So you bought your first car and now you’ve been considering getting a new stereo deck with flashing lights and all the bells and whistle. Expensive? Maybe. But if you read this guide you can learn how to do it, save money while doing it, and get that sweet stereo you want!
Firstly, car head units come in the standard size called “DIN”. This size is meant to fit all dash spaces, and if you are removing a larger head/stereo unit you can purchase a head unit dash kit that will fit over your new head unit, while hiding all the gaps that would now be exposed. Dash kits can run anywhere from $6 to $40, but be careful! I suggest to BUY ONLINE because most kits include parts for dozens of other makes and models which you will never use at all!
Now, the head unit. We suggest although it matters what your stereo sounds like, buying online will get you the best bang for your buck! Two of the FSB staff here learned this guide from experience and purchased $70 head units! They included front AUX IN for any input, CD player, BLUETOOTH A2DP Streaming and CALL features, a FRONT SIDE USB as well as more presets than you could ever handle. Any brick and mortar store will cost you at least $100 and doesn’t come close to all of those features. Great buy! (comment if interested in head unit store!)
Next we suggest (before you buy anything) find an online guide for your make and specific model that explains step-by-step ho to remove the head unit. A simple google search of “make model head unit removal” should do the trick. Some cars are trickier than others (mainly Japanese makes) so figure this out!
Once you have removed the head unit, find a wiring diagram online that corresponds to your car. FSB highly recommends http://www.installdr.com/
Unlike other wiring diagrams, they guide by the pins that are connected rather than the wire colour. I found that some head units have different wire colours than are widely described online, but knowing which pin is which saves the hassle and uncertainty.
Once you have a good wiring diagram, DIN dash kit, and head unit picked out, get it all together and install! New head unit will include a connector that you splice to your existing wires then connect to the unit, put it all together, and voila! Make sure you disconnect the battery before any installation or removal of pre-existing head unit.