Car Radio Mounting How to Guide for Custom Installations
So you’re ready to do a car radio mounting. It's not a hard project to do, just make sure that you have the tools and supplies ready to go. Removing a stock car radio and installing a new can and will be a rewarding experience when it's done the right way.
Installing a new car stereo should take you about 1.5 hours. The one thing that could change this is if you don't have your tools and supplies ready to go. There are two forms of factory installations of a car stereo. One is spring mounted, and the other is bolted in car radio mounting.
List of Tools and Supplies
- Regular Screwdriver
- Philllips Screwdriver
- Door Panel Removal Tool
- Wire Cutters
- Din Tools
- Soldering Iron
- Wire Strippers
- Heat Shrink Tubing
- Heating Gun
Step 1: Remove the Factory Stereo
A. Removing Spring Clip Car Radio Mounting: If the unit is fastened by spring clips, you will need Din tools to remove it. You will need to insert your Din tools into the holes on each side of the factory stereo. Once you hear it click, you can pull the unit forward to remove it.
B. Bolted In Car Radio Mounting: With This type of mounting system, you will have four Phillips screws retaining the unit to the dash. You will need to remove these bolts and pull the unit forward to remove it from the dash.
C. Unplug the Factory Stereo: When you pull your factory stereo forward to remove it, you will notice that the factory wiring is still attached to the stereo. There should be at least one connector in the bunch of wires. This is called a “Pig Tail.” You need to grab hold of both sides and firmly pull it.
D. If this doesn't detach the wiring, then there is a tab holding the pig tail together. This usually takes a screwdriver to push it forward, or push it down to release it. Now you’re on your way.
Step 2: Prepping the New Wiring
When you buy the new car stereo kit that you’re going to install, ask the shop if they sell a custom wiring harness hook up built specifically for your car. This will make the install go much smoother and faster. You will use it to connect your new stereo to the factory harness.
This will also insure that everything works correctly together, just like the old factory stereo did. If there is no harness available from your local stereo shop, you must identify each wire by hand in order to properly connect them to the factory wiring harness.
Step 3: Hook up the Wiring
A. Crimp Style Wiring For Car Radio Mounting: This is the stage where you need the crimpers and some wiring connectors. You can use either the twist and crimp type of connectors or the butt connectors.
B. The wiring hook up stage is the stage where you will use the heat shrink tubing also. You put on the wire before you crimp the connector to it, on every wire. After the two wires are hooked together, you will slide the heat shrink tubing down over the fresh crimper or soldered connections.
C. After that you will use your heat gun to shrink them down.
D. Soldered Style Wiring For Car Radio Mounting: This is without question the best way to hook the wiring together. When soldered right, there is no chance that your wiring connections will come apart. Soldering works by heating up a soldering iron and melting solder into the wiring ends.
E. You put your heat shrink tubing in the wires, and then twist the wires from the new stereo wiring harness to the factory wiring harness. Then heat them with the soldering iron and touch the solder to the wire after you heat it. Now you have soldered your wiring.
F. Next, just pull the heat shrink tubing down over the freshly soldered connection. Heat it with the heat gun to shrink it and you’re all done with the wiring.
Step 4: Installing the New Stereo
A. If your factory car radio mounting was bolted in, you may need to remove the brackets and install them on the new stereo. This is not always the case, so you will have to determine this yourself. More commonly, a mounting kit will be used to mount the new car stereo.
B. If a car radio kit for mounting is needed, you will need to install it first. Then you will slide the new stereo's metal mounting sleeve into the dash. Secure the metal sleeve by using a screwdriver to bend the metal retaining tabs to hold it in place.
C. Now you will need to connect the wiring to the new stereo. You can do this by holding the stereo near the new metal mounting sleeve that you just installed and reaching in to grab the pig tail. Connect it to the stereo, and then slide the stereo in place in the bracket.
Step 5: Snap or Screw the Face Plate in
The plastic face plate that dresses the front of the dash up where your stereo is installed needs to be either snapped or screwed back in to place. This is the end of the process. You are all done.