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How to Ground a Car Amplifier

How to Ground a Car Amplifier

Did you know improper ground wiring is the biggest cause of amplifier problems? Ground wire protects against electrical overload and damage, helps direct electricity, stabilizes voltage levels, and most importantly protects you from dangerous electrical issues.

When installing a new amplifier in your car, the ground wire is a crucial component that will either help or hurt your sound system. 

1. Look for a Ground Location within 18 inches of the Amplifier

Scout out an ideal location for your grounding point that is within 18” of the amplifier itself – the shorter the length or distance the better. For the most solid connection, it is highly recommended to attach the ground wire with screws or metal nuts directly to the metal chassis of your vehicle. Look around to see if you have any convenient ground screws or bolts, or a factory grounding point close by. If not, you will need to drill into the chassis itself.

2. Create a Grounding Point by Drilling into the Chassis or Using an Existing Bolt

In many cases, drilling your own grounding point is the most viable option. In this case, you will need to ensure that you do not drill into any wiring, brake lines, gas tank, or similar. Choose an area with bare metal and drill a hole that is large enough for your screw or bolt. 

Example of a factory grounding point in the body of a car.

If bare metal is not available, you will need to grind down the surface to remove any paint as bare metal is crucial for a proper connection. Clean the surface off by removing any dust or paint. If you used any sort of solvent on that spot, wipe and let dry before attaching anything. 

You may be able to find a factory grounding point, screw, or bolt that will work well for your grounding. Make sure the bolt is directly connected to the metal chassis and it does not have any paint, rust, or other residues on it. If it does, grind or sand down the surface to ensure a bare metal contact point. If using an existing bolt, it is still recommended that it is within 18” of the amplifier.

3. Connect the Ground Wire to Grounding Point

Now that you have your grounding point ready to go, connect your ground wire terminal to your bolt in the new grounding point. Keep in mind, the ground wire gauge should also match the power wire gauge. From there, tighten the ground wire using a star or lock washer and nut. Be sure that the ground is completely secure, you do not want it to come loose over time. Once done, you may also want to apply silicone caulk or similar coating to prevent any corrosion. 

Examples of amplifier grounding; worst, better, best.

Using these steps and tips will ensure you have properly ground your car amplifier and that it will last for many years. If you still have questions regarding your amplifier, ground wiring, or necessary tools and equipment to make your system sound great, contact our tech support.

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