Signs of A Bad Car Amplifier

A car amplifier is a necessary piece of your car sound system. Amplifier issues can arise at any time and sometimes, unexpectedly. However, the signs of a bad car amplifier should not be disregarded. 

signs of a bad car amplifier

What Are The Signs of A Bad Car Amplifier?

1. Decrease in Sound Quality

A decrease in the sound quality can signify that your amp is not working correctly or is damaged. It could be caused by minor issues like a worn-out wire, a damaged amplifier, or a blown speaker.

If you are not sure of the exact problem, you can check your manual to ensure that all wires are in their proper positions.

2. Security or Protection Mode is Always Activated

Whenever you notice that your amplifier is going into protect mode or security mode, there is a problem somewhere that you need to fix. The amplifier enters into a protection mood to protect itself from damage.

Going into a protection mode often means that the amplifier is not working as it should. could be a result of internal damages. This could be a result of internal damage. 

3. Unable To Turn On

If your car amplifier refuses to turn on, it’s advised that you troubleshoot before you conclude that the amp is bad. Listed below are some ways you can carry out car amplifier troubleshooting:

  • Examine the wires: check the cables to see if they are properly connected. Any slight disconnection in the wiring can cause your amplifier not to boot up.
  • Inspect the fuse: there is the possibility that the fuse has blown. This is a common cause of an amplifier not booting.
  • Voltage power: check that your amplifier is plugged in correctly and make sure your car is getting power. If there’s no power, then troubleshooting your car’s electrical system would be an option.

After checking all these and the amplifier still doesn’t come on, then you’re advised to take it to an auto mechanic to fix it.

Read: How to Mirror Android to Car Screen

4. Overheating

Overheating is one of the signs that your amplifier will break down. If there is an issue with your amplifier cooling system, there is the possibility that overheating will occur frequently.

Sometimes, the amplifier gets so hot that the cooling fan cannot cool it down. As a result, it might lead to a breakdown. Some of the reasons why your amplifier can overheat include:

  • Low construction quality
  • Poor installation
  • Lack of proper ventilation
  • Low voltage power

5. Restarting Randomly

When your amplifier starts malfunctioning or starts switching on and off, there is the possibility that it has become faulty. Any wrong connection can lead to consistent going off and coming on which can eventually damage the amp.

To avoid this damage, you need to ensure that all cables are properly connected. Make sure that there are no loose cables. Loose wires can reduce the efficiency of the amp.

A list of factors that can cause your amp to randomly go on and off include:

  • Overheating
  • Clipping
  • Lack of proper connection
  • Bad cables

If you’ve tried fixing the amp cables and properly checked the internal and external connections without significant changes, your wires might need a replacement or professional service.

6. Smelling Burnt

Another sign of a faulty car amplifier is when you perceive a burnt smell from your amp. The smell is caused by a problem with the amplifier’s power supply or the cooling fan after it has been unable to cool the heat from the amp system. 

If the power supply is too hot or the cooling system stops working, it would burn the internal cables, causing more damage. So, whenever you notice this smell, it’s best to take it to a car professional for fixing or replacement.

7. Unstable Sound

In most cases, you might notice that the sound is unstable as it keeps increasing and decreasing. This could be a sign of a bad amplifier.

If you’ve checked the car speaker, head unit, and subwoofer and still can’t figure out the issue, your car amp is likely faulty, and you either need to repair it or replace it with a new one.

8. Frequent Replacement of Amp Fuse

Constant fuse replacement implies a problem with the amplifier that needs to be attended to as soon as possible. The fuse is used to guard and protect the amp from breakdown. So, constant blow-up of the fuses implies that you need to properly monitor the amp to know where the exact problem comes from and how to solve it.

Inspect the power wires, input and output cables, and connectors to confirm that the problem is not from there before handing it over to a professional.

9. Noise

If the amplifier is not fixed correctly, there will be a disturbance in the sound system. Your amplifier cable should not be more than fifteen inches. A longer length can increase noise.

In addition, you can fix this noise problem by repairing the power supply. If you’ve worked on it, as earlier stated and the problem persists, you should opt for a professional service.

10. Increased Bass

You might notice that your bass has become loud and noisy. It could be a result of a failed or faulty amp. If that’s the case, you’re advised to take it to a professional for fixing or replacement

What Causes A Car Amplifier To Go Bad?

1. Overstressing The Amp

Hot temperature is not the only reason your car amp gets damaged. Playing music for a very long time can also cause damage in some cases.

Overworking the speaker by playing thunderous music for a long time can make it crack, and this can cause stress on the amp.

Amplifiers can shut down whenever they need to protect themselves from outputting many watts. They will only come on when they have cooled off. 

2. Excessive Temperature

Car amplifiers do not work when the temperature is extremely cold or extremely hot. The amplifier is constructed to work at a specific temperature.

Once it exceeds its designed temperature, the amp shuts down

3. Inadequate Power Supply

An inadequate power supply increases the risk of getting the amplifier damaged. The responsibility of a power supply is to input power to the system to make it function properly.


Hopefully, from this post, you’ve learned what kind of signs to look out for when an amplifier goes bad, and how a quick detection and fix can help you reduce the risk of excessive damage.