How to Change a Car Stereo

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How to Change a Car Stereo

The car stereo serves as the primary entertainment component in many vehicles. Older model cars and trucks often include a basic receiver, deck, or head unit. The unit typically features a radio, with newer units offering additional component parts, such as cassette or compact disk (CD) players or MP3 digital audio players. High-end car stereo systems often include additional amplifiers as well as other aesthetic control systems, speakers, or video capabilities. Shoppers wishing to change the stereo in their vehicle have options regarding available upgrades.


Car Stereo Components

Car stereos include a variety of components. Owners interested in changing their car stereo should first determine which portions of their existing stereo to replace. The head unit controls all of the media in the vehicle, while the speakers produce sound from the audio signal input from the head unit or the amplifier. The subwoofer is a different type of speaker, designed for low audio frequency ranges. The amplifier increases the power of the audio signal to the head unit. Not every car includes every component. However, owners may choose to upgrade their existing system to include additional components.


Purchasing Stereo Components

Owners should consult their manual before purchasing components to ensure compatibility of new equipment. Modern vehicles integrate stereo systems with other vehicle functions, which makes removal and installation a more difficult process. If a review of the manual reveals such system integrations, owners should consider a professional installation.


Removing Old Stereo Components

Owners should begin their car stereo system project by disconnecting the negative battery terminal to stop power to the components. Removing the old car head unit from the dashboard may require dismantling part of the dashboard itself. Owners should consult the vehicle manual before attempting to remove any dashboard parts to determine the need for specialised pry tools. Most head units attach to the vehicle's electrical system through a wiring harness. If the old stereo functions, owners may want to reserve the wiring harness and the unit for use in another vehicle or to use in case of future stereo component failure.
Older speakers often provide low quality sound, particularly when they do not offer proper fidelity for newer stereo components. Remove car speakers by unscrewing them from the dash or door panel, or utilise the pry tool to separate the dash or door covers, and then remove speakers.


Installing New Stereo Components

New stereo head units and amplifiers often come with adapters and parts, such as a mounting cage and wiring harness adapter, to connect the new unit properly to existing systems. The mounting cage allows the new unit to fit into the space from the old unit most efficiently. Use the cage if the factory brackets located inside the dashboard space do not fit the stereo. Connect the wiring harness to the adapter if needed to attach power to the unit.
Owners interested in upgrading their car stereo should consult the vehicle owner's manual to determine power and space limitations before attempting to install aftermarket car stereo system components. New components may not be the same size or shape as the original manufacturer equipment (OEM), so owners should verify what adaptations are necessary to fit the upgraded unit.
Amplifier power may cause damage if not properly matched to the other stereo components. For example, mismatched power between the car amplifier and speakers results in either poor fidelity or damaged components.


How to Buy a Car Stereo on eBay

You can find a variety of car stereo systems and equipment for your car through the sellers on eBay. The general search feature, available on any page, is a great place to begin by using terms that describe the items you need. Feel free to use the filters on the results page to limit the choices by price, seller location, or other factors. If you have questions and the product description does not provide enough information, contact the seller prior to purchase.

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