Electronics wear out and break over time. The same case applies to car speakers. No matter how strongly built your car speakers are, they can eventually give up. In that case, you will have to replace them with new speakers. The low-quality OEM speakers that come with most cars are more prone to failure than high-quality aftermarket speakers. The components making up a speaker may come loose, wear out, or burn out over time. But how do you deal with the driver side door speaker not working?
Sometimes, the speaker on one side of your car may stop working. Probably it is the driver side door speaker that is no longer producing sound. There are many issues that may cause this problem. Sometimes, it is not a problem with the speaker. Maybe it is another component in your car music setup that has problems.
In most cases, car speakers malfunction one at a time. It is unlikely for all speakers to fail at the same time. If you turn the volume all the way up and you are using a very powerful amplifier with weaker speakers, you are likely to blow them all. Also, all the speakers may stop working if the amplifier or head unit is faulty. However, what could cause the driver side door speaker to stop working? Read on to find out.
Diagnosing Driver Side Door Speaker Not Working
You will need to carry out various diagnostic procedures to determine the cause of the problem. Do not rush to replace the speaker or any other component before you diagnose the problem. You may assume the speaker is damaged and rush to buy a new only, only to later realize that you had a loose RCA cable connection. Here are the diagnosis procedures you need to carry out.
Check Whether the Amplifier is Faulty
One of the reasons why the driver side door car speaker may not be working might be a problem with the amp. If other speakers are working and only one speaker is not working, it is likely that the amp channel connected to the speaker is faulty.
To rule out any fault with the amplifier, you will need to troubleshoot whether the right channel is working. To do this, switch off the car stereo. Next, remove the RCA cable from the right and left channels.
Switch the channels such that you remove the driver side door speaker from the right channel and hook it to the left channel or vice versa depending on how they are originally connected. Connect the passenger side door speaker to the other channel. Turn on your car stereo and play some music. If the driver side door speaker works on the left channel and the passenger side door speaker fails to work on the right channel, it means there is a problem with the amplifier right channel. In this case, take your amp to a technician to check it for any issues.
If the driver side speaker fails to work on the left channel of the amp and the passenger side speaker works on both channels, you are likely dealing with a blown driver side speaker or a faulty speaker cable. In this case, the amplifier is not faulty. Thus, proceed to other troubleshooting options.
Troubleshooting the Head Unit
If you do not have a standalone car amp and have connected your car speakers directly to the head unit, and one of the speakers is not working, you may be dealing with a head unit problem. Sometimes, your head unit may be turning on but not working as it should be. Here are the troubleshooting options to try out on your head unit when the driver side door speaker not working:
- Check whether there are any loose or unplugged speaker cables. Insert any loose or unplugged cables properly and check whether the issue resolves.
- Check the settings on your head unit. Maybe you have set the stereo balance to full left such that the right channel has no sound or vice versa. In this case, set the stereo balance to middle and check whether the speaker is now working.
- If there are any onboard switches, ensure you have not turned on sound for the driver side door speaker.
Also, you should try to switch the channels and see whether the speaker will work on the other channel. For instance, if the speaker is connected to the left channel, try to connect it to the right channel and see whether it will work. If the speaker fails to work, the problem is not the head unit but the wiring or the speaker. If the speaker works, it is likely the original channel it was connected to is faulty or there is a problem with the balance settings.
Remember to switch off your head unit before unplugging the RCA cables. Only switch it back on after hooking the RCA cables. Also, you will need to remove the head unit from the dashboard to access the cabling on the rear.
Check the Speaker Wiring
If you have ruled out the head unit and amplifier, it is likely that there is a fault with the speaker wiring. In most cases, speaker cables run behind car molding and panels, under the carpet, and under the seats. Thus, it is often challenging to inspect them. To check the condition of the speaker wiring, you will need to check whether there is continuity in the wiring. You will need to ensure the speaker wire is complete between the amp or head unit and the speaker.
If you notice the speaker wire is broken, it is likely the cause of the problem. In that case, replace the speaker wire with a new one and test whether the speaker is now working. If you find that the cable is touching a grounding point, you are dealing with a shorting problem that is causing the issue of driver side door speaker not working. In that case, replace the cable to ensure it does not touch any grounding point.
In most cases, the speaker wire fails at the point where it passes between the door frame and the door. Although most speaker wires are protected by a rubber sheath, they can break over time due to constant opening and closing of the door. Thus, check for possible shorting or speaker wire breaking at such spots.
Troubleshooting the Speaker
If the above options do not seem to fix the problem, then you are likely dealing with a damaged driver side door speaker. In this case, you will need to turn off your car stereo and engine. Then proceed to disconnect the speaker from the speaker wire. You may need to remove the speaker grill and unscrew the speaker from the mounting location to access the speaker wire.
Upon removing the speaker from the wiring harness, you can test whether it is working by hooking it to a 1.5 volts battery. If the speaker is still functional, it will produce a popping sound. You can also test it with an RCA to 3.5mm cable with another audio source such as a home theater receiver, laptop, PC, or smartphone and see whether you will hear any sound.
If the speaker fails to work upon testing it and you have ruled out everything else, it is time to replace the speaker with a new unit.
If you are having the issue of driver side door speaker not working, it might be a result of several issues. Do not conclude that your speaker is faulty before troubleshooting other possible causes of the problem. If there is any faulty component in your car audio system, replace it with a high-quality option for enhanced durability.
Michael Evanchuk is a San Francisco-based sound engineer with 20 years’ experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. Evanchuk owns an auto stereo center, where he offers highly competitive car audio installation and repair services. He has written dozens of articles on different sound engineering topics, all of which have been published in leading journals, blogs, and websites.