How to Install a Radio in Cars

by Contributing Writer

A popular upgrade for the Corvette car is to replace the radio unit. Aftermarket radios offer an improvement over the factory amplifier found in the Corvette car radio. You need to make sure that the new radio you purchase is compatible with your Corvette car. In some instances, you may need an adapter plug so that your new radio will connect to the factory wiring harness. Once you've removed the old radio, you need to know how to install the new unit.

Under The Hood:

 How to Install a Radio in a 2001 Dodge Ram

Raise the hood of the Dodge truck, and disconnect the grounding cable from the negative battery terminal. (The grounding cable connects the negative battery terminal to the frame of the Ram's chassis.) Remove the cable with the wrench to avoid causing a short in the vehicle's electrical system during removal and installation of the stereo.

Remove the main dash panel from the dashboard by pulling it from the vehicle by hand. Start at the left side of the dashboard, and pull the dash panel away from the dashboard, detaching the clips on the back of the panel from the dash.

Move your hands across the top of the panel to disconnect the remaining clips holding the panel to the dashboard until you have completely detached the panel from the vehicle.

Unscrew the two bolts at the sides of the stereo with a 10 mm socket and ratchet.

Pull the stock stereo from the dashboard, and unplug the stereo wiring from the back panel of the head unit. Disconnect the antenna cable from the outlet on the stock radio.

Connect the stereo wiring to a wiring harness adapter.

Place the faceplate adapter over the front of the new stereo unit.

Connect the wiring harness adapter leads to the back of the new stereo. Plug the antenna cable into the FM antenna outlet on the back of the new stereo.

Slide the stereo into the Dodge Ram's stereo mounting dock, and replace the bolts on the side of the stereo mounting dock.

Align the dash panel on the dashboard of the truck, and press firmly around the perimeter to reengage the clips that hold the panel to the dashboard.

Place the grounding cable clamp around the negative battery terminal. Tighten the cable's clamp to the lead post using the wrench. Close the Dodge Ram's hood.

Items you will need

  • Wrench, 10 mm (or adjustable)

  • 10 mm socket

  • Ratchet

  • Wiring harness adapter

  • Faceplate adapter

 How to Install the Radio in a 2002 Dodge Ram

Park the Ram and turn off the engine. Pull the hood release lever under the driver's side of the dashboard.

Lift the hood of the truck and loosen the bolt that secures the negative battery cable. Lift the cable from the terminal. Set the negative battery cable aside.

Pry off the dash panel below the steering column with a trim panel removal tool.

Remove the single screw on the lower right corner of the main dash panel with a Phillips screwdriver. Pry the panel free from the dash with the pry tool. Remove the panel away from the dashboard by hand. The panel will still be connected to the dashboard by wiring connections to the climate controls. Leave the panel connected, letting it hang below the stereo dock.

Remove the two screws on either side of the stereo mounting dock with a Phillips screwdriver.

Disconnect the antenna cable from the right side of the stock stereo's rear panel. Pull the stereo wiring connectors from the back of the unit.

Slide the aftermarket faceplate adapter onto the new radio.

Plug the stereo wiring into the outlets on the back of the new radio and plug in the antenna cable into the outlet labeled "FM ANT."

Slide the radio into the Ram's stereo dock until it snaps into the dash dock.

Lift the dash panel that surrounds the stereo assembly into place and press it firmly against the dashboard. Replace the screw on the panel's lower right corner with the screwdriver.

Lift the dash panel below the steering column to meet the underside of the dashboard. Press firmly against the panel to snap it back into place. Return to the truck's battery.

Place the negative battery cable clamp back around the negative battery post. Tighten the bolt on the clamp to secure the cable to the terminal. Close the hood.

Items you will need

  • 10-mm wrench

  • Trim panel removal tool

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Dodge aftermarket faceplate adapter

 How to Install a Radio in a Dodge Dakota

Lift the hood of the Dodge Dakota and disconnect the negative battery cable from the negative lead post of the battery with the 10 mm wrench.

Connect the Dodge stereo wiring to a wiring harness adapter. The stereo wiring plugs into the connectors on the wiring harness adapter; the wiring harness adapter will be clearly labeled to show where the proper connections are to be made.

Insert the faceplate adapter from the installation kit into the vacant stereo mounting dock of the Dakota.

Connect the wiring harness adapter leads to the back of the aftermarket stereo.

Slide the aftermarket stereo into the stereo mounting dock of the Dodge Dakota.

Replace the plastic dash panel that covers the center console and left dashboard controls. Screw in the eight screws with the Torx 15 socket and drive. (Four of the screws are for the corners around the stereo and climate control panel. The other four screws are for the vent and headlamp switches on the left side of the steering column.)

Place the negative battery cable onto the negative lead of the battery. Tighten the negative battery cable to the lead post with a 10 mm wrench. Close the hood.

Items you will need

  • Wrench, 10 mm

  • Wiring harness adapter

  • Stereo installation kit (including faceplate adapter)

  • Torx 15 socket and drive

 How to Install a Radio in a C6 Corvette

Plug the antenna cable into the back of the radio unit in the input marked for the antenna.

Plug the electrical connector from the factory harness into the back of the radio unit. Some radio units for the Corvette may require an adapter plug which should come with your new radio. Plug the pinned connector on the factory wiring harness into the converter plug and then connect the electrical plug to the back of the radio.

Slide the radio unit into the dash of the C6 Corvette. The C6 has four mounting holes that secure the radio. Your radio needs to have four mounting holes as well. Some radios may use a mounting adapter to make sure that the radio fits correctly in the C6 dash. Thread the mounting screws to secure the radio in the dash.

Snap the trim bezel over the radio unit.

Items you will need

  • Adapter plug

  • Screwdriver (cross point)

  • New radio unit

 How to Install a Radio in 2000 Toyota 4Runner

Turn the engine off, pop the hood and disconnect the negative battery cable for safety.

Twist the 4WD shift knob (if equipped) to remove. Remove the console shift trim. The console shift is attached by clips instead of screws; pull up until the trim comes off.

Pull the air conditioning fan controls and A/C button from the climate control panel.

Use a trim panel tool or flat head screwdriver to pry off the climate control panel. Like the console shift trim panel, it is attached by clips. The panel will easily come off.

Remove the two screws made visible when the climate control panel is removed.

Grab the base of the radio surround panel directly in front of the gear shift knob. Pull the panel until the clips are released. Carefully pull back the panel to expose the rear.

Disconnect the three wiring harness connections on the rear of the panel. Set the panel aside.

Remove the four mounting screws around the radio. Carefully pull the radio out and disconnect the wiring harness and the antenna cable.

Attach the factory wiring harness and antenna cable to the new radio. Mount the radio in the mounting bracket with the screws. Reconnect the radio surround panel harnesses, reattach the radio surround panel and pop the clips in.

Replace the two screws on the climate control panel, and then replace the climate control panel and the knobs.

Reattach the shift knob panel and twist the 4WD shift knob on (if equipped). Reconnect the negative battery cable.

Items you will need

  • Pliers

  • Trim panel tool or flat head screwdriver

  • Phillips head screwdriver

  • Replacement radio

  • Aftermarket radio installation kit (optional)

  • Aftermarket radio mounting kit (optional)

 How to Install a Radio in a Buick Lesabre

Connect the antenna. The antenna plug is a large, single, plug that looks like an A/V style plug, except that it is a female plug as opposed to a male plug. Most LeSabres use a polished tip for better connectivity and reception. Insert the antenna plug into the back of the new radio in the jack outlet marked for the antenna.

Plug the factory wiring harness into the back of the new radio. The rest of the head unit is controlled by the factory wiring harness. Locate the plug connection on the back of the new radio for the electrical wiring from the factory harness. This will normally be a six-pin connector, but may be a 12-pin connector depending on the year of your LeSabre .

Slide the radio into the dash until the unit locks into place. Obviously, the antenna and wiring side of the radio is inserted into the dash. When the unit is fully installed, you should hear a click indicating that the unit is locked into the dash.

 How to Install a Radio in a Buick Park Avenue

Plug the antenna cable into the new radio. The antenna plug looks like a female audio/video plug and plugs into the input jack on the back of the new radio marked for the antenna.

Connect the electrical wiring from the factory wiring harness. Connect the 6-pin connector from the wiring harness to the back of the new radio unit. There will normally only be one empty 6-pin slot for you to connect the wiring.

Slide the radio unit into the dash. The radio unit for the Park Avenue will be a standard 1-DIN size radio unit and will slide right into the opening for the radio. Slide the unit all the way into the dash until it clicks, indicating that it has locked into the dash.

 How to Install a Radio in a Kia Rio

Remove the grounding cable from the Rio's battery. Use a Phillips-head screwdriver to loosen the cable's clamp around the negative battery lead.

Remove the dashboard trim panel on the center dash console. Use a trim panel tool to pry the bottom edge of the panel free from the dash. Grab the panel once it is pried free and work your hands around the perimeter of the panel until it is free from the dash.

Pull the wire connections to the climate control knobs away from the trim panel by hand. Place the panel to the side until the installation is complete.

Remove the four screws at the corners of the stereo using the screwdriver. The screws hold the mounting bracket into the dash of the Kia.

Pull the entire dash assembly from the dash. Remove the two screws on either side of the mounting bracket.

Disconnect the wiring to the back of the radio. Pull the wiring by the plastic binders. Disconnect the antenna cable and the power supply wire. Slide the factory deck from the bracket.

Connect the vehicle's stereo wiring to a wiring harness adapter. Slide the new unit into the mounting bracket. Replace the screws into the side of the mounting bracket. If the aftermarket stereo is without holes for the screws to be replaced, you can insert a faceplate adapter to hold the new system in the bracket.

Replace the mounting bracket into the Kia's dash. Replace the four screws surrounding the stereo assembly.

Connect the wiring to the climate control knobs on the dash trim panel. Replace the dash panel starting at the top edge. Once the top is aligned, press the panel around the edges to secure it to the dashboard.

Place the grounding cable clamp around the Rio's negative battery lead. Tighten the clamp with the screwdriver.

Items you will need

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

  • Trim panel removal tool

  • Wiring harness adapter

  • Faceplate adapter (optional)

 How to Install a Radio in a 2001 Saturn SL

Adjust the driver's seat as far back as it will go, and find the four screws securing the lower dashboard panel -- the one nearest your knees. Remove these four screws with a Phillips screwdriver. Pull the panel downward to disengage its retaining clips, and set the panel in a secure area to prevent breakage.

Find the four screws holding the two halves of the steering column trim together. Remove these four screws with a Phillips screwdriver. Pull the top and bottom halves of the steering column trim apart, and set them in a secure location.

Look on the far left end of the dashboard -- the section facing the driver's door -- and find the two circular screw covers. Pry these screw covers off the dashboard, using a flat-head screwdriver, exposing the screws behind them. Remove the screws with a Phillips screwdriver and pull the end panel off the dash to disengage its retaining clips. Set the end panel in a secure location.

Pull around the entire perimeter of the dash panel -- the trim surrounding the gauges, radio and HVAC controls -- to disengage the panels retaining clips. Once you disengage all of the clips, pull the panel out of the Saturn and set it in a secure location.

Remove the two radio-retaining screws, using a ratchet and a 9/32-inch socket. Slide the radio from its chassis in the dash until you can access the wiring on the rear of the radio. Press and hold the locking button on the wiring harness on the rear of the radio, and pull the wiring harness loose. Pull the antenna wire -- the thick, black cable -- from the radio, using a slight twisting motion.

Pull the radio from the Saturn's dash.

Plug the wiring harness into the rear of the new radio. Press the antenna wire into the antenna input on the rear of the radio. Slide the radio into its chassis in the dashboard, and guide the locating pins on the dashboard up with the locating holes on the radio's brackets. Tighten the radio-retaining screws with a ratchet and 9/32-inch socket.

Set the dash panel back in place over the radio, HVAC controls and gauges, then lightly tap around the perimeter of the panel with the palm of your hand to engage the retaining clips.

Place the end panel back onto the far-left of the dashboard, lining up the clips on the rear of the panel with the slots in the dashboard, and press it toward the dashboard to engage its retaining clips. Tighten the two end-panel retaining screws with a Phillips screwdriver, and press the screw covers back into place over the screws.

Set the top steering column panel on the steering column, then set the lower steering column panel on the underside of the steering column. Press the two halves of the steering column cover toward each other until the snap together. Tighten the four screws on the lower steering column, using a Phillips screwdriver.

Install the lower dashboard panel back in place under the driver's side of the dashboard, lining up the metal retaining clips on the panel with the slots in the dashboard. Press the lower dashboard panel onto the dashboard until the metal clips snap into place. Tighten the four lower dashboard panel-retaining screws with a Phillips screwdriver.

Items you will need

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Ratchet

  • 9/32-inch socket