How to get a car stereo fixed cheaply in SF?
June 23, 2005 3:02 PM   Subscribe

I need to get my car stereo fixed in SF, looking for advice.

So I bought this BMW 3-series 4 years ago, used, and the stereo was somewhat messed up when I bought it. Basically only two speakers work, one in front and one in the rear; the balance and F/R fader can actually be used to mute the entire system, annoyingly.

In addition, one of the speakers that doesn't work emits a lot of static. When the car goes over a bump, the static will be much louder than the music that's playing, to the point that if the music is at listenable volume the static hurts my ears. I can reproduce this by wiggling some cables that go into the trunk-mounted amplifier.

I want to return this to working order, preferably as close to factory-original as possible. I'd also like not to spend a lot of money. Options appear to be a) take it to the BMW dealer (expensive), b) take it to a local person, c) something else. What would you do? The more specific your recommendation, the better, like "My cousin Joe could fix this for $20 and a beer."
posted by ikkyu2 to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
I'd be surprised if it cost you less to fix it than to buy a new one. (But I don't know.) Crutchfield has easy-to-install stuff (that includes mp3 playability) for like $150 (last year, anyway) . You might also check your speaker connections.
posted by mookieproof at 3:13 PM on June 23, 2005

Sounds like you don't need a new stereo, but new wiring/speakers. I'd replace the speakers first (my old car had a blown speaker that would play if you had the wires touching *just* right, but if you played anything with loud bass the wires would move around and it would go out.)

I'd take it to a shop and try not to get totally fleeced on speakers. You probably won't need to take it to the dealership because it doesn't sound like the stereo part of it has any problems.

pick up an sf weekly or guardian and they'll have ads for local car audio shops.
posted by fishfucker at 3:21 PM on June 23, 2005

Hey ikkyu - welcome to SF - Did you found a place? Hope the move and adjustment is going well!

Sounds like you've got a wiring problem, rather than a stereo problem per se. If that's true, there's this shop down on Ocean Avenue that might be able to help. They're called Mach III Car Alarm (594-0030). They specialize in car alarms, but they also do other stuff, like they put in motorized locking doors on my wife's car (and fixed it to work with one of those remote key fob things) and, most important, they were INCREDIBLY CHEAP. Like hundreds of dollars less than the price mentioned by the dealership and other places we checked. Service was great, so I recommend them. The only thing is I don't know whether they do speaker wiring, but you could call and ask. If they don't maybe they'd have recommendations.
posted by jasper411 at 4:33 PM on June 23, 2005

Unless the speakers are in the doors, it's very unlikely that you have a wiring problem.

Crutchfield is having a big head unit blowout, and you can pick up new speakers and a decent head unit for $300-$350 in all. If you have a soldering iron (or a buddy who can solder the harness for you) you can do a very high-quality job. I don't know if you want to spend that much, but if you did, you could install the stuff yourself with rudimentary tools and an afternoon. The directions are (usually) that good.

Speakers are no good after a few years. Heat and cold and sun are a bitch on the cones and surrounds.
posted by Kwantsar at 6:05 PM on June 23, 2005

« Older Chips and salsa, maybe?   |   How do I remove rust stains from marble tile? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.