How Much Does It Cost to Install a Sound System in a Car?

There is nothing as freeing as riding along in your car and listening to some great tunes on the radio. Unfortunately, music does not sound great if you have shoddy speakers with no real wattage power.

Car stereo sound systems range in price from around $400 and upwards of $20,000. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about why price matters and how you can get the best system for your budget.

What Is the Difference Between a Cheap and Expensive Sound System?

Have you ever heard, “You get what you pay for.”? In most cases, this statement is entirely true. Cheap products are just that, cheap!

Most people want to purchase the very best because they have already tricked out their car or truck and spent loads of money making it showroom-ready, with tips from autoscave. Knowing the main differences between cheap and expensive sound systems is essential if you want your system to sound amazing.

The Receiver

The receiver is an essential component of any sound system. You will want a receiver with plenty of features and ease of use. Consider the following.

  • First, consider if the receiver will fit in your vehicle. When purchasing from any retailer, you can usually use their search feature to narrow down choices that will work with your car.
  • Most people today want large displays and touchscreen technology. As you are driving, you do not want to go through many complicated steps to change the radio station or turn up the volume. Many of today’s receivers or head units are even voice-activated.
  • It is important to choose a receiver with the technology to access your smartphone and use apps like Android Auto® or Apple CarPlay®.
  • If you still like a little old-school play style, choose a receiver that plays CDs.
  • The receiver should easily tune into satellite radio channels and connect well.
  • You should also look for options that allow you to play music stored on thumb drives.

Cheap sound system receivers are not going to offer these features. If you want good quality, like truck seat covers, you will need to pay a little more.

Some of the top brands include JVC, Boss, and Pioneer. These range in price from around $200 to around $1000 or more, depending on the brand and features.

Sound System Installed in Your car

The Speakers

Aside from the receiver, most car enthusiasts agree the speakers are most important. You have likely seen guys with big speaker cabinets that take up their entire backseats. Although you do not have to go this big, if you want powerful sound, you need larger speakers with higher wattage.

Standard factory-installed car speakers only have around 10 watts RMS tops. For most people, this is not enough boom. Just like when you purchase the best tonneau truck cover, you will want to hire a professional to install your speakers so they do not create an eyesore in the interior of your car or truck.

If you purchase high-quality speakers, the sound will be crystal clear, and even at the highest decibels, you will not get that annoying interference that ruins a good beat.

Some of the best brands are Focal, Polk Audio, and Kicker. For a good set, you can expect to pay between $200 and $500. Choose the best you can afford, but put more weight on the reviews than the price.

The Subwoofer

A car stereo sound system without a subwoofer is like a truck without sparkplugs. It will not go anywhere. Subwoofers can be placed in your trunk and even under your seat. It stays hidden, but you will immediately know it is there the moment you hear the bass start to drop.

Rockford Fosgate, JBL, Kicker, and Pioneer are all good choices. Expect to pay anywhere from around $150 to $300.

The Amplifier

While some people like their music on the down low, many want everyone to hear their beats. If you love to crank up the music on a long ride, an amp will be your best friend.

The amp needs to be potent enough to power your speakers. While good speakers offer high-quality sound, their quality greatly diminishes without a good amplifier. As the name suggests, this device amplifies the sound coming from your speakers.

Some of the best brands of amplifiers include Crutchfield, JL Audio, and Rockford Fosgate, among others. If you want a top-notch sound, you can expect to pay around $1000 or more for the best amps.

Cost of Professional Installation

If you are going to purchase the very best sound system for your car, why would you try a DIY approach to installation? Next to choosing the best components, having them professionally installed is incredibly important.

By having a professional install the new components, you can rest assured every aspect performs at its peak and works safely. A professional will help you achieve optimum acoustics inside your car, so the sound is amazing.

The price of a professional installation will vary greatly. Most professionals will charge by the ½ hour. For the head unit installation, you can expect to pay around $200. While installing the speakers, subwoofer, and amp, the installer will charge by the ½ hour. The full installation usually takes a couple of hours, depending on your vehicle and the sound system equipment.


If you are an audiophile and are unhappy with your car’s current sound system, purchasing a new one and having it installed by professionals can bring new life to your car’s stereo.

A high-end sound system not only makes your music sound amazing, allowing you to hear every nuance of the beat, but it also increases the value of your vehicle, which is important even if you do not plan to sell soon. With a new system, you can crank up the tunes and feel the beat down in your soul.

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