Replacing a car radio

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Replacing a car radio

Post by Liam » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:17 am

I have a 2000 Isuzu Rodeo (200K) with the original sound system -- AM/FM/tape player. The tape player is shot. I still expect to drive this car for another 50K.

I plan to replace the radio/tape unit with a radio/CD unit. What is the best approach? Let a car audio shop (or similar) do it? Or can I do it myself?

Your thoughts? Your advice?

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Re: Replacing a car radio

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:44 am

I've done my own but it requires being pretty comfortable with disassembling your dash so I think it depends quite a bit on how handy you are. There frequently are hidden clips that you need to find. It seems like I can find instructions for practically everything online so you may be able to find some help for this. The second thing it requires is being able to figure out the wiring connections which isn't extremely hard but may require some thought.

Take a look at They offer pretty good install kits that include some specialized tools and for some combinations also sell connectors that handle all the wiring connections for you. I think their adapter on the last one I did still required me to make some wiring connections. Their instructions weren't clear on one point so I called their 800 number on a Saturday afternoon and got an accurate answer promptly.

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Re: Replacing a car radio

Post by mud » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:53 am

yup, crutchfield is hard to beat.

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Re: Replacing a car radio

Post by boffalora » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:02 pm

Yet another vote for . I've been a customer for 30 years. They have a wide selection of car stereos with various features, competitively priced. Using their site, begin with your specific vehicle model and submodel if applicable. Crutchfield will narrow the field to what will fit properly in your dash.

If you spend over a certain amount for a unit (I believe it's $120) Crutchfield provides installation parts and instructions specifically tailored to your vehicle, making the job immensely easier. If you spend less than that amount, there's a reasonable fee for these services.

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Re: Replacing a car radio

Post by mike143 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:20 pm

If vehicle offered a CD player radio then I would buy a used unit off ebay. A lot less painful than going to the junk yard yourself and often cheaper, due to competition. Alternatively I would use Crutchfield as a reference and purchase aftermarket, new, gray market, on ebay. IMHO Crutchfield is not worth the price versus gray market. The Internet is a wealth of information on replacement procedures.
Last edited by mike143 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Replacing a car radio

Post by southport » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:02 pm

Get one with Bluetooth, so you can talk on the phone hands-free. I got one and absolutely love it.

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Re: Replacing a car radio

Post by jegallup » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:07 pm

Be prepared to spend a lot of time contorted into painful positions under the dash with the gearshift lever jabbing you in the side and, if (like me) you are the sort of person who feels the need to do so when frustrated, swearing.

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Re: Replacing a car radio

Post by 6miths » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:18 pm

jegallup wrote:Be prepared to spend a lot of time contorted into painful positions under the dash with the gearshift lever jabbing you in the side and, if (like me) you are the sort of person who feels the need to do so when frustrated, swearing.
+1 Absolutely what I was thinking having done this a few times in the remote past!
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Re: Replacing a car radio

Post by FRANK2009 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:06 pm

Did it once and it worked out fine. Not sure I'd bother again. Maybe check out a car radio shop just to compare with online places like Crutchfield. I do agree with the other posters; Crutchfield is very good. I've bought both home and car stereo equipment from them.

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Re: Replacing a car radio

Post by ataloss » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:21 pm

I have also used Crutchfield and saved some money but if you shop around you might do nearly as well with an installer.

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Re: Replacing a car radio

Post by fundseeker » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:25 pm

Another vote for Crutchfield. I replaced our MDX's unit for about $150, versus the $250 the local shop wanted. And I called Crutchfield on the Saturday I did it and got the help I needed. Plus, I imagine you can see how it is done on YouTube. Good luck.

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Re: Replacing a car radio

Post by Watty » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:28 pm

I have found that there are lots of videos on the web with people showing how to replace car parts. If you Google something like "video replace radio Rodeo" you might be able to find a video of someone showing you just how to replace the radio.

It sounds like your Rodeo is still running well but between having to dig into the dashboard and possibly jerry rigging the wiring to get the new radio wired right, I would be concerned that either some piece of plastic would break or that you would start having electrical problem. On some cars the radio comes out in five miuntes and only the trim needs to be removed. If your car has to have the dash removed to replace the radio then I would probebly not do it.

It might be more worthwile doing if you were going to keep the car longer but one option to get you through the next few years would be to get an FM transmitter adapter for an iPod or MP3 player. One of these could be also used with a portable CD player.

My wife has one that is something like this one for her truck; ... ransmitter

It is not ideal but it works OK. The Biggest drawback is that you will sometimes have to reset it to a different frequency for no apparent reason.

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Re: Replacing a car radio

Post by og15F1 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:56 am

Liam wrote: Your thoughts? Your advice?
I think you can go to Best Buy and get something with CD player, aux line for ipod, etc. for $75 and then get it installed for ~$50

I'd save the headache and do that

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