Will any car stereo fit in your car? The question comes up when it’s time to (finally) get a new car stereo for the car. The problem is that the answer to that question is no. You can’t just buy a car stereo you like and mount it in your car because if you get the wrong one, it won’t fit. O how to know which one to buy and what options exist?
This is what this article is going to cover. You are about to learn what types of car stereos there is and how to know which one you should choose for your car. There are also tools that can help you on the way, which we’ll be talking about.
So buckle up, turn up the volume (on your factory head unit, I guess) and get ready to learn what you need to know to get a car stereo that fit your car.
Car Stereo Sizing Options
Before considering other factors, the most important question you need to ask yourself is, “Will any car stereo fit?” The short answer to this is No. Not every head unit can fit in your car.
Essentially, there are two main sizes: Single and Double DIN car stereos.
Single DIN Car Stereo
DIN, which is a short form for Deutsches Institut für Normung, is a German body that created the height and width standards for car stereos. When a head unit is described as a single DIN, this means that its height and width are stipulated in the DIN standards.
More specifically, it means that it fits in a front faceplate measuring 7 inches by 2 inches. If your car was originally fitted with the single DIN type, then you can only install another single DIN car stereo. A double-DIN car stereo cannot fit in that slot because it’s bigger.
Double DIN Car Stereo
With a double DIN car head unit, the front faceplate measures 7 inches by 4 inches. Apart from the fact that these units are twice as tall as the single-DIN car stereos, there is no other difference between the two.
If your car came fitted with a double DIN car stereo, you have the option of replacing it with a single or double DIN head unit. Should you opt for the single DIN head unit, then you can even add more components like a graphic equalizer or storage compartment.
Single and double DIN car stereos are the most widely used in vehicles. However, there are other unconventional types like the 1.5 DIN car stereo. This one can be replaced with a single DIN or custom-made unit.
How to Know If You Have Single Din or Double Din
There are two ways you can go about this. If you’re already reading this article, then you can do some more research by looking for online car-stereo-size databases. The other way is to measure the car stereo yourself.
Using an Online Database
Car stereo manufacturers are the biggest source of information regarding the sizes of car stereos. This is obvious considering that they have to provide their customers with the right information for their car head units.
But even before the advent of the internet, brick-and-motor car stores kept detailed records of car parts. They knew exactly what size a speaker or head unit fit into a particular car.
Today, this information is readily available online and you can use these tools to find the best head units for your car. For example, you have the ability to add your car to Amazon garage, which means that Amazon can then recommend parts that are especially for your car. This information can, of course, be used to then purchase a head unit from somewhere else.
Measuring your Own Car Stereo
I like to do most things myself. If there’s a leaky sink, I’ll fix it. If there’s a bulb that needs replacing, I’ll buy one and install it. And, if there are some faded wood cabinets, I will repaint them myself.
If you’re a DIY enthusiast like me, then measuring your car stereo is nothing compared to the more toilsome projects you’ve undertaken before.
All you need to do is to remove the screws holding the trim in place. Don’t forget this step; otherwise, you might end up breaking the trim.
Removing the trim gives you a better picture of what you are working with. So once you’ve removed the trim, measure the width and height of your current stereo.
With these measurements, you’ll be able to determine which size of the car stereo to purchase. If you’re scared that you might forget the initial layout of the head unit, you can always take pictures before taking the components apart.
Other than size, there are secondary factors that you should consider when shopping for a head unit. One particular feature you should look for is HD radio. This one uses digital broadcasting technology, which helps it deliver crisp and clear sounds.
Satellite radio capability is another plus in a car head unit. Just like the cable or satellite TV, you have at home, satellite radio allows you to listen to multiple radio stations.
Modern car stereos will also come with GPS navigation. This feature would have come in handy when I got lost camping last summer (I had my smartphone with Google Maps, so I handled myself).
Lastly, you should check whether the car stereo has Bluetooth technology. When you’re driving, your top priority is safety. The Bluetooth feature enables you to answer and make calls hands-free. It also lets you stream music from your iPod or smartphone wirelessly.
Picking a car stereo is not difficult. Once you figure out the size, type and the features that matter most to you, you’ll be able to narrow down your options. In terms of size, there are two main types of car head units: Single DIN and Double DIN.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that a single DIN car stereo can only be replaced with a similar single DIN. In contrast, a double DIN car stereo can be replaced with a single or double-DIN car stereo.
If you would like to learn more about head units, and especially want to get a double din head unit, you should check out the Best Double Din Head Units Buying Guide, here on Greatest Speakers.