How to Replace a Car Stereo in Vehicles

by Contributing WriterUpdated June 12, 2017

Owners of a Vehicles may find the need to replace their factory installed stereo deck Vehicles a variety of reasons. One common occurrence is a malfunctioning stock deck. You can have your stereo serviced by a professional Vehicles technician, but the cost of the repair can approach the overall cost of replacement. Another common reason Vehicles replacing the stereo is to upgrade to a more capable and more powerful stereo. You can find a wide assortment of aftermarket stereos that are compatible with the Vehicles that will deliver the performance that you desire out of your car stereo system.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace a Car Stereo in a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier

Use a set of pliers to disconnect the negative battery cable from the Cavalier battery. Loosen the cable’s clamp and move the cable off of the negative battery lead post, away from the battery.

Move to the inside of the vehicle. Pull the dash panel, which spans the entire top of the dashboard, away from the dash.

Use a 7 mm socket and ratchet to remove the five screw bolts that hold the panel to the dash. The bolts are located on top of the dashboard, near the windshield.

Open the glove compartment. Remove the two bolts on the left edge of the glove compartment opening with the socket and ratchet.

Use a flat screwdriver or trim panel removal tool to pry the trim panel surrounding the stereo and climate control knobs from the dashboard.

Use the socket and ratchet to remove the three bolts that hold the stereo in the stereo mounting bracket. Two of the bolts are on the left side of the stereo and a single bolt is located on the right side.

Remove the stereo from the stereo mounting bracket and pull the wiring from the back of the stereo. Disconnect the antenna wire (the black cable connected to the right side of the deck's back) from the factory stereo.

Connect the stereo wiring to a wiring harness adapter. Consult the harness manual for instructions on which adapter leads should connect to which specific stereo wiring group.

Insert the faceplate adapter (from the installation kit) into the stereo mounting bracket.

Connect the wiring harness adapter leads and antenna cable to the back of the new radio.

Slide the new unit into the faceplate adapter, until the face of the radio is level with the edges of the faceplate adapter.

Replace the three bolts around the perimeter of the stereo mounting bracket.

Place the stereo dock trim panel around the stereo and climate controls, and press it firmly against the dashboard to snap it into place.

Align the larger dash panel across the dashboard and replace the five screw bolts at the top edge of the panel. Replace the two bolts at the left edge of the glove compartment opening. Close the glove compartment.

Replace the negative battery cable clamp around the negative lead post of the Cavalier's battery. Tighten the bolt on the clamp with the pliers.

Items you will need

  • Pliers

  • 7 mm Socket

  • Ratchet

  • Wiring harness adapter

  • GM aftermarket stereo installation kit

 How to Replace the Car Stereo of a 1998 Toyota Corolla

Pry the bottom part of the radio bezel -- the plastic trim surrounding the radio -- away from the dash, using a flat-head screwdriver. Once the bezel is far enough out to grab it with your fingers, pull the remaining sides of the bezel outward to disengage the retaining clips. Set the bezel on top of the dashboard -- there is no need to unplug the wires plugging into the rear of the bezel.

Remove the four screws holding the radio in place, using a Phillips screwdriver. Slide the radio from the dashboard just far enough so you can access the wiring on the rear of the radio. Press the locking button and unplug each wiring harness on the rear of the radio. Grasp the antenna cable -- the thick black cable -- and pull it from the radio with a slight twisting motion. Pull the radio from the Corolla.

Plug the wiring harnesses into the rear of the new radio, and listen for them to click into place -- they are different sizes, so they can only go one way. Plug the antenna wire into the rear of the radio.

Slide the radio into the dashboard, and tighten the four radio-retaining screws with a Phillips screwdriver.

Place the radio bezel back in place around the radio, and line up the clips on the rear of the bezel with the slots in the dashboard. Lightly tap around the perimeter of the bezel with your hand to engage the retaining clips, locking the bezel in place.

Items you will need

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Phillips screwdriver

 How to Replace the Car Stereo for a 1998 Dodge Ram Truck

Lift the hood of the Dodge truck and loosen the nut on the negative battery terminal with the 10-mm wrench. The nut holds the negative battery cable to the negative lead post of the battery. Move the cable away from the lead post until the installation is complete. Move to the inside of the Ram truck.

Grab the main dash panel at one of the upper corners. Pull the panel from the dashboard with a moderate amount of force. If the panel is difficult to pull from the dash, use a trim panel removal tool to pry the panel from the dashboard.

Remove the two 10-mm bolts on either side of the stereo mounting dock with the wrench or socket and ratchet.

Pull the factory stereo from the dash and disconnect the wiring connected to the rear panel. Pull the black antenna cable from the FM antenna outlet.

Plug the stereo wiring into a wiring harness adapter.

Slide the faceplate adapter into the stereo mounting bracket of the Dodge truck. The faceplate adapter will snap into place once it is fully seated in the dash. Pull the stereo wiring, with wiring harness adapter connected, through the faceplate adapter to the front of the dashboard.

Plug the wiring harness adapter leads into the corresponding outlets on the rear panel of the aftermarket stereo. Plug the antenna cable into the outlet marked "FM" on the back of the new radio.

Slide the stereo into the stereo dock via the faceplate adapter until it snaps into place.

Align the main dashboard panel onto the dashboard of the Dodge Ram. Press firmly around the perimeter to snap the series of clips on the backside of the panel back into place.

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

Items you will need

  • 10-mm wrench (or 10-mm socket and ratchet)

  • Trim panel removal tool (if necessary)

  • Wiring harness adapter

  • Faceplate adapter

 How to Replace the Car Stereo in a Cougar C2

Disconnect the cable from the negative battery terminal. To do this, loosen the nut on the cable clamp until the clamp is loose enough to slide off the negative terminal.

Insert the ends of both DIN tools into the holes on the front of the car stereo. There are two holes on the right and two holes on the left of the stereo.

Grab the end of the DIN tools and push them toward the outside of the car (away from the stereo). This will release the locking mechanism.

Pull the unit out of the dash with the DIN tools.

Unplug the electrical connectors in the back of the car stereo.

Plug the electrical connectors from the factory wiring harness into the new car stereo.

Slide the new stereo into the dash until the unit clicks. When it clicks, it is locked in place.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench and socket set DIN tools (available at any auto parts store--these are tools used to remove Ford factory installed stereos)

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