How to Hook Up a Car Stereo

Wondering how to hook up a car stereo? If you recently purchased a new car stereo system and wanted to save a few bucks on the installation fee, this do-it-yourself project may be right up your alley. It takes only a few steps to get your new stereo bumpin'.

1. Find out what kind of system you need.
Car stereo systems need to fit into your dash, so the installation process is going to be specific to your car's make, model and year. Make sure you know exactly what you're dealing with on the car end, as well as the stereo end. You'll then need to purchase a harness that can fit both. You'll also need to make sure you have the necessary tools. It shouldn't take anything fancy, but a screwdriver, pliers, wire cutters and some electrical tape are a must.

2. Disassemble the dash.
Once you have all the necessary components, you'll need to take apart the dash and connect the stereo to the power source and car stereo speakers. This process is going to be different for each vehicle, so you'll need a copy of the owner's manual to take the dash apart. If you can't find your car's manual, go to the manufacturer's Web site, and see if they have it listed online.

3. Connect the wires.
Once the dash is off, you'll need to put in the connector harness and connect the wires properly. Before you touch any wires, make sure the power is disconnected by removing the negative cable from your car's battery. You don't want to be poking around with a screwdriver anywhere there's live electricity. After the battery is disconnected, it's a matter of connecting the right wires. The stereo should have come with a wiring diagram to help you connect the wires to the right places. The main power source is usually indicated by a red wire. The speaker wires should be either black or grey and should come paired. Follow the diagram to connect the wires.

4. Test the results, and reassemble the dash.
Now that you've taken the car apart, it's time to put it back together, complete with the new stereo. But first, reconnect the battery, and test the stereo. Try to do everything you normally would. If the stereo works properly, turn off the car, disconnect the battery and start reassembling the dashboard. Then, reconnect the battery, and take your car and its new stereo out for a test drive.

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