Install car stereo: How to Install a Car Stereo (with Pictures)

Car Stereo Installation Parts at Crutchfield

How to shop for car stereo installation parts

When installing a new car stereo, you’ll need some basic installation gear. You can also add new features, or retain existing ones, with the help of some other accessories.

The easiest way for you to shop for these items is to tell us about your vehicle. Then, when you purchase a car stereo, we’ll tell you on the way to the Cart which adapters and kits you absolutely need to install a new receiver. We’ll also show you some optional things to consider.

Dash kits, wiring harnesses, and antenna adapters are the basic installation accessories that you need to install a new car stereo. Don’t stress over these things. When you tell us what you drive, we’ll do the work for you and show you the right gear for your car.

Factory system adapters

The radios in many of today’s vehicles are tied into the car’s electronics and computer systems, or have a factory installed amplifier with complex wiring. These factory system adapters make it possible to install a new stereo and keep all of the other electronic functions working. And once again, once we know what you drive, we’ll let you know if you need one these adapters.

Steering wheel audio control adapters

Your car probably has audio controls on the steering wheel. Steering wheel control adapters let you continue using those controls when you install a new car stereo. Once you tell us about your car and choose the stereo you want, our website will tell you which of these adapters will work for you.

Car audio wiring services

When installing a new stereo, you have to connect the stereo’s wires by soldering or crimping to an installation adapter harness, which then plugs into your car’s wiring connector. With our Crutchfield ReadyHarness™ service, our installation professionals will connect the wires from your new stereo to the adapter harness for you. You’ll usually still have to connect a wire or two, but we’ll do everything we can without actually having your car on hand.

Universal mounting kits

Here you’ll find parts that’ll help you custom-install a new stereo in a car with an unusual or unusable dash opening.

Car antennas

We carry a selection of replacement radio antennas for many vehicles.

Auxiliary cables, aux input adapters, iPhone adapters, and other accessories

These categories feature a variety of adapter cables available for your stereo. Some are specific to factory radios, others are options for aftermarket stereos. Check out the different categories if you need something specific. Of course, if you tell us what you drive, we can quickly narrow down the options to make shopping easier.

Wire connectors and tools

In these categories, you’ll find a lot of handy items that belong in almost any toolbox. Wire strippers, panel removal tools, crimp caps, Posi-Products wire connectors, and more. If you’re already shopping for something, be sure to check out these products before you leave. If you’re a gearhead like us, we promise you’ll find something that you “need.

Sound deadening

The roar of the engine, wind noise, tires on pavement — all of that adds up to what we call “road noise.” It masks the details in your music when you’re driving down the road. That’s why we all turn up the radio once we get on the highway. Sound deadening materials attach to your car’s body panels and help reduce vibration and external noise so that you can hear your music better.

Remote controls

Remote controls for new stereos aren’t as common as they used to be, but we still carry a bunch of them anyway. Just in case.

How to Install Car Audio System in Your Home (6 Steps)

To install a car audio system in your home, you’ll need to rig up a power supply for the stereo head and then connect speakers, an amp, and a subwoofer just as you would in your car. A computer PSU is a commonly used power source for this project. 

My name is Donovan, and I love everything about making and listening to music. I’ve worked as a recording artist and producer in the music industry and have built several home studios. I’ve done some research to know how to use a car audio system in your home. 

This post will show you how to install a car audio system in your home. I’ll walk you through the steps of modifying a power source to power your car stereo and how you can connect the rest of the system for home use. 

Let’s get rolling. 

Contents

  • Key Takeaways
  • Initial Thoughts
  • How to Install Car Audio System in Your Home
    • Step 1: Get Your Tools/Supplies
    • Step 2: Prep the PSU
    • Step 3: Connect Car Stereo Head to PSU
    • Step 4: Connect Speaker Wires
    • Step 5: Connect PSU to Amplifier 
    • Step: 6: Test the Stereo and Enjoy
    • Best Power Supply for Car Stereo in House
    • How to Connect a Car Stereo to a House Plug Without PSU
    • Car Stereo Home Conversion Kit
  • FAQs
    • Can you put the car sound system in the house? 
    • Can you hook up a car stereo to a house outlet? 
    • How do you power a car sub in your house? 
    • How do I connect my car amp to my home stereo? 
    • What is the difference between a car subwoofer and a home subwoofer? 
    • Are car subwoofers good for home use? 
    • Can you connect a car amplifier to electricity? 
  • Final Thoughts 

Key Takeaways

  • The most challenging aspect of installing a car audio system in your home is connecting the stereo head to a power source, such as a computer power unit.  
  • The average person does not need to try installing a car audio system at home, and it’s easier to use a standard stereo. 
  • As long as you have a power source, setting up the rest of a car audio system at home is pretty straightforward. 
  • Always be sure to take safety precautions and work carefully when dealing with electronics and wire splicing. 
  • You cannot directly connect a car stereo to a wall plug in your house because the stereo uses DC power, and the house uses AC power. 

Initial Thoughts

You can hook up a car audio system in your home, but this is a bit technical, so I don’t recommend trying it unless you are reasonably competent with electrical and stereo system setup. 

A car stereo is designed to run on DC power, and a home stereo works on AC power. The simplest way to think about this is that the car stereo needs a dedicated power source, which is your car’s battery in most situations. 

To get your car audio system to work at home, you need to somehow convert DC power into AC power. The most common way this is done for the purposes of this article is to use a separate PSU, or power source, from a different piece of equipment. 

A desktop computer PSU is a good option for this and is what I’ll base my instructions on. But in order to make this work, you’ll need to cut some wires and splice your car stereo head to the PSU. 

If that sounds like a daunting task or is just over your head, I don’t recommend that you try to use a car stereo in your home. If you don’t do it right, you can risk injuring yourself or causing problems with the electricity in your home. 

There really isn’t much reason to install a car audio system in your home unless you have a spare car stereo you don’t want to waste. It’s easier to use equipment that is already designed for in-home use.  

How to Install Car Audio System in Your Home

Ok, now let’s dig into the details about how you can install your car audio system in your home. Again, this isn’t a task the average person should tackle because it’s somewhat technical. But if you feel good about making it happen, it can be done. 

Step 1: Get Your Tools/Supplies

You need to have some special items to make this project work. Assemble all of these before you begin so you’ll have everything on hand as you start the installation. 

The first major item you need is a power supply. This is essential because you can’t just plug in the car stereo into your home and need to modify it from DC to AC power. 

Most people tackling this project will use a modified power supply from a PC computer. You can buy one of these new or remove it from an existing PC. It will have enough output to power the car stereo effectively. 

You can also buy a DC/AC power converter, but these aren’t as effective as a higher-output PSU. Use a PC PSU if you have access to one. 

You’ll also need these tools and supplies: 

  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • Electrical tape
  • Wire nuts/connectors
  • Screwdriver
  • Speaker wires
  • Power cables (to plug in power supply once modified)
  • Cable jumper connector

Step 2: Prep the PSU

You’ll need to do a bit of modification to get the PSU ready to connect to the care stereo head. There will be several cords and cables sticking out of the PSU, and you’ll need to cut a few of these and splice them together. 

All of the PSU wires should be connected in one bundle. Cut any black wire you see here to free it up for connecting it to the stereo head. This is the ground wire that you’ll connect to the car stereo. 

You also need to cut the yellow wire on the PSU. With the black and yellow wires exposed, you know how a positive and negative power terminal to connect to your car stereo head. 

Strip the black and yellow wires from the PSU with the wire strippers until about ½-inch of the wire is exposed. 

Next, cut or pull out another black ground wire and the green wire you see in the PSU. Strip these back and splice them together. The green wire is the control signal wire, and it needs to be jumped to a ground wire to get the PSU to work. 

Step 3: Connect Car Stereo Head to PSU

Now you need to connect the ground and power wires from your car stereo head to the PSU because this will give you the proper power.  

Take the two wires you just stripped from the PSU and match them with the corresponding wires on the car stereo head. You’ll match black-to-black and yellow-to-yellow. 

Twist these wires together and cover them with tape or use a different type of wire connection, like a wire nut or shrink connector. Make sure these connections are solid before continuing.

Also, ensure that the PSU is not plugged into a wall outlet when messing with wires. 

Step 4: Connect Speaker Wires

Now that you have the main power connected from the PSU to the car stereo head, you need to connect the speaker wires from the head to your speakers. 

You often use more speakers for your car stereo than you do for a house stereo, so you might not need to connect all the speaker wires if you only use two speakers for a home stereo.  

If you are using all of the speakers from your car stereo, you need to match the speaker wires from your stereo head to the amp you use for the stereo.  

If you are just using two wires for two speakers in a home studio, pair the front right and front left with the corresponding speakers in your system. Tape off the ends of any loose wires to keep them safe and out of the way. 

Connecting the speaker wires from the amp to the speakers might require you to loosen up a screw, depending on which type of amp you use. Be sure to screw these back down tight after you install the proper wires. 

You can also connect your subwoofer to the amplifier if you use one in your setup. This will be the same setup as connecting the sub to the amp in your car, and you just hardwire them directly. 

Step 5: Connect PSU to Amplifier 

Now you need to connect the PSU to the amplifier to get that unit powered up and ready to rock. 

Connect a black wire from the PSU to the negative power terminal on your amp. Connect the yellow wire from the PSU to the positive power terminal on your amp. 

If you haven’t done so, you’ll need to strip back these wires. And be sure to properly attach or screw the connections into the amp. 

Step: 6: Test the Stereo and Enjoy

You’re pretty much all set now, but you should test your stereo system to ensure everything works. 

First, plug in all the power cords you need. If you followed all the steps above, just plug your PSU power cord into a wall outlet, and the rest of the system should have power. 

Play some music on your car stereo and see if you get a signal out of your stereo speakers. If everything sounds good, you’re all set and can enjoy your music. 

If you run into any issues, double-check your wiring connections to ensure they are fastened properly. One wrong wire can result in no sound coming, so just take your time and get things rewired if necessary. 

Best Power Supply for Car Stereo in House

I think the best power supply for a car stereo in your house is using the PSU from a desktop computer. These have enough output to power your system easily, and you can also salvage one from a used PC without spending much money. 

You can also purchase a dedicated AC/DC power converter, but just make sure it has enough volts to work with your stereo. The plug-in type of converters don’t work very well, and you’ll get a lot of signal loss that isn’t ideal. 

As far as which PSU to use, it doesn’t really matter as long as you have one that works properly and is in fairly good condition. You’ll be good to go as long as it puts out power and you can make the wiring connections correctly. 

How to Connect a Car Stereo to a House Plug Without PSU

There really isn’t a good way to connect a car stereo to a house plug without using a PSU. I don’t recommend pursuing this because you are likely to run into all sorts of issues, and using a PSU is simpler. 

You can technically use a plug-in AC/DC concerted rather than a PSU. These types of units allow you to plug in the DC power from your car stereo, and it will change it into AC power right in the wall socket.  

But you’ll notice some pretty significant signal loss if you go this route, and you won’t get good audio quality as a result. It’s not worth going through all the trouble of even attempting to use a car stereo in your home unless you use a PSU. 

I’ve seen some videos of people using a car battery in their house to run a car stereo system. While this definitely works, it’s more of a novelty than a setup I’d actually recommend using. For obvious reasons, you don’t want a car battery sitting around your living room. 

The only way to effectively and safely connect a car stereo to a house plug is to use a modified PSU. But please let me know if you are aware of any other ways to make this happen!

Car Stereo Home Conversion Kit

I’ve also heard of some car stereo home conversion kits that are available to purchase. All these really are is a PSU and some instructions, so they aren’t necessary unless you want a little added convenience. 

These kits will cost more than a used PSU and function essentially the same way, so I’d stick to the DIY route rather than a kit. But either option will allow you to set up your car stereo at home. 

I don’t have any specific recommendations on which kit to use, as I’ve never tried any of them. The attempts I’ve used with a PSU work fine and are affordable, so that is good enough for me!

FAQs

Here are a few short answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to how to install a car audio system in your home. 

Can you put the car sound system in the house? 

Hooking up a car sound system in your house is possible, but you need a way to convert DC power to AC power. This means you’ll need to attach the wires from the car stereo head to a different power source, which requires some know-how and tools. 

Can you hook up a car stereo to a house outlet? 

You can’t really hook up a car stereo to a house outlet directly. Car stereos are designed to work on DC power, and house outlets are AC power. You’ll need a converter or power source to make this happen and need to splice some wires together.  

How do you power a car sub in your house? 

You can use a power inverter to power up a car subwoofer in your house. Or you can connect the car stereo head to a power inverter and then connect the rest of the stereo just like you would in your car. 

How do I connect my car amp to my home stereo? 

It’s pretty easy to connect a car amp to your home stereo if your amp has the proper inputs. You just need to plug in the speaker lines, input lines, and power source. You can use the same input chains if you use your car stereo head as the primary input source. 

What is the difference between a car subwoofer and a home subwoofer? 

The main difference between a car subwoofer and a home subwoofer is that a car subwoofer is passive, and a home subwoofer is active. This means that car subwoofers require an outside power source while home subwoofers are powered as they are. 

Are car subwoofers good for home use? 

Car subwoofers can be good for home use and essentially function as stereo subwoofers if you get them properly connected to a power source. To avoid issues, you must ensure that the car subwoofer draws the same load as your home stereo.

Can you connect a car amplifier to electricity? 

You can use a separate power source to connect a car amplifier to house electricity, but you can’t use the amp without doing so. The amp needs a power source because it’s set up to run on DC power rather than the AC power the house is on. 

Final Thoughts 

It’s not that difficult to install a car audio system in your home as long as you have a little technical knowledge of wiring and home audio. The key is using a PSU that converts AC to DC power, which enables the car stereo to be plugged into a wall outlet. 

I really don’t think there is much reason to install a car audio system at home. You can get just as good of audio quality and simplify the installation process by going with a normal home stereo system. But it’s still a very doable project if you want or need to!

Have you ever installed a car audio system at home? Why did you do it? Let me know in the comments below.    

Do-it-yourself installation and connection of a car radio (instruction + wiring diagram)

Installing a car radio is a creative process, but not very complicated. An experienced motorist, at least a little familiar with the basics of electrical engineering, can easily connect the car radio with his own hands. We will tell you in this article how to properly connect the radio in the car, and in what sequence it should be done.

It should be remembered that an incorrectly installed and connected radio will not only sound bad, but may even lead to a short circuit or even a fire in the car.

A good video instruction for installing and connecting a car radio in a car can be viewed on the video at the bottom of this page.

Incorrect connection of the car radio causes the following problems:

  • When the car radio is parked, it consumes too much electricity, as a result of which the battery is constantly being discharged and there is a chance that the engine will not start if it is parked for a long time.
  • When listening to music at high volume, the radio starts to “stutter”, there are significant distortions of the audio signal. Also, at high volume, the car radio can simply turn off.
  • Radio settings are lost when the power is turned off.

All of the above problems in 90% of cases occur due to incorrect connection.

Features of installing car radios

According to the installation method, modern car radios are of two types: built-in and stationary.

  1. Built-in car radios are usually equipped with a removable front panel or a special shutter – devices that are simple, but effectively protect the radio from theft.
  1. Fixed radios are usually installed by car manufacturers on the assembly line. The original shape and non-standard sizes save them from theft.

When installing a car radio with your own hands, you need to consider the following features.

Firstly , you need to connect the radio only in accordance with the instructions. Failure to comply with this rule may lead to its failure or even a fire. In this case, you should not use the installation instructions for other car radios, since even one manufacturer may have different plugs and wire markings depending on the model.

Most radio tape recorders have a connection diagram on the top cover, and we will give a typical car radio connection diagram below.

Secondly, , you need to remember that the wiring of most domestic cars since Soviet times has been designed for the installation of radios and radios with mechanical tuning, which can create additional inconvenience.

For example, in “Zhiguli” or “Samara”, regardless of the position of the key in the ignition, voltage is constantly supplied to the power wire of the car radio. But when the key is turned in the lock, the electrical circuit opens for a fraction of a second, which is enough to erase all settings from the radio’s memory (if it is not non-volatile).

The process of installing and connecting a car radio

The process of installing car radios of different types and manufacturers is not much different from each other. To do this, the container without a radio tape recorder is installed in a regular nest and fixed by bending the metal petals outward along its perimeter.

  • In modern cars, a special ISO connector is provided for connecting a car radio. The whole connection in this case boils down to the fact that you will need to insert the connector block of the car radio into the mating ISO connector of your car.
  • In older cars, as well as in many domestic cars, the ISO connector is not provided by design. To install the car radio in this case, you will have to purchase the appropriate connector and connect it yourself. Fortunately, the wires on such connectors are usually marked and signed.

Let’s move on to connecting the car radio wires to the ISO connector. Take a look at the wiring diagram below. As you can see from the diagram, the left side of the ISO connector is responsible for powering and controlling the radio, and the right side is for connecting speakers to it.

Typical car radio connection diagram

The main stage of car radio connection is power connection. It is at this stage that most mistakes are made.

Power is connected to the car radio through a separate fuse using a flexible stranded wire with a cross section of at least 3 mm 2 . In most cases, it will be enough to use a 10 amp fuse, it will reliably protect the power circuit from emergency situations.

The radio is powered by three wires: yellow, red and black.

+12 V (yellow) – main power wire. The built-in amplifier is powered from it, and it also serves to save the settings of the car radio. This wire is connected through a fuse directly to the battery. It is desirable that the length of the wire from the battery to the fuse does not exceed 30 cm. On many vehicles, the ignition switches are in the ACC (accessory) position. When the key is turned to the ACC position, power is supplied to the car radio, interior heater and cigarette lighter socket, but the car’s ignition system is de-energized.

GND (black) – connects to the negative battery terminal. But this is ideal. Due to the low power of the car radio, it is allowed to connect the black wire to the car body. First you need to ensure good contact with the body, cleaning the junction from dirt and oxides. You can also use a contact lubricant to protect them from oxidation.

Yellow power wire can also be marked as B+ , BU , Batt .

It can be connected to the red ACC wire (bypassing the ignition switch) – this will allow you to listen to music without a key. But in this case, the radio tape recorder will constantly consume current, and if the machine is idle for a long time (from several days to 2-3 weeks), the battery may run out.

The following wires are responsible for connecting acoustic speakers to the car radio:

  • FL – front left,
  • FR – front right,
  • RL – rear left,
  • RR – rear right.

When connecting the speakers to the radio, be sure to observe the correct polarity, otherwise the sound will be of poor quality, since the acoustics in this case will work in antiphase.

For some car radios, the outputs to the speakers are duplicated with separate “tulip” connectors – it is advisable to use them if the acoustics installed in the car have the same connectors.

It is advisable to use special speaker wires to connect speakers. They often come with a radio.

And do not try to connect any of the outputs intended for connecting the acoustics to the “mass” of the car – you will be guaranteed the failure of the car radio!

The remaining wires in the car radio are responsible for controlling additional functions and equipment.

ANT (white) – antenna control. Acts as a power source for the internal active antenna, or gives a control signal to turn on the automatic external antenna.

ILL (ILLUMINATION) – is responsible for the backlight of the car radio. It is connected to the “plus” of the side lights power circuit.

MUTE – controls the muting of the sound from the mobile car kit. The sound is muted when this pin is connected to ground.

Parking Line – found on most car DVD players. Connects to the parking brake sensor. With this connection, you can watch DVD only when the car is on the “handbrake”.

After connecting the power, acoustics and antenna wires to the ISO connector, this entire bundle is pulled inside the container so that their ends with connectors extend into the car interior to a length convenient for work (approximately as shown in the photo at the beginning of the article), and connect to the appropriate connectors on the back of the radio.

The car radio must then be switched on and listened to. If everything works fine, then it can be inserted into the container until it stops (the latches on the sides should work).

Good to know when installing a car radio

When installing and connecting a radio in a car, unusual situations often arise that cannot be foreseen in any manual.

So, if you use a standard car antenna when installing a car radio, then sometimes the length of its wire may not be enough. Many cars are still equipped with antennas designed for the installation of old-style radio tape recorders. They have an antenna socket located on a “tail” that is only fifteen centimeters long.

In this case, you can try to connect the antenna blindly after connecting all other wires to the radio. If this fails, then, most likely, you will have to remove the console and stick the antenna plug by touch after installing the car radio in the container.

By the way, after about half an hour of such a “Kama Sutra” you will probably begin to think about buying a new car radio antenna.

If it becomes necessary to remove the car radio with a removable front panel from the container, to do this, it will be necessary to insert the two flat keys included with the radio until it stops on the sides of it. But before that, do not forget to remove the front control panel – it is usually detached with the “Release” button.

Video instructions for installing and connecting a car radio with your own hands

How to install a car radio?

Many car owners prefer to buy and install the car radio themselves, as it is a simple process and does not take much time.

But it should be understood that if the device is connected incorrectly, a lot of problems can be provoked:

  • when the car is parked, the radio will consume too much electricity, which will constantly discharge the battery, which can lead to engine start failures;
  • music at high volume will sound of poor quality or the radio will simply turn off;
  • When the power is turned off, all device settings will be lost.

In addition, illiterate installation can even lead to a fire in the car. Therefore, in the absence of any skills, it is better to entrust this work to professionals.

How to install a car radio yourself?

Before choosing and installing a car radio, it is necessary to take into account the size of the regular place. It is worth knowing that the width of all devices is the same, but the height is different.

Therefore, if in your car you can only use a 1 DIN car radio with a height of 50 mm, then, of course, other models simply will not work. But when the car has a regular place for a 2 DIN device (100 mm), then in this situation it will be possible to buy a specialized adapter frame and install a car radio both 2 DIN and 1 DIN.

In addition, there are several options for mounting the head unit:

  1. Built-in models, most often equipped with a removable front panel or a dedicated shutter. In this case, the radio will be protected from theft.
  2. Stationary devices. They are produced for a specific vehicle model.

To properly install any car radio, you must follow the instructions. It is also worth knowing that the wiring of domestic cars is designed for mounting a head unit with mechanical adjustment, which can create certain difficulties, so in this situation it is better to seek help from specialists.

We install the car radio 1 and 2 din

The principle of mounting the radio from different manufacturers is not much different. The body is fixed by bending the metal petals, they are placed along the perimeter of the structure.

In modern cars, a specialized ISO connector is provided for connecting the head unit, which is enough to snap into the equipment socket and connect the stereo system, power supply and antenna to it.

This connector is not provided in obsolete vehicle models, so you will have to purchase it additionally and connect it to the system. But fortunately, such connectors most often have clear markings to make it easier to deal with all the wires.

Steps for connecting to the ISO connector:

  1. Power is connected using a separate fuse. A 10 A fuse is used as standard.
  2. Power is supplied by 3 wires (yellow, red and black). Yellow is the main power cable, an audio amplifier is also connected to it, and it is also designed to save all the configured operating parameters of the radio. This wire is connected to the battery, but always through a fuse. The red wire is designed to connect the head unit using the ignition switch. The black wire is designed to connect to the negative terminal of the battery. But if the car radio does not have high power parameters, then it is allowed to connect the black wire to the vehicle body. But in this situation, it is important to pre-clean the contact area from dirt and rust, and it is also best to additionally use a special lubricant that will protect this area from oxidation.
  3. The key to proper speaker connection is to maintain the correct polarity, otherwise it will not be possible to count on good quality sound. The blue, green, purple and orange wires are for this purpose. It is best to use the appropriate acoustic wiring, which basically comes with the radio. It is important to remember that it is impossible to connect the wires for connecting the acoustics to the “mass” of the car, as this will immediately lead to damage to the equipment.

Other wires correspond to different additional options:

  1. White wire is used to control the antenna, both external and external.
  2. ILL is used to illuminate the equipment, connected to the positive terminal of the parking lights.
  3. Parking Line, it connects to the parking brake. When the car is on the handbrake, only then it will be possible to view the DVD player. This is quite important for safety compliance.
  4. AUX sockets (or tulips), suitable for connecting an external amplifier.

If the work has been done correctly, then after connecting all the wiring, it will be possible to turn on the device, set a few settings and reboot the equipment.