Car Radio Installation Cost & Tips

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Probably you’re looking to upgrade the car radio system with something like a satellite Sirius radio.

And you’re thinking about doing that all on your own. Good for you.

But before heading to that route, you first need to know that you’ve got to change the entire stereo system. Most importantly, you need to be aware that the car radio installation cost won’t be cheap.

And nor installing it will be an easy task to achieve. Either way, here, I will give you some car radio installation tips that might help you on the way.

How Much To Install Car Radio?

Car Radio Installation Cost

If you haven’t still made up your mind about the DIY radio installation. Maybe you’re not confident enough and thinking about getting a professional to do that. So, you need to know how much to install a car radio if you get professionals help.

Now, it depends on various factors. If you’re getting just a radio system to install, then it might not cost you a lot, and you can do it by yourself. However, if you’re thinking about scrapping the old stereo system to have an overhaul of the entire system, then it is a big task. And this can cost you somewhere between 500-1000 bucks.

Car Radio Installation Walkthrough:

Don’t just go and open the radio out of the dashboard and think about what you will do next.

That’s the last thing you need.

You need to plan out how you will get the thing done. And the best way to do that is to read the instructions of the components on the device that you’re about to install. That will tell you everything you require to do, as well as, the tools that would be needed for the task.

Not just that, get the manufacturer’s documentation of your vehicle to know about it. You don’t want to come across a non-standard component during installation that might make things even more complicated for an already daunting task.

So, make a blueprint after going through all the documents to make sure where and how you will run the wires through to get the car radio installed.

Installing the Head Unit:

The first thing that you need to make sure of before getting a new head unit is that it is the right size.

Make sure, the one you’ve got isn’t too big from the dashboard.

To make the installation process a bit easier, go and get a wire harness made for your car model. You won’t need to cut wires inside the dash if you get that.

What you can do with those wiring harnesses is splice them. And based on the wire colors of your new radio, get them connected. Follow the description and it will get it ready for plug-and-play.

Now, slide out the old radio unit and all the parts from the dashboard area. Disconnect the connection wires between the stock radio and your car.

If all you’re doing is just changing the unit, then secure it with the dashboard following the instructions. And it’s ready to enjoy.

Powering the System:

Matching the wires and crimping them together is the easy part. Now starts the actual work!

You’ve got to get the power to your new car radio system. For that, you will need an amp. So, get an amp that can offer the power you need. Then find a spot and install it there.

Though you can install it anywhere you like, a word of advice that you should try to follow is never to mount it upside down. Plus, place it in a place where it can breathe. So, the trunk is the best place for the amp.

Another thing that you can do is get an amp-install kit. The advantage of getting it is that the package includes everything to the amp powered.

Now, coming back to the installation. You need to connect the battery with the main power lead of your amp. To make sure, there are no risks involved, get the battery’s negative wire disconnected from the post.

Then you need to connect the power wire (with fuse holder) using the supplied ring terminal to the positive post of the battery.

You can’t leave the wires lying around, it will be a mess. So, get those through the pre-existing routes and run them along the holes.  But if there are no such holes, you’ve got to take the drills and make some in the firewall. More work for you.

Once, you’ve got the wire run through the firewall, get the amp connected to the pre-outs of the head unit that you’ve got. Following the standard color code, make the connections. Don’t forget to connect your amp with the turn-on lead ( it is your amps on/off switch).

To make sure, the wires get lined up properly around the car, use wire ties, tapes and fasten them in a bundle.

After all that, you’ve got to get on connecting the amp’s ground. Just find the bolt, wire, or screw that will go and connect with the bare metal chassis of the car. Then just slip the ground wire there and tighten it to have it secure there.

Speakers and Sub Installation:

If you’re getting new speakers and a subwoofer for the car, then you’ve to complete this part too.

It isn’t that hard.

Just get the system in place and get the wires routed back to the amp from the speakers and subwoofer.

You need to get the wire for the front speaker on the same side of the signal cable. And while doing so, you make sure, you hide the wires under the trunk or somewhere to make sure it doesn’t hang out and look like a mess.

If your speaker got crossovers then you can follow the manufacturer’s instruction to connect a subwoofer to it. Then just get the amp’s output to go the input of the crossovers.

I know it sounds confusing, but you can take time and follow the diagram provided with the kits to get things hooked up the correct way.

Powering Through the End:

After putting through a lot of hours of work, you’ve come to the end. Now, all you need to do is get the remaining wires connected.

The stereo wire adapter needs to get connected to the main car’s wire harness you’ve got earlier. The same goes for the antenna cable.

You shouldn’t have any wire hanging out that didn’t get connected. It is the easiest way to know if things got attached right.

To make sure that you’ve got it right, just turn the power on your radio and test if the sound comes out of the speakers.

If the result is positive, then my friend, you’ve got the car radio installed right.

Car Radio Installation Tips

You get a picture of how to get the car radio installed. But what is the takeaway from here?

Ok, I will point out some of the car radio installation tips that you should follow to make life easy while trying to get the whole thing done by you.

  • Don’t just jump the gun. Make a plan of how you will do the entire system overhaul for the radio and stereo with the necessary tools and stuff.
  • Get help from your vehicle. It will have codes that will show exactly what parts you need to work with for the installation. Use the manufacturer’s guide if you’ve got one or look for one on the internet as there will be documentation to show how to go about this.
  • When you move and add the new equipment, there will be so many little parts. Don’t just throw them away. Hang onto them as some of it might be required for the installation. So, get a cup holder where you store them away for later use if needed.
  • A proper installation means, no mess. And to have that, you need to find the right route for your cables so that it doesn’t hang out from the lining. Not only is it for making things look tidy, but it is also important for safety. You don’t want to get your feet tangled in wire or anything like that for sure.

These are some pro tips that you should keep in mind while getting with the installation. And there are some others of which I’ve talked about during the installation part itself. So, go through them slowly, and try to follow them and you won’t have trouble with the whole thing.


How much does car radio installation cost?

The car radio installation cost by an expert can cost around 85-100 bucks an hour. So, based on your installation, if it is the entire system, it can cost almost 500-1000 bucks.

Where to get car stereo installed?

Walmart is one of the places where you can buy a new car stereo and they have professionals that will get the stereo installed in the car.

Can you get the radio installed in BestBuy?

Yes, BestBuy also installs radio. You’ve got to get an appointment for the setup.

Is it possible to install a car radio?

From what you’ve seen so far, it isn’t impossible to get the car radio installed all by yourself. Though, it is better to let a professional handle it, because it requires a lot of time and effort. Plus, they will offer a tidier finish than you might able to achieve. But if you feel confident enough, you can do it, no doubt.


Yes, car radio installation cost can go really high, and it, therefore, seems right to do it on your own.

With the car radio installation tips, you can do that. And if you’re good with following instructions and know your way around tools, then it won’t be too hard for you.

But if you’re not great with either of them, then no matter how much to install car radio costs, you should look for expert help.

Just Don’t mess it around with the car man that’s the word of advice.

Also read:

1. How to Improve FM Signal on Radio with a Single Wire Antenna
2. Why Is The Height Of A VHF Radio Antenna Important

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