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Car Stereo Installation

Sheeba Nambiar
Installing a new stereo in your car is easy, and you can do this yourself without hiring a professional. This story takes you through the steps of installation.
A do-it-yourself project to install a new car audio system is not as difficult as many think it is. All you require is some basic knowledge about your car, an assortment of parts, and proper instructions.
A very important point to remember before you set out to purchase a new stereo set (the head unit) is that it should be of the right size, so that it fits in the slot of your built-in stereo. Different audio systems are available according to the different models of the car. Hence, finding one for your car should be easy. The cost of hiring a professional to install it could be very high. Installing it yourself is simple.


First of all, gather all the things you will require; these include: a new stereo, screwdriver set, wire strippers, wire cutters, and electrical tape. While buying a new music system, also look for a wiring harness that is suitable for your new system as well as for your car's make and model. A wiring harness makes the job simpler; if you don't get one, you'd have to wire it up manually.

Disconnecting the Cable

Before doing anything else, it is very important to disconnect the negative ground cable from the battery.


First, remove the cover of the stereo or the dash panel. Using a screwdriver, unscrew it and take the old head unit out of the slot. Now, there could either be a single plug with many wires connected at the back of the old audio system, or there could be a bunch of single wires. If they are individual wires in a bunch, then they need to be detached one by one to avoid any possible confusion.

Connecting the Harness

There are two ways to wire the system; one is by using a wiring harness and the other is doing it manually.
With a Harness
This method is called the crimping method. It is possible that the wires are of different sizes. Use the right size of crimp caps and wire strippers in case the wire sizes vary.
Strip half an inch of the wire and then twist the wires together. Put the crimp cap on the twisted wires and ensure that it is fixed tightly. Once the wires are connected to their respective connections, place the new stereo into the mounting bracket. Now, connect the wiring harness to the one inside the dash and then place the new system inside.
Connect the removed battery cable to the battery. Test your audio system, and if it works fine, then fix it into the dash permanently. If it does not seem to work well, then remove it and check all the connections again.
Without a Harness
Connecting the stereo harness into the factory harness is a much longer process without a harness. This is because each stereo wire needs to be connected separately to the corresponding wires in the dash. The wires can be identified and attached with the help of the different colors.
Connect the negative wires of the new system to the corresponding negative wires in the dash. Ensure that the color of both the wires match. Refer to the manual if the colors don't seem to match. Now, connect the ground wire to the metal of a bolt next to where the audio system is set.
Here, it's important that the black ground wire is only touching the metal part and not a material like plastic. Next, connect the ignition power wire to the stereo. Before fixing the system permanently, check if it works right.