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12 Signs of A Bad Car Amplifier In Your Car Audio System


The overall sound quality in your vehicle is the key to the enjoyment you get from driving. Right? If your amplifier is not properly working, then your car will be unpleasant and noisy for the people around you.

In this guide, we will talk about the signs of a bad car amplifier so that you can understand whether or not it needs a quick fix or a total replacement. We hope you will find this article helpful. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Top 12 Signs Of A Bad Car Amplifier

There are a few signs of a bad car amplifier you need to look out for to identify whether or not your amp is bad. If there’s a whining sound or your car’s sound quality has lowered since you first installed it.

If there’s a bass boost or an excessive distortion, then that could be a warning sign of a faulty amp. We will go over the details so you can get a clearer picture of a bad car amp.

#1 Car amp cannot take a normal load

Does your amplifier give up the normal load that it used to take each day before? That’s a clear bad sign that either the audio system is too old to continue or there’s an internal problem.

In both scenarios, the best bet for you is to change the faulty amp with a new one to make things work efficiently again.

#2 Burning smell from the car amps

One of the clear signs that your car amplifier is going bad is the burning smell. That smell is often caused by an issue with the power supply of your amplifier or the cooling system.

When the cooling system on the amp stops working or the power supply is extremely hot, it will begin burning the insulation covering the circuits from any moisture damage.

Therefore, if you are experiencing that burning smell, it is best to bring your vehicle to an expert so you to be double-checked.

#3 The car amplifier is restarting randomly

Keep in mind that an amplifier that randomly starts is caused by a wiring problem commonly in the internal wiring. That could also be caused by an issue with the connector or the fuse blows. Oftentimes, the issue begins with the amplifier.

Have you ruled out all the potential external reasons, such as malfunctioning car stereo system, wire and connector problems, or increased power ratings inside the car? Then it’s more likely that your amplifier has gone bad and should be changed.

#4 Inconsistent sound output

The inconsistent sound output could also be a sign of a bad car amp. Remember that an amp producing inconsistent sound output will generate high volume one minute and low volume the next.

That sign often goes hand in hand with other problems like a head unit, subwoofer, or car speaker problem. However, the most typical cause for that is having things bad inside your amplifier.

#5 Amplifier overheating

One of the bad amp symptoms is that it will begin to overheat. That’s caused by an issue with the amp’s cooling system.

In the majority of cases, it is only the cooling fan that stops working, while in other cases, the amp might get extremely hot, and the cooling fan becomes incompetent in handling the heat to a bearable level, leading to amp failure.

To prevent such problems, we suggest having sufficient space around your amp so the cooling fan can blow out the hot air out and the system can have breathable space.

On top of that, you should not overburden a stereo system as things could go wrong easily if you put stress on the equipment out of its capacity.

#6 Blowing fuses frequently

Are you continuously having to change your car amplifier fuse? Then that’s a clear indication that there’s something wrong with your amp, and it should be checked out.

Amp fuses are used to safeguard the amplifier from being damaged. If you keep on dealing with a blown fuse, it’s best to bring your car to an expert so they can assess and double-check the problem.

#7 Subwoofer making a slap or pop sound

Are you hearing a loud pop or slap sound from your subs? Then that could be an indication that your amplifier is going really bad. That sign is often caused by an issue with the amp’s power supply.

Nonetheless, that type of problem can be fixed by fixing the power supply. If the pop or slap sound continues after fixing the power supply, it only indicates that your amplifier should be changed.

#8 No output from the amplifier

No output from the amplifier could be an indication that the amplifier is bad and should be replaced. It is essential to remember that this sign could also be caused by a series of other problems, like a blown a fuse or disconnected output wire.

It is best to troubleshoot the issue before thinking that the amplifier is bad. Check all the connections and loose wires because that could be causing the amplifier not to generate any sound.

#9 Protection mode is enabled

If your amplifiers are going into protect mode, that’s a clear indication that there’s an issue, and you must have checked it out. Remember that protection mode is the way for your car amplifiers to protect themselves from being damaged.

If that goes into the protection model, that could be a suggestion that the amplifier isn’t properly working and some of its internal components have been damaged.

Still, ensure you check all the external reasons at the rear of the initiated car amp protection mode so as not to consider an easy connector or ground wire problem to be a grave problem, such as a blown amp.

#10 The amplifier does not power on

One of the clear signs of a bad car amplifier is if it doesn’t power on. That could be caused by a series of problems, like a disconnected wire, a blown fuse, or a malfunctioning amplifier.

If your car amplifiers are not powering on, you must troubleshoot the issue to identify the root cause. Make sure the power cable is properly connected to the car’s battery and that all the ground wires are in their rightful place.

Most cases of the amp not turning on are caused by an incorrect ground connection or blown fuse, but it is possible that the amp itself has failed. If that’s the case, replace the amp immediately.

#11 Too much distortion or bass

Is the bass too loud, or there’s too much distortion? That could be an indication of an amp failure. Oftentimes, the amplifier might not have enough power to run all the subwoofers and speakers, which can cause such problems.

If there is too much distortion or bass in your car stereo system, then consider getting a new amplifier.

To be certain whether it is a worn-out wire or a blown speaker, we suggest checking all the wires connecting the amps to various parts of the stereo system. That must offer you an idea about the reason behind that symptom.

#12 Decreased sound quality of your stereo system

Has the sound quality in your car lessened since you first installed the amplifier? That could be an indication that it’s not properly working. That could be caused by a series of problems, like a faulty amplifier, a worn-out power wire, and a blown speaker.

Both ground wires and power wires need to be connected properly to make sure that the amplifier is working efficiently. If you see any damaged or corroded wires, it’s best to replace them right away. Any loose connection would result in decreased or insufficient power, leading to a weak bass output.

What Are the Reasons for a Damaged Car Amplifier?

You will find a series of reasons why an amp could prematurely stop working, including abuse, too much stress, and extreme temperatures.

Power supply

The power supply is in charge of supplying the system with the power to turn. When that goes bad, the risk of the amplifier being damaged rises by several 100%.


Is your car amp overheating? It is not because of a lack of proper ventilation. More often than not, that occurs when there are problems with the cooling system or power supply.

Most car amplifiers have built-in protection circuits to stop damage if they overheat, but that does not indicate that the heat will not cause other issues down the road.

Try not to overload these units with too much power, and keep a nice ventilation system to make sure they do not overheat.


One of the most typical reasons for an amplifier to go bad is that it has been abused. That could be from somebody hitting or shaking the amp to putting something on top of it that makes excessive weight.

If there are any signs of physical damage like burns, scratches, or dents, then it is possible that the amplifier has been compromised. Most electronic devices are designed to sustain a certain amount of abuse, but amplifiers are not indestructible.

Overstress on the amp

The stress on an amplifier does not only come from various temperatures. It also comes from other scenarios, such as overclocking it when playing music.

Have you raised the volume on the car audio system? You have most likely encountered this—the speakers begin to crackle and pop because they are overworked.

The same thing could happen with an amp if it is outputting too many watts that its circuits are not ready for. In such scenarios, amps are made to safeguard themselves by shutting down until things become much more manageable.

Car Amplifier Troubleshooting Tips

For those trying to improve the sound quality of their car stereo systems, they must have an amplifier these days. It is the best way to boost the audio signal and, as a result, create a much better sound.

Troubleshooting a blown amplifier is quite a difficult task, as you may need to revise a series of wires, including:

  • Ground cables
  • RCA patch cables
  • Speaker wire
  • Subwoofer wire
  • Remote turn-on wire

Most of the time, the amp symptoms can be resolved by verifying the connections and making sure that they are not corroded or damaged in any way.

Start by double-checking the ground wire size of your car audio system. Small gauge wiring will cause the ground wire to get excessively hot, which will lead to melting the insulation and eventually shorting the amplifier.

If you have an amp clipping problem, check the fuse box to ensure that the fuse is not blown. A blown fuse will prevent the amp from receiving the same power, and the power loss will start limiting its output.

Final Thoughts

One thing to check for is the condition of the RCA cables. As car owners, we tend to confuse a whining sound of a faulty speaker with a damaged amplifier. If you encounter any hissing or crackling sounds, it’s most likely due to the RCA cables.

The symptoms of a bad car amplifier aren’t always obvious, but they can be seen in the amp’s behavior. Do you have any thoughts about your car’s performance? Has it been damaged recently? Take heed and get a professional to check out your electrical system for you.

Last Updated on: October 7, 2022

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