How to install a car stereo

Satellite radio, unlike terrestrial radio, relies on satellites in the sky to receive its signal and sends it to your car, home radio or is broadcasted over the Internet. Because of this, you can receive a radio station just about anywhere in the United States and Canada.

How much does satellite radio cost?

As of 2017, there is only one satellite radio service: SiriusXM. As of this moment, they offer three packages: SiriusXM All Access, SiriusXM Select, SiriusXM Mostly Music and SiriusXM Internet Radio. Each plan, depending on the package chosen, can cost $10 to $20 per month; however, these prices go down if you purchase your plans annually. Refer to the table below to see what each plan costs and what it includes. This price will be the same, regardless of what kind of radio you have. It will be the same regardless of if it’s a car or a stand-alone system inside your home. No contracts will be necessary.

For the satellite radio alone, without a subscription, plan on spending anywhere from $40 to $225+, depending on the type of radio you want. The most popular types of radios include the plug and play; home radio; personal satellite radio you can carry around or one designed for the car’s dashboard. Depending on the promotion, you may be able to get a radio for free if you’re a new customer. With most newer cars, the radio should be able to broadcast the satellite radio and no equipment will be necessary.

According to the website SatelliteRadioUSA.com, the cost of a plug and play receiver is going to cost $100 to $150 while the installation kit will be around $40 to $75. The professional can range from $85 and beyond.

Plan What’s Included? Price (per month)
SiriusXM A La Carte Only pick 50 channels (requires special A La Carte-capable radio) $8
SiriusXM All Access 175+ channels $20
SiriusXM Internet Radio 155 channels (online only) $16
SiriusXM Mostly Music 80 channels $11
SiriusXM Select 165 channels $16

Satellite radio overview

Each Sirius XM package, just like cable television, will offer its own inclusions. For example, the highest tiered package — the All Access plan — will include commercial-free music, premium music channels, Howard Stern, Fox News, CNN, every NFL game, NASCAR, every MLB game, every NBA game, every NHL game, traffic, weather and PGA Tour coverage. The Mostly Music plan will only include the commercial-free music channels and nothing else.

What are the extra costs?

An activation fee, which can oftentimes be waived, will be about $15 per unit if they don’t. It will be more to activate over the phone when compared to activating it online.

Car kit packages, if it isn’t included with the package or professional installation will cost more on top of buying the receiver. Most receivers are rather easy to install since they are portable and professional installation won’t be required. It will simply be a plug and play receiver. For a professional installation job, the cost can start at $75 and go up from there, depending on the in-dash player you purchase.

Travel Link, which offers additional options in certain vehicle models, can include movie listings, fuel prices, stocks, sports scores and more. This premium add-on can cost $1.99 per month for Travel Link or up to $8.99 for Travel Link, NavTraffic and NavWeather.

If you choose the A La Carte plan, any channel outside of the Base 50 will be an additional $0.25 per channel.

How can I save money?

The company is always offering a special such as six months for $30 or a full year for less than $60. Even if you’re a current customer, calling the company can often bring the prices down, especially if you commit to a year or longer. Those who have had success with saving money have said you have to call in order to see savings. The Sirius radio phone number is 1-866-635-5027.

The easiest way to save money, according to Money Ning, is simply by paying a full year in advance. As long as you know you’re going to use it, it could save you up to $40.

For new customers, you should be able to take advantage of the Sirius free trial for 30 days.

A Sirius XM multi-radio discount may apply if you have more than one radio.

Military discounts are available, up to 25 percent off, according to some reports online.

Advertising Disclosure: This content may include referral links. Please read our disclosure policy for more info.

The installation of a car stereo is a task that many people take on. You can do it yourself, or you could have a professional install it for you, but either way, the wiring and connections are what make all the difference in how your new stereo sounds. Besides, there are many ways you can adjust your car’s stereo system to make it sound just how you want. This article will provide some helpful tips and tricks to ensure that everything goes smoothly with your installation!

Table of Contents

Wiring Diagram

How to install a car stereoThe first thing to do is examine the wiring diagram for your car stereo system. On some systems, different wires have been color coded to make them easier to identify and connect together at their appropriate terminals on the back of each device. If you find that this is not true in your case, it will be necessary for you to use a multimeter or continuity tester after stripping off about ½ inch from one end of each wire so that they can easily fit into the terminal screws. You will then need to strip just ¼” from these ends if there are any insulation sheaths protecting those connections before attaching them with a screwdriver as needed. Once all of these connections are made securely, put everything back inside the dash opening again and attach the ground wire to a metal area on the car. This is usually done by drilling a hole through that metal and using an appropriately sized nut as well as bolts, washers, and another grounding screw for connecting this wire securely.

How to install car stereo wiring

How to install a car stereoCar stereo wiring jobs are not always the easiest to follow simply because there is usually a lot of it. If you’re going for just one simple stereo installation, wiring is not really an issue. However, if you are going for a more complicated car audio system with multiple amps and subwoofers, then you have a lot more wiring to do. The first thing you’ll need is the car stereo itself and after that, your next step is to find the fuse box.

You can usually find it in your trunk or under one of the seats and see a bunch of different fuses in it. Find the fuse that is labeled “ACC,” or accessory, and pull it out of its slot by grabbing both ends with your hands.

The next step is to find the power antenna wire, which will usually be a red or white one and connect it with your other wires with a small wire nut. Take the loose ends of your power antenna wire and connect it to either end of the fuse you just pulled out from the slot.

After that, you’ll need to find the positive wire from your battery and connect it with a small wire nut to one of the ends of your power antenna terminal. Connect the other end of this same wire (from the positive post on your car battery) in with any another fuse labeled “ACC.” Put all these connections together with a wire nut and you’ll have your car stereo up and running.

How to connect car stereo wires together

  • If you have a wire coming from the back of your stereo, connect it to one end of the speaker cable. Connect speakers wires to other end.
  • Take 12 gauge or 14 gauge wire and cut off about three feet (91 cm) piece for each amplifier channel. Strip insulation from both ends of all cables using a razor blade.
  • Attach one end of the wire to each amplifier input and connect other ends to corresponding cables from stereo speakers, then tighten screws on binding posts for a secure connection.
  • Take 12 gauge or 14 gauge wire and cut off about three feet (91 cm) piece for each speaker cable. Strip insulation from both ends of all cables using a razor blade.
  • Attach one end of the wire to each speaker output and connect other ends to corresponding leads on your speakers, then tighten screws on binding posts for a secure connection.
  • Connect all stereo wires together with butt connectors.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is not as hard to install a car stereo system and you can save quite a bit of money by doing it yourself. If you have the time and patience for this project then I recommend that you give it ago. You will be glad in the end!

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The stereo your vehicle came with might not have all the bells and whistles you want in an audio system. Luckily, there are a ton of aftermarket options and an entire niche industry dedicated to getting you what you want. The hard part — though it’s usually not that hard — is knowing how to install a car radio.

Depending on the vehicle and stereo model, the project can range from a simple swap to a more involved process, but the basic steps are generally the same. Before you take this on, always verify that the new stereo is compatible with your vehicle, and read and follow all manufacturer-provided instructions.

Out with the Old

The first step is to disconnect the negative cable from the battery to protect yourself and your equipment from shorts and sparks. Next, head to the dash area. Be sure to take pictures at all stages before and during disassembling so you can remember how the pieces go back together.

Remove the trim using plastic tools designed for the job, and watch out for hidden screws. Note that some trims simply pop out, and some have fasteners. You may find that other components are in the way and must be moved or disconnected. Once those are removed, you can begin taking out the stereo itself, which is usually held in a metal mounting frame by screws. Some models may require a special key for removal.

Once the stereo is detached, disconnect the antenna cable (the stiffer one) and any wiring harnesses. These usually have a small tab you have to push in, which will allow you to pull the whole connector out. Remember never to pull the harnesses apart by the wires. The key here is to be gentle and take it slow. You don’t want to break any plastic tabs that may leave your trim loose or rattling.

A Quick Change

It’s rare that a different stereo fits directly into the old setup, plugs and all. You’ll likely need new housing, a bracket, and a wiring harness adapter, which are often sold together as a kit with new stereos. Read the instructions carefully to determine what you’re in for with the harness. You can plug and play certain models, but others require soldering and shrink-wrapping the wires. Similarly, some new stereos come with housing and brackets already installed, while others will require you to install these components.

Some online radio retailers will assemble the wiring and harnesses for you if you provide them with your make and model. If you’re doing it yourself, it’s important to make sure you’re connecting the wires according to the schematics. Often this is as simple as matching like colors together, but don’t make assumptions. Depending on the swap, you may also end up with a couple of extra wires in the end, which you can tidy up with zip ties.

In With the New How to install a car stereo

Connect all wiring harnesses and the antenna, and if separate power and ground wires exist, connect those as well. Before you reassemble it all, you need to make sure everything is working. Reconnect the battery, turn on the new unit, and check for power and functionality. If all is well, disconnect the battery and reassemble your dash in reverse order of how you took it apart.

Be sure to replace all housing and bracket fasteners, put any surrounding components back in place, and carefully snap the trim back in. With everything installed, turn the vehicle back on for one final function test — and hopefully a victorious jam session.

Again, always ensure compatibility between your vehicle and the new stereo before purchasing. Beyond that, the installation job is usually doable if you take the time to follow the instructions. Remember that seeking professional help is always an option as well.

Check out all the car audio products available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to install a car radio, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Installing a car stereo system requires care and perfection. You will need to learn to wire and mix the components well and perhaps use the right tools. Installing a car stereo will depend on how you would want to customize your audio system. You may choose to install a new car system and change the components over time to your taste.

Getting to know how to install a car stereo system will also depend on how you will choose your car stereo components. You may need to carefully select them based on your car brand, mounting positions, and complexity. You are lucky though because with this guide on how to install a car stereo, we have provided easy and understandable steps to about the whole process.

Steps on how to install a car stereo

Here is a general guideline on how you can install your car stereo;

Phase One: Uninstall the Old Stereo

Before installing your new stereo, you will need to uninstall the old stereo. Meticulousness and perfection will be required at this stage. Here are some of the steps you will need to follow to uninstall the old stereo successfully

How to install a car stereo

  • Disconnect power supply

With your car on the parking brake, disconnect the negative terminal of the battery to avoid short-circuiting which may hurt your car’s electrical system. To safely disconnect your car battery’s negative terminal, you will need to turn off the ignition, loosen the nut on the terminal and then remove it. Be sure to use some pair of safety gloves.

  • Unscrew all the nuts

After ensuring that there is no power running on, you can now unscrew all the screws that are holding the trim in place. With every screw removed, it is time to remove the trim; you may need pry tools at this stage.

  • Trim removal

Removing a trim will involve prying, that is why these tools are very crucial. If you can access any pry tools, you can use your hands but with care to remove everything piece by piece. Usually for a car trim, the removal process is done bottom up.

If you will need to remove some compartments before accessing the stereo, you may need a reference on how they were installed. That is why taking photos will be important. This is of essence since you are not a professional and this might be your first time.

  • Stereo remova l

After accessing the old stereo, use screwdrivers or appropriate nut drivers to loosen it up. Some stereo will require a radio key. This is common in Ford vehicles. These keys may be inserted into designed slots which lets you loosen the stereo from its compartment.

If you are successful in loosening the stereo, you can carefully and slowly pull it out of its compartment.

  • Unplugging the stereo connection

After successfully removing the stereo, it is now time to disconnect the stereo from the wiring system completely. You can start by carefully unplugging the antennae wire which will be the thickest and will be constraining the stereo.

After doing that, you should be able to move the stereo around. You can now unplug the wire harness connectors by pushing buttons or tabs which loosens them up for unplugging. With all the wires disconnected, it will be time to install your new stereo. Don’t forget to take some photos of how the stereo is wired so that it becomes easy to reference when installing the new stereo.

Phase Two: Installing the new stereo

How to install a car stereo

  • Reconnect the wires

Match up the wires from the old stereo. The harness connectors are always made uniquely so that it becomes easy for you to figure out which one fits where. To ensure that you have done it successfully though, you may need to check on the connection diagram.

Sometimes some market stereo may not use the wire harness. Instead, you will be required to insert the wires each on its port manually. This will be the point where you will need to take advantage of the color codes of the wires. If the color codes do not match, you will still need to consult the connection diagram.

Connecting these wires will either require you to do soldering or crimping. Crimping will give you a fast and quick installation process. Be keen to use applicable size crimper. By doing this right, you will be close to mastering the art of how to install a car stereo.

  • The mounting kit

Your new stereo will definitely come with a mounting kit. You will need to assemble it according to the stereo’s guidelines. Use screwdrivers to secure any metal sleeves to the stereo.

  • Connect the power input

Most probably you might have connected the wire harnesses on the car to the stereo by now. If you have not, then your stereo will need a manual connection of the power. You will need to determine which one is the power wire .In most cases the power wire is normally red in color for a switched power input and yellow for constant power input.

  • Ground your stereo

This is another process that you will have made by now if the stereo is using wire harnesses. If the stereo requires manual wiring then grounding will involve locating a black wire and connecting it to a bare metal. Without grounding your stereo, you may affect the quality of the sound produced.

  • Connect any other remaining wire

Some of the wires remaining now are the adapter, antennae and converter wires. For some stereo, they might not be necessary. If you have used a converter or an adapter to make the stereo to be compatible with your car’s audio system then connecting converter wires will be necessary.

Phase Three: Testing the new stereo

With every wire in place, it is time to test your new stereo. Turn the power on. Test the AM and FM modes, then test the CD component. Test also the speaker fade and balance knobs to find out if they work properly. If your test runs successful then turn the power back off.

Phase Four: Finishing up

With your stereo working, you can now push it to place, fasten the screws, connect any wiring while referencing from your photos. Snap the trim back into place while doing it top to the bottom. Ensure that all the screws are in place then try your new stereo.

Conclusion

These are the easy and straight steps on how to install a car stereo. If you carefully follow these steps, your stereo should be working. If you are not confident on whether you should do it yourself, it is always advisable to consult or hire a professional installer.

Please let us know about your experience on installing a new stereo in your car on the comment section. You can also share this article with your friends and family members who own cars and want to know how to install a car stereo on their own.

How to install a car stereo

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Listening to music and getting information on the go whilst travelling may be associated mainly with smartphones but there is one more device that provides both. A car stereo may not be as advanced as a smartphone but it has been existed longer that one.

Whilst audio systems haven’t always been as advanced, back in the day they served their purpose pretty well.

Since the early 1930s, audio systems have been implemented in vehicles and they’ve come a long way when it comes to sound quality, implementations of USB ports and CDs and the latest in auto tech, operating systems.

But like any vehicle component car stereos need to be replaced when their time comes. While there are different treetops of stereos when it comes to size, going with the OEM size it’s going to be the best solution.

Installing a Car Stereo

Removing The Old One

First things first, before you get rid of your old car stereo you’ll need to make sure that certain things are taken care of first. A car stereo installation is a car fix that requires you to disconnect the battery, the negative cable to be exact and have the parking brake on.

Make sure you do not short-circuit the vehicle’s electrical system when disconnecting the battery.

1. To get rid of the old stereo start by removing the screws holding the trim in place. Make sure you have all the screws removed before you pry off the trim as otherwise, you can end up breaking it.

The trim can be anywhere to several plastic pieces to removing knobs and even drawers in order to get to the car stereo. Remove other necessary components too before you are able to access the stereo and disconnect components that may also be in the way.

You can take a picture of this for later reference.

2. Next, you’ll need to loosen the stereo. Whilst some may have screws and nuts others may have a special radio-removal key which is usually needed for Ford vehicles.

Once you have the stereo loose, pull the unit out gently using needle-nose pliers on the edge of it so you have a good grip. In case you are having a hard time pulling the stereo out make sure you don’t have components preventing this from happening.

3. Before you remove the wiring, take a picture so you know how to properly connect your new stereo.

Unplug the wires by starting with the antenna wire first which is thicker than the rest and usually plugged in separately too. Follow that up by unplugging the other wire harness connectors by pushing a button or pressing on the sides of a tab.

How to install a car stereo

Putting in The New One

1. To install the new stereo you’ll need to continue where you left off when you were removing the old one, the wiring. This is an important part of car stereo installation as it determines whether or not your new stereo will work.

This is where the picture you took before unplugging the old stereo comes in handy. This step also requires checking the wiring diagrams for the stereo and your car too.

The diagrams are useful if the stereo doesn’t have wire harnesses. In this case, you’ll need to match the wires manually with the help of the diagrams.

2. The wires can be either crimped or soldered – while crimping is faster and easier soldering will provide a more secure connection.

Once you are done sorting out the wiring it’s time to assemble the stereo’s mounting kit. Usually, stereos come with a separate mounting kit which requires you to fit a metal housing sleeve into the stereo’s frame.

When you’ve done that continue by connecting the stereo to its power source. Again, if there isn’t a wiring harness you’ll need to manually connect the power.

3. Follow this up by grounding the stereo. Unless you are using wiring harnesses this connection needs to be made manually too. You’ll need to locate the wire, bolt or screw connection to the vehicle’s metal chassis.

Loosen the bolt, wire or screw and slip in the ground wire (usually, black) from the stereo, underneath and then tighten it. Make sure that the ground connection is secured to the bare metal chassis otherwise the stereo won’t be grounded.

4. Continue connecting the rest of the wires and lastly plug in the antenna cable and the stereo’s wiring adapter to the vehicle’s wire harness. You may need to connect the output converter if it’s needed to make the stereo work with the vehicle’s system.

Connect the battery and turn on the stereo. Test all the features on the stereo including balance and fade settings too so you get the most out of it. Turn the stereo off and finish this car fix by putting all the components you took out back in their place. Check once again if the stereo is working well and you are done.

About Post Author

How to install a car stereo

Jane Lazarov

Hi there, welcome to DIY Auto Service and thanks for visiting! My name is Jane, the guy behind this site. I am an owner of a mechanic shop and aftermarket part store at the same time.

The main reason I decided to create this blog is to share all my acquired knowledge about cars. You can find everything from car repairs, car maintenance, tips and tricks, non bias product reviews, and comprehensive buyer guides.

Hope you find all the information helpful.
So please enjoy your stay and start scrolling down to explore!

If you’re looking to get a little more kick out of your car’s audio system this year, then it might be worth investing in a whole new set up.

For those who already have a stellar new stereo sitting in their garage and wondering how to install a car audio system, then we have some great tips for you below. It’s good to know that although the process seems rather complicated, it really isn’t — so long as you have some solid, helpful tips and a little perseverance. Having said that, if you don’t have the time or resources to do the job yourself you can always fall back on the services of a professional such as the team at Enji AU.

In our guide below, we’ll take a look at some of the essential things to know when looking at how to install a car audio system, and a few mistakes to look out for.

What to Buy

How to install a car stereo

Before we get into installing the stereo we’ll take a quick look at what you might want to consider when upgrading the audio system in your car.

If you’re only looking to budget options, then our biggest recommendation is simply grabbing some new car speakers. These are the ones that sit in the doors of your car and are often quite poor-sounding.

With new car speakers on sale for around $50 to $100 for a set, you’re going to be on the way to a much better audio experience.

For those after a bit more bass and a far better sound all around, then consider pairing these new speakers with a new stereo and a subwoofer for the rear of your car and you’re all set.

This should be just about all you need.

How to Install a Car Audio System

Once you have all of your new audio equipment, we can then move on to getting it all hooked up in the car!

The Speakers

How to install a car stereo

To kick things off, you’ll want to find yourself a screwdriver and locate the screws holding the speaker units into place. These are typically around the bottom of the doors in the car, and the screws shouldn’t be too hard to spot.
Sometimes there is a plastic cover over these, so if you can’t find the screws, pop the cover off and you’ll be good to get unscrewing. In some cases, you might need to unscrew the entire internal panelling on your door, so be sure to do this if that’s the case.

Once you have access to the speaker don’t yank it out, take a quick peek at where the cabling is connected and find the clip. Typically these speakers are only connected with a wiring harness or clip so you can unplug these and slide the speakers out.

When the old door speakers have been taken out, find the cable that you unplugged, plug in your new speaker wires and clip them back up.

Set your new speakers back into the door and double check that the screws all line up and screw your new door speakers back into place.

The Rear Subwoofer

How to install a car stereo

Once you have your new door speakers installed, you’ll then want to move on to the subwoofer installation in the rear of the car — if you’ve chosen to invest in a subwoofer.

For the first step you’ll want to make sure your subwoofer fits and is in a well-ventilated space in the rear of your car.

You’ll then want to move on to disconnecting your vehicle’s battery and get to work on mounting the subwoofer in the back.

If you already have a subwoofer in the car, you’ll be able to simply take the old module out and slot the new one in and hook up the wiring to the existing cabling.

For those installing a new system altogether, you’ll need to run your subwoofer wiring from the rear of the vehicle, inside the firewall through to the front of the car and connect it to the battery or your stereo system in the front.

If your stereo doesn’t have an input or isn’t supported by your subwoofer, you’ll be able to attach your wiring and run it to the battery at the front of your car and attach it to the ring terminal.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to take a look over your manufacture instructions and determine how to correctly connect your cabling from the battery to your stereo and then to the subwoofer. There will be a number of steps here outlining which wires (or colour of wire) connects to which terminal, etc.

Reaching out to Installers

How to install a car stereo

To end our article on how to install a car audio system, it’s good to know that you’re also able to rely on professional installers to undertake these workflows for you.

You’ll be able to simply hand off all the hard work and have your stereo and new audio system hooked up correctly and in a safe and compliant way.

It’s always good to make sure that if you’re not too confident in doing this on your own that you do reach out to the experts as you don’t want to damage your vehicle or your new audio system.

Stereo Installation | How To Install A Car Stereo

How to install a car stereo

Understanding How To Install A Car Stereo

Learn how to install a car stereo yourself: If you’ve purchased your kit, harness and antenna adapter you more than likely have the necessary instructions for taking apart your particular vehicle. If you have not purchased the parts you need for your radio install let us find them for you! If you have your parts and they for some reason do not have the instructions do a google search for those instructions because every vehicle is different in terms of wiring, fitment and dash board dis assembly. After you’ve made sure you have the right tools and instructions for removing your factory radio its time to start your removal. Follow these simple steps to learn how we install aftermarket car radios:

If You have not found the radio you want yet amazon has a great selection with the best prices that fit your particular model.

Before stereo installation is started I recommend always looking around the dash board and the trim around the radio for any sensors or harnesses that need to be considered, specifically airbag indicators and other safety options that may have came with a screen on the dash that lights up to let you know that it is or isn’t activated.

If you do notice an airbag option it is important to remember that when you are removing the factory radio you cannot turn the key to the on position while that plug isn’t connected.

If you do start the vehicle with the airbag harness disconnected you will more than likely cause it to malfunction or cause a check engine light. Do not unplug anything with the vehicle running.

How To Install A Car Stereo In Steps

ForAudioGeeks.com has also launched a new tool that all DIY installers can use to get a professional car audio installation plan free!

We do the hard work of finding your vehicle specific installation parts, we also recommend products such as radios, speakers, amplifiers and so forth for your installation plan.

We then provide you links right to the products you need along with a few installation tips we use as certified car audio installers! For more information check out our car audio plan page!

Step 1)

Follow the removal instructions supplied with your vehicles replacement dash kit.

Step 2)

When your vehicles dash panel and radio have been removed check your factory radio plug to assure it is the correct plug.

You can do this by connecting the additional wiring harness that you purchased to the factory plug that you pulled out of your factory radio. If it snaps on you now know you have the correct wire harness.

How to install a car stereo

Step 3)

Take this time to install any Bluetooth mics or additional accessories that come with your radio.

Bluetooth microphones are generally installed by mounting the microphone the the headliner near the rear view mirror and running the wire under the headliner down the drivers side “A Pillar”, under the drivers dash board and finally behind the radio trim.

Step 4)

Now its time to wire your harness. Start by stripping your wires back a quarter of an inch. After the wires on both harness’s are stripped back you can now connect the bare wires matching the colors on each harness with wire connectors by twisting the ends of the wires together and crimping down tightly on the wire connectors.

For the most part Learning stereo installation yourself is pretty easy, but wiring your harness wiring is pretty strait forward aswell, you are essentially matching colors. You have eight speaker wires, a power, ground wire and accessory power wire along with an illumination or dimmer wire and an amp turn on or powered antenna wire.

Do not hesitate to leave out a wire if it doesn’t have a match on the other harness, this usually means that the factory doesn’t need or support this option. Your connections from wire to wire are very important, you must make sure to use quality connectors or solder to ensure your connections don’t come apart in time.

Step 5)

Assemble the aftermarket dash kit by following the directions included in your kit.

Step 6)

Now you can connect your harness to the vehicles harness and mount your new radio! Turn your radio on just to check and make sure you have sound before you re-install your factory dash panel over it. If all of your speakers are playing and your screen works, go head and set your clock. Now you know longer need to Learn how to install a car stereo.

How to install a car stereo

We’re an affiliate

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, we may collect a small commission from the links on this page with no additional cost to you. Thank you if you use our links, we really appreciate it!

Listening to music and getting information on the go whilst travelling may be associated mainly with smartphones but there is one more device that provides both. A car stereo may not be as advanced as a smartphone but it has been existed longer that one.

Whilst audio systems haven’t always been as advanced, back in the day they served their purpose pretty well.

Since the early 1930s, audio systems have been implemented in vehicles and they’ve come a long way when it comes to sound quality, implementations of USB ports and CDs and the latest in auto tech, operating systems.

But like any vehicle component car stereos need to be replaced when their time comes. While there are different treetops of stereos when it comes to size, going with the OEM size it’s going to be the best solution.

Installing a Car Stereo

Removing The Old One

First things first, before you get rid of your old car stereo you’ll need to make sure that certain things are taken care of first. A car stereo installation is a car fix that requires you to disconnect the battery, the negative cable to be exact and have the parking brake on.

Make sure you do not short-circuit the vehicle’s electrical system when disconnecting the battery.

1. To get rid of the old stereo start by removing the screws holding the trim in place. Make sure you have all the screws removed before you pry off the trim as otherwise, you can end up breaking it.

The trim can be anywhere to several plastic pieces to removing knobs and even drawers in order to get to the car stereo. Remove other necessary components too before you are able to access the stereo and disconnect components that may also be in the way.

You can take a picture of this for later reference.

2. Next, you’ll need to loosen the stereo. Whilst some may have screws and nuts others may have a special radio-removal key which is usually needed for Ford vehicles.

Once you have the stereo loose, pull the unit out gently using needle-nose pliers on the edge of it so you have a good grip. In case you are having a hard time pulling the stereo out make sure you don’t have components preventing this from happening.

3. Before you remove the wiring, take a picture so you know how to properly connect your new stereo.

Unplug the wires by starting with the antenna wire first which is thicker than the rest and usually plugged in separately too. Follow that up by unplugging the other wire harness connectors by pushing a button or pressing on the sides of a tab.

How to install a car stereo

Putting in The New One

1. To install the new stereo you’ll need to continue where you left off when you were removing the old one, the wiring. This is an important part of car stereo installation as it determines whether or not your new stereo will work.

This is where the picture you took before unplugging the old stereo comes in handy. This step also requires checking the wiring diagrams for the stereo and your car too.

The diagrams are useful if the stereo doesn’t have wire harnesses. In this case, you’ll need to match the wires manually with the help of the diagrams.

2. The wires can be either crimped or soldered – while crimping is faster and easier soldering will provide a more secure connection.

Once you are done sorting out the wiring it’s time to assemble the stereo’s mounting kit. Usually, stereos come with a separate mounting kit which requires you to fit a metal housing sleeve into the stereo’s frame.

When you’ve done that continue by connecting the stereo to its power source. Again, if there isn’t a wiring harness you’ll need to manually connect the power.

3. Follow this up by grounding the stereo. Unless you are using wiring harnesses this connection needs to be made manually too. You’ll need to locate the wire, bolt or screw connection to the vehicle’s metal chassis.

Loosen the bolt, wire or screw and slip in the ground wire (usually, black) from the stereo, underneath and then tighten it. Make sure that the ground connection is secured to the bare metal chassis otherwise the stereo won’t be grounded.

4. Continue connecting the rest of the wires and lastly plug in the antenna cable and the stereo’s wiring adapter to the vehicle’s wire harness. You may need to connect the output converter if it’s needed to make the stereo work with the vehicle’s system.

Connect the battery and turn on the stereo. Test all the features on the stereo including balance and fade settings too so you get the most out of it. Turn the stereo off and finish this car fix by putting all the components you took out back in their place. Check once again if the stereo is working well and you are done.

About Post Author

How to install a car stereo

Jane Lazarov

Hi there, welcome to DIY Auto Service and thanks for visiting! My name is Jane, the guy behind this site. I am an owner of a mechanic shop and aftermarket part store at the same time.

The main reason I decided to create this blog is to share all my acquired knowledge about cars. You can find everything from car repairs, car maintenance, tips and tricks, non bias product reviews, and comprehensive buyer guides.

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