Car audio capacitors last between 2 and 20 years — the make of the capacitor and vehicle environment paly a significant factor in its lifespan.
Over time the capacity of the capacitor will deteriorate making it less and less useful meaning you may wish to change it. As a rule of thumb, you should replace your capacitor every ten years.
If your car has an audio capacitor, you’re in luck because it can take up additional electrical energy from the vehicle and store it until it’s needed.
When those loud bass notes hit, your audio capacitor is what keeps the circuit running smoothly. Since these capacitors do so much work, many people ask, “How long do car audio capacitors last?”
The lifespan of your audio capacitor will depend on the make you have. A cheaper-made model may only last for 2 to 5 years, where a high-quality made audio capacitor could last for 15 to 20 years.
Of course, the capacitor’s environment plays a significant role in how long it lasts, but many other factors determine how long a capacitor will last.
What Can Affect How Long A Car Audio Capacitor Will Last?
Since there’s no exact answer on how long a car audio capacitor will last, it’s a good idea to become familiar with what factors could affect its lifespan.
All capacitors are likely to fail at some point, mainly because they rely on a fluid that could evaporate or go bad. When this happens, it can lead to failure.
Operating at higher temperatures than the maximum temperature rating for the audio capacitor could potentially wear it down sooner. Of course, the make of your capacitor is the main factor in how long it will last.
A premium made capacitor could last longer than expected, whereas a cheaply manufactured model could break down in its first year.
Voltage application is another thing that could shorten the lifespan of your audio capacitor. All capacitors have a rated voltage, and it’s important not to exceed this.
Some other factors that could shorten the life of a car audio capacitor are:
- Frequent charging and discharging cycles
- High leakage current
- Frequent reverse voltage
- A voltage that exceeds the limit of the audio capacitor
- Capacitor tolerance specs
- Storage environment
By learning how to charge your car stereo capacitor properly it will help increase the lifespan and effectiveness of the capacitor and overall performance.
How Often Should A Car Audio Capacitor Be Replaced?
Everybody seems to have a different opinion on when their audio capacitor has had enough. While some people believe their capacitor isn’t up to the job if it isn’t within 25% of its initial specifications, others think theirs is just fine as long as it hasn’t blown up.
Manufacturers recommend replacing your vehicle’s main electrolytes every ten years, even if it still seems like they are operating in good condition. This is because older models may not meet current specifications, not necessarily because they are expected to fail.
Do car audio capacitors go bad?
Like all batteries, capacitors go bad over time, especially if it’s used frequently. The time in which it would “go bad” is dependent on a range of factors like the quality and in-car environment.
Ultimately, it will depend on your preference; we would consider it going bad when the capacity is below 25% of its initial specifications. Like your phone, when the battery is worse, it will not hold as much charge and not be as effective or useful.
Final Thoughts: How Long Do Car Audio Capacitors Last?
While most car audio capacitors are expected to last anywhere from 15 to 20 years, that will all depend on how it has been treated and the quality of the manufacturing. Many cheaply made models are likely only to last for a few years before they start causing problems.
For best performance, always replace your capacitor every 10 years. If you haven’t yet installed a capacitor you may want to read our article about whether you really need a capacitor for your car audio system.