|How to: A Car Stereo Installation Guide
Want to save some money? Ever wonder if you could do a car stereo
installation yourself? Yes, you can do it yourself! Go ahead, spend that
money on your hardware! Donít spend it on labor. Besides, doing a car
stereo installation yourself can be a very rewarding experience, not to
mention you can learn a lot from it too. Nothing beats the feeling of
seeing your ďcreationĒ in action, running smoothly and perfectly.
But be very careful, you really wonít want to damage your expensive
hardware. Well, most car audio hardware are no-brainers to install, youíd
find that most of the time the parts have specially shaped sockets and
slots etc. and would only fit where itís supposed to be installed. Still,
itís best to proceed methodically.
In a car stereo installation, you have to determine what kind of rig
youíre going to put into your vehicle. If youíre a beginner, itís best you
do a car stereo installation if itís just a simple system. You may want to
leave the complicated stuff to the professionals, like installing delicate
equipment like LCD panels, motorized parts etc. especially if it requires
the creation of custom panels and such.
Head units are one of the easiest to do in a car stereo installation.
Fortunately, most units follow the same size standards (DIN). In many
cars, once the factory radio is removed the aftermarket radio will fit in
the hole. In many other cars, a kit is needed if the factory hole is too
big, or not deep enough. In some cases the dash has to be cut. Any car
stereo store should have kits required for installation.
There are two types of mounting in a car stereo installation. ISO mounting
is when the radio can be screwed to existing factory radio brackets, such
as in most Japanese cars. Ring mounting is when an aftermarket radio comes
with a metal ring that gets mounted to the factory radio hole or
aftermarket kit via bendable tabs. In many cars, dash and trim rings have
to be filed to enlarge the radio hole. Once the ring is installed, the
radio slides in and is held by snaps. In most cases, special tools are
required to remove the radio.
Speakers are very critical in a car stereo installation. No matter how
expensive your speakers are, if they are not properly installed, the sound
will not be up to par.
In a simple car stereo installation, youíll probably be using speakers
that fit into a factory location. Just make sure there are no gaps or
holes. Sometimes building a wood or fiberglass baffle helps reduce holes
and gives you much better sound. But always be careful when using power
tools around speakers. Car stereo installation warranties usually don't
cover holes in speakers.
For unconventional speaker locations, sometimes metal has to be cut. You
might want to leave this to the professionals, tools like plasma cutters
and pneumatics drills are required. But if youíre going to insist, a pair
of metal snips (left and right cut) will do.
A car stereo installation has to put up with vibrations and other noise
sources in its environment. Even though it is impossible to eliminate
these completely, there are products that will greatly decrease the noise
and rattling, particularly on non-luxury cars. Liners, sprays and adhesive
strips and even carpeting applied onto the panels can make a world of