Is It Illegal To Have Speakers Or Subwoofers In Car? (Explained)

Thinking about installing a subwoofer or speakers in your car? If you are planning a long trip, you might wish to listen to the fantastic audio system in your car – Subwoofers/Speakers, since they could make the journey time more pleasurable. 

However, do you know whether using the speakers/subwoofers in your car is legal or not? In layman’s terms, playing out music on speakers or subwoofers in your car is not illegal. However, increasing the volume can serve as a problem.

Let us delve into a few details so that you don’t just have an enjoyable drive, but also a safe one.

Can You Have Speakers Or Subwoofers In Your Car?

Yes, it is legal to have speakers or subwoofers in your car as long as the noise from the car audio system does not affect the peace of the neighborhood area where you are driving. You’re likely to get a ticket or fine if you play loud music, especially during the night or quiet zone.

car subwoofer enclosure boot
Subwoofer enclosure in a boot of a car

A study has shown that playing loud music can affect the driving performance of individuals.

Here are some tips to keep yourself out of trouble while using subwoofers in your car.


Reduce The Volume In Residential Areas

Don’t blast the audio system in residential neighborhoods anytime, even when passing through.

It could be a troublesome incident, and the people can report you to the police immediately. Hence reduce the volume to prevent drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.

Limit The Sound By Closing Your Window

Keep your windows up and frequencies below 100 Hz since the level travels at a high volume.

It will potentially limit the level of the music heard outside your car.  

Keep Your Eyes On The Road  

Rather than hearing loud music, you should pay attention to the path you are traveling to ensure your and your co-passengers protection by avoiding accidents.

When driving, turn down the volume so that it won’t block you from hearing the essential sound in the round, like emergency sirens.

Know the Laws 

Learn more about the local laws as they might have strict regulations on using the speaker/subwoofers in a car.

You can collect the information from the local police station.

How Loud Can You Legally Play Music In The Car?

Car subwoofer on the door panel
Car subwoofer on the door panel

The laws for playing music in the car through car speakers or subwoofers vary from state to state. Hence it is important to check the regulations of the specific area before installing the audio device in your car.

Playing loud music may seem fine to you while traveling, but it could be uncomfortable or annoying to someone sick or trying to fall asleep.

Having powerful speakers and playing them loud might get you into legal issues. 

The higher limit of hearing capacity in humans is around 130 Db. In most situations, you can legally play music in a car between 50 and 100 decibels.

Authorities tend to measure this loudness from a few feet away from the vehicle. When one is exposed to a noise level of more than 85 decibels for more than 8 hours, it will cause discomfort and gradually cause permanent damage to the hearing.

Regulations in the US Laws do not prohibit the number of decibels produced by the subwoofers/speakers in your car. Instead, states in the US have passed several laws emphasizing that the music from a car should not be audible over a specific amount of feet away from the vehicle.

Below are some noise laws based on the states.

StateNoise Laws
CaliforniaAccording to California Vehicle Code section 27007, the law prohibits the car from having an audio stereo system cranked up to the point where others can hear it from more than 15 meters away. If anyone violates the rule, fines will be levied. Also, it imposes severe penalties for driving while making illicit noise on motorists in specific areas.
New YorkPeople in New York should only have an audio system in a car that should only produce 15+ decibels. The ambient sound which could be heard in a certain region when measured at 15 feet or more from the vehicle will not be permitted.
FloridaDrivers in Florida can play their songs out loud. However, the Florida Supreme Court passed a state statute prohibiting them from playing loud music in their vehicles. As stated, the restriction laws stand against the freedom of expression. The authorities have set the rules to reduce the noise pollution from your auto stereos.

Besides the laws, we have the duty to use audio devices safely and comfortably. In the past few years, there has been a significant rise in the number of noise ordinances, and as a general rule, sound systems should be kept down at a lower volume. 

Read this amazing article on How Loud Do Car Speakers Get.

Can I Play Loud Music Inside The Car With Soundproofing And Windows Closed?

Loud music may generally contribute to noise pollution when they frequently exceed a specific threshold. Hence, it is recommended to use noise-canceling processes to prevent the intervention.

You can play loud music inside the car with soundproofing or closed windows. However, even the diligently soundproofed car will let the noise out, which depends on the sound resistance level of every car. 

Hence, testing is important to detect the efficiency level of the soundproofing technique. In most situations, drivers will get a warning when they play loud audio unintentionally rather than the imposition of punishment or a fine.

Nevertheless, if the drivers are voluntarily disruptive, they might receive penalties for violating the traffic rules.

The Final Word

No mandatory rules in any country prohibit people from listening to music through subwoofers or speakers while driving.

However, local laws might intervene in the situation if your music is too loud or if it’s found to be anti-social when you blast it long into a peaceful night in a residential area. 

Sound systems are perfectly legal as long as they do not impact other individuals’ personal space.

Nonetheless, despite the fact that as a civilized person, you should be considerate of others while using the subwoofers or speakers in your car.

Being able to drive safely is your responsibility, hold up to those bundles of responsibilities and drive carefully.



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