How to Install Aftermarket Stereo

If you own an older vehicle, or just want the best sound in your car, you may be looking into purchasing an aftermarket stereo. However, many people hold off on this purchase due to not knowing how to properly install one. It seems like a very daunting task, but rest assured that it is a relatively simple process and can be done quickly.

Step 1: Choose a Stereo

The first thing you must do is choose a stereo to install! Make sure you pick one that has all of the features you’re looking for. When choosing aftermarket stereos, it’s important that you look into the brands and quality of the products. You want to ensure that you are getting the most for your money.

Step 2: Gather Tools

Make sure you have all the necessary tools for the job! This list may vary depending on the vehicle, but you should make sure to have a basic toolset with you. This includes screwdrivers, wire strippers, electrical tape and wire cutters. You should also be sure to locate a manual for dash panel removal on your car. 

Step 3: Disconnect Ground Cable from Battery

The first thing you should do, and something you should make sure to always do when working on car electronics is disconnect the ground cable from the car battery. This is usually the black terminal of the battery and is the negative. This step is incredibly important – not doing it can result in damage to the electrical system or even injury to yourself. 

 Step 4: Remove Pieces from Dash

This is where the manual will come in handy. Check to see which pieces of the dash need to come off to ensure that you can properly get the stock stereo out. Many cars allow you to just pop these pieces off with no hassle, but other cars may have the pieces held down with screws so your tools may come in handy. 

Step 5: Remove the Stereo

This part can vary from car to car. Depending on the stereo there may be different ways to do it. Some cars have the stereo held in with screws or bolts. Others require special tools to remove it. Looking up what your car requires can be immensely helpful for this step, as it varies from car to car. Unplug the wires, and you have now successfully removed the stereo.

Step 6: Connect Wiring Adapter

Most aftermarket stereos come with a wiring adapter that allows you to simply plug the new harness adapter into the factory radio harness and makes the wiring process much easier. 

Step 7: Connect New Radio

Now it’s time to connect the new radio. You must splice the plug into the wiring harness – thus the need for the wiring adapter. Match the colors and sizes of the wires and twist the matching wires together. Cover the splice with electric tape or you can use a wire nut. 

Once this is done you can connect the radio. All you need to do after you’ve finished wiring is plug it into the back of the stereo. It’s a good idea to make sure everything’s working after you plug it in, and if you’re having trouble it’s a sign that something is wrong with the wiring. 

Step 8: Put Everything Back in its Place

Once everything is working, it’s time to put everything back together again. Put the dash back in the exact same way that it was disassembled – in reverse of course. Make sure there are no loose parts, or else you can end up with an annoying rattle. Congratulations – you’ve hooked up your new aftermarket stereo!