Can Car Amplifiers Be Repaired?

Updated October, 2020
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Car amplifiers can be repaired, but doing it yourself requires a working knowledge of electronics and mechanics. Most basic insurance plans won't cover this type of work. However, in some cases, your comprehensive insurance or the manufacturer's warranty can help offset the expenses associated with fixing your amplifier.

What's a car amplifier?

An amplifier is a device in your car that turns the low voltage signals from your audio source equipment (i.e., stereo, auxiliary cord, or Bluetooth) into a signal strong enough to power a pair of speakers. There are a few basic components of a car amp, though they tend to vary:

  • A DC-DC high-power switching power supply
  • Noise prevention circuitry
  • Speaker crossover circuitry
  • Bridging circuitry
  • Speaker-level input stages

What are the benefits of having a car amplifier?

There are a few benefits to adding an amplifier to your car!

  • Sound Quality. Adding an amplifier can increase the power of your speakers without straining them. This increases your car speakers' life, and amplifiers add an enhanced sound experience that your speakers alone can't provide.
  • Volume. It can sometimes be hard to hear your music over the engine's noise or if the windows are down. An amplifier makes it easier to hear what you're listening to without having to strain.
  • Power. Amplifiers provide the correct power for getting the best performance out of your speakers, particularly if you've purchased high-quality speakers to improve your vehicle's performance and value.

How to test your amplifier to locate the problem

While it takes at least some working knowledge of electronics to repair an amp, it's surprisingly easy to find out what's broken and if it needs to be repaired. Here are a few basic tips.

1. Plugs

A best-case scenario is that the connection to your plugs might be loose. To see if this is the problem:

  • Check all your input and output jacks
  • Check the main power supply
  • If your main power supply has a plug, make sure the connection is good

2. Speaker wires

Another easy thing to check is your speaker wires. In some cases, these run from the rear of your amplifier to your speakers. Check to make sure the connection isn't loose.

3. Cartridge fuses

A cartridge fuse is a small glass tube with two metallic caps. A blown fuse results in a lack of carbon accumulation or oxide powder on the inside of the glass. You can remove the fuse and check it with your multimeter. If needed, replace a blown fuse with the same rating fuse as the old one.

4. Blown and/or loose components

As a last resort, unscrew the covers to expose the printed circuit board and carefully examine the components. Look for clear signs of blown or loose parts, such as transistor, capacitor, or resistors that have blown.

5. Loose joints and connections

Check all solder points by gently pulling the components. Loose joints require the tools/knowledge of a professional, as often you'll need to melt the joint with a soldering iron.

How much does it cost to install a sound system in your car?

A sound system costs approximately $400-$1,100 depending on the parts you use and the cost of labor. For a full system, the breakdown looks something like this:

  • Head units cost between $97-$200
  • Amps cost between $90-$300
  • Speakers cost between $30-$300
  • And labor costs between $180-$400 depending on where you go

Of course, this cost can be reduced by buying cheaper parts and completing the job yourself. However, as mentioned above, this type of work requires some previous experience with electronics and mechanics.

Will insurance cover amp repairs or theft?

If you have a comprehensive coverage plan and your system was damaged due to an event unrelated to a traffic accident, such as a fire, theft, or a weather phenomenon, then your plan should cover the cost of repairs. These are exactly the type of situation that makes supplemental coverage a life-saver! However, even if you're fully covered and your amp malfunctioning doesn't have anything to do with a specific event, it's important to note this coverage doesn't cover wear and tear. In that case, you'd need to contact the manufacturer regarding your warranty.

When the time comes, can I rely on my insurance?

When it comes to car insurance, there are several factors to consider beyond monthly cost. A policy that covers you when you need it, has a low deductible, and offers several discounts can be hard to find - which is why we've done the work for you.

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