Car Speaker Rattle: Main Causes & How to Fix It

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Silent Home Hub Car Speaker Rattle

You’re playing your favorite music while driving. But you hear an unwanted guest: a rattling sound.

Is it coming from the speakers? Or from the car door? Why is there noise at all?

Driving without music because of your car speaker’s rattling sound can be a bummer, especially if you have a long drive ahead of you.

That’s why we’ve listed 10 easy and effective ways on how to stop car doors and speakers from rattling. Let’s begin!

Table of Contents

Causes of Car Speaker Rattle

First things first: Why does your car speaker rattle when playing music?

Sound is produced when an object vibrates. From there, sound waves bump into other objects inside the car.

That’s why if you turn up the car audio, the sound waves make the vibrations more prominent. As a result, there’s a higher chance of a car speaker rattle.

To prevent this, your vehicle should have an acoustically-dead surface, which is a fancy way of saying vibration-free.

You might think installing a soundproofing material is the answer, but not quite so.

Sometimes the source of sound isn’t from where it was produced, i.e., your speakers. So a careful examination is needed to make sure you can fix the issue.

How to Stop Car Speakers from Rattling: 10 Effective Ways

There are many factors why you hear rattling from speakers. As you’ll find out, it doesn’t always mean the door speakers are the issue.

We’ve listed 10 effective ways to stop a speaker rattling inside your vehicle.

Let’s jump right into it.

Materials mentioned in the article:

  • Screwdriver
  • Duct tape
  • Soft cleaning brush or microfiber towel
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Compressed air
  • Foam rings
  • Bass blockers
  • Sound-deadening mats

1. Remove Loose Items From the Car Door Pockets

It’s possible your rattling speaker problem isn’t a speaker problem to begin with.

Before examining the speakers, start with your car door pockets. In many cases, there are small items stuck inside the car doors and door pockets.

An empty water bottle, loose change, keys, sunglasses—these are all possible culprits to the rattling noise. Why?

These items can easily vibrate as you turn up the car audio. These will knock against the car door panel and door pockets, causing the rattling from speakers.

Remove these items from the car door panel. Then, play some music to test the car’s audio quality.

If you can’t hear the rattle anymore, problem solved. You’ll be glad to know that it wasn’t a serious issue, after all.

However, if the rattle continues, move onto the next steps.

2. Check Which Speaker Is Rattling

The next step is to determine the source of the rattle. That is, pinpointing which rattling speaker is the problem.

To do so, adjust the fade and balance settings of your car audio system. These sound system controls adjust the strength of the sounds produced by each speaker.

Fade adjusts playing sounds between the front or rear speakers. Balance adjusts the balance between the left and right speakers in the vehicle.

Once you find out which car speaker is causing the rattle, it will be easier to fix the problem.

There are many causes as to why speakers rattle. These are discussed in the next steps, along with how to solve the problem.

3. Adjust the Car Audio Setting

As you play around with the balance and fade audio setting, you might notice that the rattle stops.

In that case, you’re dealing with an improperly configured car audio system.

Car speakers handle a specific power range. For instance, the subwoofer in your trunk is for handling bass music, whereas the side speakers are for high-frequency sounds.

So, if your car speaker is over- or under-powered, it may cause sound distortion. If you like to blast music, it increases voltage signals and may lead to a blown speaker (more on this in Step 6).

The solution is easy. Continue to adjust the fade and balance until you stop hearing the rattling.

Minimize the volume as well. A high volume will cause more vibrations throughout your car’s body parts. This may lead to rattling or clinking.

4. Clean the Car Speakers

One of the common problems for car speakers is cleanliness. Dirt particles are sometimes invisible to the eye, so it’s pretty difficult to prevent them.

These small particles, such as dust and grit, may get stuck inside your speakers and make rattling sounds. The solution is easy: clean the inner and outer areas of your speakers.

To get started, use a soft cleaning brush or microfiber towel. They should be damp, but not wet, as otherwise, it may damage the speakers.

After the first round of cleaning, switch over to a dry brush or cloth to get rid of any excess moisture.

To clean the subwoofer, we recommend using a vacuum cleaner to make it quick and easy. Just make sure the vacuum’s pressure isn’t too high as otherwise, it may cause damage.

To clean tweeters, you have to be more careful. Tweeters have a thin material that can be easily torn or damaged.

For tweeters, don’t use a towel or cloth. Instead, use compressed air to remove the dust particles.

5. Inspect the Speakers for Any Loose Screws

The top reason for a problematic audio system is loose screws.

As you play music, the speakers vibrate. Because of this, the screws may come off over time. The voice coil, outer cabinet, etc., may also get loose.

To determine if this is the issue, inspect the speaker mounting. You might see the screws out of place, but it won’t be too obvious in most cases.

Start playing some music while holding the rattling speaker in place. Listen for any rattling noise.

If you don’t hear any rattling sounds anymore, then it means loose screws are the culprit.

All you need to fix the problem? A screwdriver.

But before that, in case the speakers are inside the car door, you may have to remove the door panel first. Remove the vapor shield as well.

After removing the door panels and vapor shield, use a flathead screwdriver to tighten the screws.

If you still hear the speaker rattling after you remove the door panel and vapor shield, then tough luck. You might be dealing with blown speakers. Ouch.

6. Check if the Rattling Is From Blown Speakers

A blown speaker means the audio cone has separated from the coil. There are many reasons for blown speakers, but most of the time, it’s due to the high volume.

To check if your rattling speaker is blown, inspect the outer speaker cone first. A plastic or foam material will usually cover the outer cone.

Take off the plastic or foam cover, then inspect the outer cone. You may notice there are tears or missing chunks.

In such cases, use duct tape and seal the tears. Once you’ve covered the tears, test the sound quality again.

But if you don’t see any tears on the outer cone, it’s time to check the inner cone. For this step, you’ll have to remove the entire speaker.

Loosen and remove the screws using a screwdriver. Carefully take out the speaker from the mounting and examine it if the speaker is blown.

If you see any tears on the inner cone, you can use some duct tape again to seal them close. Once repaired, put the speaker back and test the car audio for any rattling.

7. Use Acoustic Seals to Cover Car Speakers

After trying all of the steps above, you may want to inspect the speaker mounting. This is especially important if you’ve installed aftermarket speakers.

In such cases, these speakers may not fit properly. The speaker rattling sounds, therefore, might come from the imbalance between the speakers and the mounting.

The good news is there’s an easy solution to this problem: foam rings. These help decrease vibrations and keep the speakers firmly in place.

Usually, a foam ring set will consist of 3 parts: 2 foam rings, which will serve as a stopper between the speaker and baffle plate surface. And a small cushion/pad placed at the back of the speaker.

As foam rings come in different sizes, make sure to check the size of your car speakers before buying them.

8. Install Bass Blockers on Side Speakers

If you don’t see any damages to your speakers, then it might be a low-frequency issue.

Most side speakers of cars can’t handle low-frequency sound.

You can test it out by playing bass music. As you turn up the volume, you might hear some vibration and rattling sound.

Many cars have a pre-installed subwoofer, which can handle low-frequency sound. In case your car doesn’t have one, an easy fix will be to buy a subwoofer.

A cheaper alternative is to install bass blockers. Bass blockers will filter out low-frequency sound and protect your side speakers.

These bass blockers are placed before the speaker and after the receiver. As a result, these will direct the sound towards the sub instead.

If you don’t want to spend a dime, go to the audio settings and turn down the bass. Simple and easy!

9. Inspect the Car Body Panels for Any Vibrations

Your car body panels can also be the source of a rattling sound.

When you play music, the sound pressure from it may cause the panels to move or shake due to the vibrations. Examples include the dashboard, door panel, car door, interior rim piece, and so on.

The solution is pretty simple for this problem. All you need is a soundproofing material, such as a sound-deadening mat.

These products come in various forms. The easiest one is a peel-and-stick type.

But there are also ones that require adhesives. Some come in the form of sprays, in case you can’t put any mats or pads inside your car.

A sound-deadening mat is excellent for absorbing vibrations. A sound-deadening mat also reduces road noise and enhances audio quality.

Another option is to purchase a roll of sheets. These are either pre-cut or customizable so that you can install them in specific areas of your vehicle.

You can install a soundproofing material in various areas of your car, such as:

  • Car Door/Trunk/Floor: All you need to do is cut the material into the right size.
  • Hood: Make sure to get a heat-resistant material for this part.
  • Speakers: Instead of an insulation sheet, you may want to consider a speaker kit or speaker baffles.
  • Door Panels: First, use a screwdriver to remove the car door panels. Then, cut out holes according to the size of the screws.

If you plan to cover the whole car, it’s cheaper to buy them in bulk.

Check out our article on the Best Dynamat Alternatives for the best sound-deadening mats and other insulation materials.

10. Bring Your Car to a Professional

After trying out all of the steps above, the rattling sound should be gone, and you should be able to enjoy your music in peace.

But if all the steps didn’t work, it’s time to contact a professional. As with most items, your car speaker has a shelf life, so it might be time to replace it with the speakers you dreamed of having.

Take your car to an audio shop, and the representative should be able to pinpoint the exact problem for any car model.

As an alternative, you can also consult a professional online. Go to the menu search bar to chat with a specialist.

Final Thoughts

two guys inside a car driving

Rattling from speakers can be worrying, especially if you like listening to music while driving.

The good news is that in most cases, there are several ways to stop car doors and speakers from rattling.

Sometimes the rattling issue isn’t from the speaker. Instead, it’s from the vibrations of various objects. Or the sound waves hitting against the car body or doors.

Otherwise, examine your speaker for dust, loose screws, or blown cones. With a few materials, you can find the solution in this article.

If all else fails, contact a car professional to solve the problem. Good luck and safe driving!

OTHER CAR SOUNDPROOFING GUIDES:

About the Author

andrea_adams

Andrea Adams

Fidgeting with gadgets and electronics has long been Andrea’s expertise. She has assembled, disassembled, and tweaked almost every type of device you can think of. Through the years, she has come to realize that technology should never be fussy. And that’s where her interest in quiet products stemmed from. She hopes to become your go-to person for insight when deciding on noiseless goods to purchase.