car subwoofers to make a popping noise:

#1. A bad or loose connection between the subwoofer and amplifier. This occurs when the wires are not connected properly or if they are damaged. Loose wiring can also cause popping noises.

#2. A problem with the car stereo receiver or RCA connection between the radio and amplifier. This can happen if the connections are loose or the RCA wires are damaged.

#3. The subwoofer itself is damaged. Especially if the voice coil is burned out or if the enclosure is not sealed properly.

#4. The settings on the car stereo are incorrect. When the bass boost or volume levels are set too high, there is a high risk that the amplified signal sent to the subwoofer will make it pop.

#5. Too much power is being sent to the subwoofer. This can be caused by an amplifier being too powerful for the subwoofer or when it has a gain set too high.

#6. Overheating of the amplifier or receiver. If the car stereo receiver or amplifier gets too hot, it can cause the subwoofer to make a popping noise.

Also, a clipping amplifier could send distorted signals to the subwoofer, causing it to pop.

How to Fix a Car Subwoofer That Makes a Popping Noise?

Follow the few steps below to troubleshoot this issue.

#1. Turn off the stereo receiver.

#2. Ensure the speaker wires are correctly connected to the subwoofer and amplifier terminals.

#3. Turn off electronic devices that may be interfering with the subwoofer.

#4. Move the subwoofer speaker wires away from any signal or power wires.

#5. If the issue is still unresolved, reset the stereo to the factory default settings.

NOTE: Consult the instruction manual of the car radio for reset instructions.

#6. Try replacing the subwoofer and the signal RCQ wires.

NOTE: If the problem is eliminated when different wires are used, the issue is with the original cables. If the problem is not eliminated, there is an issue with the receiver or amplifier.

One thing you may need to check is to adjust the gain control on the amplifier in conjunction with the bass level control in the radio and/or amplifier.

You may find a combination of settings that will maintain correct bass levels while reducing the annoying “pop” sounds.

How to Prevent Car Subwoofers From Making a Popping Noise?

There are a few things you can do to prevent car subwoofers from making popping noises:

#1. Use good quality speaker wire.

#2. Make sure the connections are tight and secure.

#3. Use an amplifier with enough power to drive the subwoofer properly.

#4. Make sure the subwoofer is correctly seated in the enclosure.

#5. Use a subwoofer that is not too powerful for the size of the enclosure.

#6. Make sure the enclosure is sealed correctly so that no air can escape.

FAQ

Why Is My Car Subwoofer Popping?

There are several reasons why your car subwoofer is popping:

#1. A loose or damaged connection

#2. Incorrect settings on the car stereo

#3. Too much power is being sent to the subwoofer.

Why Do My Subs Pop When I Turn My Car Off?

When turning the car off, a popping sound can happen when the radio or DSP is shutting off before the amplifier turns off.

This is because the DC offset disappears, causing a pop as it takes a fraction of the second for the amplifier to shut down once its remote wire loses power.

DC offsets are limited in most cheap amplifiers.

Why Does My Car Amplifier Make a Popping Noise When I Turn It On?

Turn-on pops are normal, but if they are more audible, the turn-on delay on the amplifier is not long enough.

Why Do Subwoofers Pop at Low Volume?

Subwoofers make pop sounds at a low volume when the amplifier does not mute all signals coming through pre-out jacks.

How Do You Fix a Popping Subwoofer?

To fix a popping subwoofer, you will need to troubleshoot the problem and determine which of these is causing the popping noise:

#1. A loose or damaged connection

#2. Incorrect settings on the car stereo

#3. Too much power is being sent to the subwoofer.

Once you have determined the cause, you can take steps to prevent it from happening again in the future.

What Does Blown Subwoofer Sound Like?

A blown subwoofer sounds like a thumping or popping sound, usually at high volumes.

Additionally, the sound may be distorted and muffled, especially when using a DVC (dual voice coil subwoofer) with only one coil working. 

Finally, there may be a rattling noise coming from the subwoofer itself.

How Do I Stop My Car Subs From Popping?

There are a few things you can do to prevent car subwoofers from making popping noises:

#1. use good quality speaker wire

#2. make sure the connections are tight and secure

#3. use an amplifier with enough power to drive the subwoofer properly

#4. Make sure the subwoofer is correctly seated in the enclosure.

Is It Worth Repairing a Subwoofer?

The decision about repairing a car subwoofer depends on the problem and the cost of repair.

If the problem is simple, such as a loose connection or damaged cone, it may be worth repairing the subwoofer.

However, if the problem is more serious, such as a blown speaker or a problem with the voice coil, it may be better to replace the subwoofer.

One thing to note is that repairing a subwoofer can be expensive, so you may want to consider whether it is worth the cost when compared to the price of the new subwoofer.

Conclusion

If your car subwoofer is making a popping noise, it is most likely due to one of the following reasons:

#1. A loose or damaged connection

#2. Incorrect settings on the car stereo

#3. Too much power is being sent to the subwoofer

To fix this issue, you will need to troubleshoot the problem and determine which of these is causing the popping noise.

Once you have determined the cause, you can take steps to prevent it from happening again in the future.