The Difficulty Defined
We all love to have a great stereo in our car. You don’t have to be an audiophile to appreciate good music and high-quality sound from a decent car stereo. However, a typical technical problem occurs which can be quite annoying, and that is that you sometimes get engine noise in speakers. Here, we will first discuss the reason why this happens, and then we will see how to get rid of engine noise in your car stereo.
Although you may think that you have to be an electronic or sound engineer to deal with engine noise through speakers, you will be surprised that you don’t need to use complicated technology and you can solve this problem yourself. Let’s try to understand why engine noise in speakers occurs in the first place.
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Why it Happens
- Inadequate Grounding: In an audio circuit, the audio signal is transmitted to the speakers in the form of electrical impulses of extremely low-voltage. These electrical impulses are carried to the speakers through audio cables. Sometimes, the electrical charges caused by the engine get picked up by the wires, which creates undesirable noise known as ‘ground noise.' This problem occurs if the negative part of the cable is not securely connected to the body of the vehicle.
- Faulty RCA Cables: RCA cables are color-coded cables first introduced by the Radio Corporation of America in the early 1940s. They are used to carry audio signals to the various parts of your car stereo. A faulty audio cable can pick up engine noise or a whining noise from speakers when accelerating.
- Faulty Speaker Wires: The cables that connect the amplifier to the speakers and interconnect them are sometimes not shielded. Poor quality speaker wires can also cause engine noise in speakers.
What you will need
Here is a list of some essential items you will need to get rid of engine noise through speakers:
- Combination pliers
- Side cutters
- Nose pliers
- Wire stripper
- Screwdrivers (Phillips and regular)
- Good quality RCA cables
- Thick-gauge speaker wire
- Standard earthing cable
- Insulation tape
- Tin Cutter
- Mu-metal Sheet
#1- Find the Source of Noise
Since the engine is not the only possible source of interference, you may do well to ensure that it is indeed the engine that is the culprit. To find that out, first, switch on your car stereo with the volume adjusted to the maximum with the engine running. You may even hear a whining noise from speakers while accelerating. Now, turn off the engine. If the noise disappears, you know that the engine is causing the noise.
#2- Check your Cables
Pull out each RCA cable one by one and replace it with a temporary (good-quality) one. You may want to do this with more than one cable at a time, which will eliminate the possibility of multiple defective cables. If the noise disappears, then one or more of your RCA cables are faulty. Just replace these cables with good-quality ones, and you should be able to get rid of the engine noise through speakers.
#3- Pull out the Stereo
If you still hear the engine noise in speakers, try this: Pull out your car stereo from the dashboard and hook it up so that you can play it outside the dash. If the engine noise becomes significantly reduced or vanishes, you can be sure that poor shielding is causing the electrical interference. You can remedy this occurrence by using magnetic shielding foil also known as Mu-Metal. Just cut the Mu-metal strips with a tin cuter to wrap it around the stereo and replace it back in its receptacle.
#4- Turn off the Sound System and Disconnect the Speakers
If you are still getting engine noise in your car speakers, turn off the sound system and disconnect the speaker wires. Now you can wrap some shielding like Mu-metal around the wires. It may also be that the speaker wires are too close to certain other electrical cables of the car’s circuitry. Try changing the position of the speaker wires, and you may be able to get rid of engine noise in your car stereo.
#5- Check your Alternator and Car Battery
A faulty alternator can also generate undesirable electrical impulses which can be picked up by your car speakers It could also be emanating from the battery. If the problem lies with the battery, just get your battery maintained or replaced, if it is old. If the alternator is causing problem, you will hear a whining noise from speakers when accelerating. Get your engine tuned up and you may have to replace some of the shielded carbon-core spark plug wires, or even the spark plugs themselves.
#6- Benefits of a Noise Filter
When all else fails, you can use a noise filter to eliminate engine noise in speakers effectively. Also called ‘ground loop isolators’, these nifty devices consist of a coaxial plug with a cable and a filter unit fitted with a socket. Installation is simple. You just insert the coaxial plug into the stereo socket of your stereo and connect the RCA cables to your speakers to the stereo socket on the unit. For adding the RCA cables to your noise filter, you will need an adapter cable which will have a stereo plug on one end and two RCA sockets at the other. You will be able to get this adapter cable from any car accessories shop.
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Now, you should have a better understanding of how car engine noise gets picked up by car speakers. You will also be aware of how to get rid of engine noise in your car stereo. As you can see, you don’t have to be a car stereo expert to solve this problem. Just by following this step-by-step guide, you should be able to stop engine noise in speakers.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. Please feel free to leave your valuable comments and feedback and questions, if any, and we will be happy to respond.