Car Radio Installation Tips

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Auto and Trucks

When we talk about the car radio, we see that it has become a generic term to explain whatever sound system we have in our vehicles. This part of a car is known to be an item most upgraded, changed, or enhanced. People can get pretty wrapped up in their vehicle sound systems. These can be done at any one of the car audio places, where professionals who know what they are doing, and do this on a daily basis can install your car radio with ease. Or, you can do it yourself.

If you have the right tools, can follow instructions, and are patient, this installation should only take a couple of hours. This is, of course, based on your technical ability, the vehicle youre working, on and how complicated the installation is. Before you start, put a drop cloth or plastic sheet under where you are working to protect the interior and catch anything that drops.

Your new radio will come with an installation kit. This will have all the instructions, and mounting hardware needed to replace your old radio with the new one that you just bought. Frequently, the new radio is smaller than the one that came with the car, but this is something that is compensated for by brackets and trim that will be in the kit to secure the radio in the dashboard while also making it look like it fits.

Remember that an improper installation can damage both the vehicle and the radio to the point of making a significant wiring error, which can cause the airbags to activate. This can cause injury. As well, be careful working inside the dashboard. This area can have sharp or ragged edges and you dont want to cut yourself.

The wiring will come in a group called a harness. There will be the radio harness and the vehicle wiring harness. These two must connect and they will use a universal plug to do so. Youll also want to connect your new radio to the antenna to get more radio stations and better sound. Youll require an adapter for this, as the two pieces will likely have different connecting ends.

When you begin, and have removed your old radio, be sure to keep it and all the pieces that you removed. If the radio was only replaced because you wanted a better model, if you keep all the pieces with the old one, you can either sell it or reinstall when you sell your vehicle.

One of the big cautions when installing a car radio by yourself is the potential damage that can be done to the dashboard if youre not careful. When trying to remove the old radio, using power tools if you have them, you must be careful not to try and pull anything out just on the assumption that you must have found all the screws. If the radio doesnt come out easily, look again for hidden screws or clasps. You dont want to crack the dashboard.