How Do I Tell What Size Stereo Will Fit in My Car?
Are car stereo sizes universal?
Many years ago, car stereo sizes were pretty darn close to being universal across the board. Then car manufacturers began to get creative with not only the size of their radio and/or touchscreen, but also the shape. For example, some radios will taper inwards from top to bottom while others span almost the width of your vehicle’s dashboard. The second example is one of much more recent vehicles that feature expansive screens that show everything that the vehicle is doing – from your current speed to the display for Android Auto/Apple CarPlay (and many things in-between).
What is the difference between Single-DIN and Double-DIN stereos?
A single-DIN radio comes in at about 2” in height and 7” in width. Depth can vary greatly depending on whether or not a CD player is built into the unit in question. These stereos will usually have a small display for music information, the current time, etc. They also almost always have a volume knob on the left side of the front face for convenient volume control.
A double-DIN radio measures in at about 4” in height and 7” in width. These larger radios are generally available in two configurations: a more traditional approach which means a simple display surrounded by buttons that are used to control specific functions of the stereo or a touchscreen where the screen covers most of the front of the unit and is generally accompanied with a few “important” buttons such as volume, track back and forth, etc. for easy access to important settings.
Is there a simple way to know which type of car stereo will fit my car?
Broadly, the answer is “yes.” There are websites that allow you to plug in the year, make, model, and sometimes trim level of your vehicle to see if the proper installation accessories exist to permit you to replace your current radio with something more updated.
However (you knew this was coming, didn’t you?), not all of these sites ask enough information to give you a proper answer. For example, perhaps your car comes with a premium sound system for which no adapter exists to integrate with the factory-installed amplifier. Or maybe there are different sound/radio options available, and the website you’re using for your detective work doesn’t account for them.
We believe that your best bet is to contact a reputable car audio shop (like us) and give them as much information about your vehicle as you can so that they can dig into it for you. This helps mitigate mistakes you might make in researching it all on your own.
What are the different car stereo size options?
As we spoke about earlier, there are two different radio sizes: single-DIN and double-DIN. However, these are the chassis sizes (aka what will be installed into your vehicle’s current radio area).
As features like navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto continue to gain popularity, touchscreens have become the go-to models, since a touchscreen is required to use these conveniences. Most touchscreens are a double-DIN chassis with a 6” to 7” screen attached to the front of the unit. There are some units available that feature a single-DIN chassis, but have a double-DIN screen attached to the front of it.
Some of these single- and double-DIN options can have a large touchscreen (think anywhere from an 8” to a 10” screen) that attaches to the chassis for a large, floating-tablet like design. These larger screens not only look incredible, the extra real estate in that screen size displays more information that is pertinent to your entertainment or navigation options. One must exercise a little caution when considering something like one of these units – you would want to ensure that the larger screen isn’t blocking something you need to access readily (think HVAC controls, for example).
If you’re unsure on what exactly you’re looking for and need some expert advice, please let us know!
There are many factors to consider when it comes to finding the right car stereo for you. You owe it to yourself to make sure the car stereo you’re considering will work for your car so you can be in an excellent position to pick the perfect fit for your ride. It’s your car, so it should be a reflection of what you love: music and entertainment.
See our best car stereos list to find the right head unit for you.
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