When owning a car, it is good to know how to change a car stereo. If you choose to upgrade the current audio system in your ride, you will find it can be costly to pay another to do so. Changing a car stereo is a simple process that includes changing out a head unit in the dash of your car. There are many tools that are designed to help you in your quest. By design, most cars and trucks follow a basic wiring diagram, but most of what you will need is located in the box with your new stereo.
To change a car stereo you will need:
- Wire harness for new stereo
- Wiring diagram for new stereo
- Wire strippers
- Phillips and flat or regular screwdrivers
- male and female wire connectors, or barrel connectors
- Installation kit for your car and stereo make and model
- Prevent damage. You must disconnect the battery of your car. When you are working on anything electrical in your auto, if you leave the battery connected, you run chance of shorting out your car's entire electrical system. Make sure the battery leads are not in an area they can come into contact wit the battery.
- Making room. You will need to remove the current stereo. To do this consult your auto manual. Most car stereos are simply held in by a few screws, but you may have to dismantle part of the dash in order to work the screws.
Disconnect the stereo. Start with the antenna. This is a large black wire that simply plugs into the back of the radio. Remove the wire and place it to the side. Disconnect the stock wire harness from the back of the stereo. This is a bundle of wires connected to the back with a plastic clip.
- Prep for the new stereo. Consult your wiring diagram. You need to clip the old harness off and strip the wires back about half an inch. If you choose to use male and female connecters, you need to put one side on the wires coming from the dash. The opposing side on the new wire harness for the new stereo. If you are using barrel connectors, crimp them to the car audio wires leading out of the dash first. Following the wiring diagram, hook the power wire from the dash to the wire in the harness. Continue until all wires are hooked together with the popper wire in the new harness.
- Install the new kit. Following the instructions of your particular installation kit is a very important part of changing a car stereo. This will make sure your new head unit will fit in the area your working. Remove the sleeve from the body of the radio and install it in the opening of the installation kit. Bolt the kit in place.
- Finnish the job. Once the kit is in place with the radio sleeve installed, you are almost done changing your car stereo. Put your dash back together according to your auto manual and prepare to slide the head unit into the sleeve. Connect the new wire harness to the back of the new stereo. Connect the antenna to the back of the stereo, then slide it into the sleeve till you feel it click. Install the dress ring around the face of the stereo. Reconnect the battery and check out your new system.