Installing a new car radio is a fairly simple way to improve your vehicle, but for most people, it’s a little more than they want to tackle on their own.
With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to know how much you should expect to pay for new car radio.
Replacing a car radio amounts to the cost for the radio (the head unit) itself, plus installation. A basic installation is usually under $100, but most people end up paying between $125 and $250 for upgraded systems.
The radio itself can cost anywhere from $50 to $500+ depending on the specifications.
- Car Radio Installation Costs
- Equipment for Replacing a Car Radio
- Installing an Amplifier
- Related Guides
- Installing a Subwoofer
- How Much Does it Cost to Have a Car Radio and Sound System Installed?
- Replacing Your Own Car Radio
- The Bottom Line
Car Radio Installation Costs
Installing a car radio is not a complicated task, but it does take a little bit of technical know-how to do it correctly and efficiently.
The cost to have a new audio system professionally installed in your vehicle depends on several different factors, including the equipment costs, size, power, brand, and the make and model of your vehicle.
The installation costs also vary depending on where you take it for the work. Chain electronic stores often have set prices that may be higher than a private individual who works on car audio systems.
However, they also may have deals from time to time offering free installation or deep discounts when you purchase the equipment from that retailer.
In general, the cost for a basic professional installation is somewhere between $40 and $100.
However, according to Yelp reviews, the average cost for a car stereo installation is $185. These pricier installations usually included other items besides the head unit, like subwoofers, amplifiers, and upgraded speakers.
|Minimum Price||$40 - $65|
|Mid-Range Price||$85 - $200|
|Maximum Price||$250 - $400|
|Average Price||$100 - $185|
Equipment for Replacing a Car Radio
To replace your car’s sound system, you’ll need to decide which equipment you’re interested in changing or upgrading. There are many different components, and not all of them are required.
However, if you want to make a big improvement to the sound quality, you should consider replacing more than just the radio (the head unit).
Replacing the Stereo Head Unit
The main component that you’ll select when you replace your car’s radio is the head unit or receiver. This is the part that goes in your dashboard where you control the audio. Sometimes this is referred to as a stereo or radio.
There are many features available with the head unit that will add value to the system, but they will also increase the cost significantly. It’s a good idea to think about what features are most important to you before you begin shopping.
For example, do you want a touch screen? A DVD player? A CD player? Apple CarPlay or Android Auto? Knowing this information when you begin will help you to narrow down your search.
You’ll also need to consider which size receiver you need for your vehicle. There are two mounting styles for car radios: single DIN and double DIN.
Single DIN refers to stereos that are two inches tall, while double DIN units are four inches tall. Both Single DIN and double DIN are seven inches wide.
Some vehicles will fit either size, while other vehicles may only fit one size or the other. It’s important to make sure you select the right mounting style for your vehicle.
Single DIN receivers are priced from $50 to $1500+. The best sellers at big-box retailers like Best Buy are in the $80 – $169 range.
Double DIN receivers start out around $125 up to $1300+. The best-selling double-DIN receivers are usually in the $249 – $400 range.
Depending on which receiver you purchase, there is a range of available features, including things like:
- Touch screen
- Smartphone compatible
- Apple CarPlay
- Android Auto
- Bluetooth capability
- Camera connectivity
- Steering wheel controls
- Satellite radio-ready
- CD player
- DVD player
- Remote control
- USB charging
- Turn-by-Turn directions
Of course, more features typically mean a higher price tag. Let’s take a look at some example receivers and their list prices:
|Sony DSXA415BT||Single DIN||Bluetooth, satellite radio ready||$99.99|
|Kenwood KDC-BT378U||Single DIN||Bluetooth, Satellite ready, CD player||$119.99|
|Pioneer DEH-S4220BT||Single DIN||Alexa, Bluetooth, Android, iPhone||$99.99|
|Alpine ILX-F309||Single DIN||Android/Apple Play, Bluetooth, touch screen||$1,299|
|Sony XAVAX1000||Double DIN||Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, touch screen||$299.99|
|Pioneer AVH-521EX||Double DIN||Alexa, Bluetooth, SiriusXM-Ready, DVD||$299.99|
|JVC KW-V660BT||Double DIN||AndroidAuto/CarPlay, CD/DVD, Bluetooth, touch screen||$369.99|
An added value with some retailers is a deal on installation if you purchase the equipment from them. For example, at the time of this writing, Best Buy offers free installation on receivers priced over $99.99.
Replacing the Car’s Speakers
Oftentimes, businesses that specialize in-car audio and electronics will recommend upgrading your vehicle’s speakers when you are replacing the radio. The factory speakers only offer a basic audio experience and usually won’t produce the high-quality sound that your new, upgraded receiver is capable of.
If you have an older car, or if your speakers rattle or the sound becomes distorted when you turn up the volume, it may mean that it’s time to replace your speakers.
Replacing your car’s speakers typically costs anywhere from $75 to over $800, depending on the type of speakers, the brand, and how powerful they are.
Coaxial speakers are the most common type used in cars, and they’re usually the least expensive. Coaxial speakers have two drivers, a woofer and tweeter, in each basket. They’re easy to find in standard sizes that fit most vehicles, so they’re easy to swap out.
Component speakers include an external crossover and two drivers. The woofer and tweeter are mounted separately from the speaker itself. These allow the driver to modify the sound more than with coaxial speakers.
These are more expensive than coaxial speakers and can be more difficult to swap out with stock speakers unless you have them professionally installed.
Let’s take a look at some popular car speakers to compare the prices of each:
|Speaker||Size / Type / Power||List Price|
|Skar Audio||TX65 6.5” / Coaxial / 200W||$61.99|
|Kicker CSC65||6.5” / Coaxial / 4-Ohm||$89.99|
|Skar Audio Spx-65c||6.5” / Component / 400W||$209.99|
|JBL GX Series||6.5” / Coaxial / 180W||$79.99|
|JBL GX Series||6.5” / Component / 140W||$119.95|
|Dual Electronics||4” / Coaxial / 80W||$29.99|
Source: Google Shopping
Installing an Amplifier
If your goal is to improve the overall listening experience in your car, a good investment would be an amplifier. When you’re replacing your car radio, you will want to be able to actually hear the improved sound.
You will usually need an amplifier to reach the new radio’s potential.
Car amplifiers range in price from $80 to $800+, but most people purchase amps that are between $150 – $275. Installation may cost anywhere from $100 to $200+, depending on the complexity of the setup.
Amplifiers help maintain crisp, clear, high-quality sound even at high volumes. If you plan to get a subwoofer, you’ll also need an amp to power it.
Amps are categorized based on the number of channels. Remember, you can think of each channel as a power source intended to be used for one speaker.
If you need your amp to power multiple items, you’ll need the appropriate number of channels.
Types of Amplifiers:
- Mono Amplifiers: These are designed for low-frequency reproduction. They’re Single-channel amps designed to power a subwoofer.
- Two-Channel Amplifiers: These can be used for full-range or component speakers. This is the best choice for powering a single set of speakers.
- Four-Channel Amplifiers: If you want to have sound from rear speakers and be able to fade between front and rear, this amp will provide one channel for each speaker. This also might be a good choice if you’re running one pair of speakers plus a subwoofer.
- Five-Channel Amplifiers: This may be a good option if you want to be able to power a more extensive sound system from a single amp. You can use four channels for four speakers (front and rear), and the fifth (higher-powered) channel for a subwoofer.
- Six- and Eight-Channel Amplifiers: Like the five-channel amp, these allow for more flexibility in designing your audio system and will provide power to multiple components from a single unit.
Installing a Subwoofer
A subwoofer is a type of speaker that specifically amplifies low-frequency sounds. For most car audio systems, the subwoofer is for boosting bass sounds.
A subwoofer can greatly improve the sound quality in your vehicle, adding layers of sound and realism to your music that you may not otherwise hear.
Subwoofers come in different sizes, and bigger woofers produce bigger sounds. However, you’ll have to consider the space in your car when choosing the size for your subwoofers and how many you’ll install.
Subwoofers are housed in special enclosures that also come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, and with features like lights or other visual effects.
You can purchase a subwoofer for as little as $40, but you’ll have to purchase an enclosure separately. A woofer that’s ready to use starts around $150.
Most people spend anywhere from $150 – $300 on subwoofers.
That’s just the price for the equipment. Installation costs would increase the price, which may vary depending on how complex the system is, what kind of vehicle you have, who’s doing the work, and your geographic location.
Installing an amplifier and subwoofer may cost anywhere from $120 – $300+. This cost can be well worth it to have a professional install such delicate and expensive equipment.
The last thing you want is to buy a new car radio, speakers, subwoofers, and an amplifier only to not set it up correctly.
How Much Does it Cost to Have a Car Radio and Sound System Installed?
The cost to replace your car radio and have the other sound system components installed in your vehicle varies greatly depending on your vehicle and the kinds of equipment.
Sometimes, there will be a significant amount of work involved, like if you have an older vehicle that has to be rewired.
Rewiring a car for a new sound system can cost anywhere from $900 to $1,500 depending on how long the job takes.
To do a regular installation, you should expect to spend a minimum of $500 up to $1,500+ to have your new radio, speakers, and other sound system components installed.
Here’s an overview of the installation costs for various car audio components:
|Part/Component||Type||Average Price Range|
|Head Unit / Radio||Single DIN or Double DIN||$50 - $200|
|Car Speakers||Standard (Coaxial)||$50 - $110|
|Car Speakers||Component||$65 - $150|
|Amplifier||Mono||$99 - $175|
|Amplifier||Multi-Channel||$100 - $250+|
|Subwoofer||N/A||$20 - $100|
|Wiring/Technical Fees||N/A||$180 - $400|
It may be possible to save a few dollars by replacing your car radio yourself if you have any experience with electronic equipment installation and setup.
Replacing Your Own Car Radio
However, you should consider the potential cost and benefit of doing it yourself versus having a professional install your equipment.
You may need adjustments to the spaces for your new equipment if it doesn’t fit the same, you may need wiring repairs or replacements, or there may be general troubleshooting that you’re not experienced with.
Plus, professional installations are guaranteed to work properly before you pay for the job and they usually come with warranties.
You can definitely save some cash doing the work yourself, but you also don’t want to spend your time and resources replacing your car radio only to have it not work correctly or cause damage to the equipment or your vehicle.
The Bottom Line
The cost to replace your car radio can vary depending on how much you want to replace it. Just replacing the radio itself (the head unit) is very affordable, and could be done for under $100.
However, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for. Higher quality equipment will provide you with better sound and a better value for your money.
Similarly, having a professional installation will usually provide you with better quality workmanship and a warranty. It’s a good idea to consider your needs and preferences, choose the type of equipment you want, then shop around for the best deals.
Look for retailers that offer free or discounted installation with purchases, or see if local shops will match competitor’s prices to get the best bang for your buck.