Car Stereo Making Whining Noise

When a car starts making whining sounds, it is very frustrating and embarrassing for people. Many components may lead to whining sounds in a car, but here is what you can do if the stereo is the culprit of that whining sound in the vehicle.  

Reasons Of Whining Sounds 

When you hear the sounds coming from the stereo, it may feel frustrating as driving music seems like a tough choice.

But before starting to fix it yourself or running to a mechanic, you can try to find the reason behind the irritating sounds. You may even find that the screeching sounds may occur only due to some loose connections. 

Common Reasons Why The Car Stereo Makes A Whining Noise

One of the most common reasons is a wire that is improperly grounded, causing poor earthing. Many wires may lead to the whining noise, and it may take time to find the culprit.

The other most common reason is known as alternator whine. That is caused due to the difference in the voltage between connections in the stereo, which results from the alternator, stereo, or the radio not being properly grounded.  

Another common reason for whining is the amp itself. It may pick up high-frequency sounds from the alternator or any wire from the RCA cables and amplify them. 

Diagnosing The Source Is Not Difficult

The electrical transfer from the alternator to the car has many connections, and even if one wire is loose, whining may occur.  

Speaker or Amplifier ground wire may be the culprit. Even a bad stereo head unit may lead to whining in the stereo. The crossover connectors or the alternator ground can cause a screeching sound. Last but not least, a loose equalizer ground wire may also cause an irritating whining sound. 

You Can Stop The Whining Noise

You must identify and isolate the problem before rectifying it. Check all the earthing wires first and then check the other wires connected to the stereo. One source of the whining noise could be the alternator ground. 

Professional mechanics can easily locate it amongst the components of the stereo and speaker wires. The most common reason for this whining could be the alternator as a drop in the voltage between the radio and the alternator may lead to some screeching sounds.

This whining sound may be louder than the radio itself, and you can see that the ground wire to the radio may be the cause. Once you restore the wire, the whining sound may be resolved. 

Other Reasons For Whining In The Stereo

Bad Wiring or bad grounding is common, but the wires may also be tangled up, and their connectivity may be affected by this.

It may be possible for people with some knowledge about these wires to untangle and connect properly. You can take the help of the owner’s manual that has detailed instructions with pictures of the circuitry.  

Damage to the Speakers

More than one speaker is connected in the car, and malfunction in even one of them may lead to whining sounds. If ignored, the speaker may produce distorted sounds and slowly stop functioning altogether.

You cannot check or repair this at home and must get professional help to repair or replace the speaker. Sometimes, the subwoofer may be damaged, which takes more time and money to repair. 

Bad Amplifier system

The amplifier system may not be tuned properly, leading to screeching sounds. These systems need patience while installation, tuning, and service but overuse and age may also damage the sound system.

In cases such as these, the best option would be to try to reinstall the complete system which might be in a not that worse or bad state, or maybe try to buy a new one altogether.  

Some Of The Things That You Can Do

● Cleaning the speakers regularly is the first step you can take towards taking care of the system. Use a handheld vacuum cleaner and gently clean the dirt from the speakers. The cones and grills may produce screeching sounds if the small holes are clogged with dirt.

● Service the system frequently to check for loose connections and bad wiring. Replace any bad components that are damaged or are not compatible anymore. This has to be done by a professional, and you must be careful about the compatibility of new components with the system. 

● Ensure that you understand the problem. Sometimes people confuse the alternator whine with a stereo whine as they sound similar. Check the source of the whining before repairing or replacing the components. 

● If you can check the cable connections, it is easy to do or take professional help. Sometimes the cables may appear to be connected properly, but there may be a crack or two somewhere. Replacing the damaged cables will solve the problem easily. 

Engine Noise may also cause whining in the Car Stereo Speakers

The car stereo speakers may be whining due to the vibrations caused by the engine. When running, there is a lot of vibration in the engine, and these vibrations are picked up by the stereo and further amplified.

This sounds simple, and the solution is easy enough. You can add some insulation material around the speakers to prevent these vibrations from the engine to the stereo. The insulation can be made using speaker baffles made of rubber or foam but ensure that they don’t muffle the speakers’ sound. 

Sound dampeners or similar muffling devices for an engine may also minimize vibrations or their effect on the stereo and speakers. 


Whining or screeching sounds are frustrating and painful and indicate that the stereo system is not working properly. You must not ignore the problem, thinking that it will go away on its own or it could just be some minor issue.

The issue may not take much time to escalate and damage the system, and you can prevent it by paying attention the first time you hear any screeching or whining sound from the system. 

You can clean the speakers yourself but seek professional help to repair the damaged wires. Do not delay taking it to a professional if you cannot diagnose the reason to prevent further damage to the system. 

Liam Dare

As CEO of, my passion for the automotive world motivates me to build online businesses that provide information and entertainment to users. I am proud to contribute in a positive way to the automotive community.