You’re interested in upgrading the factory stereo in your car to something that sounds better. The problem is, you don’t know how to install it! It’s actually a lot simpler than you may think. With a few tools and an hour or two of your time, you will have a new car receiver in your dash in no time.
1. Out With the Old
Let’s begin by disconnecting the negative ground wire from your battery to eliminate the chance of a short circuit during the installation. Depending on your car or truck, you may need to remove a trim piece or two that surrounds the stereo using a panel removal tool; I suggest you research the best way to do so for your vehicle. If your factory receiver has small holes on the left and right sides, you will use stereo removal keys to unlatch the stereo from its chassis and pull the receiver out. If your factory stereo does not utilize these removal keys, you may gently angle a flat head screwdriver behind the deck and force it in an outward direction. Disconnect any harnesses or plugs on the back of the unit.
2. Wire It Up
This is the fun part. You will need the stereo wiring harness that came with your receiver, along with a vehicle wiring harness that is compatible with your car or truck. Each wire is color coordinated and has a purpose. Find wires of the same color on each harness and use a wire stripper to remove an eighth inch of wire insulation from the end. Use a butt connector to connect the two wires together and crimp each end tightly. Proceed with each wire on the harnesses, then use either electrical tape or zip ties to bundle the wires together to strengthen the connections.
3. In With the New
Now that your harness is all set to go, it’s time to hook everything up. Find the male plug that was originally connected to your old stereo and plug it into the female end of your new harness. Use the remaining available side of the harness to plug into the new receiver. If you did everything correctly it should power right up! If everything is in working order use a dash kit to fit the new stereo and secure it into the stereo housing. The dash kit should come with instructions on how to do so.
Give It a Shot
You can find most of the tools and connectors you need at your local hardware store, and vehicle specific dash kits and wiring harnesses are available at very reasonable prices online or through popular audio stores. It’s really quite simple to get a new stereo in your car, you just need to clear up a day and dedicate some time to the project. If you’ve enjoyed this guide and found it helpful, or if you have some tips of your own, please leave us a comment. We would love to hear from you.