Do I Need A Subwoofer in my Car (Is It Necessary & Why?)

You've asked, do I need a subwoofer in my car?

Keen audiophiles know that it’s hard to get the best sound out of your car’s factory audio system. 

You won’t be able to get anywhere near the same nuances in tone that you’re after if you want to truly be able to appreciate your favorite tunes. 

You can swap out the generic speakers for more high quality models.

But can you really get the best listening experience from your car if you don’t add some subwoofers? And do you even need a subwoofer, anyway?

Do I need a subwoofer in my car?

Do I Need A Subwoofer In My Car?

We’d say that yes, you do need a subwoofer in your car. This is because a subwoofer works to give you better quality bass. If you just rely on your car’s normal speakers, you won’t be able to get that hard hitting bass that you’re after. With the addition of subwoofers to your car, you’ll notice a marked difference in the quality of sound that you get. 

And doesn’t every audiophile want to experience powerful bass?

If you’re new to the audiophile hobby, you may be confused as to what a subwoofer actually is and how it differs from your normal speakers. You’ll get the best sound out of your new subwoofer when you pair it with a good quality set of speakers.

First things first, you will need to know that subwoofers come in all shapes and sizes, and not every subwoofer is born equal. Subwoofers are available in either 8 inches, 10 inches, 12 inches, or 15 inches.

In theory, the larger the subwoofer, the more power that feeds into it, and the louder it will be. However, you will also need to install the correct amp in your car so that your subwoofer can work properly.

You may even find that some of the larger 15 inch subwoofers aren’t as crystal clear as you’d like them to be. You will be better off opting for a more medium sized 12 inch subwoofer to give you the best sound possible. If you’re looking for a smaller subwoofer for your car, you can of course opt for the 8 inch or 10 inch subwoofers. 

What will really determine the subwoofer that you’re able to afford will be your particular budget as well as the space you have available for them in your car.

You should also weigh up what will be most important to you in terms of buying a subwoofer for your car. Are you looking for a subwoofer so that you can enjoy better bass and better quality music on long drives?

Then you will most definitely need a subwoofer in your car. If you’re not all that fussed about the quality of your music when you’re in the car, then chances are you won’t notice much of a benefit to adding a subwoofer to your setup.

What to look for in a subwoofer

It’s important to note that you can’t just buy any old subwoofer to install in your car. There are a couple of things you will need to bear in mind when it comes to finding the best subwoofer for your needs.


The first thing to note is how compatible your new subwoofers will be with your current setup. You will get the very best sound from them if you combine them with a set of high quality speakers. So if you’re thinking of upgrading your entire sound system, then your subwoofers will be able to perform at their best. 

You will also need to ensure that you have the correct amplifier installed in your car to work with your subwoofers. If you have the wrong type of amplifier in your car, then you won’t be able to hear anything at all from your subwoofers. 

This is because every speaker needs an amplifier to change the frequencies into actual sound. So if the amp in your car isn’t compatible with your subwoofers, you will need to upgrade the amplifier.

Type of enclosure

Remember to consider how you’re going to mount the subwoofers in your car. They will need a type of enclosure for them to be mounted into so that you can get the best out of your new subwoofers. 

You can choose between either a sealed box type of enclosure, bandpass, or ported enclosure. Ported and bandpass enclosures are able to give you more volume, whereas sealed enclosures give you deeper, more accurate bass tones. So it will be important to choose the right enclosure type based on the sound that you’re looking for from your subwoofers.

Some subwoofers will be designed for certain types of enclosures, too. Choosing the right enclosure type for your car will also determine where you’re able to mount it.

Space in your car

It’s all well and good opting for the largest subwoofers that you can afford. But what if your car doesn’t actually have the room to accommodate these? Before you even consider what style or type of subwoofer to install in your car, you will need to measure the space you have available.

If your car is on the smaller side, it will be best to opt for an 8 inch subwoofer. These don’t need as much space as a 12 or 15 inch subwoofer, and should be fairly easy to install in your vehicle.


Don’t forget to check out the specs of your preferred subwoofer before you commit to buying it! You will need to consider things such as the sensitivity rating of the subwoofers, how many voice coils it has, as well as the subwoofer impedance.

The sensitivity rating of your subwoofer is a crucial factor. This typically determines whether the subwoofer is able to achieve the high output that matches its power rating.

Basically, if your subwoofer comes with a much higher sensitivity rating, it won’t need as much power plowed into it in order to achieve that great sound.

The number of voice coils that your subwoofer has will also be an important factor to consider. Dual voice coils are preferred by many audiophile enthusiasts.

These give you more flexibility when it comes to wiring your system. They are also able to deal with higher temperatures than single voice coils, so won’t wear out as quickly.

Last but not least, you will also need to think about the impedance of your subwoofer. Impedance is measured in ohms, which tells you the resistance against the pressure of the amplifier in your car. This is again where getting the right subwoofer for the amplifier in your car will become important.

The lower the impedance of your subwoofer, the less power is needed to power it up. If you don’t have the right amp for your subwoofer, you will damage one or both of these elements.

Does a subwoofer make a difference in a car?

A subwoofer does make a difference in a car, yes. This is because in order to get all of the nuances of tone that you’re after, you will need a speaker to help you hear the bass. Standard car stereos aren’t able to deliver a bass that slaps quite in the same way as a subwoofer.

This is because subwoofers are designed to produce the low frequency sounds that standard speakers struggle with. This will immediately improve the sound of your favorite music. These low frequency sounds don’t just apply to stereotypical drum and bass music, either. It will allow you to appreciate your favorite tunes better than a car system that doesn’t come with a set of subwoofers.

Because subwoofers do all the work of producing these low frequency sounds, they can also alleviate the load from your smaller car speakers. These typically focus on producing higher frequency sounds, which is typically why you might not notice the bass as much in a normal car. 

Forcing smaller or mid-range speakers to produce these low frequencies will give you distortion, which is the bane of any audiophile’s life. Distortion typically happens when the cone of your speaker has been vibrated intensely beyond its usual sound capacity.

Surprisingly, using a subwoofer can even help the rest of your audio system to last longer. This is because if you rely on your smaller speakers to produce the low frequencies that you’re after, it puts them under a lot of strain. This can of course result in that unwanted distortion and a sound that’s not great in quality. 

Consistently using your smaller speakers to produce these low frequencies can damage them beyond repair. So using a subwoofer to do the job for you can help to improve the lifespan of your smaller to mid-range speakers.

How can I get bass in my car without a subwoofer?

If you don’t have the time or money to invest in a quality subwoofer for your car, you may be wondering how you can add bass to your vehicle without one. There are a couple of tricks you can try, however, they won’t be able to compare with the effects of adding a new subwoofer to your car’s system.

Sound deaden the doors

One of the ways that most of your bass sound gets lost in your car is because of the doors. There’s a lot of bass response lost in thinner air because doors have large gaps in them. There are tiny holes scattered along the inside of your door which can dampen the sound of the bass tones.

You will need to try and deaden this material so there’s less space for the sound to get lost. Add some pieces of MDF wood as well as sound deadening material over your doors. This should help to improve the sound of your standard speakers.

Upgrade your speakers

You may have already noticed that the standard speakers provided with your car don’t deliver as great a sound as you would like. This is because these factory speakers are made using much cheaper components than a high quality speaker. 

They will tend to distort and degrade quicker over time because they haven’t been designed to last for long periods of time. This is because car manufacturers don’t particularly care about the quality of sound in the stereo system.

Upgrading the speakers in your car to a different set will make a hell of a lot of difference to the quality of sound you’ll get. You will also need to invest in a quality external amplifier to ensure that you get the very best sound quality from your new speakers.

Adjusting the equalizer

Another way to increase the bass in your car’s sound system is to adjust the equalizer. By adjusting the bass of your equalizer inside the stereo unit of your system can get much more boom through your vehicle’s speakers. All you need to do is adjust the first slider on the far left. This focuses on the bass that your car sound system produces, and is typically set at the 50Hz to 60Hz range.

Remember that the higher you adjust this equalizer, the more likely you will encounter distortion. Especially if you’re playing your music at a higher volume.

Install a subwoofer

Yes, yes, we know… The question you asked was how can you improve your car’s bass without a subwoofer. However, the sad truth is that no matter which of the three above methods you try, none of them will be able to compare to actually adding a subwoofer to your car.

While upgrading your speakers is a fantastic thing to do in order to improve the sound in your car, you will still be putting them under strain. This is because they won’t be able to cope as well with the low frequencies needed for hard hitting bass as a subwoofer can.

If trunk space is your main concern, then you should opt for a model of subwoofer that can be installed under your back seats.

Where should you place a subwoofer?

Usually most subwoofers are placed in the trunk of your car. As for which direction you should then place them in, this is a hotly contested topic among audiophiles. Ultimately finding the best position for your subwoofer will be down to trial and error. You will find the best positioning for them by placing them facing the rear of your car, the front of your car, or facing upwards towards the hatch of your trunk.

Placing your subwoofers to face the rear of your car is one of the most common placement methods. This typically involves placing the subwoofer against the rear seats of your car, facing away from you as the driver.

The bass of your subwoofers should become more evenly distributed throughout the car, and more pronounced. This will be the ideal position for those looking to make their bass hit hardest.

One of the more unusual positions for a subwoofer is to be facing the rear seats of your car. This will involve placing the sound enclosure so that it’s facing the driver and any passengers.

If you’re not particularly bothered about getting an overwhelming bass out of your subwoofer, this might be the placement for you. This subwoofer placement typically allows the bass to be felt in every part of the car.

If you’re looking to save on trunk space, then you should consider placing your subwoofer facing upwards, towards the hatch. This still gives you an impressive range of bass without taking up too much space in your car.

There may be a slight disadvantage in terms of treble and high frequencies. However, you would still get a crisp sound from your subwoofer, and it won’t rattle parts of your car as much as one of the other positions.

We’d recommend experimenting with where you want to place your subwoofer so that you can get the best sound for your needs. If you’re finding that the bass is slightly muffled, then you can make a few small holes between the trunk and your car. Cover these with a thin, disguised material, and you should be able to hear the bass properly.

How do I make my subs hit the hardest?

To get bass that truly hits hard, you will need to pair your new subwoofer with the right amp for your needs. You will need to match the power requirements of your subwoofer to the output of the specific amplifier you need. This will allow you to maximize the power output of your subwoofers so that you can get the hardest hitting sound.

It will also be worth considering a bandpass box out of all the enclosure types. When you pair this type of enclosure with certain subwoofers, you can increase their maximum sound output. You should ensure that your preferred subwoofer is suitable for this type of enclosure before you commit to buying it.

Another factor to consider is adjusting the settings of your stereo unit and amplifier. This should allow you to better accommodate your new subwoofer. It’s worth remembering that every stereo unit and amp are different, but they should all come with features that allow you to fine tune your settings for your requirements.

In summary

So there you have it! You now know that yes, a subwoofer is an incredibly important part of your car’s audio setup. Particularly if you’re an audiophile who wants to get the very best sound of your system! Asking your smaller to mid-range speakers to produce the lower frequencies needed for bass can end up in them becoming damaged.

Overall, a quality set of subwoofers in your car will help to improve the sound quality of your favorite tunes. You’ll be able to enjoy the lower frequencies without it damaging your car’s audio system.

It will also be important to carefully look at the specs of your subwoofer before you buy it and install it in your car. You will need to make sure that it works with your car’s amplifier so that everything can work smoothly and efficiently.

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