Hot Tip: How To Upgrade Your Car’s Sound System

engineer testing sound system

So you’re finally doing it, swapping out that old sound tech. You’ve found the right place because I just did the same, and here’s how to upgrade your car’s sound system the right way.

I’ll go over how to pick out the right system for your car, which components are needed, how to get it done, and where to get the right components. Soon you’ll be surrounded by sweet audio bliss too.

Plan Out Your Audio System

First things first, know what you want to do. As the old saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail”. 

Make a list of what things you want to replace in your car, and what you want to keep. If your car came with a branded factory stereo (i.e Harman Kardon, bose, Jbl, etc) chances are some of your components are quite good.

Older cars however, can probably do with a total replacement. Even if the sound is decent the technology today surpasses the older gear in cars of the past. It can be a worthwhile upgrade.

Head Units can be one of the more complicated things to replace. Your best bet is to try and find something that is a direct replacement for your car. 

If your car doesn’t have the luxury of bluetooth or aux connections a head unit should be a priority upgrade.

Depending on your particular car and how integrated the unit is, it can get quite costly. Android head units are a fantastic upgrade, they are the best by far for functionality and for modernizing your vehicle.

Toyota double din head unit-how to upgrade your car's sound system
Toyota Double Din Head Unit

Understand The Weakness Of Your Audio System

If the audio in your car sounds washed out or scratchy, you probably need better speakers. My 2007 Toyota Camry came with terrible low quality speakers for example. They were made of paper and just made everything sound awful.

Everything you played sounded one dimensional and flat no matter how loud you had the volume. It also had no low end bass. The speakers had no range, therefore the audio had no dimensionality. 

If your speakers sound good to you, leave them be. Not everything needs to be totally overhauled. You can also add things like subwoofers or tweeters to increase the depth of sound without messing with what you have. 

Just a head unit upgrade can produce better sound because most aftermarket head units provide more power to speakers than factory ones.

Best Car Audio Setup For Sound Quality

The best setup for sound quality is what suits your needs. Budget, quality and time all affect this system. However, I’ll tell you what I would do.

I would first start with a good head unit. If you have all the functionality in your car already, i.e bluetooth, aux, carplay android auto you’re good to go, but you might need extra components to hook up to your factory radio. If you don’t have that, start with that. 

Aftermarket Head units not only give you more functionality they make hooking up aftermarket components so much easier. They have all kinds of inputs and outputs, and most likely a direct fitting harness so no splicing wires on any connections. 

Then I would replace each speaker with direct fitting high quality units. I choose direct fit because you want minimal fussing around with fitment and don’t want to turn a weekend project into a month. Trying to make a speaker fit where it doesn’t belong is a pain if you don’t have adapters and even then it’s not so smooth.

So for example in my vehicle I only have six speakers to replace. 2 tweeters, 2 front door speakers, and 2 rear deck speakers.

I chose Pioneer direct fit speakers that were under $50 a pair. I picked these up from Crutchfield because of the price and because of the brand recognition. To be honest any speakers I chose would have been better than the crap I had. 

Car Audio Upgrade Packages

You can create your ideal audio package from pretty much anywhere that sells car speakers and stereos. Brick and mortar stores like Best buy are great because they even offer installation. 

Shopping around online the usual places come to mind. Amazon and ebay are good places to check out. You might find some deals there especially if you wait for black friday or prime day.

I chose Crutchfield (not affiliated) because they allow you to search by vehicle, so you know exactly what fits your car before you buy it. On top of that they provided all the harnesses and adapters for free plus install instructions! They really know how to upgrade your car’s sound system properly.

I haven’t seen that before from another website, so I thought you Automotivists would like to know where I bought my speakers from. They might not give you all the free gear with every purchase so double check.

Cross Shop everything, you will be surprised at the differences in prices sometimes. 

In Sum

This was just a quick guide on how to upgrade your car’s sound system. It’s not complicated when you plan it out and get the right equipment. 

For the Automotivists it can be a quick and easy project that makes a big impact but doesn’t require getting filthy like most other car projects. 

When you’re all done you can Jam out to your accomplishment!

Related posts