Let’s face it: We know that sometimes our projects don’t go as planned. When it comes to installing car audio equipment in a vehicle, a lack of training, tools or materials can lead to unexpected and undesirable results. This article was published on April 1st. We can assure you that we chose that date for a very specific reason. We present to you … 31 examples of car audio and remote starter installations that need to be rescued.
Preface – The Car Audio Installation Professionals’ Perspective
We’ve said it before – many of us are impressed with the capabilities and creativity of do-it-yourself installers. There are some awesome installations out there that have been built with pride and that display impressive skills. The flipside, and what concerns professionals in the industry, is that there are more examples of installations and modifications that are dangerous. Potential risks from electrical short circuits or danger from products that aren’t secure put the driver and passengers at risk.
If you have the tools, experience and technical understanding of electrical theory, physics, acoustics, woodworking and metalworking to complete an installation, then, by all means, go for it! If you don’t, please hire a professional. The performance of your audio system and the reliability of your vehicle depend on everything being done properly.
Power Wire Issues
Car audio amplifiers draw a lot of current compared with their home audio brethren. As such, the amplifiers need large-gauge power cables to ensure that electricity is delivered efficiently. In most applications, four or 0 AWG conductors are required for power and ground connections.
Because these cables are so large, it can be tricky to run them in a way that protects and conceals them from view. Leaving wiring exposed not only looks bad, but it also presents a safety risk in terms of potential damage to the cable. Proper routing, connections, protection and concealment are all part of what you pay for when a professional installs your car stereo wiring.
Electrical Connections Are Crucial
Whether it’s a signal wire for a remote starter, the power wire for a radio, a connection to a speaker or the high-current connections to an amplifier, how wire-to-wire and wire-to-device connections are executed is crucially important. Many professional installers work on the premise that a connection should be mechanically secure to provide longevity. This is followed by insurance that the connection is as conductive as possible to provide reliable signal transfer and current flow.
Radio Installations That Need Help
Mobile enhancement technicians need to be adept at wiring, along with metalworking and fabrication skills, to complete a radio installation that is safe, secure and aesthetically pleasing. Here are a few radio upgrades that went sideways.
Special ‘Check Your Ground’ Mentions
We have to give special recognition to these temporary (?) ground wire installations. We had no clue that locking pliers were a common solution for electrical connections.
Speaker Installations Aren’t Easy
Mounting speakers in the doors, dash or rear of a vehicle starts with an understanding of how to access the original speakers. Removing screws and releasing clips to take the door and trim panels off is a unique talent. Once the old speakers are out, a technician may need to build adapter brackets to mount new speakers, run new wires through the factory grommets, and of course, make a reliable connection to the speaker itself.
Proper Component Mounting
Aftermarket amplifiers, subwoofer enclosures, signal processors and remote starter interfaces need to be secured to the vehicle. A component that isn’t secure can become very dangerous in the event of an accident. An amplifier or subwoofer enclosure flying through the vehicle could seriously injure someone. Even something sliding around the trunk could result in the wires being pulled out, causing the system to stop playing, or a short circuit that could damage the product or vehicle electrical system.
Remote Starters Gone Wild
For many, if something is out of sight, it’s out of mind. Sadly, installing a remote car starter involves making electrical connections to critical wires that control the ignition system in your vehicle. If these connections aren’t perfectly secure and 100% reliable, your car or truck may be at risk of shutting off at any time. That would be an extremely dangerous situation. Shopping for a retailer to integrate a remote car starter into your vehicle reliably is more important than choosing the brand of starter. Here are some images of car starter installations done improperly.
Special Mentions for Doing it Wronger!
We are a little bit speechless on these last three. Put on your hard hat and take your happy pills. Here we go!
Please Leave Car Audio and Accessory Upgrades to the Experts
If you aren’t 100% confident in your ability to work on modern vehicles, we implore you to seek the assistance of a professional vehicle enhancement technician. If you decide to start and find out it’s more complicated than you thought, stop, and seek assistance. Ask your local friends about the shops that have worked on their vehicles. Look under the dash, under the hood and behind panels to inspect their craftsmanship. Not every shop or technician offers the same attention to detail and care. Ensure that they are capable of completing your upgrade safely and reliably. If something doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t, so keep shopping. Not every artist can paint the Mona Lisa or the Sistine Chapel.