Your Car Needs a Subwoofer: Here’s Why

Have you been thinking about getting a subwoofer for your car but aren’t sure exactly what it can do for you? Here is everything a subwoofer does in a car.

A subwoofer will add bass quality to your car’s sound system. This is what they’re known for, but they can also extend the life of your speakers, improve other frequencies, and clarify the sound at higher volumes.

In order to make an informed decision, you need to know everything a subwoofer can do. I’ll go over what you need to know in the sections below.

What does a subwoofer do in a car?

It may not come as a surprise that a quality subwoofer system will do more than boost the bass in your music. There are other benefits that come from how a subwoofer works. A subwoofer’s large size, increased sensitivity, and overall quality will provide the following benefits:

  • Provide improved bass quality
  • Reduces stress on stock speakers
  • Improves the full range of sound
  • Prevent high volume distortion

It is due to these features that a subwoofer is a must-have for anyone who enjoys music. Subwoofers are not just used to improve the quality of bass-heavy music genres. 

That said, there are some things that a subwoofer does that are undesirable. For one, it will add some weight to your car. This is especially true if you purchase some of the bigger enclosed subs. Additionally, subwoofers require more power than factory standard speakers. If your vehicle is not equipped to handle the increased power draw you will need additional equipment.

If these downsides don’t put you off subwoofers let’s continue to the specifics of their benefits. With the following specifics, you will be fully informed to decide if you need a subwoofer in your car.

The low down on subwoofers and bass quality

The reason that your stock speakers aren’t good enough for quality bass is their small size. Speaker drivers work by affecting the pressure of the air. With that in mind, you would be correct to assume that smaller drivers can’t affect as much air as larger ones. 

The low-frequency waves that make up bass require the driver to manipulate more air. This is why subwoofers take up so much space. To put it another way, standard speakers typically can’t produce sounds lower than 50 Hertz. Subs on the other hand can go as low as 20 or even 10Hz.

A normal speaking level would fall in the 60 to 250Hz range. Normal speakers should handle this just fine. However, when we get into music, instruments like an upright bass and bass guitar fall in the 16 to 60Hz range. Not to mention that all of the synthetic bass sounds in music fall in the same range. 

Without a good subwoofer, you are missing out on the whole lower end of your music. Even if the human ear has a hard time detecting these lower frequencies you will still benefit from the added depth. Not to mention one of the more appealing aspects of subwoofers: the chest-thumping vibration.

installing a car subwoofer
Subwoofers on the road outdoors closeup photo

How subwoofers save your speakers

Think of adding a subwoofer as adding a sail to a ship. The ship will go faster and the strain on each individual sail will be reduced. Clumsy simile aside, your stock speaker drivers can’t handle low-frequency sounds as I mentioned above. When your sound system tries to pump those bass frequencies through small speakers it can eventually weaken them.

Damage to your smaller speakers can be caused by low frequencies because they cause the speaker driver to vibrate more than it should. In some cases, this can cause certain components in your speaker to slip out of their position.

However, when you have a subwoofer you can divert all of the bass that way. This will prevent the smaller drivers from straining to produce a sound they physically cannot. Your mid-range drivers and tweeters can focus on the sounds they are designed to handle.

Get more out of all music with subwoofers

Subwoofers will not only make music with a lot of bass sound better. Even music that is more focused on the higher frequencies will be improved by a subwoofer. This improvement is related to the previous section. 

Low-frequency sounds take more power to create especially in a small speaker. When that strain is taken off the smaller speakers they can focus all of their power on higher frequencies. When they can’t, these higher-frequency sounds can become muddled and unclear. 

Additionally, you can route some of the higher frequency sounds through the subwoofer. Since the sub will more than likely be a higher quality speaker than the factory standard you will get better sound. 

No distortion no matter the volume

Lastly, having a good subwoofer will prevent most if not all distortion. When standard speaker drivers are forced beyond their capabilities they can create distortion. This can happen whether they are forced past their frequency or volume capacity. Having a subwoofer will reduce the strain in both aspects. 

Distortion at high volume can be caused because your stock speakers can’t produce the bass frequencies while also producing others. This will happen more frequently with music that has highly demanding levels of bass.

Even at lower volumes, your stock speakers may struggle with the sounds they aren’t able to properly create. As discussed above, they won’t be able to affect enough air. This can either result in distortion or poorer quality audio for high frequency. 

So whether you are blasting your music or not you will enjoy clearer music with a subwoofer. 

Final thoughts

Now you know how to respond when someone asks “what does a subwoofer do in a car.” These specially designed speakers will benefit anyone who loves music. With their improvements to bass quality, audio clarity, and even system longevity you will not be able to go back to a sound system without a subwoofer. Keep in mind that these speakers can be tricky to get just right.

If you want to learn how to install a subwoofer check out our easy guide here.