How Do I Know If Car Has Factory Amp or Subwoofer? (Explained)

Most newer cars come with a fitted factory amplifier or subwoofer.

Every car audio system needs an amplifier or subwoofer to work; if it lacked one, you wouldn’t hear anything powerful while driving.

Amplifiers and subwoofers strengthen the weak audio from the car stereo.

Car amplifiers and sub-woofers allow you to increase the volume without increasing distortion.

Here is a detailed guide on how to know if your car has a factory amplifier or subwoofer.

Here’s How To Know If Your Car Has A Factory-Fitted Amplifier or Subwoofer?

Most cars have a clear indication on their interior about having a factory-fitted amplifier or subwoofer. You will often see the name of the manufacturer of the premium sound system on the radio, door panel, or the factory twitter pod. It could be Bose, Alpine, or JBL, among others.

car door meridian speaker

If your car has such names, it often has a multi-channel amplifier. However, some vehicles might not be labeled, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a factory-fitted amplifier or subwoofer.


Where Are Factory-Fitted Amplifiers or Subwoofers?

The factory amplifier or subwoofer is often located on the rear seat of the passenger side or directly under the driver’s seat.

They can however be placed anywhere in the car. The benefit of having them under the car is to get the optimum bass for the driver.

How Do I Change the Setting on Factory Fitted Amplifier or Subwoofer?

Listening to music while driving is the best pastime. It only makes sense to set your amplifier right to listen to quality music. Here is how to set your factory amplifier or subwoofer.

Step 1: Set your care volume at zero. At this stage, you want to start setting your audio at zero with no distortions.

Step 2: Turn down the amplifier gain.

You will find the amplifier installed on either the rear part of the trunk or under the back passenger seat. There is a knob on the amplifier labeled ‘gain.’ Turn it down; this way, the amplifier will not amplify any signal from your signal head.

Step 3: Turn on the radio or the stereo. Since you have turned your volume down, you will not be able to hear anything

Step 4: Turn up the volume by 2/3.

The best range for setting the amplifier gain is about ⅔ of the maximum volume. This range is ideal because it won’t overwork the stereo head. You will send distorted sounds to your amplifier if you overwork your stereo head.

It will be easier if you have a digital display stereo head. However, if you don’t have a digital display, you can count the number of turns as you gradually increase the volume. Once you have the volume all the way up, turn it down a third of the way.

For instance, if you turn your stereo’s volume knob about nine times for maximum volume, you can turn it down three times to get the 2/3 volume sweet spot.

Step 5:  Turn up the gain knob on your amplifier.

Twist the gain knob clockwise till the sound you are listening to is the loudest you will ever want to listen to, without hearing any overload on the speakers or distortion.

If you hear any distortion, you can fix it by turning the gain down. But remember there are some factory-fitted amplifiers with knobs that you can turn by hand, while others will require you to use a screwdriver to set the gain.

Step 6: Set the volume to an average level.

Once you set your gain, you can select your volume to a normal level and enjoy your favorite music while driving.

How Do I Find Out the Make Are Model of a Factory-Fitted Amplifier or Subwoofer?

Most cars have a clear interior indication of the make of the factory-fitted amplifier on the radio, factory twitter pod, or door panel. You often find the name of the manufacturer of the premium sound system.


If you cannot figure it out with simple research, you can use your vehicle’s VIN number. You can call your local dealer, and they will be able to figure out the make and model of the factory-fitted amplifier or sub-woofer.

Can I Replace Factory Fitted Subwoofer?

car subwoofer enclosure boot

While you can replace your factory-fitted amplifier or subwoofer, it will depend on several factors. Here is a deep dive into some of the things you must put into consideration.

  • Speaker Impedance

You will often find that most factory-installed subwoofers are fitted with non-standard impedances. However, there are loads of amplifiers and subwoofers available in the market.

Your installer can quickly check the impedance on the original subwoofer and get on with the same impedance.

  • Subwoofer Dimensions

There is always the question of whether the subwoofer you choose will fit. Often the after-market subwoofers will be more profound than the factory-installed ones.

The extra depth often results in more bottomless baskets and large magnetic assemblies, leading to an increased excursion.

If you solve the impedance issue and have enough depth in the enclosure, you can easily move on to solve the other issues below.

  • Enclosure Design Details

For some reason, most original equipment subwoofers are often installed in small sealed enclosures. Often it reduces the physical size of the enclosure and the weight of the weight, which is an essential consideration for vehicle manufacturers.

A vented enclosure offers better efficiency and more extension.

Therefore, your installer needs to calculate the volume and design of the encloses and ensure that the proposed replacement will work well in the space.

  • Frequency Response and Efficiency

Most after-market sub-woofers provide a low-frequency extension. This often leads to sacrificing the upper-bass output and, eventually, the overall efficiency.

Even after getting a woofer with the correct impedance and fits in the provided enclosure, there remains the risk of the subwoofer not blending with the rest of the audio system in the car.

It is common to find the after-market subwoofers less efficient and often need a dedicated amplifier to reach the same output level as the original one.

How Do I Replace the Factory Amplifier?

When you want to replace your factory amplifiers, you can remove them and use the wires that carry the analog output signal from the factory radio for your after-market amplifier.

You can then connect the factory’s amplifier’s output wires with the new amplifiers. This way, the new amplifier will signal the speakers through the factory’s vehicle wiring.

How Do I Upgrade Factory-Installed Audio System?


If you are not happy with your factory-installed sound system, you can easily upgrade it without having to break the bank.

Here are ways you can make your factory-fitted sound system better:

  • Replace Your Factory Speakers

Most new cars have the weakest speakers, often made of paper or the cheapest possible material.

Most speakers made of polypropylene cone will perform better than your typical factory speakers. You can easily upgrade your speakers or have your local auto shop install them.

  • Install a Satellite or DAB Radio

You can purchase a satellite adapter kit. With this kit need not worry about cluttering your dashboard because you can easily plug them into a USB port or install them behind the dashboard.

  • Add a Subwoofer

This upgrade is only for those who are okay with spending top dollar to add bass to their car audio system. You can either add an active subwoofer (a powered subwoofer) or a passive subwoofer.

An active subwoofer has an integrated amplifier, while a passive subwoofer has an external amplifier separate from the central stereo head unit.

  • Add Sound-Deadening Mats

Sound-deadening materials absorb vibrations and noise from outside the vehicle and enhance the sound inside the vehicle.

It also helps hold in the heat since most cars’ A/C systems work better since the sound-deadening materials act as insulation layers. Additionally, these mats do not cost a lot in terms of materials.


While it is easy for most people to know if their car has a factory-fitted amplifier or subwoofer, you can seek the help of professionals for the specifications.


How Do I Know If I Have A Factory Amplifier Audio System? 

How to Set the Gain on a Car Amplifier

4 Small Upgrades That Will Drastically Improve Your Factory Sound System

How do I know if my car has a factory amp?