How to Remove Car Stereo

To remove a car stereo is not a difficult task. It’s not very technical and you don’t need a whole bunch of tools. But you will need the basics. You might have this question when you have a new car or want a new sound system for your old car.

Either way, you will need to replace the stereo. That means you will need to know how to remove a car stereo.

Now, if you don’t feel confident about tampering with the electrical wires, you should leave this job for a professional. But it’s a fairly straightforward procedure and you can do it yourself. And by the time you are done reading this, you will be more than equipped for the job. Let’s begin.

How to Remove Car Stereo without Keys?

The answer to the question: how to remove car stereo starts with disconnecting your car battery to prevent accidental shocks and short circuits.

Remove the Negative Battery Cable

Remove the black clip on the negative terminal first and keep it some place safe. Then do the same with the red clip on the positive terminal. Don’t let the positive terminal touch any metallic elements of your car.

Remove the Dash Panels

Then you must deal with the trim. This is the border of the stereo which might be clipped on or installed with screws and bolts. Check the border and remove the screws, if any, with a screwdriver. This is an expensive piece, so you must be careful not to crack it.

If there is a cover, as some newer cars do, you must remove that gently with a pry bar. Don’t use a screwdriver for this because it might easily crack the cover and replacing it can be expensive too.

Unscrew/Unfasten the Stereo System

This is a big step and you must do this carefully.

  • Step 1: You must check both sides of the stereo for clips. These are used to hold the stereo in.
  • Step 2: Take out your thin tools and insert them into the two slits on both sides of the stereo. Sometimes they are in the back, which means you need a flashlight.
  • Step 3: If your car has holes instead of thin slots, you will need a wire or a tool with two prongs to access it. Check the instruction manual to be sure.
  • Step 4: Then you must insert the radio keys (also referred to as din tools) into both sides simultaneously and undo the two clips. If you don’t have keys, you can use a flat metal of the same thickness to fit into the slots. Files and hangers are good options. Knives look the same but are not recommended.
  • Step 5: Keep pressing the tool till you hear a click sound. When you do, remove the radio while the tools are still in the slot.If your car has bolts, you need a socket wrench or a screwdriver to remove them. Make sure you keep the screws and bolts safe so that you can put the stereo back in its place safely.
  • Step 6: Once you get the body of the stereo out of its socket, you must grab the outer edge and pull it outwards in a straight line. Do this till the entire body comes out.Sometimes you might have to jiggle it a bit to get it out completely. But don’t yank it out because the radio will be plugged in. That’s the next step.

Remove the Stereo Wires

Now comes the question of how to remove a car stereo. This step starts with unplugging the stereo. And that can be done only after the stereo is completely out of its socket.

Typically, there is a minimum of two of those plugs at the back of it, which is why you don’t yank the stereo out entirely.

You will see the plug and that’s your cue to disconnect it. Locate the clamp that is holding the electrical wires on the left side to keep the stereo connected. The clam must be squeezed for the stereo to be disconnected. If there are other wires, you must check the instruction manual and remove them all accordingly.


Q: What Tool Do I Need to Remove a Car Stereo?

A: If you are looking at your factory stereo, you will need just a couple of tools. No matter what type of car you are driving, you will need the din tool kit. This often comes with the car.

But if not, you can buy it from any auto store or online. Now, depending on the model you are driving, you will either need a screwdriver or a socket wrench. You will also need a pry bar if there is a panel or cover that needs to be removed.

Q: How Do I Use Stereo Removal Tool?

A: This depends on the model of the car, but typically you will need to look at both sides of the stereo to locate a notch. In some cars, you will find a thin slot and that is where your tools go.

In some other cars, the stereo is attached with screws and bolts. They are a little to the back. So, you need to search for the notch to see how you can insert the tool.

Q: What Are Din Tools?

A: When it comes to removing factory stereos, the car comes with specialized tools that are meant especially to remove the stereo. This means no more working with hammers and bent spoons. Usually, it is a kit that is affordable and quite easy to use. But even if you don’t have the whole kit, you just need radio keys to get this job done.


Once you have the kit, you know that removing the car stereo is not at all a tough task. You just need to be patient and handle parts like the panel with care so that you don’t accidentally crack them. You must also remember to remove the battery right away and you’re good to go.

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Brian Beasley

Written by Danny Reid

Hey, I'm Danny, and I know how hard it can be to find the perfect audio gear. Need a new stereo, amp, speakers, or subs? Don't worry – my blog is here to help you cut through the noise! My mission is to give you the best reviews, so you can make the right decision for your audio needs. And if you ever get stuck thinking, "Where does this blue wire go?" don't worry – I've got tons of cool tips to help you out of any jam. So come along with me on this fun, sound-filled adventure, and let's find the perfect audio setup to make your tunes really sing!