Car Speakers

Can You Hook Subs To A Stock Stereo?

Mike Cross
Updated Oct 18, 2020
Can you Hook Subs to a Stock Stereo?

So you are wanting to upgrade your cars sound system, but maybe you are low on funds. You might be wondering can I hook up subs to my stock stereo?

Well, in this article we will look at the answer to that question and any others you might be having.

We will explain the steps needed to take to connect subs to your stock stereo and if that is a good idea or not. Read on to learn all you need to know on hooking subs up to stock radio.

Can you Hook a Sub to a Stock Stereo

So, getting right to the question of can you hook subs to a stock stereo, the answer is yes you can. It is actually a good way to get a sound boost from your radio without having to give up the familiar controls. Also, it can save you some money versus upgrading the whole system. This extra money can be put towards getting a better set of subs or kept in your pocket for farther upgrades later.

One thing to remember though with this answer is it does not mean you can connect the subs directly to the head unit on your stereo. That is because a standard head unit on your radio plays a very wide range of sounds. If you hooked your subs straight to the radio, then it would try to play all the sounds and that would not sound good. Subs playing sounds out of its range would lead to a lot of distortion. You don’t want distortion out of your new subs because the whole point of them is to have a better sounding sound system, not a worse one. So how do you prevent distortion?

Can you Hook Subs to a Stock Stereo?
Can you Hook Subs to a Stock Stereo?

Using an Amplifier

The way to avoid distortion is by using an amplifier for your subs. The amp is wired to the head unit and then the subs are wired to the amp. The amp helps filter out the sounds that your subs can’t play and keeps them from going in.

You need to do your research though and pick out the right amp for the job. Amps can have various watts, which is the amount of power they hold. You want to get one that has at least enough watts to push the subs you are going to be running.

Also, you can get amps with low-pass filters and high-pass filters. These keep certain sounds out, and you will want to get one that eliminates the sounds that are out of the range of your subs.

Getting a top quality amp is important for your subs. That is because the sound is going thru it before getting to your subs. If the amp puts out poor quality sound, then your subs will also. So, some of the money saving of not having to get a new radio can be used to get a good amp for your subs. This way you can get the very best sound quality out of your new subs without the distortion. On the subject of good quality, you also want to use good quality wire when wiring things. That is because the wire is what carries the electronic single and if either the amp or sub receives poor signal, then the sound will be poor that you receive out of them.


So, now that you know you need to wire an amp to the radio and then the subs to the amp you may be wondering how do you do that. Well, wiring from radio to radio and vehicle to vehicle is different, so we can’t give an exact guide in this guide that would work for everyone.

However, we can give some helpful tips. The first we already gave and that is to use good quality wiring. The next is to take your time when doing the job to make sure that you do it right. You can look up the model of your car and the stock stereo and probably find a guide online to help you with the wiring in an amp. If you can’t, then a local audio shop should be able to assist you.

Wiring in an amp and subs to your stock radio isn’t really that hard of a task. The key is to remove the radio from the car to get to the wires. Then you have to find the output wires for the sound range that you need and connect them to the input of the amplifier.

After you have that you have to take wires and connect them to the output of the amplifier. You then take the other end of those wires and connect them to the subs. You also need to run power from the radio to the amp and then from the amp to the sub. One other key thing to remember about the wires is the more powerful of an amp you went with, the thicker and stronger wires you will need from the amp to the sub.

What after wiring

Once you got everything wired you may be wondering what to do next. Well, it is time for reassembly, but sometimes this can be hard. You may be wondering where should the amp be mounted and the subs.

Well, most subs get mounted in the trunk because if you are using a strong enough amp you will be able to hear them just fine. You can also mount the amp into the trunk, but some amps have controls that you might want to reach easier. Also, running the wire from the stereo head unit to the trunk is a long way.

To make it so you don’t have to run as much wire from the radio a lot of times amps are mounted under one of the front seats. This way you can have access to controls such as the power and also don’t have to run wire as far.


So, to answer the question of can you hook subs to a stock stereo the answer is yes. However, it is not a good idea to hook up subs directly to the stock radio, you can find a suitable double din head unit. That this is because you will get distortion and it will not sound good. Instead, you should wire an amp to the stock sound system and then wire the subs to the amp. That way you can get the best sound from the subs. The key with this is to get a good amp to match with your good subs and also use good speaker wire. Hooking up subs to a stock unit is not that hard of a job and can really transform your sound system. Luckily after reading this you now know the steps you need to take to start upgrading your cars audio.

Mike Cross
Life is too short to drive with stock audio

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