DIY Car Stereo Installation

The Steps to DIY Car Stereo Installation

Performing a DIY car stereo installation will vary in difficulty based on the type of stereo fitted to your car. Some cars have premium stereos installed right out of the factory and these are very hard to replace so this job is better left to a professional. Others, however, are much easier to remove and substitute with a new stereo and this is done by following the next steps.

  • Check for compatibility. The issue here is the size of the new stereo. You should check the specifications on it before purchasing a new one in order to make sure that the deck will fit into your dashboard.
  • Get a stereo installation kit. This should include all of the extras necessary in order to perform a DIY installation. Some adapters might also be necessary, especially if your car is from Europe or is one of various GM models.
  • Remove the old stereo. This can be hard or easy depending on the type of vehicle you have. You should be able to find instructions on removing the old stereo in the dash kit or your car's owner's manual. Try not to force it out as this could potentially break or scratch the dash pieces which would then need replacing.
  • Disconnect the battery. Only the negative terminal needs to be removed in this situation, but this step is very important.
  • Install a wiring harness. You will need to fit a new one which should use the same color code for the wires as the factory one. You will need to take the wires which are color matched with the ones in the car and use a wire stripper and remove about an inch of plastic on the ends. These wires will then need to be connected according to color. Not all the wires in the harness need to be used during this process, but make sure that you secure all of them and that none are left hanging.
  • Install the stereo cage. Also known as the mounting sleeve, this is the metal support bracket which will secure the stereo deck. Place and secure it into the dash kit.
  • Plug and mount the radio. First you will need to plug in the wire harness to the vehicle radio plug and then mount the stereo inside of the mounting sleeve and secure it with screws.
  • Reconnect the battery. This should be the last step. If everything is done properly, the dash should look like it did before apart from the newly installed stereo.