7 Symptoms of A Bad Ground Car Audio

It could become very annoying if you’re enjoying your favorite music in the newly upgraded sound system and suddenly your car’s audio goes all silent on you. There could be many reasons behind that, but …

bad ground car audio

It could become very annoying if you’re enjoying your favorite music in the newly upgraded sound system and suddenly your car’s audio goes all silent on you. There could be many reasons behind that, but it could most probably be due to a bad ground car audio.

Car audios and amps are grounded to ensure the stability of voltage and regulation of current flow through the circuit. If your car’s audio has bad ground, it would show specific symptoms and you must be wary of them, to quickly diagnose and fix the issue.

If you’re looking for the common symptoms of a bad ground car audio and how to prevent this issue in the first place, you’re in the right place. Let’s explore some common presentations of a car sound system that has faulty ground and how you can fix it.

7 Symptoms of a Bad Ground Car Audio You Must Know

The most common causes of bad ground in a car include corrosion, rusting, leakage, and other issues which would cause most of the systems to fluctuate, especially your car’s sound system. These are the most common signs of a bad ground car audio you should look out for;

Clipping Sound from the Speakers

If there’s a problem in the grounding wire, the amplifier or subwoofers would not get the proper voltage and there would be a distortion in the waveform, leading to clipping of sound.

If you notice that your car’s speakers are constantly emitting a clipping sound, you should suspect a bad ground car audio. It is one of the most common and evident symptoms of this problem.

Overheating of the Audio Components

Another purpose of grounding a car’s audio is to ensure that the heat is dissipated properly and doesn’t get accumulated in the system.

If the ground becomes faulty, the heat would not get dissipated, resulting in overheated amp or speakers.

Switching to Protection Mode

Protection mode is a smart feature that shuts the sound system off and prevents any damage. It is essentially a failsafe, much like a circuit breaker.

If you’re noticing that your car’s audio is frequently switching to protection mode and there’s nothing else wrong with it, it is indicating a bad ground car audio.

Amplifier Turning Off/On

If the ground wire becomes loose or fails to perform its function, the amplifier or other parts of the audio would turn on and off automatically. This is due to the improper voltage that gets supplied to the audio and prevents it from functioning optimally.

You should look into the wiring of your car’s audio if it is restarting continuously and everything else seems fine.

Burning Smell

If you sense a burning smell from the amp, speakers, or subwoofers, there is definitely something wrong with the circuit of your car’s audio. Checking all the wires is utterly important in such circumstances and bad ground mostly turns out to be a culprit.

It is not such an easy diagnosis and you have to remove a few parts and go through complex wiring before you reach the focal point, the main problem.

Excessive Sound Distortion

This is the most obvious sign of a bad ground car audio. If your speakers are not functioning properly and you are constantly getting annoyed by sound distortion, it’s because the main ground wire in the audio system circuit has gone bad and not stabilizing the required voltage.

Clipping sound and distortion are the most obvious symptoms of a bad ground wire and you must quickly get your car’s audio checked after experiencing these issues.

Not Switching On at All

Selected your favorite song or podcast? Set the location on the map, started your journey and the audio refused to turn on? Nothing could be more annoying than this!

If your car’s stereo malfunctions and doesn’t turn on at all, it could most probably be due to a bad ground wire. The voltage fluctuates a lot and fails to turn on the system. You should check all the wires if this problem occurs, especially the ground wire.

Other Similar Problems:
Car Radio that has Power but no Sound from Speakers
Clunking Noise When Braking
How to Tell If Rotor is Bad?

How to Prevent Bad Grounding on Car Audio

You should take precautions before this calamity hits. In short, the best idea is to prevent a bad ground from happening, rather than diagnosing and fixing it later. Here’s how you can do that:

Selecting the Correct Wire

It is crucial that you select the right gauge and size of the ground wire. Ideally, it should be similar to the main wire of the audio system’s circuit and the highest quality available. This prevents any wastage or fluctuations in the circuit.

Preparing the Ground Surface

Another important point to consider is the ground surface. You should select a surface that is not painted but if you can’t find any in your car’s chassis, prepare one yourself.

It can be done by scrubbing a specific portion and getting rid of all the paint. Then preparing it by using sandpaper or sandblasting equipment for a smoother finish. This ensures ideal current and voltage stabilization and prevents any hotspots or shorts.

Proper Wiring

Making sure that all the connections, joints, and attachments are ideal and that there are no loose joints or tethering in the circuit, particularly the ground wire.

Loosely tethered wire tends to dissipate the current unevenly and even cause a short circuit.

Regular Checking

Metal surfaces are prone to rusting and corrosion, no matter how well prepared. You should keep a check on the ground point and wires of the car’s audio and if you find a problem, get it fixed promptly.

This activity ensures that you never have to run for repairs or even replace costly components.

Final Thought

It is rather simple to identify the amp’s poor grounding or wiring problems. If you are unable to ground the automobile amplifier completely, correcting the faulty grounding on the amp won’t be a very simple task.

Even if you ensure proper grounding, if you suspect that your car’s audio system needs repair, have a professional examine it before things spiral out of control and you’ve to spend a hefty amount on repairs.  Additionally, you must make sure that each electrical component in the car is properly grounded, and that the grounding surface is prepped accordingly.