Fitting a car stereo can be a daunting prospect, especially if you have a newer car where the stereo appears to be sculptured into the dashboard. However, in the majority of cases the original stereo can be changed in less than half an hour given the correct parts.
This car audio installation guide gives a rough idea of the parts to consider when thinking of changing the stereo. Some cars require all of these parts, whereas others will require only some.
1. Fascia adaptor - If your car has a stereo which is moulded to the shape of the dashboard or bigger than the unit you intend to fit then you will need a fascia plate. This will locate in the dashboard leaving a perfect size hole for the new stereo to fit into.
2. ISO adaptor - In most cars the standard plug will not fit the new stereo. You therefore need an adaptor lead which converts the original plug in the car to the standard ISO size required by the majority of aftermarket stereos. This will make the job much easier as you will not have to reterminate or cut any wires.
3. Aerial adaptor - The original aerial connection in some cars will fit straight into the new stereo. However, on others a simple adaptor is required.
4. Removal keys - Clearly you cannot fit the new stereo until the old unit is removed. In some cars the original stereo is bolted in and you will need to remove parts of the dashboard to get it out. On other cars the original stereo will have holes or slots on the front which removal keys can be slotted into to allow easy extraction.
5. Steering wheel interface - If your car has steering wheel controls and you want to keep them when you change the stereo then you will need a special interface lead in addition to the ISO adaptor mentioned earlier. It is important to bear in mind that not all new stereos support steering wheel controls so you will need to consider this when making your purchase.
These are the 5 most common things to consider and you will almost always require some combination of these parts to fit the new stereo. On some cars you may find you require additional parts once the job is started, especially if the original wiring has been modified.
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