Last Updated on: October 6, 2022
Does your vehicle’s subwoofer rattle every time it delivers a thumping bass? Does the rattling worsen when you increase the volume of your radio? A rattling subwoofer can diminish the quality of your music and worsen your entire driving experience while making your short trip feel longer.
I get your drift!
Luckily, fixing a rattling subwoofer is relatively easy. Instead of purchasing a new speaker, why don’t you find out the cause of the vibration and solve it!
How Does Your Vehicle’s Subwoofer Work?
Before we troubleshoot the problem, it’s crucial that you understand how the speaker functions. A basic understanding of your subwoofer will help you diagnose the rattling issue quickly. The subwoofer comprises several components that work together to help deliver the quality sound that you love.
Generally, the amplifier functions by turning the sound waves into a sine wave, which is usually an AC.
The AC will help change the voltage from negative to positive and vice versa. When the amplifier produces a negative voltage, it will be transported to the subwoofer’s voice coil and cone backward. When it produces a positive voltage, it is transported to the voice coil and coned forward.
How far the voltage moves will depend on the value of the voltage. The movement of the voltage will make it possible for your subwoofer to replicate the low-frequency sound and push air.
Why is my Subwoofer Rattling?
Generally, there are lots of things that can make your speaker vibrate, and some of them are not directly related to the subwoofer itself. So before you start troubleshooting the problem, you should play the music that causes the vibration of the car door, door panel, rear seat, and rear window to vibrate. Some of the main reasons why my subwoofer is rattling include:
- Vibration of loose components
- Blown speaker
- Spoiled amplifier
- Loose cables/ speaker wire
- Clipped signal
- Wrong speaker case measurement (it should have, at least, 6×9 speaker box dimensions for proper airspace)
How to Fix a Subwoofer That Is Rattling
The most straightforward but costly subwoofer rattling fix is replacing the damaged subwoofer with a new one. But before you finally invest in a new subwoofer, you should try and find out the cause of the problem. So if you want to know how to fix a subwoofer that is rattling, please read on.
1. Use an Equalizer
The most straightforward answer to the question “how to fix subwoofer rattle?” is lowering the bass using an equalizer.
Most modern equalizers offer you control over specific frequency ranges so that you can pick either bass, mid-range, or treble.
Bass refers to low music tones like the ones produced by a bass guitar. Luckily, subwoofers function by amplifying these notes; after all, they are the leading cause of the rattling noises.
Therefore, the car’s subwoofer will rattle less when you lower the bass levels. Doing this may not solve the problem, but it will help dampen the rattles, making it easy for you to drive. If your vehicle doesn’t have an amplifier, then you can purchase one, install it and start enjoying your speaker’s louder output.
2. Tighten the Subwoofer’s Loose Screws
Just like all the other parts of your vehicle, the subwoofer can start rattling if it’s loose.
If this is the case, then you need to pay attention to your subwoofer’s movements when it’s playing. If you notice that it’s moving, then it’s time to tighten its screws. Ensure your subwoofer’s screws are tight enough to prevent leaks without bending its frame.
3. Search for Loose Items and Remove Them
If the sound system isn’t damaged but still rattling, then the issue may be the vehicle itself. Therefore, you should start by examining the car’s interior parts before proceeding to the exterior parts. Fortunately, most interior parts of the car are easily accessible.
Play your favorite song at the level that causes the car to rattle, and then look for loose items. Remember, a simple item like a loose cup holder can cause your subwoofer to rattle.
So it would help if you started with the easy-to-access parts like the glove compartment and pocket console. The jack and the spare tire can hide some items or become loose.
You can remove the loose items, tighten the loose screws and add some extra padding around the plastic used to make the cupholder reduce movements. If the problem persists, you should proceed to the car’s exterior parts, but make sure you examine the license plates first. A loose license plate can cause the car to start rattling when listening to music.
Note: The presence of bad ground on amp symptoms could also be another reason why your subwoofer rattles. Carefully check your connections or seek the assistance of a professional mechanic or electrician.
With the music still playing at a very high volume, you can examine the plate for vibrations. If you hear some metallic bumps, the plate may be the problem. Luckily, securing the license plate is relatively easy; all you have to do is cover all its corners using high-intensity foam tape.
4. Examine the Exterior Parts of the Car
After confirming that the license plate and the car’s interior parts aren’t rattling, you can proceed to the exterior parts.
Remember, the outer parts of the vehicle have more to do with the rattling than the interior parts; plus, they may have structural damages that can easily enhance the subwoofer’s rattling noise.
So when examining the exterior parts of the car, you should check the following:
- Under its hood
- In the wheel wells
- Underneath the car
Please make sure you’re careful when fixing these parts since they’re more crucial for the car to function than fixing a rattling noise. If the problem persists, then you should consult a mechanic who can show you how to stop rattling from subs.
The trunk lid will rattle more than normal with its metallic make and colossal size, especially if you have a faulty amplifier and a rear speaker. So if the trunk’s latch gets stuck when closed or won’t open, then you should first repair it. A broken latch can produce a lot of noise when the car is moving or when the subwoofer is playing your favorite music.
5. Replace a Blown Subwoofer
Another obvious subwoofer rattle fix is replacing a blown speaker.
Blasting aggressive sounds or loud music may end up blowing your subwoofer with time, resulting in the car rattling when playing some music. To confirm if the subwoofer is blown, you should listen to the quality of the sound it produces.
A blown subwoofer can cause static, pops, and cracks in its output. Therefore, if you suspect that the subwoofer is blown, you should examine its cone, which is the circular portion of the speaker.
Examine the cone for small holes, tears, or rips. If it is immovable or rigid, then it is damaged. Luckily, repairing a blown subwoofer is relatively easy; you may require a soldering iron or standard craft glue. You can repair a small tear using standard glue, but you will have to replace the subwoofer if it’s beyond repair.
There are lots of internal problems that can make a subwoofer vibrate, including underpowering or overpowering. Some of the issues that may require an audio technician are:
- The coil wire touching the speaker cone from below: generally, the spider is designed to separate the coil from the cone while supporting it. Unfortunately, clipped signals can force the coil to touch and even damage the cone.
- Voice coil sticking in the coil gap: clipped voice signals can force the coil into the voice coil’s gap when it sticks and distorts the music’s quality.
- Magnet particles on the sub cones coil: the magnets can sometimes disintegrate and get logged to the coil. With the magnet particles on the coil, the speaker’s vibrations will result in some rattling noises.
- Unstable magnet housing: the magnet’s housing is the most crucial part of the subwoofer; therefore, it may end up rattling a little bit when it is not stable.
Note: Another cause of subwoofer rattle is an insufficient amount of current feeding your sound system. It is highly recommended to add a second battery for car audio so that battery drain is prevented on your primary battery.
6. Soundproof the Vehicle
If the rattling issue persists even after repairing the subwoofer and confirming that the other parts of the car are not rattling, you should soundproof the vehicle. After all, the sound from the outside may creep into the car and end up producing rattling noises.
A soundproofed vehicle will keep the sound inside while not letting any noise from the outside creep into the car.
You can soundproof your vehicle using the following:
- Replace your tires with some silent ones
- Insulate the doors and rear shelf
- Install sound deadening mat like Dynamat on the floor of the car
The last two steps can lower the rattling noises triggered by the car’s subwoofers. They will address leaking issues by preventing noises from the outside. The sound deadener can prevent the noises produced by the tires from getting into the vehicle. The best solution for the rear deck rattle is to install some sound deadening material.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Modify or Install an Amplifier?
One answer to why my subwoofer rattling which most folks tend to ignore is a spoiled amplifier. If your vehicle came with a subwoofer, then the chances are that it also has an amplifier. But for the best sound, the subwoofer has to match the amplifier. If not, then you should get an amplifier that matches your system’s RMS rating.
If it matches your sub and still produces some rattling noises, then the amplifier could be faulty. You should uninstall the amplifier and subwoofer and send them to a technician or a dealer like the Honda motor company dealers and have them repaired.
Why Is My 3rd Brake Light Rattling When I’m Listening to My Favorite Music?
With the subwoofer on the deck, the 3rd brake light may also start rattling when you play your favorite music. Therefore you should insert some self-adhering foam strips between the rear window and the brake light housing and you’re good to go.
There is nothing more disappointing than a rattling sub that keeps interfering with the quality of your music while driving. Luckily, the rattling sound doesn’t necessarily mean that the subwoofer is damaged; other parts of the car may cause the problem. So before rushing to the store and getting a new subwoofer, you should try and find out the leading cause of the problem and fix it.