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How difficult is it to install a new radio?

YuanYuan Liu |

How difficult is it to install a new radio?

There is nothing difficult if you want to replace the head unit with a new radio to  your own car or truck, the problem of exactly how difficult it is depends on how many different factors.


Some cars are easier to replace the head unit than others, and the relative difficulty of installation also depends on your personal experience and whether it is easy to learn new things. Although anyone can technically replace the head unit by themselves, whether this is a good idea for everyone remains to be discussed.


If you want to replace the head unit currently, we will introduce some potential pitfalls and provide some useful solutions, and even introduce you to a practical step, so that you can see what the process looks like from beginning to end.


replace the head unit



The Biggest Pitfalls of Replace The Head Unit 

These are the three most commonly encountered problems when you replace the head unit:

  • Hard trim & dashboard components: Only a few cars can pop out of the dash and do not cost a lot of work. Some are more difficult than others, and you may end up breaking delicate trim components if you aren't very careful.
  • Fit and mounting problems with the new car radio: It will not fit the car if you order wrong size of the new head unit, and please make sure that you select the right mounting kit if one is available.
  • Wiring issues: Generally speaking, the wiring harness has a unified standard that can be matched according to the color. But you may still encounter situations where it isn't clear what is suppose to connect to where. This is important if your radio has been replaced in the past.


Dealing with Trim and Dash Components


If your car does not need to do too much trimming of the wiring harness, the center console or dashboard components with removing the head unit, then you can breathe a sigh of relief.


You can understand the problem you are facing by searching the "exploded" diagram of the dashboard or center console on the Internet. If you are not used to reading these diagrams, it may confuse you. But if you can find a diagram that matches your car model and year, you can see exactly which parts need to be trimmed and which parts must be deleted to match the head unit.


If you choose to remove the car stereo, it’s important to remember to work slowly and methodically, and don’t use brute force to disassemble


replace the head unit



Fixing Fit and Mounting Problem


If your factory head unit is double DIN, then you can just replace it with an aftermarket double Din head unit and it will fit perfectly.


On the other hand, you’ll have to also find an appropriate car stereo mounting kit if you want to replace a double din car stereo with the single din aftermarket head unit.


Of course, nothing is that simple. If your car has a non-standard head unit, then you will have to find a dash kit designed specifically for your car. This makes the work a bit complicated, but it is still essentially a matter of removing the old head unit, installing the dash kit, and then install the radio replacement into the dash kit.


replace the head unit


Wiring Issues


Wiring in a new head unit is usually the most daunting part, especially if you have no experience in electronics or wiring. If this is the case, it will be easier if you use the wire adapter which is designed for your car and the head unit.


These wire adapters are plug-and-play connectors. Just plug one end into the factory harness and the other end into the new head unit, and you are ready to use.


replace the head unit