How Much Does It Cost to Have a Sound System Installed in Your Car?

How Much Does a Sound System For Your Car Cost

Are you thinking of enhancing the audio quality in your car through a sound system? Many vehicle owners do not spend time thinking about this vital component to the vehicle, but it can genuinely make a difference.

The standard sound system that comes with your car does not compare to what a quality sound system can provide. You can cruise down the road with your windows down and feel the music with a proper sound system. If you invest in an audio system installed in your car, it will complement the other luxury fixtures in your vehicle, such as the air conditioner.

But how much will it cost to install a sound system in your car? In this article, we investigate all the financial impacts of this project, the essential qualities to look for in a good sound system, and what you can do to adhere to your budget.

What Are The Main Costs of Sound System Installation?

Instead of providing a singular, outright cost for the installation, it is much more helpful to lay out the three main components’ costs:

If you can find three quality products for these categories, you will set yourself up for a reliable sound system that delivers an above-average sound.

Head Unit

When car sound systems first came to the market, the stereo or head unit would create signals with 8-tracks, cassettes, and other types of record players. As the technology evolved, vehicle sound systems can play DVD videos on an LCD screen, stream podcasts and music, and pair with smart devices via Bluetooth.

The head unit is the control system behind the operation. Its primary responsibilities are to produce the signal, normal the sound levels, and pair with the various audio sources attached to the unit.

So, what is the typical cost of a head unit? Depending on the quality and manufacturer, the head unit will get offered in a variety of different prices. After gaining insights from online listings and market reviews, you can usually invest in a head unit for $80-$200. The final cost also depends on whether the head unit is a double or single din.

If you can find a head unit within this price range, it will most likely contain all the features and benefits to provide you a quality sound for your vehicle. You must conduct thoughtful research on the different products on the market by reading reviews, comparing prices, and stacking up against each option’s capabilities.

How to Install a New Head Unit Yourself

When you first install a new sound system, it is ideal to start with the head unit early. You must first uninstall the old unit by undoing the screws that hold the stereo to the dashboard. You want to unscrew this carefully so that you do not cause further damage and complicate the process when you disconnect the unit from the panel, where there will be a group of wires that come with it.

It would be wise for you to take a picture of the disconnected wires to use it as a reference. After you disconnect the wires from the old head unit, you can then connect them to your new head unit. If you utilize a wire harness, the process will be a lot more straightforward. If your current unit did not get included with a wire harness, you could purchase one from your local electronic or hardware store.

If you have the wire harness, your power source will already be connected. But if you do not own a wire harness, you can also connect it manually.

Next, you should find the wire, screw, or bolt that attaches to the car bare metal chassis, and then fasten the ground wire from the stereo to it firmly. Once you have confirmed that it is tight, you can place the head unit back on to the panel and attach it to the dashboard.


There are a variety of different amplifier types so that the price range will depend on the quality and capabilities as well. A standard mono amplifier that gets the job done will go for anywhere between $40 and $200. If you elect to go with a multi-channel amp, this type of amplifier will cost between $80 and $400.

How to Install a New Car Amplifier Yourself

The installation of the car amplifier is a simple process that can get completed within an hour if you focus right. First, you should outline the mountain area for the amplifier. You should ensure that it is as a flatter surface with no pipe or wire running in the way. Once you have secured a clear space, you can drill tiny holes through the bottom for the installation.

Next, you can then screw and fasten the amp onto the floor that you drilled. Then take the amp’s power cable and install it to the battery. Next, locate the amp’s ground wire and attach it to the ground screw of the vehicle. The activation of the remote turn-on wire is next, which will lead to making the signal connections. Lastly, you can attach the speaker wires, and you will be good to go.

Car Speakers

The speakers are the most popular part of the car sound system. It delivers the final sound to the listener’s ear, and is the most visible part of the operation. When other people use your car, they will marvel at the type of speakers you install in your vehicle.

So how do the car speakers produce the sounds? It all starts with the amplifier, which generates electrical energy through sound waves delivered to the speakers. The electrical energy is then converted into mechanical energy, and the speaker will emit the sound waves because of the vibrations.

When it comes to cost, three speaker variants can get used for car sound systems:

  • Component speakers
  • Subwoofers
  • Coaxial speakers

Coaxial speakers are the standard model, as they are factory fitted and will fit in most cars. They are much more cost-effective because they take up less space. These types of car speakers usually cost between $30-$70. A subwoofer will run the same price range, but you can sometimes get a pair for $30

If you want to improve your car’s audio system, you can always upgrade to component speakers. They will provide a much more compelling sound, and they will cost anywhere between $97-$300.

How to Install a New Car Speaker

No matter what kind of car you have, the already-existing speakers will be below average. They will not deliver the quality of sound you deserve. The process of changing car speakers is involved, but it is always worth the change. Below is the step-by-step process for putting in a new car speaker:

  1. Remove the speaker grills
  2. Take off the older factory speakers
  3. Install the new and improved speaker and attach it to the wiring harness of the car
  4. Test the speaker to make sure that is working properly
  5. Connect the car’s power source again and activate the stereo to listen to it
  6. Take the speaker grill and replace it, so that it is tightly secured to the speaker

How to Tell if Your Sound System is Broken and Needs to Be Replaced

So how do you know when it is time to invest in a new sound system. There are many symptoms of a faulty car sound system to watch out for. Every sound system that gets installed in your car will eventually stop working correctly because of wear and tear, but here are the things to look out for.

Listening Test

The first way to check for sound system quality is a quick listen test. You can look closely to see if your audio system is broken by playing your favorite song. As you listen to the beat, you can assign it a rating based on a variety of criteria. You can measure how precise the beat changes are, what the bass and beat drop sounds like, and the overall flow of the melody.

Fuzzy and Hissing Sound

Another symptom to look out for is a static, hissing sound that plays during a song. This noise will usually arise when the volume gets turned up to a higher level. When you hear this fuzzy sound, it is most likely an issue with a bad speaker.

Head Unit Does Not Power on Properly

An obvious symptom of a faulty sound system is when the car’s stereo is not working. You can confirm this issue by checking the power source and wiring to see if it is fixed properly. Many things can cause a defective head unit, but it is usually a matter of a blown fuse.

Rattling or Popping Noise

If you go to play your song from the stereo and you receive a rattling noise from the woofer, this could also mean you have a bad speaker. This popping sound can also originate from the speaker, which could expect further, more expensive damage.

Weak Bass

Digital stereo systems in cars can control the level of the base. But if the speaker does not create any bass, this could mean that your speaker is blown. If the song usually has a bass sound but no longer does, then you know something within the speaker system has been compromised.

Overheating of the Stereo

Stereo systems are not supposed to be hot to the touch while in use. If you feel it heating up too much while your songs are playing, it could be experiencing deeper issues. It is standard for the stereo system to heat up slightly while utilizing the different internal components, but it should not be extremely hot. This issue could also be a direct cause of a faulty speaker wiring.

Sound Randomly Stops

Have you ever experienced a sudden sound loss while listening to music? This problem can also be an issue with your amplifier within the car sound system. When your amplifier overheats because of abysmal ventilation, it will cause the sound waves to get blocked. This symptom could also arise because of loosened speaker wire.

Things to Look for in a Car Sound System

Now that you know the optimal car sound system costs, how to tell when it is time to replace it, and how to do it yourself, it is also essential to know the key characteristics of a good sound system. Here are some of the crucial things to consider.

User-Friendly Interface

You want to make sure that your new sound system is simple and straightforward to install. It is also vital to have an easy set of buttons to operate the device. You want to remain safe while driving, and a complicated interface can be a deadly distraction. Make sure that the screen is visible and easy to read during both the night and day.

Intuitive Controls

This consideration is another helpful tool in minimizing the various distractions while driving. An audio system that contains intuitive controls will be both safer and easier to use.

Ample Power

Ample clean power is one of the more crucial considerations when it comes to a high-quality sound. You could have the best speakers in the world, but if your ample power is weak, the music sounds clarity will be below average.

USB Port

A USB port provides a versatile method to integrate the different portable music players into your sound system. After you plug it in, you can utilize the head unit to control the device and the contents. Another critical feature of a USB port is that it will usually charge your device while you use it. You can also insert a USB flash drive and play the contents on that device.

Wrap Up

As you can see, the entertainment system in a car is just as critical as the other parts of your vehicle. Although it is considered a luxury, the car sound system will make the commute an enjoyable experience for you and the passengers.

When you conduct your search for a replacement sound system, you should give careful thought on the head unit, amplifier, and speaker. If you replace all three elements, you will be spending anywhere between $400 and $1100. You will find that it is well worth the investment when making the most out of your automobile experience.

Brett Gordon

The engine behind editing at DigMyRide and the brains behind its build. During the day, Brett is a thirty-something dude from SoCal climbing the corporate ladder, but by night, he spends his time contributing to the online world of automotive tech & trends.