Car Audio Installations You Can Do

Some things are better left to the professionals. This is especially true of car audio installations. However there are a few installations that almost anyone who is reasonably handy with a set of tools can accomplish by themselves. Here's a short list of the easier car audio installations.

Head Unit Installs - SAVE $45-65

Installing a deck can be time consuming but it doesn't have to be difficult. Usually the removal of a panel or two will get you to the factory radio. Then a few bolts that hold the radio in are removed and the new radio is installed. Sometimes a dash fit kit will be needed if your factory radio is of a non-standard size. A wiring harness adapter should also be used to connect your new radio wiring harness to the factory radio harness. See this chapter for details on the various adapters. The trickiest part is knowing how to remove the factory radio without breaking any factory panels (if they need to be removed). For the most comprehensive instructions you can contact Crutchfield and have them mail or fax you the required directions, known as MasterSheets, for your vehicle. The current charge is $5 (free if you buy your equipment from Crutchfield) and is well worth it. Crutchfield will also provide you with any necessary dash fit kit and a factory wiring harness adapter if you buy your head unit from them. If you're new to installing and require these items it may very well be worth your while to order your head unit from Crutchfield. And of course, consult the directions provided with your head unit.

Drop In Speaker Replacements - SAVE $35-60

The easiest speakers to install are usually the speakers in the rear deck. More often then not the rear speakers will install from the bottom and can simply be unscrewed and replacements screwed back in. Some rear speakers will require removal of the rear deck or other panels and may be something you should leave to a professional. Again, you can contact Crutchfield and have them mail or fax you the MasterSheets for your vehicle. Door speakers can also be a simple replacement assuming you are using the same size speakers as the factory and the speaker grill comes off. If you have a speaker that is a different size then the factory speaker then you will need an adapter ring. Sometimes door speakers will require the entire door panel be removed. Again, this may be something you want to leave to a professional depending on how comfortable you are with removing interior panels. Always make sure you know what screws and covers need to come off before you start jerking panels. You don't want to chance breaking any plastic clips on the panels because there's no way you're going to get the clips glued back on without professional grade glue. And of course, consult the directions provided with your speakers.

Plug and Play CD Changers - SAVE $40-100

CD changers are actually pretty easy to install. They typically only require a single DIN cable or a DIN cable and a pair of RCA cables that are run between the CD changer and the head unit. Physically mounting a CD changer is relatively easy as well. Find a solid mounting surface that you can mount the unit to. Popular locations are in the glove box, under the front seats, in the trunk and under the rear deck. Then you will need to set the angle of installation using the dial on the changer chassis. That's basically it. If you choose to install an FM modulated CD changer than you will also need to install the FM modulator pack. This will add a little complexity to the install but is still something most DIYers can handle. In either case the most difficult part of the installation will probably be the running of the cables between the CD changer and the head unit. And of course, consult the directions provided with your CD changer.

For more information on installing these components as well as amplifiers and subwoofer enclosures you can check out the video available here. It offers a step by step visual guide to installing the most common stereo components.

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