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How to Install a Subwoofer to a Factory Stereo [4 Methods]

Installing a subwoofer to your factory stereo can seem intimidating, but with the right tools and knowledge it can be a breeze.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of installing a subwoofer to your car’s stereo system, step-by-step.

By following these instructions, you’ll be able to add some extra bass to your music and really feel the sound!

So let’s get started.

How To Install A Subwoofer To A Factory Stereo [Step-By-Step]

What You’ll Need:

  • A subwoofer
  • An amplifier
  • Speaker wire
  • RCA cables
  • A drill
  • 1/2″ spade bits (2)
  • A saw (optional)

Step 1: Choose a Location for Your Subwoofer

The first step is to decide where you want to put your subwoofer. Keep in mind that you’ll need to be able to access the back of your stereo to make the connections, so pick a spot that’s relatively easy to get to. You’ll also want to make sure that there’s enough space behind the chosen location to accommodate the subwoofer’s box.

Step 2: Prepare the Area for Mounting

Once you’ve decided on a spot, it’s time to prepare the area for mounting. If your chosen location is in a trunk or hatchback, you may need to remove some of the interior paneling to create enough space. Once you have access to the back of the area, use a drill to create two holes for your subwoofer’s mounting brackets.

If you’re mounting the subwoofer under a seat, you may be able to get away with not drilling any holes. In this case, you can use the seat’s bolts to secure the subwoofer’s brackets.

Step 3: Mount the Subwoofer

Now it’s time to actually mount the subwoofer. If you drilled holes in Step 2, simply line up the subwoofer’s brackets with the holes and use screws to secure them in place. If you’re mounting the subwoofer under a seat, thread the bolts through the brackets and tighten them down.

Step 4: Make the Connections

With the subwoofer mounted, it’s time to make the connections. Start by running your speaker wire from the back of the stereo to the location of your subwoofer. If you need to, use a saw to cut a hole in the firewall so that you can route the wire through to the engine compartment.

Once the speaker wire is in place, connect it to the subwoofer’s speaker terminals. Then, run your RCA cables from the back of the stereo to the location of your amplifier. Again, you may need to cut a hole in the firewall to route the cables through.

Finally, connect the RCA cables to the inputs on your amplifier. Then, connect the amplifier’s power wire to the battery.

Step 5: Test It Out

Once everything is connected, it’s time to test it out. Turn on your stereo and crank up the volume. If everything is hooked up correctly, you should be able to hear your subwoofer thumping away.

Congratulations – you’ve successfully installed a subwoofer to your factory stereo! Now sit back, turn up the music, and enjoy some deep, rich bass that will make your car sound like a concert hall. And don’t forget to share this guide with anyone who might be interested in doing the same thing!

Method 2: Adding a Powered subwoofer to a factory car stereo

How To Install A Subwoofer To A Factory Stereo
How To Install A Subwoofer To A Factory Stereo

If your car stereo doesn’t have enough power to drive a subwoofer, or if you’re looking for better sound quality, you may want to consider adding a powered subwoofer. Powered subwoofers come with their own amplifier, so all you need to do is connect the subwoofer to your car’s stereo system.

In most cases, you can connect a powered subwoofer to your car stereo without having to make any modifications.

Step 1.

Find a suitable place to mount the subwoofer. Most subwoofers come with brackets or mounting feet so that they can be attached to the floor or seat of your car. Choose a location that will allow the subwoofer to fit comfortably and unobtrusively.

Step 2.

Connect the speaker wires from your car stereo to the subwoofer’s input jacks. Many powered subwoofers have RCA or phono-style inputs, while others will require you to connect bare speaker wire directly to their input terminals. Consult your owner’s manual to determine how your subwoofer should be connected.

Step 3.

Connect the power wire from the subwoofer to your car’s battery or fuse box, using the included fuse tap or ground ring terminal. Be sure to connect the power wire before you turn on your stereo system, as a sudden jolt of current could damage your subwoofer.

Step 4.

Turn on your car stereo and enjoy the enhanced sound quality of your new subwoofer!

Step 5.

If you find that your subwoofer is too loud or bass-heavy, you can adjust the volume level using the controls on the back of the unit. Many powered subwoofers also have a phase switch, which can be used to adjust the subwoofer’s output so that it integrates better with your car stereo’s existing speakers.

Method 3: How to Install Subwoofer without aftermarket head unit

In order to install a subwoofer in your vehicle, you will need to know how to wire it. This is especially important if you are installing a stereo that doesn’t have a built-in amplifier or subwoofer output terminals. Fortunately, wiring the subwoofer and connecting it to the rest of the system is fairly straightforward, and with the right tools and a little bit of patience, you should be able to complete this task on your own.

Step 1.

Determine where to mount the subwoofer in your vehicle. In most cases, this will involve placing it in or near an empty trunk space, but depending on the size of your vehicle, you may be able to install it in the passenger compartment of your car.

Step 2.

Connect the speaker wires from your subwoofer to the preamp outputs on your vehicle’s amplifier, if necessary. This step will vary depending on what type of amplifier you have installed in your vehicle, so consult the instructions that came with it or a professional installer for assistance.

Step 3.

Connect the power wires from your subwoofer to the corresponding terminals on your vehicle’s battery, making sure that you use heavy-duty cable and clamps designed specifically for this purpose. If you don’t have enough room to run these wire along the frame of your car, you may instead be able to run them through the vehicle’s engine compartment.

Step 4.

Run the speaker wires from your subwoofer to the other speakers in your car, using separate cables for each channel if necessary. Depending on your model of car and the type of amplifier you have installed, this may involve running speaker wire to both the front and rear speakers.

Sep 5.

Test your subwoofer by playing some music through it at a moderate volume. If everything sounds good, you’re all finished! If not, double-check all of your connections to make sure that they are secure.

Additional Tips:

If you’re having trouble finding space to mount your subwoofer in your vehicle, try looking for an empty area under a seat or in the trunk. In many cases, you may be able to find an unused spot where you can install the subwoofer without having to make major modifications to your car.

If you’re still having trouble installing your subwoofer or getting it to work properly, consider consulting a professional installer for assistance. They will be able to walk you through the entire process and help you troubleshoot any problems that might arise.

Before installing your subwoofer or doing any other type of car stereo work, make sure that you disconnect your vehicle’s battery first. This will ensure that there is no risk of electric shock while you are working.

You should always use high-quality cables and connectors designed for automotive use when you are installing a subwoofer in your vehicle. Cheap, generic products can lead to problems with your sound quality or even damage to the electrical system of your car.​

Method 4: How to hook up a sub and amp to a factory radio?

To hook up a sub and amp to a factory radio, you will need to find a power source that can be used to supply the amp with electricity. You will also need an RCA cable to connect your amplifier to your receiver so that it can play audio through the subwoofer and speakers in your car. Finally, you will need to connect the ground wire on your amp to a metal area of your car that is free of paint and rust.

One potential power source for your amplifier is the factory battery in your car. Depending on the model, some cars may have an unused port directly attached to their main battery which you can use to supply power to your amp. If your car does not have such a port, you may be able to tap into the power cables directly connected to the battery.

In order to connect your amplifier to your factory radio, you will need an RCA cable. This type of cable has two plugs at either end that are designed for sending and receiving audio signals. The cable should also have a ground wire, which you can use to connect to the chassis or body of your car.

Finally, you will need to connect the amplifier’s ground wire to a metal area on your car that is free of paint or rust. This could be any part of your car that is directly connected to the frame and has an exposed metal surface. You may need to purchase a grounding clamp and bolt in order to securely attach the ground wire.

Once you have located the correct power source for your amp and connected it appropriately, you can begin connecting your subwoofer and speakers to the amplifier. 

Depending on your car’s make and model, this may involve wiring directly into your factory radio or connecting to the wires behind your car’s dash. 

After everything is hooked up, you should test your system to ensure that it is working properly. If you notice any issues, make sure to check all of your connections and correct any loose wires. With a little trial and error, you should be able to successfully hook up your sub and amp to your factory radio.

FAQ’s: How to Install a Subwoofer to a Factory Stereo

Can you connect a subwoofer to a factory stereo?

Yes, you can connect a subwoofer to a factory stereo. You will need to use an amplifier in order to do this. There are two ways to do this. One way is to get an amplifier that has speaker-level inputs. The other way is to get an aftermarket head unit that has preamp outputs. Either way will work, but the latter will usually provide better sound quality.

What do I need to hook up subs to a stock radio?

If you’re looking to hook up a subwoofer to your stock radio, you’ll need an amp and a speaker wire converter. You can find both of these things at most electronics stores, like Best Buy or Amazon. Additionally, it may help to invest in a powered subwoofer or a subwoofer enclosure; these will help you make the most out of your setup.

Before you start hooking up your sub, make sure that you have an amplifier. A good amp will deliver clear, powerful sound and be able to handle the amount of power needed to drive your subwoofer. You can typically find a good amp at electronics stores like Best Buy or Amazon.

Can I put a subwoofer in my car without an amp?

Unless you are an experienced car audio installer, it is not a good idea to install a subwoofer without an amplifier. A subwoofer puts out far more power than the average car stereo can provide, which means that it needs its own dedicated amplifier in order to be properly powered and perform at its best. 

If you do decide to install a subwoofer without an amp, you will need to buy a high-powered stereo system that is designed for driving subs. There are plenty of other steps involved in installing a subwoofer in your vehicle as well, so it is always best to consult with an experienced professional when doing something like this.

How do you hook up a subwoofer without an amp?

If you’re looking to add some extra bass to your music without adding an extra amplifier, there are a few ways to do it. One way is to simply wire the subwoofer directly to the battery. 

This will give you the most power, but it may not be the cleanest sound. Another option is to wire the subwoofer to the head unit’s remote turn-on wire. This will still give you some extra power, but it won’t be as much as wiring it directly to the battery. Finally, you can wire the subwoofer to the head unit’s ground wire. This will give you the cleanest sound, but won’t provide as much power as the other options.

Once you have the subwoofer connected and powered up, you can fine-tune the sound by adjusting the gain or crossover controls on your amplifier. Remember that these are meant to be adjusted sparingly, so only make small adjustments until you achieve the sound quality that you’re looking for.

If none of these methods work for you, it’s a good idea to consult with an audio expert or car audio professional. They will be able to help you find the best solution for your sound system, and can set up your subwoofer for optimal performance.

Do subwoofers drain car battery?

Yes,  subwoofers use more battery power than regular car speakers. This is because subwoofers are designed to play audio at very low frequencies that require more energy to produce and reproduce. These lower frequencies also tend to create more vibration, which can draw even more current from the battery. 

While it is possible that a particular subwoofer may not use enough power to noticeably drain a car battery, it is still possible for this to happen over time if the subwoofer is used frequently. If you notice that your car battery is draining more quickly than usual when you use your subwoofer, you may want to consider investing in a higher quality audio system that is more efficient.

I am Miles Walker, founder of HeadunitAdvisor.com. I'm a car audio enthusiast and have been since I was a kid. I created the website to help people make the best decision when it comes to choosing and installing the new car stereo head unit. I have a degree in electrical engineering from UC Berkeley, and I love working on cars and audio equipment.

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