Disaster has struck! Your subwoofer, the one you spent days researching, months if not years loving, has blown!
Your music is not playing as it should; the bass is little more than muffled sighs, and understandably you are distraught!
Will you need to replace the subwoofer, send it in for lengthy repairs, or is there a third option?
Can you fix a blown subwoofer? Repairing your subwoofer does not have to be the daunting task it once was.
Keep reading to find out if you can fix your blown subwoofer and how to do it!
Can you fix a blown subwoofer?
The short answer is, yes, you can! Depending on the fault with your blown subwoofer, the process can be quick and easy!
More complex defects can take longer to repair and be quite tricky; sometimes, seeking professional help is a good idea.
Today we will take a closer look at blown subwoofers and help you fix the common faults on them.
What is a subwoofer?
Before we get into that, let’s have a quick recap for any newbies in the room!
A subwoofer that offers a deep bass to your music can be installed into your car or used as part of a home sound system.
Today we are focusing solely on those used in vehicles.
What type of subwoofer do I have?
Generally, subwoofers are available in two options: powered or passive.
It is essential to know which one you have to ensure you are caring for it and fix it in the event of it blowing.
A powered subwoofer will use your car’s receiver for power. The stereo receiver can power subwoofers fine and deliver good quality sound, but it is not always the best option, especially for powerful subwoofers.
A passive subwoofer will draw its power from an external amplifier. You would need the external amplifier to produce the sound you want from a subwoofer.
Passive subwoofers often generate the louder and bassier sounds you want from a subwoofer.
Why did the subwoofer blow?
So what could have caused your subwoofer to blow? Your subwoofer can blow if it is under or overpowered.
Each subwoofer will be limited to the power it can handle; this is usually labeled on the subwoofers box when you purchase it or in the instruction manual.
If the subwoofer exceeds the cone’s handling capacity, it could tear the cone, the suspension material, and the spider leaving you with a damaged subwoofer.
Overpowering the subwoofer can cause damage to the voice coil, separating it from the spider, the cone, and can damage the coil itself.
Underpowering the subwoofer can result in the speaker overheating, interrupting its signals, and causing damage to the voice coil.
The amplifier should be given plenty of power so that the signals are clear to avoid this happening. Make sure that the external amplifier has enough power to support your subwoofer.
It is best that if there is a distorted signal, not turning the subwoofer up, it is best to cause further damage. A buzzing sound when music is played also indicates that your subwoofer has blown.
How to know when a subwoofer is blown
If your subwoofer is not performing as it should, i.e., the muffled or distorted sound we discussed earlier, then it may have blown. To fix the issue, you first need to see where the issue is.
Most commonly, subwoofers blow and cause damage to the voice coil or have tears on the speaker cone. These issues can be challenging to fix, but we can diagnose them following the following steps.
To check the voice coil, you can connect the terminals to a multimeter tool. If there is no resistance detected, then the wire is damaged and will need to be replaced.
If your coil is fine, try checking the speaker cone to see if that is damaged. The cone can be easily damaged in a subwoofer and is easy to detect.
Remove the cover of your subwoofer and check for any movement by pushing along the sides. Remember to take care of this.
If the cone is rigid, this could be because the voice coil is jammed or broken. You will need to check for small rips or holes; sometimes, a flashlight can be helpful.
The damage is usually seen in the cone or foam suspension. Foam replacements can take a few hours to replace, whether you use a replacement kit or items around your home.
How to Fix a Blown Subwoofer
Now that we understand the subwoofer, what can cause it to blow, and how to check that it has blown, let’s look at fixing it. It is best to do any repair work on your subwoofers in a clean and well-lit area.
The first step is to detach your speakers. You can do this by unscrewing the speakers from where they are mounted and disconnecting the wires. Once the speaker is detached, you can check the speaker to see what the problem is.
If replacement parts are needed, these are widely available and can be ordered online. We will now look at fixing some common problems when subwoofers blow.
If the coil has stuck, press on the speaker cone gently to see any movement. If there is no movement, you can use a flashlight to see if the voice coil is out of place.
If the coil seems pushed up, but the wires are intact and connected, you can gently push the coil back into its correct position.
Pushing the speaker up on both sides, taking care not to go too high, can allow the coil to readjust itself.
If you have been able to do this and nothing else appears damaged, test the speaker before reinstalling. If you are still having issues, there may be unseen damage.
Sometimes small tears can occur to the cone of the speaker. An easy way to fix this is with a paper towel and some Elmer’s glue. It will not be perfect, but an easy option.
Take a single layer of the paper towel and fit the tear’s size; make sure it covers only the torn area. Spread the glue over the paper towel, saturating the paper. Take care to ensure the glue is not runny.
Next, apply the paper towel to the speaker, gently pressing and smoothing it into the speaker with a tool that won’t damage the speaker, such as a butter knife. Repeat this process for the back of the speaker.
Once the glue has dried, you can apply matte black spray paint if you wish. This can help the fiber of a torn speaker lock together with the glue and paper towel. You should not notice a change in sound quality.
Replacing the Foam Surround
You will first need to cut the foam if needed and remove the gasket using a hobby knife.
Placing the knife between the speaker frame and gasket, you will be able to slide it to separate the gasket from the frame. Be sure to clean the glued area on the gasket once it is removed.
Next, carefully cut the foam away from the speaker. Scrape the speaker frame where the foam sat to ensure there are no remaining particles. You can use rubbing alcohol and a paper towel to make sure the area is cleaned.
Once the area is dry and thoroughly cleaned, you can apply the new foam and glue. Apply the glue to the inside lip of the foam, spread it evenly across, and turn it over to apply it to the speaker.
Take care when pushing the foam around the cone and wait up to one hour for the glue to fully dry. Next, apply glue to the gasket area so the foam’s outer lip can be applied to it. Push the foam into the adhesive all the way around and wait for a minute or so.
You can then apply the foam to the frame. Be sure to check the cone is centered by pressing down gently on opposite sides.
You can adjust if needed and continue pushing the foam until it sits on the frame and wait for the glue to dry. It is best to go slow and gentle with this to avoid causing any damage.
Once dry, apply the gasket. Apply glue to the top edge of the foam and the gasket over the top.
Press down and let the glue dry for an hour. Once the glue is dried, you can replace the speaker in your car.
As you can see, your blown subwoofer can indeed be fixed! It is worth taking the time to identify and diagnose the issue so you can correctly rectify this.
Some of the problems can be resolved quickly and easily, with just some patience from yourself.
Remember, it is always worth weighing whether it is more cost-effective to purchase a new subwoofer instead of repairing it yourself.
Older subwoofers are often better replaced with a new model that will last longer and save you hassle in the long term.