How to Replace a Car Radio

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Choosing the right car radio to match your preferences is essential when picking a car. When shopping for a vehicle, most people don’t consider how much they are affected by the quality of the radio and how vital it can be to have quality speakers and good tunes during a traffic jam. Below is a detailed set of instructions on how to get the most out of your car through replacing your car radio.

Materials Needed:

For this job, you will need:

  • A crimp tool set to attach your stereo’s harness to your car’s
  • Wire cutter and stripper
  • Posi-Tap™ connectors to avoid stripping existing wires
  • Panel removal tools to avoid stripping your dash
  • Wireworm to help move wires through hard-to-reach places

Step One: Remove the Old Radio

First, for your safety, you will need to disconnect the negative cable from your car’s battery. Then, you will have to remove the panels of the dashboard to reach the screws keeping the car radio in place. Note: There may be some hidden screws that you will have to remove, so keep an eye out as you are dismantling your dashboard.

Step Two: Connecting the Appropriate Wires

This is the step where you’ll get to be somewhat of an amateur electrician. For this step, you will need to connect the appropriate wires according to color. For example, speakers are usually white, black, or grey wires, while power tends to be yellow or red; however, the stereo manual and your owner’s manual will have more specific instructions about the placement of the wires.

When connecting your radio, you may also need to purchase or replace an adapter harness. Be sure to pick a model that matches with your car (as is usually specified in the owner’s manual).

Step Three: Fastening the Wires Together

There are a few options for connecting the wires together. The most common method is soldering, as it ensures the maximum amount of current transfer. You will want a heat gun and heat-shrink tubing to provide the best insulation.

Experts also recommend crimping because it is fast and fairly simple; however, you must be very careful about what gauge you use. Most car radios are an 18 gauge, but be sure to check with your owner’s manual for specifics for your car. Also, be sure to research what crimp connector is most appropriate for your job (bullet connector, butt connector, or crimp cap).

If neither appeals to you, the trendiest method is to use Posi-Product™ connectors because you simply have to twist one on to make a secure, powerful connection. These connectors are also reusable and are generally easy to find.

Step Four: Mount Your Stereo

The last step before you can use your stereo is to mount it to the dashboard. The stereo product will usually have specific instructions, but, in general, make sure that all your screws are secure to avoid damaging your radio. Afterward, you’re all set and ready to rock and roll.

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