How Do I Remove My Aftermarket Car Stereo?

By J. M. Maher

Removal of an aftermarket car stereo is a fairly simple task. Allow yourself plenty of time to do it. Rushing through the process may result in damage to the stereo or the dashboard.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Electrical tape
  • Pliers

Stereo removal

Step 1

Open hood and locate car battery. Using pliers, loosen the nut holding the positive connector to the battery terminal. This wire should be red or have a red marking. If not, look on the battery face plate (the top) to locate the terminal with a "+" sign next to it. Remove the connection and make sure it is no longer touching the battery in any way. If necessary, wrap the connector thoroughly with electric tape so that there is no bare metal exposed.

Step 2

Most aftermarket car stereos have a removable face plate. There should be a button in one of the corners of the face. Depress the button and remove the face.

Step 3

Remove the plastic sheathing on your dashboard that is surrounding the stereo. This plastic piece usually covers your AC and heating controls as well as the air vents and possibly the cigarette lighter and ashtray if your car has one. The screws are often hidden so take time to locate all of them and remove each one with the Phillips-head screwdriver.

Step 4

Carefully pry the plastic sheathing away from the dashboard. This will expose the mounting kit that is holding the stereo in place. There will be two screws on each side of the mount. Remove these screws using the Phillips head screw driver.

Step 5

Pull the mount away from the dashboard. This will expose the harness. The harness is a plastic connector that has wires extending from both ends. Squeeze both sides of the harness and pull it apart so that the two plastic pieces are no longer connected. Disconnect any other connections to the back of the stereo so it is free to be pulled out of dashboard.

Step 6

Wrap electrical tape around any wires in your dashboard that are exposed or frayed. Any exposed wires that come into contact with bare metal once the battery is reconnected may cause a short.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some new car stereo's have "keys" that aid in the removal process. Check with a local stereo dealer to see if they have a set that fits your player. This will allow you to bypass the removal of plastic sheathing on your dashboard.
  • Remove any tape or CD from the player before disconnecting power.
  • Turn off the car and remove the battery connection to avoid any possibility of shock.