How to Install New Entertainment Electronics in Your Car

By: Christopher Lampton

Remove Your Old Car Stereo

Are you a do-it-yourself kind of person or would you rather leave it to the pros?
Are you a do-it-yourself kind of person or would you rather leave it to the pros?
Anthony DOUANNE/iStockphoto

So, you've just come home with a fancy new car stereo and a brand new set of speakers. Should you install them in your car yourself?

The short answer is that it depends on how confident you feel around tools and electronic equipment. If you're the sort of person who turns green at the thought of prying panels off your car's dashboard or changing fuses in the fuse box, you should probably leave the installation up to the experts. On the other hand, if you're the kind of person who doesn't feel fully dressed without a digital multimeter in your pocket and wire strippers in your hand, why in the world would you trust someone else to do the dirty work for you? Like most people, though, you probably fall somewhere between those two extremes. So let's walk through a typical installation so that you can see if you might be getting in over your head.


The first step in installing the new car stereo is gathering the proper tools -- this might include Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, a set of wire strippers, pliers and any other specific tools called for in the instructions that came with the radio. The next step is to disconnect and isolate the negative cable from your car's battery. This step could save you considerable grief down the road. Next, you'll have to remove the old radio. This will probably require prying off one or more panels from the dashboard to gain access to the screws holding the radio in place. Other screws may be hidden on the dashboard, possibly behind control knobs or vents. Before you begin to actually remove the radio, it's a good idea to scout around to find hidden screws and then attempt to take the radio out once you're sure it's completely free.

Now that you have the old radio out, its time to put the new stereo into the dashboard opening. Read the next page to find out how to make that new car stereo fit just right.