I am frequently asked the question, “How long do subwoofers last?”
The short answer is that it varies by the manufacturer and model. However, we can establish a rough rule of thumb based on our experience in dealing with thousands of different models over time (and even own and use several ourselves).
Typically, you can expect a good quality car subwoofer to last for 4 to 10 years with some lasting even longer than that.
Of course, this will vary depending on many.
What Will I Learn?
- Factors that determine how long your subwoofer will last:
- CAR SUBWOOFER LIFE SPAN
Factors that determine how long your subwoofer will last:
How often is it used?
A subwoofer which is used exclusively on weekends or only on the rare weekend night out will last longer than one which is used all day, every day. A subwoofer which is played at a low level volume or for brief periods of time will last longer than one that is cranked up to high levels for hours on end.
How often is it pushed beyond its limits?
A careful driver who takes care of their car and drives conservatively will enjoy a longer lasting subwoofer than one who drives. Everytime a subwoofer’s maximum output capacity is exceeded, the life of the subwoofer is reduced. How much depends on the exact point at which it becomes overdriven and how far past that point it goes before you turn it back down or shut it off.
How regularly is it maintained?
This includes both cleaning and more importantly, maintenance, such as replacing or repairing of worn parts. A new subwoofer with no miles on it will last longer than one which has had several owners pushing it to its limits and not taking care of it.
Where do you keep it in the car?
In a car, the hot sun beating down on an exposed subwoofer will dramatically reduce its lifespan. The subwoofer which receives direct sunlight all day long on the dash of a car may not last as long as one left in the trunk or under a seat where it does not receive 110 degree F afternoon sun.
Is it exposed to humidity?
In a location which is both hot and humid, such as the trunk of a car during summer months in Florida, a subwoofer may have a very short life.
Is it exposed to extreme temperatures?
Not just hot or cold, but any temperature fluctuations which exceed the extremes for which the subwoofer is rated may shorten its lifespan.
What type of music do you play through it?
Music with very deep bass content will put more strain on a subwoofer than music with less deep bass content. If your preference is for hard rock or heavy metal, your subwoofer may not last as long as that of a person who plays jazz or classical music.
If you play heavy bass music frequently, be prepared for your subwoofer to last roughly half as long as someone who plays jazz or classical every day.
Heavy users typically will need their subwoofers replaced more often than those who are more casual users.
Some other factors which can affect the life expectancy include:
- How well it is installed. An improperly installed subwoofer can have its life cut in half.
- The material. Polypropylene cones are typically less expensive and have a shorter life while polycarbonate very rigid with an extended lifespan.
- The Enclosure. Subwoofers installed in sealed enclosures (or vented) also tend to last roughly twice as long as those in ported boxes (a type of enclosure).
- The manufacturer. Some manufacturers are simply superior to others and go the extra mile to ensure longevity. If you want a subwoofer to last for 20 years, find one manufactured by the reputable manufacturers. Our experience has been that good brands such as Pioneer, JBL, Sundown Audio, Kicker and others tend to offer a slightly longer lifespan than budget-oriented or lesser-known brands.
- Ohms. Generally speaking, 4 ohm subwoofers are less expensive and have a shorter life than those which are 8 ohm or higher. That is not always the case but is somewhat factored into our rule of thumb below.
CAR SUBWOOFER LIFE SPAN
Typically, you can expect to get 4-10 years out of your subwoofer. If you maintain it carefully and don’t subject it to constant exposure to heat, humidity or abuse, you can expect a slightly longer life from your subwoofer.
Keep in mind that this life span is just a general approximation. Many other factors will affect how long your particular subwoofer will last.
The best way to get the longest life out of your subwoofer is to purchase a high-quality brand like Pioneer, JBL, Sundown Audio or Kicker. They use superior materials and construction techniques which result in more efficient performance but also last considerably longer than budget models.
Last Updated on September 5, 2021