Installing a car audio system in your can be an excellent way to increase the value of your car, or even to improve your driving experience. There is nothing quite like a good audio system in a good car.
Installing a car audio system can be a challenge, and the biggest unknown is always the cost. This leads many people to ask, how much does it cost to install car audio?
As a general rule, the cost to install car audio is around $400, and it is enough to replace a car radio and speakers. With a budget of $1100, you can further improve car audio by adding an amplifier and subwoofers. This also includes installation costs if you decide to hire a professional.
As an Amazon Associate, ImproveCarAudio will receive a small commission from qualifying purchases made through the links in this article.
Tip: Prices of car audio elements vary depending on their quality, and when you are on a budget, it is worth considering Harmony Audio HC-CMB65. Although they are not of the best quality, they are definitely better than the majority of the factory-installed speakers.
Below I show you my best picks. These are items that I have been using for a long time and would not consider anything else:
Car Speakers: Focal 165AS that I have used for years and simply love the incredible high tones.
Car Radio: Because of its quality, and I am particularly pleased with Pioneer AVH-W4400NEX.
Car Amplifier: The best audio effects I am getting from the four-channel Audio Control LC-4.800.
Car audio upgrades can be costly. You should build the system to make the best of your budget; rather than breaking the bank, purchase the best hardware you can find.
Let’s take a deep dive into how much it costs to upgrade car audio.
How Much Should I Spend on a Car Audio?
Car audio sound systems come in very varied price ranges. You can spend $400 on a car audio system, or you can pay $20 000 on a system.
How much you should send on a car audio sound system depends on what you want from the system and how much money you have to spend on the system.
The truth of the matter is that you do not have to use your entire life’s savings to install a decent audio system in your car. It is possible to build a proper audio system specifically designed for your vehicle for relatively little cost.
The amount you spend on your car audio system will depend on how much you have to pay, the type of components you want to use, the quality of the audio systems’ components, the size of the sound system, and the car you install it in.
Having the sound system professionally installed is a factor; unless you know how to install it all correctly yourself, you will need someone to help you, which increases the cost.
To put a figure on it, a decent sound system that includes a head unit, speakers, one subwoofer, and an amplifier will cost a minimum of $400.
A sound system in this price range is not a top-of-the-line system, but it will do well for a mid-range system. Spending less than $400 will not get you anything decent unless you look at the second-hand market.
Spending more will increase the quality of the system. If you have already paid $400, increasing the budget even slightly will drastically improve the system’s quality.
A budget of $600 will be enough for a good system for any car, and if you are willing to spend $1000, you will be able to build a system that will serve you well for many years without needing to be upgraded at all.
A $1000 – $1100 budget for a car audio system will allow you to purchase 4 – 6 good quality component speakers, a head unit with plenty of features, including mobile smartphone connectivity, a decent amplifier, and a good subwoofer.
The type of system and its components also play a role in how much the system will cost. For example, component speakers cost more than coaxial speakers.
If you use coaxial speakers in your system, you may be able to half the amount you need to spend on car audio. Still, it will be more of a challenge to build a high-quality, customized audio system using these speakers, and they do not usually sound as good as component speakers.
At the end of it, the amount you spend determines the system’s quality, but you do need to spend more than $400 – $1100 on an excellent car audio system.
How Much Does It Cost to Have a Car Audio System Installed?
If you are not experienced with installing audio systems in vehicles, simply watching a video online will probably not be enough to teach you how to do it properly.
When designing your car audio system, it is a good idea to factor in the cost of having the system installed. There is no point in having a high-tech audio system in your car if it only half works because you could not install it correctly.
Unfortunately, the installation fees associated with having a car audio system installed can be one of the most considerable costs of the entire system.
The cost of installing a car audio system will vary depending on the size of the system, the type of used components, the type of speakers in the system, the vehicle type in which you want to make an upgrade, and even where you are in the world.
For example, the installation fees in New York City are higher than almost any other city. The cost will be increased if the system uses component speakers rather than coaxial speakers. Every extra part of the system raises the price. If the system has two subwoofers, it will cost more to install than a system with one subwoofer.
The tech specifications of the system will also play a role in how expensive the system is to install. If the car radio is an overly complicated, mechanized, touch screen tablet with non-universal connectors, the technician who installs it will have to work harder to get it in. Therefore, the fee will increase.
There are plenty of technicians willing to work for lower fees, but using them can be a gamble. As with every other aspect of car audio, you get what you pay for.
That being said, the installation fee for a car audio system is charged per component of the system and charged as labor fees.
All in, the installation fee for an average car audio system fitted in a normal car, done by an everyday technician, will cost on average $295 for the entire installation.
This price will vary based on the system, the vehicle, and where you are in the world, but this is an excellent baseline to factor into the total cost of your system.
How Much Does It Cost to Install Subwoofers and an Amp in a Car?
The subwoofer and amplifier are some of the most crucial components of a car audio system. The sub is the heart of the system, and the amp is the powerhouse. They are vital for any decent system.
These two components are integral in a car audio system, but they are also two of the most challenging components to install correctly.
If an amplifier is not installed correctly, the entire system may not function, or it may even cause damage. To be sure that the amp and the sub are correctly installed in your system, it is a good idea to have them put in by someone who knows what they are doing.
Car audio technicians charge per component that they install, and unfortunately, due to the complexity and importance of installing them, subwoofers and amplifiers are among the most expensive components to install.
The installation of an amplifier can cost anywhere from $120 – $130. This fee is worth paying as if the amplifier is installed incorrectly, the entire audio system in your car could be in jeopardy.
A subwoofer installation usually costs around $100, and this is usually because the sub is often heavy, big, and installed in hard-to-reach places within the vehicle. More labor goes into installing a subwoofer, so it costs more to do it well.
The installation fees of amplifiers and subwoofers vary depending on the size and type of the components. Noteworthy is also the type of vehicle they are being installed in and the complexity of the audio system.
How Much Does Car Audio Installation Cost by Professionals?
In general, professional car audio technicians around $630 – $700 around for installing an entire sound system.
This cost depends on the specific system and its components, but in any case, a professional installer will be more expensive than a neighbor who has installed a system once.
The high fee is not for nothing. Professional techs have often studied electrical engineering and audio engineering. They understand precisely how audio systems and their components work.
Their skill and experience mean that they do not only install the system, but as part of the service, they will also correctly set the system up for you, as they know exactly how to coax the best quality sound of the system that they just installed.
It is well worth it to seek the skill of a professional to install your car audio system. They will do a much better job, and they will be able to teach you how to properly use all of the features and aspects of the system in your car, even if they do charge a bit more than other technicians.
Not all car audio technicians are equal. There is a big difference between an everyday tech and a high-end professional technician.
This is an important distinction to make in-car audio. If you spend the time, money, and effort to design and purchase your perfect system, using the wrong technician to install it could ruin the entire system.
All it takes is one faulty connection, one wire not adequately shielded, or one loose screw to take out an entire car audio system. At this point, you will have to either replace the system entirely or pay for a better tech to reinstall the system and make repairs.
For this reason, it is worthwhile to spend the extra money to have a professional technician install your car audio system correctly the first time. It is worth it to know that your sound system is installed correctly.
Knowing that your system is installed well gives you the confidence to use it to its full ability. It is essential to hire an audio technician who understands exactly what they are doing with your car audio.
These professional techs do charge more, but it is worth the cost for a perfectly functioning system.
How Much Does It Cost to Upgrade Car Audio?
Upgrading a car audio system is an excellent way to improve your vehicle. Whether you upgrade specific system components or completely overhaul the system entirely, there is often a hefty price tag associated with the improvements.
Upgrading car audio can be extremely expensive, or it can be very affordable. It all depends on how big your budget is and what you want to get out of the system in your car.
Upgrading an entire car audio system often includes:
- upgraded speakers
- a new subwoofer
- a more powerful amplifier
- a modern head unit
- good quality wiring.
The cost should also include the work of a good technician to install the system.
Considering all of these factors, an upgrade to a car audio system on the more affordable end of the range will cost about $695, including a standard technician to install the system.
A high-spec system installed by a specialized technical will cost approximately $1730 – $1900 all in.
However, there is effectively no limit to what can be spent on a car audio system. But a moderately high-end system including top-of-the-line installation will cost somewhere in this region.
The sound system you can build on this budget should be more than enough for most audio enthusiasts, but pushing the budget up higher will allow for a better audio experience.
At the end of it, you should build your car audio system based on your budget, not the other way around.
You must always factor in a technician installing the system if you do not already know what you are doing, and take your time doing research and finding the perfect solution for you and your car.
Upgrading a car audio system does not have to cost as much as you may expect. It is possible to upgrade an audio system by spending as little as $400 without installation.
This budget will not produce the most high-end system, but it will go a long way if the correct parts are used.
With a bigger budget, for example, $1100, a system can be built without any compromise. Anyone can find audio components for their system that will perfectly match what they are looking for on this budget.
It is essential to factor in installation fees when building an audio system for your car if you do not know how to install it yourself. It is important to have the system properly installed to prevent future problems with the system.
All in, a good car audio system upgrade with installation can cost between $696 – $1900. This can be increased with better hardware, but this is the average price range for a decent system.
As with most things automobile-related, you get what you pay for, and as we all know, the bigger your budget, the better the system.
However, you can do a lot with a modest budget, so do not worry about having to break the bank for your car audio system upgrade!