How to Install a Stereo in Chevrolet Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The Chevrolet car is half SUV, half truck, and thus has a dedicated group of followers who utilize the morphing capability of this truck for both family and work. Upgrading the stereo system requires removing the front dash panel, which is a simple job with a few tips. Get the new stereo features and premium sound you want with an afternoon upgrade to your Chevrolet car.

Under The Hood:

 How to Install a Stereo in a Chevrolet Suburban

Installiing a Stereo Into a Chevrolet Suburban

Disconnect the battery. Suburbans since the late 1970s use a side-mounted terminal design. Most models will use a 10mm bolt to hold the positive terminal to the battery.

Remove the old stereo, if applicable. The front dash panel must be removed to take the stereo out, and this procedure is slightly different for each model type. Older Suburbans will have a 1/2 DIN stereo opening, and only the front radio panel must be removed with a screwdriver. Later models can have a 1.5 DIN opening, which is slightly taller, but the same width as a 1 DIN hole. Even newer Suburbans can have a 2 DIN hole, which accommodates a view screen with navigation functions. On most late models, the entire front dash panel can be taken out by removing the lower bolts with a socket wrench, then pulling gently on the top until it disengages from the pop rivets. The radio is held in with two bolts, and is connected to the wiring harness with an adapter.

Splice the new stereo's wires into the wiring harness adapter kit's plug. Most will have a wiring diagram that gives the colors for each wire, which can differ for the model year. Splice the wires by stripping their insulation and twisting them together, then covering each connection with a liberal amount of electrical tape.

Mount the stereo into the adapter kit's provided plastic plate. For 1/2 DIN radios, this will give a more professional look, and fill the gap caused by a smaller unit in the dashboard. The radio will slide into the plate from the front, and when it is in place it has metal tabs that can be bent back to secure it.

Bolt the stereo and plate into the radio opening. Attach the wiring adapter to the truck's harness, then push the radio into place. Secure the radio's plate to the dash by reattaching the bolts.

Replace the dash panel or radio panel plate. Press it into the pop rivets, then bolt the bottom with the socket wrench.

Reconnect the battery and test the radio.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver

  • Socket set

  • Electrical tape

  • Wiring harness adapter kit

  • Wire cutter

 How to Install a Stereo in a Chevy Cobalt

Locate the drop-down panel directly underneath the steering wheel, where the right knee is positioned when driving. Get a good grip on the silver tabs in the panel and pull it straight out. The short wires behind the panel make it difficult to remove.

Remove the long trim piece above the glove box by pulling straight out until all six clips have disengaged. Use a flat blade screwdriver to gently pry away the trim piece that surrounds the Cobalt stereo. Remove the four securing screws at the front of the head unit and pull the entire assembly out of the dash.

Disconnect the wires behind the radio and pull the head unit out of the assembly. Connect the GM antenna adaptor to the end of the black antenna wire and snap the wiring harness adaptor onto the original wiring harness.

Insert the radio into the GM mounting adaptor until you hear it click into place. Connect the wiring harness and antenna to the back of the new stereo and slide the adaptor assembly into the center console.

Turn the radio on and verify all of the speakers are working properly. Test the head unit's function before securing the radio and trim back into the Chevy Cobalt dash.

Items you will need

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • Phillips head screwdriver

  • GM antenna adaptor

  • GM radio mounting kit

 How to Install a Stereo in a Chevy Equinox

Disconnect the ground wire on the Chevy Equinox battery. The grounding wire is the black wire connecting the battery to the frame of the vehicle.

Remove the trim to reveal the stereo deck. The panel that allows access to the stereo covers the stereo all the way down to the emergency brake lever.

Pull the panel at the point the panel meets the emergency brake lever housing, working upward. Remove the wiring to the air-conditioning controls to completely remove the trim panel.

Remove the four screws securing the stereo in place. The screws are found on either side of the stereo deck.

Slide the deck out to gain access to the connecting wires in the back of the stereo. On the Equinox, there are two sets of wires grouped by two wiring harnesses as well as the antenna wiring.

Reattach the wiring to the new stereo and put the new deck into place. Replace the screws to hold the new stereo. Replace the panel of dashboard trim starting at the top and working downward toward the emergency brake. Before attaching the framing trim completely, remember to reattach the AC control wiring. The trim will "click" into place.

Items you will need

  • Phillips screwdriver

 How to Install a Stereo in a Chevy Silverado

Place your hands in the upper right corner of the dash, above the steering wheel, and firmly pull the panel until the clips begin to disengage. Continue pulling until you gain access to the light switch mechanism and pop it free of the dash with your fingers.

Pull the upper right corner of the panel until the remaining clips are free and look for a wire attached to the right side. Not all Chevy Silverado trucks include this wire; if yours does, disconnect and remove the panel from the truck.

Move the levers on each side of the radio to the down position and pull the stereo assembly out of the dash. Unplug the wires behind the radio and let the wires hang from the opening in the dash.

Connect the wiring harness adaptor and GM antenna adaptor to the original wires. Slide the new stereo into the GM mounting adaptor and connect the harness and antenna to the back of the radio.

Set the stereo mounting assembly into the dash and lift the levers on each side to the locked position. Turn the radio on and verify the controls and speakers are working properly. Reconnect the wires to the back of the dash panel and pop it into place.

Items you will need

  • GM wiring harness adaptor

  • GM antenna adaptor

 How to Install a Stereo in a Chevy Impala

Look under the dash panel and remove six Phillips head screws or bolts. Unsnap the fuse panel door and set it aside.

Remove the two screws above the gauges and pull the black plastic ring from inside the gauge pod. Continue pulling until the lower clips unsnap and the trim pulls out.

Open the glove box and pull from the corner of the lower dash panel to the left of the glove box. Keep pulling the trim until all of the clips separate and the panel lowers to the floor.

Pull the screw on each side of the stereo. This will allow you to pull the head unit out of the dash. Disconnect the wires behind the original Chevy Impala radio and let them hang from the dash.

Connect the wiring harness adaptor and GM antenna adaptor to the original wires. Slide the new stereo into the GM mounting kit and connect the wiring harness and antenna to the back of the new radio. Push the radio assembly into the dash and turn the radio on.

Test the function of the stereo and make sure all of the speakers are working. Secure the stereo into the dash and replace all of the trim and screws.

Items you will need

  • Screwdrivers

  • GM antenna adaptor

  • GM radio mounting kit

 How to Install a Stereo in a GMC Sierra

Open the hood and disconnect the negative battery cable. Secure the cable so it doesn't come in contact with any metal parts.

Pry the upper left edge of the dash panel, behind the steering wheel, until the clip unsnaps. Continue pulling out the clips by working along the bottom of the panel, stopping at the center console. Pull the upper right corner of the panel and unsnap the remaining clips, remove the panel and set it out of the way.

Lower the two levers, one on each side of the stereo, and pull the radio out of the GMC Sierra dash. Unhook the wires from behind the radio and let them hang from the dash.

Connect the wiring harness adaptor to the original harness and the GM antenna adaptor to the antenna wire.

Insert the new stereo into the GM radio mounting kit and attach the wiring harness adaptor and antenna wire to the back of the unit. Slide the entire assembly into the dash and raise the side levers to secure it in place.

Reconnect the negative battery cable and turn the radio on. Test the system to ensure the controls and speakers are functioning properly. Snap the front dash panel into place starting at the lower right corner.

Items you will need

  • Wiring harness adaptor

  • GM antenna adaptor

  • GM radio mounting kit

 How to Install a Stereo in a Chevy Camaro

Open the glove box and remove the two screws on the left side above the door. Locate the hidden screw just below the glove box door and remove it.

Find the four screws in the trim panel below the steering wheel. Unscrew the two facing the front of the panel and two more on the bottom edge. Lower the panel to the floor by pulling firmly from the left side until the clips disengage and the panel is free of the dash.

Remove the two screws holding the trim around the stereo in place and pull the piece away from the dash. Look for the two screws that secure the stereo head unit to the mounting bracket and remove them.

Pull the radio out of the dash and disconnect the wires from the back of the head unit. Attach the wiring harness adaptor to the original harness and snap the new harness and antenna wire into the back of the new stereo.

Slide the new stereo into the dash and turn it on. Verify the controls on the head unit are working and each speaker has sound. Secure the stereo to the mounting bracket with two screws and replace the remaining trim.

Items you will need

  • Screwdrivers

  • Wiring harness adaptor

 How to Install a Stereo in a Chevy Avalanche

Find the upper left corner of the front dash panel, to the left of the steering wheel. Firmly peel at the corner to release the clips and continue applying pressure until the light switch is exposed. Push the retaining clip on the light switch to pull it free from the panel.

Identify the right side of the panel and pry the upper right corner away from the dash and pull until the panel releases. Look for two orange tabs behind the panel on some models. If found, pull the tabs to fully release the dash panel and remove it from the truck.

Pull the levers on each side of the radio down to release the head and slide it out of the dash. Remove the connecting wires from the back and set the original radio aside.

Connect the wiring harness adaptor and GM antenna adaptor onto the original harness. Slide the new stereo into the GM mounting kit and connect the wires to the back of the radio.

Slide the new radio assembly into the dash of the Chevy Avalanche and turn the radio on. Check the speakers and controls to ensure they are working properly.

Lift the two levers on the side of the radio into the up position. Connect the wires to the back of the dash panel and snap the piece in place.

Items you will need

  • Wiring harness adaptor

  • GM antenna adaptor

  • GM radio mounting kit

 How to Install a Stereo in a Chevy S10 Pickup

Pull the hood release lever under the driver's-side dashboard. Move to the front of the truck and lift the hood. Loosen the negative battery cable clamp with the 10 mm socket wrench. Remove the cable from the battery terminal and set it aside. Return to the inside of the S-10.

Remove the two screw bolts on either side of the steering column with the 7 mm socket and ratchet. Remove the screw bolt at the top of the driver's instrument panel. Pull the lower dash panel away from the left side of the dashboard. Remove the screw behind the panel. Grab the right side of the dash panel and pull it away from the S-10's dashboard. Work your hands around the perimeter of the panel to separate it completely from the dash. Set the panel aside.

Remove the two screw bolts at either side of the factory radio with the socket and ratchet. Slide the stock stereo deck from the dashboard stereo dock. Disconnect the stereo wiring and antenna cable from the back of the unit. Set the factory stereo aside.

Slide the GM aftermarket stereo faceplate adapter into the vacant stereo mounting dock. Feed the stereo wiring and antenna cable through the back of the adapter. Plug the stereo wiring connectors onto the wiring harness adapter leads. Plug the antenna cable into the GM antenna adapter cable.

Plug the wiring harness adapter lead connectors into the signal inputs on the rear panel of the new stereo. Insert the GM antenna cable lead into the FM/AM antenna input on the back of the aftermarket stereo.

Slide the stereo into the faceplate adapter. Push the unit into the dash until it snaps into place. Align the displaced dash panel against the dashboard. Press firmly around the edges of the panel to snap it back into place.

Replace the screw bolts on the sides of the steering column and above the driver's instrument panel with the socket and ratchet. Return to the Chevy's battery.

Replace the grounding cable's clamp onto the negative battery terminal. Tighten the cable's clamp with the wrench. Close the hood.

Items you will need

  • 10 mm socket wrench

  • 7 mm socket

  • Ratchet

  • Faceplate adapter

  • GM antenna adapter

  • Wiring harness adapter

 How to Install a Stereo in a Geo Metro

Unhook the negative battery cable and secure it away from any metal parts or panels. Set the gearshift as far back as possible and raise the steering wheel as high as it will go.

Pull out the climate control knobs by setting them to a vertical position and pulling firmly. Locate the two screws at the top of the trim piece that surround the stereo and remove them.

Locate the two screws, one on each side of the radio. Push a short Phillips head screwdriver under the bottom of the console trim on the passenger side. Work the screwdriver up the inside of the panel until you can position it to remove the screw on the right side of the radio.

Remove the screw from the left side of the stereo and pull the head unit out of the Geo Metro dash. Disconnect the wires from the back of the radio and set the original stereo aside.

Slide the new stereo into the GM mounting kit and secure it with the screws provided. Connect the wiring harness adaptor to the old wiring harness and then to the back of the stereo. Attach the antenna wire and slide the entire assembly into the dash until you hear it click into place.

Reconnect the negative cable on the battery and turn the radio on. Test each speaker and the head unit controls for proper operation before replacing the trim and climate control knobs.

Items you will need

  • Screwdrivers

  • Wiring harness adaptor

  • GM mounting kit