Car enthusiasts who love music almost always look to upgrade the factory standard audio system in their vehicle. To get the very best out of a car’s stereo system, it’s a good idea to install an amplifier. However, when it comes fitting a car amp, the process is never as straight forward as it first looks. Thankfully, it isn’t too hard to do at home, our handy guide shows you exactly how to install a car amp, and should have your windows vibrating in no time at all:
1. Decide Where You Want The Amp
Before starting the installation process, it is advisable to have a look around your car and decide where you want to fit your amp. It needs to be installed in such a way that wires are routed underneath the carpet or sill trim so that they do not pose a hazard to the driver or to passengers. Probably the best place to fit an amp is in the corner of the car’s boot.
2. Get the Tools and Cables
Before beginning with the installation, make sure you have all the necessary tools for the job. You will also require an amp wiring kit that contains the cables you need: a power cable that is thick enough to handle the amp’s wattage, some grounding cable and RCA cables to connect the amp to the pre-out on your head unit. You will also need the release tools for your stereo so that you can connect the amps remote power and RCA cable to the head unit. Speaker wire will also be needed if you are connecting your door speakers or a subwoofer to the amp. Apart from the cables, you will need screw drivers to remove trim, wire cutters / strippers, insulation tape, and often a straightened out wire coat hanger will also come in handy for getting the power cable through rubber grommets and past the firewall.
3. Disconnect the Car Battery
The negative battery terminal must be disconnected from the battery before you do anything. Trying to wire an amp when the battery is connected is a very dangerous thing to do.
4. Run the Cables
Three cables will need to be run along the length of the car, from the front to the amp. The two power cables should be routed on the passenger side underneath the carpet by removing door sill trim. The blue remote power wire and the RCA cables should be connected to the head unit, whilst the 12v power cable is a bit more tricky. This needs to somehow go past the the firewall into the engine bay and connect to the batteries positive terminal. Fit this wire starting at the front because its easier to go from front to back, but don’t connect it to the battery yet! You don’t need to drill through the firewall, we are going to show you how to install a car amp without compromising the safety of your car! To pass the firewall simply route the cable through the cavity between the front wing and engine bay, then through a grommet underneath the doors wiring loom rubber. Use the wire coat hanger as a giant needle to thread the wire through the wing by taping the wire onto the end securely with insulation tape. From here use the wire coat hanger to thread the wire back through the same grommet and into the front foot well. Next run the RCA cables down the drivers side so that the power cables don’t cause feedback and connect the RCA cables and blue remote power to the head unit.
5. Grounding Your Amp
Near the amp, a self tapping screw or existing bolt needs to be used to connect the negative wire and ground the amp. Clean up the screw or bolt before connecting the cables. The grounding cables spade can now be connected to this fixture, and then to the amplifier.
6. Secure the Amplifier
Now, run the cables from any speakers you want the amp to drive and connect them. It is a good idea to label the cables with masking tape to make sure you connect them to the right amp channel. Strip off the ends of the cables and tin the ends of your speaker wires if you have a soldering iron. Secure the amp in place by screwing it to a piece of MDF, then screw the MDF to your boot floor with self tapping screws to prevent it sliding around and damaging the wiring. If you fitted a subwoofer, bungee cords are a great way to stop the sub from sliding around every time you take a corner.
7. Connect the Power and RCA Cables to the Amp
Now that all the cables are in place , connect the RCA cables, remote power, and 12v power cables to your amp.
8. Connect the 12v Power Cable and Reconnect the Battery
Now connect the 12v amp power cable to the positive terminal of your battery, then reconnect the negative terminal. Now crank it up and check out your awesome car audio.