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2009 Subaru Impreza WRX Troubleshooting

This guide will offer solutions to the common problems you may run into when attempting to install an aftermarket sound system in a 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX. It is a supplementary guide to the "2009 Subaru Impreza WRX Sound System Installation" page in the device guide section.

Rattle or Static Coming from a Speaker ¶ 

Often times with aftermarket stereo systems, the increase in power level and sound quality results in a sound system requiring more attention and maintenance. A common problem is either rattling coming from a door speaker, or it sounding as if the speaker is playing extra static. There are a variety of causes for these issues, so be patient during the course of the troubleshooting process. For more help with troubleshooting with the speakers, refer to the front speaker replacement guide or the rear speaker replacement guide.

Volume on Stereo is too High ¶ 

All stereo receivers have a built in amplifier that allows the volume level to be adjusted, but they don't have equal performance over all levels of volume. Often times stereos will begin to distort the sound signal after the volume is turned up past 75% of the full range. To eliminate extra static sound, do not turn up the volume past this point. Either cell phone volume should be raised (in the case of an auxiliary cord), or amplifier gain should be raised if necessary (and if an amplifier is being used). If the speakers are being powered by the stereo and aren't loud enough at 75% volume range then an amplifier should be installed to prevent further damage to the speakers.

Poor Connections at the Speaker Terminals ¶ 

A weak or deteriorated connector at the speaker terminal can result in sloppy sound quality. To troubleshoot the connectors, follow the appropriate speaker removal guide; click here for the front speaker replacement guide, or click here for the rear speaker replacement guide. Next, inspect the positive and negative connectors. Ensure most of the wires aren't cut and actually make it into the connector housing. Also check for a secure connection between the wire and the metal connector housing. Next, unscrew the connectors from the speaker, then reconnect them again, making sure the screw is fully engaged. Reinstall the speaker and continue troubleshooting to see if the problem is resolved.

Rattle Coming from Inside the Door ¶ 

Often a rattle inside the door itself is responsible for producing a sound that imitates a blown-out speaker. If the music itself seems to be produced well in spite of the rattle, there's a good chance the annoying sound isn't coming from the speaker itself. To determine whether or not this is your problem, remove the door panel by following the appropriate door panel removal guide; click here for the front door panel removal guide, or click here for the rear door panel removal guide, then play music while the panel is off. The rattle should be obviously coming from either the speaker or the door. If it is indeed coming from inside the door, the problem part should be located and fastened down in place if possible with electrical tape, duct tape, glue, etc. If the problem persists or there are multiple rattles needing attention, sound deadening material should be considered. Sound deadening is placed on the outside of the door structure yet inside the door panel and is extremely effective for reducing the effects of repetitive oscillations from both the road and speaker reverberations.

The Speaker is Blown Out ¶ 

If you're someone that likes to push your speakers to the limit and have also found yourself hearing static or slopping sound quality which started happening over a short period of time, you may have blown out your speaker. Although it should be pretty noticeable the instant a speaker blows out, the issue is sometimes a little more subtle. To determine whether or not this is your problem, remove the speaker by following the appropriate speaker removal guide; click here for the front speaker replacement guide, or click here for the rear speaker replacement guide. Next, inspect the cone of the speaker for damage. There should be a noticeable crack or tear in the fabric of the speaker around the rim, it can be on either the front or back of the speaker cone. There's no easy fix for torn speaker besides simply replacing it.

Stereo Won’t Turn On ¶ 

If the aftermarket stereo doesn’t turn on after the installation is complete, there was a mistake made during the installation of one of the connecting accessories. The most likely cause will be in the connections of the wiring harness simply due to the sheer number of wires. Although this issue may seem frustrating and time consuming, the fix will be relatively simple if the appropriate amount of time is given. For more help with troubleshooting the stereo, refer to the stereo replacement guide by clicking here.

Weak Connections between Wire Pairs ¶ 

First check the wiring harness to make sure each wire in the harness is connected to the correctly colored wired from the stereo. If the colors all match, ensure the connections between the two wires are strong and secure. Also, each connection should be wrapped with either electrical tape or heat shrink tubing to protect the connection against deterioration over time.

Weak Wiring Harness Connection ¶ 

Firmly press the wiring harness into the back of the stereo to eliminate the possibility of a weak connection. If the problem still persists, a more likely cause of the issue is with the car’s electrical system/battery.

Speakers Won’t Play Music ¶ 

Whether or not the speakers play music is based on the combination of components working together. Therefore, there are a variety of possible areas where the issue may be located, and time and attention should be allotted to each.

Faulty Speaker Terminal Connections ¶ 

Ensure the connectors on the speaker cord connecting the speakers to the car’s electronic system are secure and have no excess movement. Next, loosen and re-tighten the connectors onto the speaker’s terminals and ensure both connections are strong. Also, the positive and negative wires need to be connected to the positive and negative terminals of the speakers respectively, if they are connected oppositely, the speakers will be out of phase.

Faulty Stereo Wire Connections ¶ 

Reverse the installation steps of the stereo to remove it from the dash panel. Look up in the wiring harness diagram which wires correspond to the positive and negative terminals of the problem speaker. Behind the stereo, ensure the connections between the car’s electronic system’s wires and the wiring harness of the two speaker wires are strong and have no excess movement. If the connections are strong and the problem persists, the speaker may be damaged or the car’s power system may be faulty.

Old or Worn Wiring ¶ 

If the stereo turns on and the speaker has strong connections, the issue is located somewhere along the wire connecting the stereo and speaker. Therefore, the user must install a long speaker wire running along the floor or door base trim pieces to bypass the faulty wiring. 14-18 gauge speaker wire may be used, depending on the application. The speaker wire must connect to the appropriate (+) and (-) speaker wire in the wiring harness through a splicing method. Then it should be run through the dash area, under the carpet of the driver/passenger floor area, then into the door panel region and either connect to the front speaker, or be extended further to the rear speaker. This process can be time consuming and the installer should do research on how to appropriately remove the trim pieces of the car without damaging them.

Tire Service Light is On ¶ 

If the tire service light in the dash panel is illuminated, there is something abnormal about the function of one of the four tires. A variety of different things can cause the tire service light to turn on, so attention should be given to each potential problem when this problem arises.

Tires Need to be Changed ¶ 

If one of the car's tires become damaged or worn out, the tire sensor will notify you on the dash board. First the correct psi should be ensured as the most likely fix. If the light stays on, check the condition of the tires to ensure there's no damage to the sidewall or on the main tread track. An authorized tire dealer should be contacted for the repair and resetting of a damaged tire.

Spare Tire is in Use ¶ 

Using the spare tire from the rear of the car will trigger the tire light to turn on. Once the tire is replaced, the light should no longer be active. If it remains on, an authorized tire dealer may be required in order to reset the light default state make sure it stays off.

High-Pitched Engine Whine Present ¶ 

Subaru WRX cars have a high-power turbocharged engine, therefore they run pressure at high levels of stress and a number of different issues can be responsible for high pitched noises stemming from the engine compartment. A few of these issues will be covered to give users an idea of some of the possible issues.

Worn Engine Belts ¶ 

If an engine belt is worn out from use and is reaching the end of its lifespan, it can often put off a high pitched whining sound noticeable to the driver during everyday use. Open the engine compartment and inspect the condition of the engine belts. They should not contain any cracks or noticeable stress abnormalities. Also, they should have a fair amount of tension with a solid a durable feel. If they are lose and worn, a service representative should be contacted to discuss repair.

Air Leak ¶ 

Because the Boxxer engine inside the Subaru WRX is turbocharged, it also contains hoses with air current and pressure running through them to support the function of the turbocharger. Whining noises can come from the connections of these hoses between components. Check the fasteners at the end of pressure hose lines to ensure a tight and secure seal. This problem is also more common in conjunction with engine power loss.

Worn Transmission Bearings ¶ 

One unfortunate circumstance common to Subaru WRX's is the wearing of transmission bearings/components due to improper fluid viscosity. The transmission components are extremely sensitive to the kind of transmission fluid; if the wrong viscosity is mistaken, transmission components will wear and create a grinding/high pitched noise present during acceleration. Ensure the fluid levels are at the correct height for oil and transmission fluid. Also, this problem can be diagnosed by listening to the transmission area during idle.

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