How To Install An Aftermarket CD Stereo

Learning how to install an aftermarket CD stereo will allow you to take your cars audio to the next level. An aftermarket CD stereo can be connect to more, powerful speakers allowing you to utilize the full ability of your cars audio. Connecting an aftermarket CD stereo typically consists of removing the old unit, connecting a wire harness and finally testing the new unit. This process is mildly complicated however can easily be accomplished if your familiar with car stereos or wiring.

You will need:

  • Aftermarket CD Stereo
  • Screwdriver Set
  • Plyers
  • Wire Cutters
  1. Disconnect the battery. Power down your car's engine and disconnect the terminals from your car's battery. This is to ensure that you do not accidently short out your aftermarket CD stereo during the installation process.
  2. Remove the stock stereo. Remove the stock stereo in your vehicle. Typically the stock stereo is fixed into the dashboard. The process varies based on your vehicle and you should consult your vehicles manual. On most vehicles it is necessary to remove a bezel or the entire dashboard, several screws and all of the stock connectors. You will typically need a screw driver set and plyers for this step.
  3. Install the wiring harness. Most aftermarket CD stereo units come with wiring harness. You may also need to purchase this wiring harness at an automotive store. The wiring harness will allow the stock connectors to connect to the new units connectors, reducing the amount of work and modification to the stock wiring. You will typically need wire cutters for this process.
  4. Secure the aftermarket CD stereo. Once the wiring is in place, you will need to secure the aftermarket CD stereo unit into the vehicle. Most units fit directly into the place of the stock unit. Some aftermarket CD stereo units may come with special bezels or adapters to make them fit more securely. Replace any screws or dashboard pieces removed.
  5. Reconnect the battery. Reconnect the battery terminals in the proper order. 



  • Always use the correct tools when installing an aftermarket CD stereo, careful not to strip any screws or bolts.
  • Some aftermarket CD stereo units may not be able to use the stock subwoofer or low speakers; this is especially common with Ford vehicles.
  • For best sound quality from an aftermarket CD stereo, purchase aftermarket speakers as well!
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