Have you ever wondered how long your car speaker will last? Sure, you may think that it’s a product meant to last a lifetime, but the reality is that after years of use, your car speaker will deteriorate.
You might find yourself replacing your car speaker sooner than you expected, but how long do car speakers last? Let’s find out.
Generally, car speakers can last anywhere from 10 to 25 years depending on several factors such as the manufacturer, the type, the quality, the frequency of usage, their maintenance, the materials they are made of, and the environmental conditions of where they are used.
As an Amazon Associate, ImproveCarAudio will receive a small commission from qualifying purchases made through the links in this article.
Tip: It is worth remembering that car speakers are different from home or office speakers because they can withstand excessive heat, sunlight, rain, and humidity.
Especially if you drive a convertible or off-roader where speakers are forced to deal with direct sun, high humidity, or dust, it is worth investing in the better quality outdoor or marine speakers.
A great example of the external car speakers are Polk Audio MM1 series with heavy-duty protective grills.
In this article, I will look at how long car speakers can last, some of the reasons why car speakers deteriorate over time, and how you can prevent this from happening in your vehicle.
How Long Do Car Speakers Last?
Car speakers can last anywhere from 10 to 25 years, but it will depend on how much you use your car and in which conditions, how much you care for your vehicle, and other factors.
Truck drivers, for example, maybe push their speakers harder than someone who’s only driving for an hour or two on the weekend.
In any case, there are a lot of different factors to consider when determining how long your car speakers will last.
Here are some of those factors:
Frequency of Usage
The more you use the speakers in your car, the more they wear. However, if you only use your speakers rarely, you’ll get a lot more mileage out of them before they fail.
Speakers exposed to excessive heat or rain will not last as long as those kept in dry and colder places.
- Excessive heat can warp your car’s speakers, which will cause them to crack or even explode. The speakers are made of plastic and metal, so they are susceptible to high temperatures.
- Even if it doesn’t last too long, rain can pool up on your speakers, causing corrosion and rusting, especially for speakers installed in the door. This deteriorates the outer casing and reduces sound quality, causing in some cases, complete failure of the speaker system.
The Age of Your Car
Car’s age will also factor into how long your speakers last. Newer cars have better built-in systems than older ones because car companies have become more aware of sound quality in recent years.
They have also reduced the size of their speakers because smaller speakers take up less room and therefore produce better sound quality.
Playing at High Volume
Car speakers can be damaged by playing the volume too loud and burning out the speaker. Also, playing music too loudly over time will damage the cones and cause them to become distorted.
This is not only bad for the speakers, but it makes your car stereo sound terrible as well, so try to play music at a moderate level.
Don’t turn it up too loud because that could damage your car speakers right away.
Car speakers are known to last for at least several years, so long as the vehicle is well taken care of and have been given proper maintenance.
There are many different car speakers brands available on the market today, which means that some manufacturers have higher standards than others regarding quality control.
A speaker from a reputable manufacturer made from stronger materials will last much longer than one from an unknown source.
If you install your car speaker without properly fastening it into place (with grommets or speaker clips), it can move around in your vehicle. Unfortunately, this can damage the speaker and shorten its lifespan significantly.
It’s also important to make sure that all wiring connections are secure and won’t come loose over time.
How to Extend the Life of Your Car Speaker?
Car speakers are a common sight in vehicles today, with many cars having excellent audio systems. However, these speakers can only continue to perform well if they are looked after properly.
It is important to remember that car speakers are different from home or office speakers because they can withstand excessive heat, sunlight, rain, and humidity.
To extend the life of your car speaker, you can do a few things:
Keep The Speakers Clean
This is probably the most important part. If you want to get the longest possible life out of your speakers, then you should try to keep them free from dust and dirt as much as possible.
Every time you use your speakers, this dirt and dust will slowly find their way into the speaker and can damage it over time.
Do Not Use the Maximum Volume
Speakers are designed to be pushed, and they need to be pushed to work at their best.
However, you never want to push them so hard that they blow or crack. You also don’t want to push them so hard that they start sounding like they’re about to blow or crack because this could cause permanent damage that leads to future issues.
Treat the Speaker With Care
Avoid touching the speaker cone as it can cause damage. Also, do not place any object on the woofer as it can damage the cone and distort sound quality.
Use a Protective Cover
Car speaker covers are made of fabric that is used to protect your speaker from getting damaged when not in use, especially if you have pets in your home.
Such covers also work as insulation against cold and heat, which can cause irreparable damage to your speaker.
Protects Against Extreme Temperature
Extreme cold or heat can seriously affect your car speaker’s performance. It will distort sound quality and even cause permanent damage to it over time.
Protecting your car audio equipment against these elements will extend its life significantly.
What Causes Speakers To Deteriorate?
While many people can enjoy the sound of the car speakers for the duration of their ownership of the car, many find that after a few years, the sound quality begins to diminish.
Various things can cause speakers to deteriorate over time. Below are a few internal and some are external factors.
The way your speakers sound depends on a few different factors: the speaker cones, the strength of the magnets, and the voice coil. When one or more of these components begin to deteriorate, you will notice a drop in sound quality.
For your speakers to produce their best sound, all the parts must be functioning properly.
The strength of the magnets will determine how loud your speaker can go without distorting.
When a magnet becomes weaker over time, it cannot produce as much sound before it begins to distort.
When the speaker cones begin to deteriorate, you will notice a decrease in volume and an overall “muddy” sound from your speakers.
If you are experiencing this problem and want to restore the sound quality of your speakers, there are ways to do so.
A speaker’s voice coil will deteriorate over time if it is asked to move beyond its linear range multiple times.
This creates friction between the coil and the surrounding parts of the speaker, which causes microscopic damage.
The more this happens, the more the separation between these parts increases, making it harder for current to flow through the coil, which means less sound output.
Some of the external factors responsible for speaker deterioration include:
- Exposure to high levels of humidity or moisture.
- Failure to use the speaker in an ideal setting with adequate amplification and power.
- Incorrect installation or placement in relation to the listening area.
- Overloading the speaker with too much wattage causes it to blow out.
- Failure to protect the speaker from mechanical damage (excessive handling, dropping, or jolting).
- Exposure to extreme weather conditions, such as excessive heat, cold, or humidity.
- Speaker is subjected to electrical interference generated by power wires or other electrical equipment in the car.
- Internal dust formed due to various contaminants present in the air, such as ashes, spots, cigarettes, smoke, or even improper vehicle storage. Internal dust may be found on the speaker cones, voice coils, or spiders.
- Oxidation of electrical components upon contact with oxygen from the air. The process is constant and is especially noticeable for high-current components such as voice coils and magnet assemblies.
How Long Do Car Speakers Last: Active Vs. Passive Speakers
There are two different types of speaker design: active and passive. Understanding the difference between these two designs is important for selecting the best speakers for your particular application.
A passive speaker is a type of speaker that requires an external amplifier, power supply, and equalizer to produce sound.
Passive speakers are usually much larger than active speakers. They have an external crossover network that splits the audio signal into low and high frequencies, which are then sent to the subwoofer and tweeter, respectively.
On the other hand, active speakers have built-in (internal) amplifiers, pre-amplifiers, and crossover circuits. Active speakers can also accept digital audio signals from a preamp or a sound processor. Although not often used in cars, some models are even capable of taking digital signals from a computer via USB.
The amount of time a passive speaker will last depends on the frequency at which it operates. Low-frequency sounds produce more power than high-frequency sounds, so lower frequencies will damage a passive speaker faster than high frequencies will.
Some manufacturers recommend replacing passive speakers every five years if used frequently.
The lifespan of an active speaker depends entirely on how it’s used. The amp inside an active speaker produces heat when it’s running at full capacity, and some manufacturers recommend replacing passive speakers every five years if used frequently.
This can shorten its lifespan if the thermal management system isn’t properly designed or maintained. For this reason, active speakers typically have a shorter lifespan than passive speakers.
Passive speakers last longer than active speakers because they don’t have moving parts that can wear out over time. Another reason why passive speakers last longer is because they use an integrated circuit (IC) to amplify the sound, while active speakers use transistors.
If maintained well and kept in good conditions, passive speakers can last from 15 to 25 years, while active speakers can last from 10 to 20 years.
What Should You Look For When Buying Car Speakers
When buying car speakers, you should be looking at several things to make sure that you are purchasing quality and long-lasting car speakers.
Below are some helpful tips on how to select the right car speakers for your vehicle:
- The first thing to look for when buying car speakers is wattage. This is how much power the speakers have over them, but remember to look at the RMS continuous power, not the peak. You want to make sure you have enough power for your car stereo otherwise, you’ll blow out your speakers. A good rule of thumb is that the higher the rating, the louder you’ll be able to play your music on that speaker. For example, if you have two 10-inch speakers with a 90-watt power handling ability per channel and one has only a 60-watt power handling ability per channel, you could turn up the volume on the 90-watt unit more than with the 60-watt ones without distorting your music.
- The second thing to look at is the RMS value and how many watts that puts out, and this tells how loud the speakers will play. If you want your car speakers to sound good and last a long time, go with an aftermarket set of speakers that can at least handle 60 watts RMS.
- The third is the frequency response range. Car speakers are measured by their frequency response range in Hertz (Hz). The frequency response range indicates how low and high a speaker will play at maximum volume, so if you need a good bass and do not have a subwoofer, go for speakers with the lowest frequency starting not higher than 40Hz.
- The fourth is Impedance. The speaker’s Impedance is the electrical resistance produced by speakers to maintain a steady flow of current to achieve maximum volume and clarity.
- The fifth is the speaker size. The size of the speaker that you buy should always be based on the size of space that it will be required to fill. Although it is physically possible to install different speaker sizes after some car’s modification, you do not want to purchase a large set of speakers if you have a small space available, or vice versa.
Car speakers are durable, but there’s a limit to how long they’ll last. After all, they are constantly exposed to heat, moisture, and dust that can accelerate the way they wear out.
Some other factors such as quality of material used for the car speaker, type of theatre system fitted in the car, power supply to car speakers, installation quality, and materials used will also affect the lifespan of the car speaker.