Car Troubleshooting

How To Get Rid of Engine Noise in Car Stereo

Do you hear an annoying wine or hiss when you are listening to your music in your car? This is a common issue and can be super annoying. When engine noise gets in the way of your music experience, it can be a real drag. 

There are several reasons why you may be experiencing this common issue. It is usually something fairly straightforward like bad wiring or a loose ground connection, but it may also be a damaged piece of hardware. If you are lucky, the solution could be something as simple as routing your wires differently. 

If you are looking for how to get rid of engine noise in-car audio, then you are in the right place.

In this article, we will go over all the common reasons why you may be experiencing engine noise in your car audio system. We will also cover the most common and most effective ways to solve this problem.

What Does Engine Noise Interference Sound Like?

This common issue will generally sound like a high pitch whining noise when you are listening to music at loud volume levels.

If you have this problem, the whining noise is always there, but it gets louder and higher pitch as you increase your speed, and that is when it is noticed most of the time.

If this is happening to you, then you have an engine noise interference issue. This noise is an indicator of either having bad ground somewhere, a bad head unit, a damaged amplifier, poor cabling, or even an improper installation.

It can also be signs of problems with the vehicle’s charging system. Check out the steps below to find out exactly why you are having this annoying problem.

How Does Engine Noise End Up Coming Thru Car Speakers?

This can occur because electrical noises in the cabling might be picked up by the audio cables. This noise is then, in turn, amplified in your audio amp. Remember: Your amp doesn’t know what music is.

It’s just amplifying whatever comes into it. So, to make sure that doesn’t happen, you can run the audio cables along the opposite side of the vehicle from the power wire. 

That is a solution, but a better one is to use higher-quality audio cables that have EMI shielding.

Another thing you should do, even if you have EMI shielded cable, is to try to keep the wires off the body of the vehicle as much as possible. So, you can run them between the carpet and the padding.

How to Stop Engine Noise in Stereo?

Generally, with a little work, the issue can be isolated to the head unit. This can be done by disconnecting the audio cables from your amp and inserting a muting plug.

A muting plug is an RCA audio cable that has the connectors shorted together. This trick will also eliminate any noise from components upstream of the amplifier.

How Do You Find The Cause of Engine Noise is Your Car Stereo? 

Here are some things you can try to find out why you are hearing engine noise come through your car speakers. Remember to test this while the engine is running. This is because alternator noise is only produced while the engine is on. 

Step 1: Turn the volume on your head unit all the way down.

Step 2: Turn the volume all the way up on the amplifier until you can hear the engine noise.

Step 3: Remove all audio cables at the amplifier. 

If after doing that, you can no longer hear the noise, then that means the interference is being produced somewhere upstream (before) the amplifier. In that case, the issue is more than likely coming from either the cables themselves or the radio head unit. If after doing this, however, you can still hear the noise, then that means the problem is somewhere within the amplifier or their power wires.

If you can still hear the noise, then that means the noise is coming from the audio cables.

If you are no longer able to hear the noise anymore, then that means that the noise is more than likely being produced at the head unit itself. If you are still having trouble, we have some more steps below that you can try. 

How to Fix Engine Noise in Car Stereo

Method 1

To begin, remove the audio cables from the vehicle. Plug them directly into your head unit and then run them inside the car (over the carpet and chairs), and plug them into your amp.

If this worked for you then that means that the audio cables being next to the amplifier’s power wire or located too near the chassis of a vehicle with a rough ground voltage is the source of engine noise. If you can’t hear the noise anymore, then congratulations! You have successfully isolated the issue! 

Method 2

Look for a clean, clear, and relatively flat metal surface that is devoid of paint, grease, etc. This is your new ground point.

Connect the black group cable from the head unit to the new grounding point. For an even more solid ground connection,. you can connect a wire from the back of the head unit to a part of the metal frame behind the radio that is connected to the chassis.

If, at this point, the noise is gone, then that means the head unit itself could have a bad ground. If, however, the noise does not go away, then you are going to want to purchase some sort of inline power filter or a ground loop isolator.

How Do You Get Rid of Alternator Noise in Speakers?

There are many reasons for this problem, so that means there are many solutions and not all of them will work in your case.

With that being said, the problem can usually be dealt with in one of two ways. You can either install a noise filter between the alternator and the battery or install an inline noise filter in the head unit power cable.

How to Get Rid of Engine Noise in Car Audio?

One of the easiest ways that you can stop that awful noise is to use a ground loop isolator or an inline noise suppressor. If you are not familiar with what they are, here is a little background on these useful devices:

What is a Ground Loop Isolator?

A ground loop isolator can be a lifesaver! It’s a low-cost and simple-to-install device that can often be the solution to engine noise issues.

The bad news is, however, that they are not always an effective solution to the problem. Also, ground loop isolators can cause a loss in your system’s sound quality due to the fact that the audio signal has to go through a few more transformer coils. Check out the steps below to see if it will help in your case:

Step 1: Remove all audio cables other than for the channel that is experiencing the engine noise.

Step 2: On your head unit, wrap a wire around the outside of the connected audio cable. Then, electrical tape it so that it is secure.

After that, connect the other end to the amplifier’s ground. If the noise vanishes, then adding an isolator will more than likely remove the engine noise. If the noise does not change, then buying an isolator more than likely will not resolve the issue.

The Earthquake Sound GLI-200 helps to drastically reduce or completely eliminate most hum or ground loop noise. These are built with sound quality in mind, so they do a great job of maintaining your listening experience. 

It features an industry-standard 600-ohm impedance that is designed to match most A/V receiver’s output. These devices are great for home, mobile, and pro audio systems that have standard RCA connections.

The GLI-200 has a compact, rugged construction that fits nicely into just about any audio system. It can be mounted to almost any surface because it has a built-in mounting bracket

What is an Inline Power Filter?

Inline power filters use capacitors to clean a power signal. Capacitors are basically little energy buckets. The great thing about them is that it takes a certain amount of time to fill and empty them. So, you can put a relatively unstable voltage into a capacitor and get a clean signal out of it. 

These will only make a difference in cars that are delivering an unstable voltage to the head unit. 

There are several testing methods that you can do to find out if this will work for you, but the equipment to perform such tests is expensive and requires training. It is often a lot more cost-efficient to buy one and try it.

I Tried All Of This With No Luck, Now What?

If you try all of this and none of this works, then there is a great possibility that your head unit may be defective.

It could have an internal grounding issue or a component that is on the verge of burning out.  Internal ground issues can be a relatively common issue in Pioneer head units.

This is not because they are low quality, it’s because they have an internal ground fuse to protect your investment.

If you plug in the audio cables after the head unit’s power harness is already connected, the internal fuse will likely blow.  So, to make sure this does not happen to you, connect all of the RCA cables before plugging in the head unit’s power harness.

If the noise is finally gone then you have successfully isolated the problem! Pat yourself on the back and take a victory lap around your car.

If the, however, is not eliminated by trying this, then your amp might be the culprit. Something else it could be is your alternator or other components in your vehicle’s charging system.

The SoundBox Connected 2.5 Farad Digital Capacitor is capable of stabilizing up to 2500 watts of amplifier power. It has a high-strength cylindrical aluminum housing and nickel plated rust and corrosion resistant connectors. It features a soft turn-on and turn-off anti-surge system and has an automatic power sensor, so it knows when to turn itself off.

The Soundbox Connected 2.5 Farad Digital Capacitor has an accurate 3-Digit voltage display and also features a Digital Over-Voltage Protection SystemIt supports massive 4 Gauge wires on the input and output, and comes with a 1 year factory warranty. 

How do I Minimize Radio Interference Due to Aftermarket LED lights?

The first and most important part is to use a high-quality LED bulb. Low quality bulbs may have an inconsistent current draw, which would add noise to any electrical system.

Also, make sure you are using an LED transformer that has good EMI suppression. Make sure your cables are as short as they can be, and make sure to use shielded cable. You can also add an EMI filter on the output of the LED transformer.

What most people don’t realize is that the engine’s alternator is not the only source of noise that may leak into your audio system.

If the pitch and volume of the noise increase with your speed, though, it’s definitely the alternator, but there are a lot of chips in your car that could also be causing interference in different ways.

How many Computer Chips are in a Car?

A lot more than you may think! The average passenger car requires over 1,400 chips to function! That number is only going to go up as the transportation sector transitions to fully electric and self driving vehicles.

How to Get Rid of Engine Noise in Car Stereo

We understand that it can be really frustrating and distracting when engine noise stands in the way between you and your music.

Usually the issue is something simple, but this problem often involves tracking down issues one by one, so if you are unfamiliar with the process, it can be quite a challenge. 

Hopefully you were able to solve the problem by changing your wiring or buying an easy to install filter capacitor or ground loop isolator. We hope this article was helpful in solving your problems!

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren