6.5 Speakers Replacement

6.5 Inch Car Door Speaker Replacement – How To

So you’ve got your hands on a brand spanking new pair of 6.5 speakers and are wondering how to go about replacing the crummy existing factory set? Fear not, door speakers are usually the most straight forward speakers of all to install, are a great place to get your feet wet, and offer a great introductory lesson to car audio installations in general.


The following guide assumes that you are simply looking to replace one set of 6.5-inch car door speakers with another pair of 6.5 inch coaxial speakers. As such, there will be no requirement for any modification to your existing speaker mounts, as these can typically be swapped in and out relatively hassle free.


The tools most likely needed for your installation will include:

  • ​Screwdrivers (phillips, flat-blade)
  • speaker wire
  • wire cutter / stripper tool
  • wire crimping tool
  • panel popper tool
  • hobby knife
  • Soldering iron / solder (optional)

Your full range speakers also typically come with speaker wire, mounting screws, speed clips and instructions. They may also include grilles, but if not, simply use your factory grilles.


1) Disconnect Battery

Aside from preventing any potential electric shock injury, it’s important to disconnect the battery in order to safeguard against a hazardous short circuit in your car, as well as avoiding potentially draining the battery. Simply disconnect the negative terminal of your battery to avoid any of the above. If you have electric windows, I would also suggest you lower them prior to disconnecting if possible. The reason being, you will save yourself the potential headache of completing your installation only to realise the window doesn’t lower all the way down due to the new speaker’s magnet obstructing the door space.

2) Remove Door Panel​

Note: depending on your car’s make, there is a chance you may need to remove the speaker grille and speaker before being able to remove the door panel. In such a case, you might wish to complete step 3 first before continuing.

​Begin by removing any door handles and door-lock buttons, by unscrewing them. If your car has a manual window crank, it may be held in place with a screw on the pivot, which might be hidden with a snap on trim. But more often than not, it would be held in place with a spring clip, which can be accessed by pushing in the surrounding door area and rotate the handle until it is exposed. You can then use a low cost clip removal tool to remove this, or otherwise try to pop it off with a cloth and some force.

Next, start to carefully remove the door panel, firstly by removing any screws that are holding the panel in place. Most doors have screws located around the arm rest, around the door, and at the top of the door.

Once you believe you have removed all screws and the above items, you can proceed with loosening the door panel from the door with the use of a panel removing tool, or just by pulling, and separating the panel from each plastic anchor holding the panel in place. You can work from one of the bottom corners of the panel, loosening the bottom, then working up each side. Do so cautiously, and if you find any resistance, be sure to check that you haven’t missed a particular screw, as you risk damaging the panel otherwise. Once complete, the door panel should then just lift off the door.

​Be aware that before you are able to completely separate the door panel from the door - you may need to disconnect some additional connectors. For example, the door handle, as well as the electrical connection for power windows / power door locks.

3) Remove Factory / Existing Speaker​

The next step is the removal of your existing factory speaker. The factory speaker will have an existing grille which, if it wasn’t attached to the door panel, will need to be removed before you can access the speaker itself. Remove the grille by unscrewing any screws if applicable, or prying it off with a suitable tool, eg. Flat head screwdriver. There will also be a connecter which connects the wiring to the speaker, which can now be disconnected.

Your factory speaker is also likely, although not always, attached to a wiring harness. Take care not to damage this wiring harness given you might wish to reinstall the factory speakers if you plan to resell the car with the stock system later.

Proceed to unscrew the speaker from the door or speaker housing. It’s possible the speakers may be attached with a foam or sealant, which you might need to loosen or cut through with a knife.

You are now ready to proceed with mounting the new speaker.

4) Wire And Mount The Speaker

As this point, you will either have an existing speaker holder which you will be screwing the new speaker to, or you will have an exposed metal speaker hole. If you find yourself in the latter situation, it’s imperative you mount an aftermarket adaptor to separate the speaker from the metal.

Note you should never mount a speaker directly to the metal. Aside from the increase in sound quality housing offers, there is the potential issue of the speaker magnet impeding the window (as mentioned at the beginning of this guide), as well as the risk of the speaker potentially grounding itself out on the metal.

Next, attach the wiring harness to your new speakers, making sure the polarity is correct. The speakers positive terminal is usually the larger of the two, and may be marked with a ‘+’ or a dot. Cut off the factory speaker connector from the existing wiring. Then, strip each wire back about half an inch.

Now before you proceed from here, you’ll need to determine which of the two exposed wires is in fact positive and which is negative. While connecting the speaker wires incorrectly will not cause a short circuit, it will result in your speaker sounding unusual. There are a couple of ways to do so, but one versatile and straight forward method is by making the following home made speaker polarity checker.

This video explains how to do so:

So now that we’ve determined the positive and negative wires, we can go ahead with crimping the female connectors to each using the crimping tool, noting again that the large connector should be crimped to the positive wire, while the smaller connector is for the negative wire.

Now we can proceed to plug in these connectors to the speakers positive and negative terminals.

Next, we mount the speaker to the adapter. Be sure to screw in the speakers screws manually, not with an electric screwdriver. If you over-tighten the screwing mount - you risk distorting the speaker frame and potentially damaging the speaker. Once again, you must ensure also that the speaker terminals cannot touch the sheet metal of the door as it could potentially short out the speakers.

Now that you have mounted the speaker: to avoid potentially wasting additional time, make sure to test the speaker before you proceed further. Reconnect the batteries negative terminal and turn on the car stereo. Is there sound coming out of, or visible vibration from, your newly connected speaker? If not, most likely there is a problem with the electrical connection.

Once you are satisfied everything is in working order, you can proceed to reinstall the door panel, and attach your grille.

5) Reinstall Door

Our final step, and a fairly straight forward one: this is essentially the reverse order of the panel removal steps you performed already. Snap the door panel back into place by lining up and snapping the plastic anchors back in place, then refasten all the loose components and screws in their original locations. Finish off by replacing the door crank, if applicable to your vehicle.

Once complete, double check that the door is working as expected. Are all the door electrics working? Is the door locking? Door handle working? If you have a manual window crank, does the window behave as before opening and closing as it was pre speaker installation? Also observe the speaker wire between the door gap also, ensuring it’s folding as expected.

Better to iron out any issues while completing your finishing touches.


So there you have it – congratulations on a job well done. Hope your installation effort is relatively smooth, issue free and most of all, performs!