Having a good car sound system goes a long way in making your drives more enjoyable. However, many built-in car stereo systems leave a lot to be desired for the music aficionados. When considering an upgrade, it is important to find a qualified car sound system engineer near you that can achieve your preferences seamlessly. Installing or customizing a car sound system is an intricate job that requires specific expertise and tools, otherwise, you can end up seriously damaging your car and depreciating its overall value. With the prices of used cars surging by close to 30% in recent years, hiring a qualified car sound system installer is important to preserve your vehicle's resale value. Before concluding on which local car sound system technician to use, ask the following questions:
The installation or customization of car sound systems is usually performed by electrical and electronic installers or automotive technicians who specialize in the electrical and electronic components of cars. To undertake such services, these technicians typically need a state-issued license. Because the license is state-issued, the scope and application process may differ from one state to the next. As a result, while Michigan issues a general license to anyone performing any major reconditioning or replacement in a vehicle, California requires a specific license for anyone working on a vehicle's electrical components. Similarly, anyone retailing or installing car accessories in Florida must register with the state's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and obtain the necessary operational license.
Therefore, when planning for a car sound system installation service near you, ensure the technician you hire is licensed to operate in your state. You can ascertain a technician's licensing status by contacting your state's Department of Motor Vehicles or consumer protection agency. In addition to ensuring a technician has the required operating license, you should ideally hire a technician who is a member of a credible automotive association such as the International Auto Sound Challenge Association. While an automotive association membership is not compulsory for automotive technicians, these associations typically have professional standards their members follow, thereby guaranteeing a level of professional service delivery.
Furthermore, certain organizations offer various programs, such as the Mobile Electronics Certified Professional (MECP) Program, that aim to develop the expertise of automotive technicians in handling the electrical components of cars, including the customization and installation of a car sound system. After a training process, automotive technicians who enroll in these programs typically get certifications stipulating that they have specific knowledge and training in handling certain automotive electrical components, thereby indicating that they are more likely to do a better job than their non-certified colleagues.
The cost for a car sound system installation ranges between $100 and $1,000. This cost typically depends on your specified preferences, the car, the automotive shop, and your location. However, when hiring a car sound system service near you, you can take certain steps to reduce the overall amount you may spend on the service. These steps include:
- Getting the necessary components and installing them at the same automotive shop: Some automotive shops that perform sound system installations also double as retail shops for sound system components. Some of these automotive shops perform sound system installations at a discounted price for customers that buy the necessary components from them. They also tend to attend to such customers first, thereby guaranteeing a lesser waiting time. However, this does not apply to all automotive shops. If a discounted service is important in your decision-making, you should typically inquire about an automotive shop's discount policy before hiring their services.
- Avoiding complex sound systems: A complex sound system is typically more expensive to install because of the cost of purchasing the necessary components and the likelihood of longer labor hours to install. Ideally, you should provide specifications that are relatively easy to implement and do not require the purchase of expensive components.
The common expenses for a car sound system installation include the cost of getting the necessary sound components and labor charges. The number of components involved in a sound system installation largely determines the work hours and the labor costs. Accordingly, an installation requiring more accessories typically costs more than an installation requiring basic sound accessories. Also, some automotive shops may offer a discount to customers who purchase the necessary installation components from their retail stores. In some cases, the automotive shop attends to such customers first. However, note that not all automotive shops offer discounts and preference perks. If perks influence your patronage decisions, make inquiries about what perks an automotive shop offers before hiring their services.
Although car sound system installations are typically performed at automotive shops, the installation process is usually done by an electrical and electronics installer or an automobile technician who specializes in the electrical components of cars. Due to the complexity of vehicle electrical systems, you should preferably hire an installer, technician, or auto shop that has credible experience working on your kind or brand of vehicle and has a record of satisfactory installations. You can find out about a technician or auto shop's track record of satisfactory installations by asking for references from previous clients. Furthermore, you should ensure that any technician or auto shop you hire has obtained the necessary license or permit to undertake a car sound system installation. Advisably, ask the technician or auto shop for proof of licensing and contact the consumer protection agency of your state to verify their licensing status.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are over 10,000 technicians performing electrical installations and repairs on vehicles. To operate as a technician with a specialty in automotive electronics, a person typically needs at least a high school education and specialized training in the area of automotive electronics. Basic specialized training can be obtained by enrolling in technical schools, taking courses related to automotive electronics, and through apprenticeships offered by labor unions and credible organizations such as the American Institute of Innovative Apprenticeship. After joining the industry and obtaining the required license to operate, electrical automotive technicians can further improve their skills by undergoing training and obtaining certifications from a reputable state, national, or international organization such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence or the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians.
Advisably, when planning to hire a car sound system service near you, you should first ask family and friends for referrals, particularly ask family and friends who installed a sound system similar to your specifications or in a car similar to yours. This can help you have an idea of the overall cost and installation time for the service. Besides referrals from family and friends, you can contact reputable automotive associations, such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence or the Automotive Service Association, for credible auto shops or auto technicians near you that install car sound systems. Depending on your area of residence, you can also contact state and local auto associations to get referrals on good auto technicians and shops near you. Examples of such local associations include the Automotive Service Council of California and the Automotive Service Association of Texas. Before selecting a technician or automotive shop to perform your car sound system installation, it is important to ask them for references from previous customers. Ideally, ask them for references from customers that installed a sound system similar to your specifications or performed the installation in a car similar to yours. Such references generally help with the assessment of the technician or auto shop's satisfactory service delivery.
Finally, review-dedicated websites also provide helpful information regarding the satisfactory service delivery of a technician or auto shop and can be a good starting point to finding a car sound system installation service near you. Examples include Google Review, Yelp, and Better Business Bureau. These websites have reviews from customers who have hired the services of a technician or auto shop, and this information can help with your hiring choices.
For national statistics published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, technicians that specialize in automotive electronics are classified under the Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers industry. Below are the quick facts for the industry:
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
There are a few signs that indicate your car audio system might need an upgrade. These include instances when the sound output is distorted, not clear enough, or lacking in bass. To troubleshoot your audio system and pick out any of these signs, connect the audio system to a device and play some music at a high volume. If you have to tweak the audio system a lot before getting your preferred sound, then it might be time for an audio system upgrade.
Yes, you can install home speakers in your car. However, wiring home speakers with your car is more complex than simply wiring another car speaker. Furthermore, house speakers take up more room, making them harder to fit into a car. Finally, home speakers are not made for the harsh conditions of a vehicle, which includes temperature changes, exposure to heat, and an outdoor environment generally. Hence, while you can fit home speakers in your car, it is usually not ideal to do so.
Some steps that can help improve the sound of your car door speakers include:
- Installing noise-deadening products such as vibration dampeners in the door panel. Noise-deadening products essentially trap sound or vibration that may escape from the door speakers and release them back into your car. This way, the sound output is less distorted and more clear.
- Connecting sound-enhancement accessories such as amplifiers to the door speakers. This helps increase the sound output of the speaker and gives more sound clarity.
- Having foam baffles installed behind your speakers. This helps to reduce the effects of external vibrations on your car door speakers by acting as a shock absorber and soaking in the bulk of these external vibrations.
While other steps are also available for improving the sound of your car door speakers, the step that will work best for you typically depends on your preferences, the speaker, and your car.
When searching for good car speakers to install, some things you should look out for include:
- The quality of the speaker's material
- The speaker's sensitivity
- The speaker's sound quality and output
- The speaker's cost
- The speaker's type and design
- The speaker's compatibility with your car
You can ask a car audio expert for assistance and information on other things to look out for when finding a car speaker that can satisfy your preferences.
Several components in your car audio system determine the sound output you get. When attempting to improve this sound output, you may need to upgrade a few components. Consequently, what you should upgrade first largely depends on your preferences and the audio setup your car currently has. To find this out, visit a car audio system expert who can assess this audio setup, listen to your preferences, and can determine what requires an urgent upgrade.
Your preferences play a central role in your car audio choices, including the car audio setup. To find out the best car audio setup for your car, visit a car audio system expert. These experts typically consider all relevant factors, such as your preferences, your car, and your budget, and suggest what can satisfy your expectations.
Installing a sound system does not usually void a warranty unless the installation causes a technical problem that affects the car. A warranty is a time-based promise from your car's manufacturer to fix some issues associated with the car's manufacturing process. Besides manufacturing defects, other problems are usually not warrantable. For example, if the installed sound system causes an electrical problem, it may void the warranty for electrical defects.