How Much Does It Cost to Install a Sound System in a Car? (2023 Update)
Are you a big fan of blasting your favorite tunes while cruising down the road? Then a proper-quality sound system is mandatory. Without it, the ride simply won’t be as fun. Now, unless you’re the proud owner of a luxurious vehicle, the factory head unit and speaker set are probably average at best. Or maybe you’re perfectly fine with the stock audio equipment, but it’s malfunctioning.
In any case, it’s time to install a brand-new system. How much is that going to cost you? What additional expenses will be involved? Does auto insurance cover any of it? We have all the answers right here! You can expect to pay between $300–$800.
The Importance of a Sound System
EDM, Hip-Hop, hard rock, and pop music rely heavily on the speakers to accurately reproduce the lows, mids, and highs. Even if you’re playing your jams through a phone, it will still be the audio system’s job to “handle” all those frequencies. That’s exactly what makes it so important. Besides, with a full-fledged audio system, you’ll get an EQ, intuitive controls, and extra features.
And the good news is, you don’t have to pick the most expensive equipment to enjoy quality music. Thanks to heated competition among car sound system brands, they’re (relatively) affordable. All you’ll have to do is ensure the head unit/receiver fits the dashboard and that you’re happy with how everything sounds through the new speakers.
How Much Does a Professional Sound System Installation Cost?
The term “sound system” is used to describe a set of speakers and a head unit. And to have a brand-new kit installed in 2023, you’ll have to pay $300–$800. That’s the average price for a decent-quality system, labor cost included. You can get a solid set for around $500; a premium-quality kit will set you back $1,000–$3,000. The final cost will be determined by the brand, the number of speakers, the technician, and the area you live in.
The speakers are quite cheap and are available for as low as $50–$60, with premium tweeters coming in at $150–$200 (that’s the price for a single speaker). As for the head unit/dash stereo, it can be yours for $50–$200, but premium units are as expensive as $800–$1,000. On average, most drivers in the US end up paying $250–$700 for an auto shop to replace the factor audio system with aftermarket equipment.
|The average cost in the US:||$300–$800|
|How much most drivers pay:||$250–$700|
|Low-end installation cost:||$200–$350|
|High-end installation cost:||$1,000–$3,000|
Cost to Install a Sound System by Different Regions
If you live in the Midwest, audio system installation won’t cost you much. In contrast, drivers on the East Coast will have to pay a pretty penny, as it’s one of the most expensive parts of the country. The West Coast and the Atlantic, in turn, sit right in the middle of the price range. Here’s a more detailed look at the average prices in different regions:
|The East Coast:||$500–$1,300|
|The North Coast:||$450–$1,200|
|The West Coast:||$450–$1,000|
How Much Do Mechanics Charge for the Job?
On average, you can expect to pay $50–$100 for the installation, or even less, depending on the auto shop. With that said, if you ask them to add four to five new speakers, an amplifier, subwoofer, and get everything connected, the price for that will be higher, somewhere in the $150–$300 range. Dealerships, in turn, will charge north of $350. Some work for a fixed price, while others charge hourly.
Professional Installation vs DIY
The sound system is one of the easiest parts of a car to replace. So, if you know your way around wires and have enough spare time (this will take 2–3 hours), you can handle the installation/replacement manually. However, if you’re an amateur, it would be better to let a professional install the kit instead. Understanding which cables and wires go where can be a daunting task.
Besides, you’ll have to run them from the amp to the receiver and then plug in all the individual speakers. Speaking of the cables, it’s very important to get the right length, run them through tiny holes, and ensure they’re well hidden from the naked eye. To get the job done, you’ll need a long list of instruments, too, including a screwdriver, socket wrench, Allen wrench, drill, wire cutters, installation kit, and more.
As we just learned, audio technicians don’t charge much for the installation. Therefore, if you’re not on a very tight budget, it might be wise to hire someone to do all the heavy lifting.
Additional Costs to Anticipate
If you’re ready to pay a bit extra to improve the sound quality in your car, consider investing in a third-party amplifier and a subwoofer. An amplifier will make the audio system significantly louder without distorting the sound output. The woofer, in turn, will do an excellent job of making the bass “pop.” Plus, you can install a set of mid-range component speakers for more “oomph.” Here’s a closer look at the estimated costs:
|Dash installation kit:||$20–$300|
How Often Should the Sound System Be Replaced?
Are you a conscious driver that never gets into accidents or spills something on the head unit? Then, the audio system will last many years, if not decades. With that said, replacing it with a new in-dash unit and speakers every 5–6 years is recommended. That way, the stock system will pay for itself. Plus, the new equipment will, indeed, be worth it, as the technology will have enough time to improve.
And what do the most common signs of a malfunctioning audio system look like? They include distortion, noises, low volume levels, poor range, and malfunctioning speakers. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, it’s time to pay a mechanic a visit. They’ll either fix the problem or suggest investing in an aftermarket system. If you want the speakers to last, don’t go above 70%–80% on the volume level.
Does Car Insurance Cover the Sound System? What About an Auto Warranty?
If we’re talking about the factory audio system, a standard auto policy will cover vandalism, theft, and damage in an accident. To be 100% sure that the expenses will be covered, purchase collision (damage protection) or comprehensive coverage (vandalism, nature, and theft). Do keep in mind, though, that none of these policies will pay a single penny if the audio equipment is aftermarket.
The reason: it falls into the category of “modified auto systems.” You’ll need car sound system insurance to get coverage for a third-party head unit or speakers. We’d only recommend buying it if you have a really expensive sound system. Otherwise, the insurance might cost more than the actual equipment, making it a waste of money.
And what about an auto warranty? Will it cover the factory equipment? The answer is yes, it will. Most bumper-to-bumper warranties do include the speakers and head unit that come built into the car. As for an aftermarket system, most likely, it will be protected by a manufacturer’s warranty. Make sure to check this before you commit to the kit. Can’t find the info on a website? Get in contact with customer support.
You don’t have to be an audiophile to appreciate a top-notch sound system. Even if you only listen to the radio and watch videos, high-fidelity speakers and a decent receiver will most certainly make a difference. The same is true for an amp and subwoofer. Today, we discussed the cost of installing a new audio system.
We also covered additional expenses, labor costs, and more. While this won’t be the cheapest visit to an auto shop, it will be money well spent. So, go over our guide again to memorize the prices, get some quotes and estimates from local mechanics, and only then pay for the job. That way, you’ll be able to get the best deal!
Featured Image Credit: Dave Reid, Pexels