5 Essential Car Audio Tools Every Installer Needs

Top 5 car audio tools every car audio installer should have in their toolbox

Obviously there are more than five car audio tools you need for installations. I’m assuming you have the basics such as drill, screwdriver, wrenches, etc.

These five tools are more specific to car audio and while not absolutely necessary, they will definitely make any install a breeze. And if you are serious about your installs, you will have these in your toolbox.

So here’s my list of the top 5 car audio tools:

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1. Car Audio Tool #1 – Crimpers/Wire Cutters

car audio tools 1 - klein crimpers
Check out the Klein 1005 Crimpers on Amazon

My crimpers are probably my most used tool when I am installing something.

(Part of that may be because I use them as a crimper, cutter, wire stripper, pry tool – pretty much anything I can use them for, I do.)

Here are a few reasons I love my crimpers so much:

  • I use these Klein crimpers with the wire cutter on the end. So I can use them to cut wires, strip wires, cut tape off of wires, etc.
  • I use butt connectors for all of my connections. If you were an early subscriber to my email list, you’ll know why I prefer crimped connections over soldered – but that’s a topic for another time. (Long story short, properly crimped connections are just as good or better in a car than soldered connections – and they’re quicker too.)
  • These Klein crimpers are the best I’ve found. They just feel right.
  • They’ve lasted me about 10 years so far and still work just as good as day 1.

Here’s a great video on how to make proper crimped connections: 

2. Car Audio Tool #2 – Panel Poppers

Panel poppers (or pry tools) are essential when removing interior trim.

car audio tools 2 - panel poppers
Check out the best panel poppers at Harbor Freight

Not much explanation needed here.

Take apart your car without damaging it. These trim tools from Harbor Freight are the best in the biz. They are also some of the cheapest.

I am currently on my third set but only because I lost the first one and the second set is finally starting to come apart after 10 years of hard use!

Another one I recommend is a thin tip metal pry tool. These are super thin and can get into tight spots.

Just be careful because they can mar the surface easier than the plastic ones.

DMM digital multimeter
Check out the Innova 3320 on Amazon

3. Car Audio Tool #3 – Multimeter

Multimeters are one of the most useful tools an installer can have.

Multimeters have a ton of uses for car audio. A few of the most common uses are:

  • Checking DC voltage to find power wires, test batteries or alternators, and and find switched power among others
  • Checking resistance of speakers or ground points
  • Using continuity mode to test wires or grounds
  • Troubleshooting almost anything in a car

Buying a multimeter won’t help you much unless you know how to use it. The video below should help you out.

car audio tools 3 - pick tools

4. Car Audio Tool #4 – Pick Tools

Pick tools are great for removing all the tiny little hard to get to things like screw covers behind door handles or certain pop clips.

I like these el cheapos from Harbor Freight. Not because they’re the best but because I’m cheap.

If you want something a little more robust or don’t have a Harbor Freight nearby, these will do the trick.

The rounded hook tool is great for pulling a certain wire out of a bundle for easier access.

5. Car Audio Tool #5 – Drill

Drills are necessary when drilling mounting holes for your equipment or drilling holes in the firewall to run power wire.

I prefer an impact driver for pretty much everything other than drilling holes. It makes removing screws easier and they are usually a little bit smaller. So they can fit in tight spaces.

So I recommend getting a set with both a normal drill and an impact driver.

The Milwaukee M12 is nice and small for those tight spaces. And it should be plenty powerful for most car audio uses.

Those are my recommendations for the MINIMUM car audio tools you need.

Obviously there are tons of tools out there. So if you want to see some of my other recommendations, check out my Amazon shop:

Car Audio Advice Amazon Store – Installation Tools

These aren’t really needed but will make your job much easier. If you are planning on installing more often, I’d recommend picking these up as well.

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