How Many Amps Does A Car Stereo Draw?

Last Updated on December 4, 2023 by CarAudioHunt

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Before you upgrade your car’s in-dash stereo, you might want to know how many amps does a car stereo draw? Although it depends on many variables, in general, the amperage ranges between 2 and 10 for a typical car stereo. However, if you boost the base and turn up the music volume, it can increase up to 20 amperes.As for upgrading to a high-end speaker and subwoofer, the ampere draw can be anywhere from 10 to 60 amps depending on the number of channels.

Let’s dive deep into the matter and find out how the amperage varies and what measures you should take to upgrade a typical car stereo.

Variables that Affect Your Car Stereo Amp Draw

First things first, let’s get to know how many amps does a car stereo draw when off. To keep its memory intact, your car stereo draws a very small amount of power, usually in the milliampere range.

Your vehicle stereo is more likely to draw only 0.1 amperes or 100 milliamperes when turned off. Some stereos draw more than regular ones but don’t exceed 0.5 amperes or 500 milliamperes. So, the amperage for a regular car stereo is between 0.1amp to 0.5amp when off.

Now, let’s see how many amps is a car stereo and what factors cause the amperage to change.

Bass, Volume, and Other Settings

At zero bass and normal volume range, the stereo will draw 5 to 10 amperes only. In fact, for smaller vehicles, the amp draw can be as low as 2 amperes. However, if you boost the bass, activate advanced settings, and play sound at full volume, the amp draw will quickly rise reaching up to 15 to 20 amperes.

Battery Voltage

When we measure the hampered draw of a car stereo on paper, we assume the car battery is running at 100% efficiency. However, that’s not always true and both the voltage and wire resistance can fluctuate causing the power usage to go up or down.

Adding Upgrades

If you want better sound quality, you might upgrade your speakers and add a subwoofer and amplifier. Naturally, the addition of these electronic devices will increase the ampere draw and it can reach up to 60 amperes in some cases.

Measure How Many Amps Does A Car Radio Use

So, how can you measure how much power your car stereo is using and what’s the maximum ampere rating for your vehicle?

Luckily, there are two easy ways-

1. Fuse Rating

To know the fuse rating of your car, you need to check out the supply lines leading to your stereo. The fuse might be rated at 15 or 20 amps and your stereo won’t draw more power than this maximum ampere rating.

2. Using An Ammeter

If you want to precisely measure the ampere draw, you can use an ammeter or multimeter.

Connect this tool with the powering wire leading to the head unit and play the stereo. 

The needle of the ammeter will point to the exact amount of a peer draw at that precise moment.

Using An Ammeter

Things to Consider Before Upgrading the Car Stereo

Many people want to upgrade their stereo system and add high-quality speakers for a better listening experience. Here are some things you should consider before you go and add any extra device-

  • Check out the fuse rating of your car and make sure the added devices won’t exceed the power limit
  • If you want to install a high-end speaker or amplifier, consider upgrading the electric system of your car as well
  • You might have to change the battery of your car in case the upgrades are causing it to drain faster

Also Read: Fixing Car Stereo Battery Draining

Wrapping Up!

There you have it all about how many amps does a car stereo draw in different circumstances. To keep the amp draw low, make sure to ground the supply wires properly. Upgrading your electric system and using low-watt speakers will also help.

Whatever you do, make sure the amp draw doesn’t exceed the fuse rating. Otherwise, it might affect the fuse, related wires, and circuit breakers.

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