Can You Use Welding Cable For Car Audio? (Read First)

A car audio system is a major feature for car enthusiasts and folks who love listening to music in their cars. When installing big boom boxes in a beemer or your car, the decision about using welding cables or audio wires can be dicey.

The amps need solid power, and you need reliability, so you are not always busy fixing the audio setup instead of driving while listening to your track.

Many car audio installers use welding cables instead of shiny audio wires. Why do they do so? Is it the cost or the quality?

You’ll find out answers to all your questions in this article. Read on! 

Can Welding Leads Be Used For Car Audio?

Most professional audio installers, YouTubers, and car enthusiasts prefer welding wires over audio wires. A welding wire is more durable than an audio wire because welding leads are used for industrial purposes, which require higher durability and conduction.

Installing an after-market audio setup is the norm. Considering that the factory-fitted audio leads are installed keeping in mind the engine temperature, special attention is paid to the wires. Your after-market leads might melt due to the effect of engine temperature on them.

If you are driving a hot hood car, your audio leads might melt and will stop delivering power to the amplifier. The bass tube requires high voltage power for hard bass, so using welding wires is preferred because they have high resistance bearing ability and don’t heat up easily.

Audio wires need to be bendable to fit into tight spaces. Welding wires are ideal as welding leads are designed for rough industrial use. They are more flexible due to the high strand count than normal audio wire leads used in automobiles for 12V or 24V power.

To answer the aforementioned question, yes, welding wires can be used for car audio. Welding leads are more flexible, offer high resistance bearing capacity, and are more durable than car audio wires.


Related:

Differences In Welding Cable And Car Audio Wire

Welding cables are made for industrial use and construction purposes. Whereas car audio wires are normal wires used for connection and power up to 12V or 24V.

Welding cables have a greater number of strands compared to normal car audio wires. In simple words, when a wire is cut, the thread-like structure is called a strand. While the strands are more in number in welding cables, the amount of copper is the same for both welding and normal car audio wires.

For example – If a car audio cable has 64 strands, then welding cables will have 651 strands, and the amount of copper will be the same in both the cables. But the thickness of the welding cable will be more (here, both the specimens are of the same gauge and length for a fair comparison).

To understand the difference in a better way, below are some tests conducted on both wires.

Heating Test

Observation

In this test, hot air is blown at 200 degrees centigrade on a heating plate, and the wire is kept in between for 60 seconds. 

Result

  • The audio wire got burnt, causing smoke, and the upper layer was completely charred.
  • The welding cable hardly incurred any damage. Only the upper layer became soft due to the heat.

Conclusion

The car audio wire has a low heat-bearing capacity compared to welding cables. Welding cable appeared to have negligible damage due to the heat effect because it is made for industrial purposes.

Abrasion Test

Observation

In this test, both the wires were rubbed against the same sandpaper for 30 seconds in a continuous back and forth motion.

Result

  • The upper layer of the car audio wire got damaged by 30%.
  • And the upper layer of welding wire got damaged by 60%.

Conclusion

You don’t have to worry about the high amount of abrasion in welding wire because it wouldn’t have to go through a lot of abrasions. The wire stays in one place in an audio setup. The only abrasion it would face will be during installation, which is negligible. You can use a wire loom if you have any second thoughts about the abrasion.

Pinch Test

Observation

In this test, the wires were kept on the edges of two metal plates and compressed to a full extent in a compressing machine.

Result

  • The car audio wire became completely flat without any cut.
  • The welding wire also became flat without any cut.

Conclusion

Both the wires became flat due to the compression effect, but neither of them had any cuts from the edges of the metal plate.

The only thing you need to care about is heating and flexibility and the welding wire. As proven above, it is good for both. You can buy welding wires online in meters or feet to make it pocket friendly for you.

Pros And Cons Of Using Welding Wire

Pros of welding wire

  • Good heat resistance.
  • Good wear resistance.
  • Flexibility.
  • Good conduction.
  • Good thickness.
  • Cost-effective.

Cons of welding wire

  • Welding wire doesn’t look aesthetically appealing.

You can use wire looms or nylon to improve the appearance of a welding cable. Audio installers sometimes do that without you having to ask for it.

Welding cables have more pros than cons, and that’s why people prefer them.

Is Welding Cable A Must For Car Audio?

It’s not compulsory to use welding cables. However, considering the power you need for the audio setup, the cable you are using must be able to bear the load of the setup. Welding wires are ideal in that sense.

The aim is to deliver electricity to the amplifier and speakers. Electricity travels through wires. Any wire with a good resistance-bearing capacity will do the job. Don’t use the normal solid copper cables used in homes as they do not offer good resistance. Always use wires which have strands in them.

During installation and wiring, don’t twist the wire. Cheap wires are not that durable; they get weak if you twist them all the way around. 

Welding cables have more flexibility; that’s why people use them. However, avoid stepping on welding wires or placing heavy weight on them, as this can lead to damage.

Is Welding Cable The Top Option?

While welding cables are ideal for many reasons, there are some other options available in the market.

If you want something high quality and expensive, you can opt for OFC wires, which are specially designed car audio speakers. These wires use oxygen-free copper alloy, which is good for high conduction of electricity and doesn’t get corroded easily due to lack of oxygen.

Always remember to use the right gauge of wire that the audio setup needs.

Which One Do You Need?

If you want a pocket-friendly option that gets the job done, use any battery wire with the right gauge for the audio setup. Do the wiring very carefully as cheap wires are damaged easily. Use wire looms if your car gets hot very often.

If you want a cost-effective, reliable, and durable product, go for welding cables. Use the right gauge which can handle the power of your audio setup.

If you want high-quality, expensive wiring, go for OFC (oxygen-free copper) wires. They look more appealing, are reliable, and have good conduction as all the oxygen is removed from the copper to increase the conductivity. It looks silver on the inside, like aluminum, but it is oxygen-free copper. It is the best alloy for electricity conduction.

Takeaways

We hope that this information helps you choose the right cable for your car audio. Always use the right gauge number; otherwise, it might fail to work, no matter how high-quality your wire is.

Sources

Difference between starter cable and welding cable

Speaker wire vs regular electrical wire vs electrical cable- Car Audio 101

Royal excellence 4/0 welding cable