Let's take a look at an example speaker installation to get an idea of what's involved. We'll be going step-by-step through a component speaker installation in the front doors of a Ford Ranger pickup.

Blaupunkt PCci540 5-1/4" Component Speaker System in a 1996 Ford Ranger Pickup  installation    for courtesy of Crutchfield advisor

1. Disconnect the Battery — Your car doors are going to be open while you install the new speakers. Disconnecting the negative terminal of the battery prevents you from draining your battery and getting stuck without power. It also safeguards you from risking a dangerous short circuit in your vehicle's electrical system.


2.Pre prepare parts— Take out all the hardware from the box your speakers came in. If you're installing full-range speakers, you'll typically have the 2 speakers, speaker wire, mounting screws, speed clips, and instructions. Some aftermarket speakers include grilles as well; if your speakers do not come with grilles, use your factory grilles. If you're putting in component speakers, you'll also have the separate tweeters, the tweeter mounting hardware, and crossovers.

If you are installing component speakers, start thinking about where to install your tweeters, and what type of mounting you want to use (angled, flush, or surface). You'll want to locate the tweeters above the woofer and "aim" them up at your ears to achieve a realistic soundstage and stereo image. But you don't want to install the tweeter too far from the woofer — ideally, the tweeter should be no more than 1-foot from the woofer to maintain a unified sound field. Of course, the dimensions of your door and aesthetic considerations will also factor into where you wind up mounting the tweeter in your vehicle.

3. Door Disassembly — Depending on where your factory speaker locations are, or where you've decided to custom-mount your speakers, you can now begin to uninstall your old speakers. Your MasterSheet™ instructions will detail how to remove your factory speakers. In this example, the Ranger's front speakers are located in the front doors.

To begin, we used a window crank removal tool to pry off the crank cover. Then, we removed a Torx T-20 screw and removed the window crank.


Next, we removed a philips screw from the lower rear corner of the door panel, and two philips screws from the door pull cup. The door pull cup then pulled right off.


There was one more philips screw beneath the door pull cup to remove. Then we slid the door panel up and off the door.


4. Removing the Factory Speaker — The factory speaker is secured to the car door with four philips screws. We took out the screws and pulled the speaker out of the speaker opening. Using a flat head screwdriver, we popped off the factory harness and removed the "Premium" factory speaker.


5. Prepping the Crossovers — Because component speaker systems use an external crossover to divide the frequency bandwidths between the tweeter and woofer, we needed to solder the free Crutchfield wiring harness to the crossover's input wires. We cut off the wiring harness' quick slide connectors and stripped the wires. We also stripped the crossover's input wires and placed some heat shrink tubing on them before twisting them together with the wiring harness wires.


After soldering the wires together, we used the heat gun to melt the heat shrink tubing and protect the connection. Then we connected the crossover to the factory wiring with the quick connect wiring harness.


6. Installing the Woofer — The 1996 Ford Ranger uses a 6"x8" speaker in the front doors; but the Blaupunkt component system we purchased has 5-1/4" woofers. Using the free Crutchfield speaker bracket, we can adapt the 6"x8" factory speaker opening to accept a 5-1/4" woofer. We used the factory speaker screws to secure the mounting bracket to the factory speaker opening.


Then we placed the baffle in the bracket and screwed in the woofer. (If we had been installing full-range speakers, we'd now reverse our steps and reattach the door panel, and be done.)


7. Installing the Tweeters — We chose to angle-flush mount the tweeters. Acoustically and aesthetically, this is usually the best way to mount component tweeters. However, angle-flush mounting requires you to drill a hole in your door panel large enough to accommodate the entire tweeter cup.

After determining where to mount the tweeter and tracing around the tweeter cup with a pencil on the door panel, we used a serrated circular blade on our power drill to cut out a hole for the tweeter.


We trimmed the cutout with an exacto blade. Each manufacturer has a different system for securing the tweeter to the mounting surface — Blaupunkt's Multi-Mount system uses a spring clip that attaches to the back of the tweeter with a screw to achieve a tight, secure fit. We angled the tweeter up and in towards the driver's seat for optimal imaging.


8. Completing the Installation— We connected the woofer and tweeter leads to the crossover with the attached quick slides. We used the included wire ties to gather excess cable and routed the speaker wires around the window crank. Then we dropped the door panel back onto the door.


The crossover fit snugly between the door panel and the door frame, so we simply dropped it in. Then we replaced the screws, the door pull cup, and the window crank. Now we have full-bodied, detailed sound, a deep and spacious soundstage, and vibrant stereo imaging — what a difference!