How to replace the head unit in your car

October 5, 2020 Lily Dean 0Comment

A head unit is an integral part of your car audio. It’s the brain of the whole audio system and by changing the settings on the head unit you can change your sound output.

Head units are also sometimes called ‘car stereo’, ‘in-dash stereo’, and a few other names. They are typically placed in the center of the car’s dashboard, in a place that is easily reachable by both the driver and the passenger. Most cars come with a head unit of sorts already installed but many choose to replace their head unit because they want to give the car a new look or want to increase the number of audio features and settings. For example, if your head unit only plays music from a CD or tape, you may want to get a newer one that also has Bluetooth technology. Or maybe you simply do not like the interface of your car manufacturer’s head unit and you want something that is easier to use and more suited to your needs.

Head units aren’t only responsible for audio nowadays, although that used to be their main function. Modern head units can play videos, have car navigation systems installed, and are able to recognize voice control or even gestures.

How to replace a head unit

Whichever unit you choose, make sure it is the right size for your dashboard. Check if you will need any additional parts to complete the installation yourself. Depending on the model you may need to purchase some wires or an antenna. Make sure to unplug the battery terminals before you start so that you won’t risk having the exposed wires shorted.

After that, you can finally take the old head unit out. This step is specific to each car model so it is recommended that you use the car’s manual to find out how to take the head unit out. A small screwdriver or a flat blade will probably be needed. After you get it out, disconnect all the wiring and the antenna from the back of the old head unit.

Take your new head unit and assemble it according to the instructions. To mount the new head unit in the dashboard you will have to use one of the two methods – either the cage method which means putting a metal sleeve around your unit, or the ISO method which entails using brackets supplied with the new unit.

Now just connect all the wiring from the back of the unit. Take a look at the manual if you have to. Reassemble the dashboard, reconnect the battery and you’re all done!

What head unit is best

This will depend on your personal preferences but if you care about the number of features in your head unit then the Kenwood DNX997XR will be just right for you. The Kenwood head unit has anything you might need in your car – multiple cameras support, Garmin navigation, HD Radio, smartphone support for both Apple and Android, and an extensive audio system with room for three additional amplifiers if you wish to even more improve the car’s sound quality. You literally can’t go wrong when it comes to this Kenwood head unit.