How to Install a Touch Screen Stereo in a Car

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There is no need to keep a vehicle's stock stereo. The technology of touch screen car stereos allows for the use of changing a radio station or adjusting the stereo volume with just the touch of a finger. Self-installing a touch screen car stereo saves hundreds of dollars in installation and labor fees. The job can be done with just a few hours of work and concentration. With the proper tools and pre-planning, it should go smoothly and headache-free.

Things You'll Need

  • New touch screen stereo Wire cutters Pliers Crimpers Screwdrivers Drill Dremel Ratchet set Rubber mallet Wire tubing Flashlight Black tape Double-sided tape Wire harness
  • Make a detailed plan. It is important to begin organized with all of the necessary equipment, rather than to start installing and realize later that more tools are needed.

  • Replace the in-dash radio that controls the car system, known as the head unit. It is vital to make sure that the new head unit is the correct size for the vehicle. Head units come in sizes of single-din, which is a 180 by 50 mm panel, or double-din, which is a 180 by 100 mm panel.

  • Unscrew any set screws or hex bolts that secure the fairing to remove the dashboard pieces around the radio, then cautiously pull out the dashboard pieces.

  • Unscrew the set screws that are adhering the stock radio and pull out the old head unit.

  • Disconnect the colored wires that were behind the stock radio. Cautiously pry apart the wire harness that connects the stock radio to the car.

  • Disconnect the radio's antenna connection and place aside the old head unit. Don't throw away the old head unit, though, because to sell the car in the future, the stock radio will need to be re-installed so you can keep the new touch screen stereo.

  • Connect the antenna cable and put in the new head unit. Turn on the car to check if the connections work properly. If they do, then screw the new radio into place and connect the audio/visual cable to the touch screen monitor. If the radio does not turn on, however, then it is like a faulty splice in the wire harness. To fix this, remove the radio and check all of the connections.

  • Secure the head unit and reassemble the dashboard.

Tips & Warnings

  • To facilitate the installation process, consider purchasing a wire harness made distinctly for the car's make and model. According to Popular Mechanics, a wire harness costs about $20 as of 2006 and replaces the need to cut any wires inside of the dash. To use a wire harness, splice it to the new radio by matching wire colors and descriptions before taking apart the dash.

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