Most factory-installed car audio systems come with a flat, low-quality sound. Try to crank up the volume and what you will have is distorted sound. Like many other people, the only option is to do an upgrade. If you choose to use the car dealer in this, you will have very little or no control. Besides, a car audio installation professional will charge you a premium.
That’s why it is necessary to learn how to install a car audio system yourself. It doesn’t matter whether the audio system is a sophisticated affair. You can do it. In the end, you will get an upgrade to one with USB and micro SD capabilities, Bluetooth, 7-inch touchscreen display, and GPS navigation. Visit here to learn more about the premium car audio tools.
But how do you go about installing a car audio system yourself?
Planning Is Key
Table of Contents
It is important to start by planning the installation process from the beginning to the end. Your new audio system comes with an instruction manual. Make sure you take each component one by one.
Go through the instructions and come up with an installation plan. The key is to map out what you have and where every piece fits. Take into account the extra tools you will need to complete the task.
Be sure that you will be able to fit the dashboard back once you rip it open.
Search the internet for your materials about your car. Find out if you will need to install extra adaptors like a new radio faceplate. Check for the presence of non-standard radio parts like a detachable amplifier that can make your work complicated.
Once sure, draw a detailed diagram of where every wire will pass. Apart from organizing your thoughts, it will help you foresee potential problems. Now it’s time to get on with it.
Stage 1: Head Unit Replacement
The assumption is that you already have the right head unit size for your car. It is either single-din or double-din. Since the depths can vary, ensure you are sure you have enough space. Buy a wire harness tailor-made for your car model. The reason for that is to avoid cutting some of the wires in the dashboard.
Take the new wiring harness and splice it on the new radio. Ensure you match the descriptions and colors. If it has any add-ons, follow the instructions attach them to the radio. The hardest part of the job is attaching the harness. The rest of the work is much easier.
After you have removed the dashboard, slide the radio unit you are replacing. Take apart the old wiring harness connecting the radio to your car. Next, you need to cut the antenna connection to the radio. Pick the new antenna cable and connect it. Now is the time you slid in the new radio head unit.
Don’t just screw it in yet. Turn the car on and test if your connections are working. Is the radio refusing to turn on? Check if the cable harness splice is connected in reverse.
There’s no harm in pulling the radio out and rechecking the connections. Once you are sure it works, but the head unit in place before reassembling the dashboard. If all you needed was to swap the radio, that’s it.
Stage 2: Amplifying the Audio System
Do you still have the install diagram you drew earlier? It would help if you had an amp to power the audio system. Your choice of amp shouldn’t just be able to handle the task at hand and give your system all the necessary channels. Remember that installing an amp involves all manual processes. While you can mount it anywhere in your car, try the trunk.
You will need to connect the amp’s main power terminal directly to the battery’s positive station. The power cable should ideally run on the side opposite the signal cables to avoid signal noise. Any drilling should be done away from essential car parts as your insurance won’t cover battery replacement if you break it. Now it’s time to connect the amp to the pre-outs on the head unit. Ensure your connection conforms to the color codes. Attach the turn-on lead to the amp.
Bundle the wires and run them under the sill to the doors and the back seats to the amp in the trunk. Fasten the bundle of wires using electrical tape and wire ties. Ground the amp on the bare metal on the car frame or chassis. If you can get a bolt nearby, sand it to remove any paint. Use a ring terminal to ensure the ground wire is secured in place.
Stage 3: Installing the Speakers and Subwoofer
The speakers and subwoofer of your audio system should be carefully selected to ensure they give you good sound quality. Pick speakers from a manufacturer with a reputation for producing the best sound systems. Make sure you know what you want. Is it merely to replace the existing speaker system or to improve on it?
If you want to avoid ripping your doors apart, choose a system that fits squarely at the driver’s and the passenger’s feet, only that they should have the ability to direct the sound the right way.
As soon as you have the speakers and subwoofers in place, direct the wires back to the amp. Run the front speaker wires together with the turn-on lead and signal cables. Cables for the rear speakers should be hidden conveniently in the trunk. Connect crossovers to your speakers to improve the sound quality.
Use one crossover mounted in the trunk for every speaker. The woofers and tweeters of the speakers should ideally be connected to the crossover’s output terminals. On the other hand, the crossover’s input terminals should be connected to the amp’s output terminals.
Using a wire tie and electrical tape, hide the wires as much as you can. Remember to install a fuse on the power cable from the amp to the battery.
Stage 4: Cranking Up the Volume
You have made an effort to install a sound system in your car. Now is the time you hit the road with your sound in full blast. Crank up the volume and enjoy your favorite music on the road. Furthermore, how else can you reward yourself for the elaborate installation stages you had to go through? Wrap Up
There you go. You don’t have to spend money hiring a professional to install the car audio system for you. With these few easy steps, you will get your audio blazing up in no time! Hopefully, these easy steps on installing a car audio system yourself will be of great help.