How to Add a Satellite Radio to Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

When you want to upgrade the radio in your Vehicles to a satellite radio you have two options. You may choose a system from XM or Sirius. Regardless of the system you choose you will have to pay money to have it installed, and also spend some of your time waiting Vehicles the installation. However, you do have another option that will save you time and money: you can install the system on your own in less than an hour. Doing so is an easy process and pretty much everyone will be able to do it.

Under The Hood:

 How to Add a Satellite Radio to the Nissan Quest

Open the front drivers door on your Nissan Quest and search the dashboard and windshield for a good spot to mount the satellite radio receiver. The 2005 Sirius Van/Truck Manual says that any spot that is easily accessible to both the driver and passenger, and does not impede the driver's range of motion or block his view, is acceptable.

Use your medium sized ladder to access the roof of your Nissan Quest. Upon reaching the top you must find a satisfactory spot upon which to mount the satellite radio antenna. Any area that is level and has a clear line of sight to the sky will be fine. All Sirius and XM radio antennas come with a built in adhesive that you may use to secure the antenna in place.

Grab your digital audio connector cable and plug it in to the back of the antenna in the spot marked audio out. Pull the cord down along the back passenger side door (the right side of the vehicle) and stick the cord through a spot in the tan molding that acts as a rain protector. Pull the cord through this spot to the inside of your Nissan Quest and bring it up to the mounted satellite radio receiver.

Plug the digital audio connector cable into the back of the receiver in the spot marked "antenna in" and then use the electrical tape to hold the cable to the inside roof of the vehicle. Make sure the cord is completely tight, otherwise it may catch on something and damage your receiver, antenna or even your window molding.

Items you will need

  • Satellite radio receiver

  • Satellite radio antenna

  • Electrical tape

  • Digital audio connector cable

  • Medium sized ladder

 How to Add Satellite Radio to Your Car

Purchase the radio receiver for either XM or Sirius satellite radio. (See the link in the Resources section for a comparison guide.) Look for receivers online and at car audio stores.

Attach the magnetic receiver to the back of the roof, leaving at least 3 inches of bare metal in all directions. Direct the antenna cable toward the trunk or rear door.

Open the trunk or rear door. Lift the rubber weather seal that lines the door frame using a putty knife, and pass the end of the cable under it. Route the cable under the interior weather stripping toward the cabin.

Mount the receiver to the windshield using the attached suction cup. Plug the power source into an available 12-volt outlet. Plug both the power and antenna cable into the receiver.

Tune the receiver to channel 184 for Sirius radio. Note the ESN number from the receiver, located below the bar code. Call 888-539-7474, and provide all requested information. Wait for the receiver to confirm subscription.

Tune the receiver to channel 0 for XM radio, and note the eight-digit ID number. Navigate your browser to the XM Radio Set Up Your Account website (see link in Resources section), and fill in all required information. Wait for the receiver to confirm your subscription after completing the form.

Items you will need

  • Thin putty knife

  • Credit card

 How to Add a Satellite Radio to a Factory Stereo

Determine what connection options your car’s factory stereo has on it. If the stereo has a sticker or symbol on it that says “XM” or “Sirius,” it will be capable of linking up with a special satellite antenna. If there are no such symbols, check the factory stereo’s manual or look at its rear plate for input options. If there is an input labeled “Aux In” or something similar, you will be able to connect a separate satellite radio via a standard audio cable. Your final option is to connect via radio-broadcast.

Buy the type of unit that works best for you. If your stereo has the satellite symbols, buy a special antenna unit. If you want to connect through an “Aux In,” buy a “plug-and-play” unit. If your stereo has no direct-connection options, you will need to buy a satellite unit that broadcasts on an FM frequency. All these types of units are available for purchase both online and at most major retail stores.

Set up the unit according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, a special antenna will connect with the rear of your factory stereo via a special cord that comes with it. A plug-and-play unit will come with an audio cable that you connect to the "Aux In" input. Radio-broadcasting units need no cable connections; just place them as near to the factory stereo as possible.

Power on your factory stereo and satellite-radio unit. Many satellite units plug into the car’s cigarette lighter, which in some cars only functions when the car is running. Therefore, if your satellite unit doesn’t power on immediately, try starting your car.

Tune to a satellite channel. If you can hear a broadcast through the car speakers, continue to the next step. If you do not, double-check your cable connections and consult the satellite-radio unit’s installation instructions. For radio-broadcasting units, you may need to try several different FM stations before you find one that works with your car’s factory stereo.

Contact the satellite company to set up an account. Specific instructions for how to subscribe come with your satellite-radio unit.

Items you will need

  • Factory stereo

  • Owner’s manuals

  • Satellite radio unit

  • Satellite radio subscription

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.