• Car Radio Installation How to Guide for Compact Cars

    Doing your own car radio installation is the best way to keep price down and quality up in your sound system. Most major systems will come with a car stereo kit with all parts to be installed and steps on how to install them. A trip to the car stereo shop should get you all of the parts, tools and advice you might need. Most of those shops could give you an estimate on the time and cost that would be involved if you decided on professional installation and also give you an option if it doesn’t work out.


    • Manual
    • Phillips head screwdriver
    • Wire cutters
    • Wire stripper
    • Multi-purpose utility knife
    • Wiring harness
    • Adapter

    Step 1: Remove the Old Radio

    Assemble all the required tools as it makes the process run smoothly. Once done, make sure the first thing you know how to do is disconnect the power source from your old stereo. In this case, it’s the battery, so your car manual should make this clear. You’ll also need to know how to remove the dash cover, also from your car’s manual. Remove the negative battery cable from your stereo and take the dash off and undo any screws that might anchor the radio to the car’s body. If you have a wiring harness then you can plug that wire into the harness. Then as you disconnect various wires you can just add them to the harness. If you do not have one, do them one at a time so you don’t lose track of what came from where. When all are disconnected and in order you understand, pull the unit out and set it aside.

    Step 2: Place Wires

    Attach all the wires in order to the wiring harness or find the appropriate place to put them in the back of your new car stereo unit.  Usually its easiest to start with the speaker wires, positive then negative. Go with colored wires, group them together and find the place in the harness or stereo for them.

    Step 3: Connect Battery

    When all the wires are in their place, reconnect the ground/negative wire to the battery. Before putting the radio all the way in, turn it on and make sure the buttons or knobs do what they are supposed to. If everything is connected properly, slide it in all the way. Fit the size adapter around the unit if necessary and re-insert the screws that will anchor the radio unit in the dash.

    Step 4: Test

    Once done, replace the dash and make sure again that all of the buttons work and indicators turn on.

    If you have any problems, make sure whenever you work inside the dash, the connector cable is not attached to the battery. If you are unsure about an electrical connection, check with your local car stereo installers and see if they have any insight. Even if you just have to have them double-check your work, you still have saved a good deal of money and time without your car.