How To Install A Car Stereo System
Learning about how to install a car stereo system can not only save you money, but it can also give you valuable experience on how to maintain and modify your car.
To install a car stereo, you will need:
- New car stereo
- A set of screwdrivers
- Pre-made wiring harness
- A manufacturer-specific guide on how to remove the dash panel that holds your old stereo
- Special tool needed to remove the stereo (optional)
- Wire cutters
- Wire strippers
- Electrical tape
- Removing the radio. Disconnect the negative cable from the battery, then proceed to remove the dash panel that goes over your stereo. Afterwards, undo any bolts or latches that hold the stereo in place and slide it out. If you need a special tool to remove the stereo, now is the time to use it.
- Wiring up the unit. If you have a pre-made wiring harness, you can connect the matching end to the new stereo and the other end to the existing OEM connector. If not, then you’ll have to make your own compatible harness.
- Installing the new stereo. Reattach all of the necessary connectors, including the connectors for the head unit power and antenna. If you have an adaptor for double DIN or DIN 1.5 slots, install it first, then slide the stereo in.
- Test the stereo. Before reinstalling the dash, reconnect the negative cable to the battery and turn the unit on. Everything should be working properly. If not, check the wiring and connections.
- Reassemble the dash panel. Secure your new stereo and reattach all dash trim that was removed during the installation.
When purchasing your new car stereo, make sure to find one that fits into the slot that currently holds your old one. “DIN”, “DIN 1.5” and “Double DIN” are common designations for stereo size. Some manufacturers offer adaptor faceplates that help secure the new stereo into the oversized slot of the previous stereo. You can also get a wiring harness that is specific to your car’s make and model, as well as the stereo itself, making the installation process much faster.