How to Set Up a Car Audio System

Prepare the Power Connection and Install the Head Unit

1.

Lift the vehicle's hood and disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery. Use a wrench or pliers to loosen the negative and positive battery cables.

2.

Move the negative battery cable away from the battery terminal to prevent shorting the vehicle's electrical system and connected components.

3.

Remove the positive battery cable and place the amplifier ring terminal onto the positive battery post. Return the positive battery cable to the positive battery post and tighten the cable to the battery with the wrench or pliers.

4.

Connect the amp wiring kit power supply cable to the ring terminal. Remove the fuse from the ring terminal's fuse holder until the installation of the stereo and amplifier is complete.

5.

Route the power supply cable into the interior of the vehicle through the firewall. Use an already established path to the inside of the vehicle or create a new one with a drill and 14 mm drill bit. Place a rubber grommet into the new opening in the firewall to protect the cable.

6.

Remove the car’s factory stereo. Consult the car’s repair manual for exact instructions. Disconnect the stereo wiring and antenna cable from the back of the stock unit.

7.

Slide the new stereo's installation sleeve into the empty stereo mounting dock. Use a flat screwdriver to bend the metal tabs on the inside of the sleeve to secure it into the dock. Pull the stereo wiring and antenna cable from the back of the dock.

8.

Plug the stereo wiring connectors into the leads of a wiring harness adapter. Plug patch cables into the leads of the adapter and feed them through the back of the stereo dock and down to the floor of the vehicle.

9.

Plug the wiring harness adapter leads into the outlets on the back of the new stereo unit. Plug the antenna cable into the FM antenna outlet on the stereo's rear panel. If you have a GM vehicle, you will need to first connect the antenna cable to a GM antenna adapter and then connect the adapter to the antenna outlet.

10.

Slide the new stereo into the installation sleeve that now lines the inside of the stereo mounting dock of the vehicle. Push the unit into the dock until it locks into place.

11.

Replace any panels that were displaced to remove the factory stereo. See the repair manual for instructions specific to your vehicle.

Mounting and Connecting the Amplifier

1.

Route the power cable down the driver's side of the car to the trunk. Fold the rear seats down to feed the cable into the trunk.

2.

Place the amp in the trunk near a bolt or screw that is directly connected to the vehicle's frame (for grounding purposes).

3.

Route the patch cables on the opposite side of the car to the trunk.

4.

Plug the power supply cable into the power input on the amplifier. Some amps require that you remove a Phillips screw at the top of the power input before inserting the power wiring. Replace the screw once the cable is in place.

5.

Plug the patch cables into the signal and turn on the amplifier’s lead inputs.

6.

Insert the grounding wire from the amplifier wiring kit into the grounding input on the amp. Connect the wire to a screw or bolt for grounding. Any grounding point less than 20 inches from the amp and directly connected to the frame of the car will suffice.

Complete the Installation and Setup

1.

Return to the car’s engine compartment.

2.

Place the negative battery cable back onto the negative battery post and tighten the cable to the terminal with a wrench.

3.

Replace the fuse into the ring terminal's fuse holder. Close the hood.

Setting up a car audio system requires little in the way of electronic expertise. You need to consider the options that your particular vehicle provides, including the available stock components and the size and layout of your car.