Whether you’re just trying to replace the old tape deck stereo system in your vehicle, or you want to upgrade your CD-playing stereo to something to that you can plug your iPod into, you could save yourself some cash by doing the installation yourself.
What You’ll Need
- a new stereo
- small socket set (usually metric)
- dash kit
- vehicle wiring harness
Remove Your Old Stereo
This is the part of the process that will tell you if you should actually install your own car stereo. If you have a premium stereo system, you will have a hard time replacing it, but in most cases you probably won’t be replacing one of those systems. A premium stereo system is one that was made by BOSE, JBL, Harmon, Infinity, or any other well-known stereo company. If you have one of these systems, and you’d really like to get it replaced, it’s best to pay a pro to do the job. These systems are hard to replace and sometimes require special tools. Basically, if you have no idea how to get the thing out of the dash, don’t try.
Disconnect the Battery
To make sure that you don’t have any problems while doing the installation, disconnect the battery cables.
Look at Dash Kit Instructions
The dash kit will have all the necessary parts to make your stereo installation look great, but it also will, in most cases, have a instructional booklet that will tell you exactly which screws to unscrew and what dash panels to remove in order to get your old stereo out.
Connect the Wiring Harness to the Stereo and the Vehicle
The vehicle wiring harness that you purchased should match up with the vehicle’s stereo plug. Once it’s plugged in, all you have to do is match up the wires from your new stereo and your vehicle. The colors should be the same, making this a simple task. You might have to take wire strippers to a couple of wires to make the connection. Remember, too, that your new stereo might not use all of the wires that your vehicle has. This is not a bad thing; just make sure to tape up the ends of any unused wires.
Install the Dash Kit
The dash kit will make your new stereo fit into the place that your old stereo used to be. Many aftermarket stereo systems are much smaller than stock stereo systems, which means there’s usually a lot of extra space. The dash kit fills up that space and makes everything look good. Most kits slide right into the old space and then use the old factory screws.
Reconnect the Battery and Turn It On
Once everything is connected up and screwed in, you will need to reconnect the battery, and it should be ready to go.
If at any point in the process you don’t feel like you should continue, just stop. It’s better to stop than to continue and damage something.