How to change the car radio? Step by step guide (2022)

12 Min Read
How to change the car radio

The car radio of today is significantly more advanced than the simple receiver with two buttons that were common in the past.

The car radios of today are required to have a variety of functions and additional convenience extras; however, the models that are fitted as standard do not always fully comply with these requirements.

How to change the car radio

Because of this, many customers frequently opt to replace the devices installed by the manufacturer with versions of their own choosing.

On the other hand, there is room for quite a few errors. When it comes to installing a car radio, a few things need to be taken into consideration, which we will explain in this guide.

What features are currently available on radios today

The radio is preinstalled. These traditional devices offer various functionalities in addition to their primary function, but the latter is relatively minor.

Connecting a smartphone to the radio in a vehicle is becoming increasingly important in today’s society.

You can transform the car radio into a hands-free device or a convenient navigation system by performing a single synchronization step.

It is important to note that technology such as Bluetooth has made it possible for this connection to be carried out without the use of wires.

Radios manufactured in today’s times typically come equipped from the factory with a remote control system.

In most vehicles, this function is incorporated into the steering wheel. The ability to control the radio via the steering wheel is highly convenient and improves driving safety: The driver doesn’t need to release his grip on the steering wheel to keep his eyes on the road.

Nevertheless, it isn’t easy to transfer this function to another radio.

What do you currently possess, and what do you wish to acquire?

It should be obvious which model is intended to be installed in the car radio before any modification is made.

The market provides for this objective with a large number of devices with various functions; these functions vary depending on the selected price category.

When it comes to certain kinds of innovations, you need to be aware that producers are decreasing the amount of money they put into research and development.

Therefore, after being commercially available for thirty years, the compact disc is now regarded as a format on its way out.

CD players are going the way of the outdated cassette player, and eventually, they will be completely phased out of the market.

Therefore, rather than investing in this outmoded technology, it is essential to pay attention to the fact that the radio has a USB port.

Also, these days, Bluetooth is the industry standard. It is anticipated even in the more affordable models of car radios.

An external hard disk drive may be connected using a connection known as a USB connection. It is expected that the radio will be able to play all available audio formats or, at the very least, MP3 and WAV files. On the other hand, there are a wide variety of different forms.

The synchronization process between the hard drive and the car radio can sometimes be challenging. When purchasing this nature, nothing but sound advice will do.

The deconstruction of the outdated radio

It is recommended that you take apart the previous radio before going out and purchasing a new one. In this manner, you will see the connections the new one needs to have.

It is unnecessary to get upset if the radio you want is not readily available with the required contacts. The specialized trade makes the most appropriate adapter available for each possible combination.

As a result, bringing the outdated radio to the training session is strongly recommended. You are free to go home without further concern once you have located the radio of your choice and all the appropriate adapters.

When you are in the middle of putting together the car, it is very frustrating to find out that the new car radio and the old contacts do not fit together.

This can only have a nice appearance if the device is easily accessible, only if it is mounted with a cover frame and a recess that is a standard size.

The majority of the time, disassembling an old radio is rather simple.

You will need the following supplies:

– One screwdriver in total

– Locating the antique radio’s key

– Pliers are universal; if they are required

The tip of the screwdriver should be covered with tape, either sticky or insulating. After that, the frame surrounding the car radio cover is removed from the car radio.

To accomplish this, all you need to do is pry it off with the screwdriver. Be very careful. The frame has a high risk of breaking. The insulating tape ought to protect against any scratches that may occur.

You will require the unlocking keys that came with the older radio. Go to a specialized workshop if you no longer have them.

This may be done in a flash by a professional for the pitiful sum of five dollars.

Disassembling the radio on specific models can be a difficult and time-consuming process. A specialized locking system has always been standard on VAG vehicles.

Regarding older radios manufactured by VW and Audi, the unlocking keys are not located laterally but at two specific points between the switches.

If unsure how to proceed, I suggest looking it up on Youtube. You will be able to find the disassembly manual there, which applies to any car radio. It is typically not essential to remove the batteries from a regular gap radio when assembling or disassembling the device.

Take the key out of the ignition. As long as you have no plans to connect any new cables, there is no danger of accidentally shorting out any wires or confusing them.

However, if the radio is not installed in a standard recess, the entire central casing will typically need to be removed.

This is because the radio will not fit in the recess. Switches may need to be removed here as well. Removing the battery is the best course of action in this scenario.

The removal of the casing can be a very challenging process. Frequently, they are not only in their proper locations but also screwed at multiple points.

Move forward with caution, or locate appropriate repair instructions for your vehicle.

When it comes to removing cladding, the following is a good rule of thumb:

“If it stays, then you must be doing something incorrectly. If you continue to use excessive force, you will eventually damage something.”

How to change the car radio

Putting the new radio on its mount

The appropriate mounting frame is always included with brand-new car radios before they are on the market. Because of this, the previous structure needs to be taken down first.

When connecting the new radio to the existing contacts, stick to adapters if possible. As a general rule, you should not connect new cables to the connections that are already in place.

The possibility of causing significant damage in today’s modern vehicles is too high.

Nevertheless, before disassembling the radio, you should take photographs of the contacts. You will have aid for orientation if you do it this way.

The following must be included among the new radio’s available options for connection:

– interaction with the speaker
– interaction with the steering wheel
– remote control, if applicable.

The ignition and permanent ignition contacts are frequently positioned differently on Volkswagen and OPEL factory radios than on radios that have been retrofitted.

Even if the key to the ignition has been removed, the radio can still be turned on thanks to a function known as the permanent ignition function. This does not work when the ignition function is being used.

In addition, a radio can lose its setting whenever the key is removed if it is disconnected from the onboard power supply.

This happens when the key is removed. After that, the internal memory, stations, and possibly even the time and date are wiped clean.

It will be necessary to repeat the configuration. The wiring must also not be tampered with to prevent this from happening.

On the adapter plug, individual flat contacts can be switched out for one another. Changing out only the red and yellow wires is typically all required to accomplish this task.

Do not forget to bring the locking device for the CD/DVD player.

If you have purchased a radio that also includes a CD or DVD player, you will need to unlock these modules before installing the radio.

On the top of the radio housing, two screws must be removed to accomplish this. These fasten the drive mechanism of the radio and the laser readout head to ensure that neither one moves due to the vibrations that occur during transportation.

Before installing the new radio, each of these screws must be removed from the new radio. After this, the player can play CDs and DVDs once unlocked.

Enhancing the sound quality of the space

Thankfully, the days when installing speakers required sawing holes in the back shelf are gone. The speakers in modern automobiles are always in the ideal spot, and their dimensions are always consistent.

Even though the sound emitters that were installed by the manufacturer might not always be the best, it is simple and risk-free to replace them with components that are of higher quality and produce better tones.

Even if a brand-new car does not come equipped with rear speakers, there is typically at least enough wiring present to enable the installation of one.

If this does not suffice to improve the acoustics inside the vehicle, an additional amplifier may be added.

On the other hand, installing it is more complex than replacing the car radio.

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