Maybe you've blown your car stereo speakers, or maybe you're just ready to upgrade your puny factory-installed sound system.
Most experts agree that factory-installed speakers are the weakest part of most car audio systems. When it's time to decide what type you want, it's entirely up to your ears and your budget. Higher-priced speakers usually provide better quality sound through all frequencies, while low-priced ones may produce a less crisp sound across all of the audible frequencies. Furthermore, you'll probably want to buy replacement speakers that fit into the factory-made holes in your car. Identical-size speakers make installation much quicker and easier.
Here are a few places to search for the perfect replacement speakers for you:
- Wal-Mart, Target, etc. These retail stores offer generally low to medium quality replacement speakers from several different brand name companies. The selection isn't large, but you should be able to find them in most sizes; however, don't expect to find high end replacement speakers that fit your car. These stores are a good option if you want a low price low end (dual cone) or medium quality (2-way) speaker. Also, the salespeople are marginally helpful, at best, and they are not experts. Car stereo installation services are not available.
- Electronics stores. National electronics stores like Best Buy, Circuit City, and Radio shack usually carry an ample selection of car audio merchandise to satisfy all but the pickiest audiophiles. These stores usually devote entire sections to car audio, and it's worth going so that you can listen to different types of speakers. Take some time and compare each type. The salespeople are usually somewhat knowledgeable and can help you find the high end speakers that best fit your needs. For those less mechanically inclined, good quality installation services are usually available for a small fee.
- Car audio specialty stores. These stores devote all of their floor space to the newest, most capable mobile sound equipment available. Their sales personnel are the most knowledgeable, but you can expect to pay more for their expertise. These stores are usually the most expensive option for finding speakers. If you want the best speakers and you want help selecting them, this is probably the place for you. Your best bet for locating a specialty store near you is probably to search the yellow pages under "auto stereos and radio." These stores usually offer installation services at a moderate cost.
- Online stores and catalogues. Online stores and catalogues offer both low- and high-end merchandise at lowest cost. You can order anything from basic factory replacements to high-end composite construction speakers. Online stores often include articles and guides to help you find the speakers that best suit your needs, but don't expect to talk to a helpful salesman.
Crutchfield.com is the leading online audio retailer. They do have a "find what fits my car" guide. All you have to do is tell it what kind of car you drive, and it will tell you what kind and type of speakers will fit as direct replacements. Click the "Find what fits my car link" at Crutchfield.com's homepage. Installation is not available from online retailers, so it's up to you to do it yourself or find somebody who will install the speakers that you provide.
- Finally, don't forget to look at what you can find at eBay. You should be able to find new or used replacement speakers at pretty good deals. With some patient searching, you may even be able to find a great deal on some used speakers.
Car speaker replacement can take awhile if you're trying to find a deal, but be patient. Start with these suggestions and see which works best for you.