Car Amp Protect Mode
(Last Updated On: June 6, 2020)

Amplifier Jumps Into Protect Mode When Turning Up The Volume

Not even the most experienced audio experts can immediately tell you the cause of an amplifier failure without checking under the hood. However, some components give warning signs that something is wrong to prevent costly replacement costs and trips to the service station.  These signs are quite easy to note if you’re very familiar with your amplifier as you can easily tell when it’s set up incorrectly or being pushed to its limits.

But, what happens when you start focusing on other things, or you start using another car for some time?

One of the problems that most people struggle with is the amp going into protect mode when you turn up the volume of your car stereo. That may seem strange to some car owners, and it may be the root of constant headaches if you don’t know how to fix the issue without going to the repair shop. This article will help you to learn why your car’s amplifier may be behaving this way and how you can solve the issue.

So, What Is Amp Protection Mode?

Essentially, the amp-protect mode is a shutdown state that modern amplifiers go into in different circumstances. This shutdown state prevents serious damage of the amp or any of the components in the system. It might be annoying if your amp keeps on going to this mode, but it might be saving you from a bigger headache or costly replacement costs in the future.

Here are a few reasons that will make your amp go into protect mode:

  • Improper installation
  • Loose wires inside the amp
  • Internal failures in the amplifier
  • The amplifier overheating for any reason
  • Power overload

However, this article focuses on your car amplifier going into the protection mode when you turn up the volume button.  Here’s how you can fix the issue if it occurs.

How To Fix Your Amplifier If It Goes On Protect Mode When Turning Up The Volume

Solution 1: Fix The Wires Correctly

Incorrect wiring is an issue that affects most car owners, especially those who regularly disconnect their amplifiers. That can make your amp to go into protection mode. A poor power system can also be the main cause of the issue in your stereo system. As such, you can’t rule this out immediately.

You need to check your transistors as the amp will automatically go into protect mode if they are faulty. However, if the amplifier works as normal when you drop the volume, then it’s experiencing a low ohmage issue that may result from improper wiring.

Connecting Your Car Amplifier

Solution 2: Troubleshooting Amplifier Protect Mode

Troubleshooting your amplifier fully for a problem like this may be a bit tricky for someone who is relatively green in car audio systems. That means it may be worth asking for a friends help if he has more experience with anything that goes beyond installing the components.

If that’s not possible, here are a few questions you’ll want to answer to get a head start and know the best course of action. For example, think back to when the problem started happening:

1. If The Amp Malfunctioned After Turning It On The First Time:

  • The failure may be due to an installation problem
  • If you hired someone to install the amp, consult them before doing a lot of tiresome diagnostic work at home
  • Start the diagnostic process by checking the ground and power cables, and make sure the amp is physically detached from any bare metal in the car.

2. If The Amp Malfunctioned After Listening Through An Exceptionally Long Session:

  • Your amp may have overheated. It’s normal for your amp to go into protect mode when it gets too hot to prevent permanent failure. Keep in mind that turning up the volume may involve pumping more power into the amplifier, which will also make it overheat if you’ve been listening to it for a long time.
  • The amplifier will also overheat if it doesn’t have enough airflow, especially if its located under the seats or in any other confined space.
  • One of the easiest ways of testing this is setting up a 12V fan to blow air over your amp. If it doesn’t respond, consider changing how it’s mounted or relocate the amp to a less constrained space. That may fix the problem.

3. If It Malfunctioned When Driving On A Rough Road;

  • If the amp wires were not secured tightly during installation, driving on a rough road may loosen them.
  • In some cases, a shorted or loose wire will make the amplifier go into protect mode to prevent further damage from occurring.
  • Diagnosing and fixing the problem will require checking each ground and power wire individually.

Solution 3: Check For Overheating Issues

Your amp will start overheating if there’s a mismatch in the speaker’s impedance and its working range. Shortened speaker cables can also make it overheat. However, it’s wise to start by checking easy points of failure such as fuses though most amps don’t usually go on protect mode due to a blown fuse. Nonetheless, it worth checking as it’s easy and can you a significant amount of time simple steps you can follow to fix your car amplifier:

Check On-board Fuses

The first thing you do is check the onboard fuses – if it has them – to ensure they are correctly plugged into the amplifier. Not all amplifiers will illuminate the protection LED when the fuses are blown, so you need to check to ensure they are functional.


If the fuse holders have melted, have the amp checked by a technician to determine the reason they melted and if the fuse holder is usable. Generally when the fuse holder melts the contact is badly oxidised, and the clips lose their tempering, which means they can longer function properly and will continue to overheat. However, just because a fuse doesn’t look blown, doesn’t mean it’s intact.

If you doubt its functionality, pull it from the holder and measure the resistant across it – set meter to ohms. The resistance in a normal fuse rated more than several amps will typically read 0 ohms, though most meters can’t reach that low. You can try holding the leads together for about five seconds to know how low the meter amplifier you’re using can go.

Break it Down

In simple terms, troubleshooting an amplifier in protect mode starts by breaking it to basics. Essentially, you will need to disconnect the amplifier from the speakers and head unit to check if the problem is still there.

If your voltage is around the 12-voltage range and the amp is still in protect mode, consider disconnecting all the wires. That includes both signal cables and speaker wires.  It’s also important to disconnect all the amplifier’s RCA cables to avoid any component damaging while trying to fix your issue.

Try powering up your amplifier after disconnecting the speaker and signal cables. If it does, connect the RCA cables and check whether it will go into protective mode. If it doesn’t, connect each speaker wire at a time. However, you will need to start by disconnecting all the speakers except one if you’re using a mono amplifier with only a single pair of wires.

If only one pair of your speaker cables are causing the amp to jump into protect mode when you turn up the volume, disconnect all your speakers. That will allow you to separate them and ensure that they don’t touch each other while connecting them. However, if the speaker still goes into protect mode, consider checking your speakers as one of them may be spoilt.

Installation issues may also result in the speaker going to protect mode, especially if the amplifier has contact with bare metal on your car. If that’s the case, you probably have a ground or power problem. That occurs when metal components in your vehicle act as a ground. For this reason, you should never let bare metal touch your amplifier.

Hook it Up

If your amplifier doesn’t get out of the protected mode even after disconnecting everything, that shows you don’t have power or ground issues. That means your amplifier might be defective. Nonetheless, the problem might lie in other components if the amp doesn’t go into protect mode when you add the volume with the speakers and signal wires connected.

At this point, you’ll need to connect your patch and speaker wires individually to know which one is causing the issue. You can then connect everything accurately and ensure there’s no ground problem to ensure the problem is not there. However, if it’s yet to go away, then it’s clear your amp or wiring has an issue. For instance, a faulty speaker or a damaged coil can cause such an issue.

If you’re sure that nothing is shorted out and your amp doesn’t have overheating issues, then the amp may have an internal fault. Consider consulting an audio specialist to check for internal faults, repair or install new components to replace the damaged ones.


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