Subwoofer not Working in Car? [Reasons & How to Fix]

A subwoofer is a huge speaker that is built primarily to create low-frequency bass sounds. Most automobile radio systems require a professionally fitted premium subwoofer system combined with a high-power amplifier and head unit for excellent low bass response.

Having a working subwoofer is the desire of every car owner. This is because it adds bass and clarity to the stereo’s sound, which can also enhance your car’s system performance in a variety of ways.

If your car’s subwoofer is malfunctioning, then it could be a result of several factors, which I will be mentioning in this article.

car subwoofer not working

Some of The Major Reasons Why Your Car Subwoofer is Not Working

1. Failed Driver Magnet

A magnet is attached to the bottom of a cone near a wire coil in every automobile subwoofer. As a result, when voltage and current enter the circuit of this electromagnet through incoming signals from the source, the electromagnet repels or attracts the permanent magnet, driving the cone and creating sound.

As a result, if your subwoofer isn’t creating any sound, the coils’ contact with the magnet may have been broken.

2. Broken Cone Seal

For your car subwoofer to function efficiently and produce a sound, it needs to be able to move air at a particular frequency, which requires it to keep moving the speaker cone back and forth. 

The cone is usually enclosed with various materials used to seal the cone to the enclosure. If this seal is broken, the speaker cone will continue to move but cannot adequately transfer the air into the required area. Instead, air flows back and forth around the cone sides into the cage.

Also, the speaker’s resistance decreases since the seal no longer provides adequate resistance. This enables the speaker to move too quickly, and it would sometimes result in collisions with other parts of the system, causing your subwoofers to not work well.

3. Short Circuit

A short circuit is another major reason why your subwoofer could stop working. If there is a short circuit in the wire that provides signals to your subwoofer, it will malfunction—it will prevent electrical current and signal from getting to your device.

Consequently, this limits the amount of power that can be produced by the electromagnet, preventing the cone from working well.

4. Low Power

Lack of adequate power can also contribute to your car’s subwoofer not working. If there is insufficient current reaching the electromagnetic coil in the subwoofer, the resulting electromagnetic field will be too weak to interact successfully with the permanent magnet. 

So, you must check the coil of the subwoofer to ensure that it is receiving enough power. If not, the field required for the permanent driving magnet to function will be weak, and your car’s subwoofer will not execute the task it was designed to.

5. Blown Subwoofer

This is another common reason why your car subwoofer is not working. In this case, a blown unit would only require a replacement for you to be able to enjoy your favorite music with a bit of bass while driving. 

Subwoofers burn when they get too much power or when the incoming signal is overly distorted. Listening to music or checking the woofer’s movement can easily reveal the problem.

However, if you want to identify a blown subwoofer using mechanical methods, you can get out the multimeter and examine the coil.

How to Identify a Blown Subwoofer

  • When the amplifier is turned on, no sound comes out.
  • The sound is not clear, and there are some buzzing sounds in the background—If your audio is buzzing only when music or any audio file is playing, then it’s likely that the voice coil of your driver has burned out. This is also one of the bad ground on amp symptoms.
  • The sound unexpectedly stopped operating.
  • The subwoofer stopped working, but the other speakers are good.
  • When you play music at high volume levels, you notice popping sounds in the background.
  • The subwoofer is making a crackling sound.

Car Subwoofer Not Working When Amp Has Power

When your car subwoofer fails to power on, it could mean that your power setting isn’t set correctly. Most subwoofers give users a choice between “Auto” – which turns on after sending a signal; “On” – always-on; or “Trigger” – which must be connected to a receiver with a trigger cable. If your subwoofer continues to not power on, the issue might be from the amplifier itself and will need repair or replacement.

However, there are situations where your subwoofer might not be working but your amp has power. If this is your present situation, then you don’t need to worry so much because it could be that your subwoofer system is on mute. Therefore, you have to check your volume level before considering other factors that might be the cause. If it’s on mute, you can remove it from that level and increase the volume.

Another reason why your subwoofer would not work when your amplifier has power is the input cable. You need to ensure that your input cables are properly plugged in. If it’s plugged in, unplug it and reconnect it again, but before reconnecting, make sure the cable is intact—there is no breakage. And then turn on the unit again.

When you have verified that none of these factors mentioned could be the cause of your car subwoofer not working, then you need to check your speakers. It could be that your speaker wires are loose, and this could be a result of overheating.

If you discover that your speakers are damaged, then you will need to replace them with a better pair. However, while trying to replace your speakers, you need to understand that speakers come in different strengths, so it is best to buy from a reliable source.


If your subwoofer suddenly stopped working, the first thing you should do is check the fuse. If it’s blown, replace it and see if that fixes the problem, or try to adjust the volume control. If the problem isn’t from the fuse or any of the mentioned issues, then you’ll need to take it to a technician for repair.