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lefteh's avatar

How would I go about replacing the dashboard component of my car's stereo system?

Asked by lefteh (9326 points ) March 21st, 2009

I have a 1995 Saturn SC1 coupe.
I don’t exactly know the correct term for what I want to replace – it’s the actual interface of the stereo system that is in the dashboard, not the speakers itself. Right now, I can only play the radio in my car (and there is a broken tape deck). I want to buy something like this and use it so that I can listen to CDs and plug my iPod into an auxiliary jack. Can I do this? Where would I find information on how to do this?

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5 Answers

Dog's avatar

We once had a 92 Saturn and bought a new stereo at Best Buy where they installed it really cheap. They have all the stuff to do it right there. So perhaps you could go to the installation bay at a BB or other place that they install car stereos and see if they will sell you the faceplate and advise you on installation.

westy81585's avatar

Yes, you can do this. The speakers are all currently wired into your CD player/cassette deck, but since you’re not installing an amplifier that’s a moot point. You just need to buy a cd player that you know is compatible with your system (there’s a way to check this but I don’t remember how, I think some places will give you like a list of cars or models or something their CD players will work for). It also wouldn’t be hard to pry out your current CD player and see what the connections are into the rest of the system, and then just go look for the proper CD player replacement at the store.

IF you get a CD player that doesn’t fit right you’ll have to buy a mount, which can be a bit of a pain in the ass to install, but not too bad. Since you’re only doing the CD player, I would say just do it yourself. Just DO NOT cut any wires, and make sure you disconnect your battery before doing the work (so you don’t electrocute yourself). Worst case scenario you spend a few hours doing it, decide you can’t, and THEN take it to the stereo place. (But i’ve done this before, it’s really not that hard).

funkdaddy's avatar

Car stereos (the industry term is “head unit” for the piece you’re talking about) are pretty standardized, so they basically come in two sizes, one double the height of the other. So it’s usually fairly obvious whether one will fit in your car or not.

There are a number of companies that make a “kit and harness” for your car, usually you can buy them together. The kit is the plastic that goes around the edge, along with any mounting hardware you need, the harness is the wiring that goes in the back and gives you a plug to tie in to the rest of the wiring in your car.

If you’re fairly handy and don’t mind taking your time, you can definitely do the install, online retailers like Crutchfield provide some excellent installation guides that get you the basics, and you can transfer those to the specifics of your car pretty easily.

Also, you might want to go just drop by a car stereo place and take a look, see what they offer in terms of installation. Some places end up doing a basic deck install for like $15 when you buy a stereo there and they can tell you up front things like what kind of controls each has for the ipod, how well it’s integrated, things like that. Some of the implementations out there for ipod controls are just bad, but disable the controls on the actual ipod so you’re stuck with them. If nothing else you get to play with the knobs and see what you like ;)

lefteh's avatar

Thanks, all. I will check it out! Hopefully I will soon be jamming to my iPod as I drive….

maccmann's avatar

Go to Crutchfield. They have installation manuals for EVERYthing.

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