Everything You Need to Know about Car Audio Capacitors

Whether you are replacing or upgrading your current car audio sound system, the right audio capacitor can make all the difference. You can easily find a large selection of car audio capacitors affordably priced on eBay. Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about car audio capacitors to help you choose the right one for you.

Does your car audio system need a capacitor?

A car audio capacitor is supplied with voltage from the car's electrical system and charges whenever the power needs of the amp do not require an extra power boost. When the amp does require extra juice, the capacitor gives the amp a quick jolt of power to prevent the vehicle lights from dimming. Without a car audio capacitor, every time your amp needs an extra shot of power, it will drain power from your car electrical system, causing your lights to dim and making it difficult and dangerous to drive at night. Generally, if your lights dim when your amp hits a bass note, it is time to purchase a car audio capacitor.

What type of capacitor is best for car audios?

There are three different types of capacitors that are appropriate for use in a car audio system. Each type has its own benefits and weaknesses. These three types include the following:

  • Electrolytic - While electrolytic capacitors are among the best performing at the lowest cost, they are known to degrade over time especially in higher temperatures.
  • Tantalum - Tantalum capacitors are a more expensive and difficult to find alternative to an electrolytic capacitor, but they are made to withstand the higher temperatures of car audio systems without degrading.
  • Ceramic - While an option due to their small size and low cost, the ceramic capacitor is not usually recommended as a go-to capacitor for car audio systems. Ceramic capacitors are known to lose their power capacity over time as well as create distortion in your sound system.
What size farad capacitor do you need?

The storage size of a capacitor is measured in units called "farads." The general recommendation is to have one unit of farad per every thousand watts of complete system power. Of course, there is nothing wrong with using a larger capacitor. Using a two- or three-farad capacitor on a 1,000 watt system has its advantages. The larger the capacitor you use, the faster it can recharge for the next time the amp needs an extra power up.