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How to Install a Radio in a 2001 Saturn SL

by Justin Cupler

As General Motors attempted to fend off the invasion of foreign-built vehicles, it came up with the concept of the Saturn lineup of vehicles. In 1991, the concept became a reality with the release of the Saturn SC and SL models. Saturn based the two vehicles on the same platform; the only difference between the two was that the SC was a two-door coupe and the SL was a four-door sedan. 1996 marked the first and only redesign for the SL line of vehicles, as Saturn gave it a rounder shape. The 2001 SL came standard with an AM-FM, two-speaker stereo system, and replacing this stereo requires removing four trim panels.

1

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.

2

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.

3

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.

4

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.

5

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.

6

Pull the radio from the Saturn's dash.

7

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.

8

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.

9

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.

10

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.

11

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

About the Author

Justin Cupler is a professional writer who has been published on several websites including CarsDirect and Autos.com. Cupler has worked in the professional automotive repair field as a technician and a manager since 2000. He has a certificate in broadcast journalism from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Cupler is currently studying mechanical engineering at Saint Petersburg College.

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