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Car Audio Systems – Ditch That OEM System Today!
by: Walter Shuler

As the automobile has evolved, in-car entertainment has become increasingly important. Your OEM car audio system is likely subpar, unless you paid big bucks for a vehicle equipped with a Bose or other designer sound system. Upgrading your car audio system is much simpler today. In fact, you can do it yourself with the right help and a few simple tools. What will you need for the job?

First, you'll need a schematic that shows how you remove your OEM radio. This can be a very involved process in newer cars. If you don't want to risk damaging your trim and interior, take it to a professional audio installer. They have the expertise and experience required to make the job simple and easy.

Before you yank out the audio system, you need to find a replacement system. Your budget and your needs will dictate what type you choose. Pioneer, Bose, Blaupunkt, Sony, Jensen, Samsung, Audiovox and many other brands are extremely popular. Each brand offers different benefits and different prices; use the Internet to research each brand and find the right fit for your needs. In addition, you'll need an amplifier (at least one!), quality subwoofers, speaker wire and replacement speakers for your doors and rear deck (if your car has subpar speakers from the factory).

If you intend to do it yourself, hit the Internet. Several sites will tell you how to remove your OEM audio unit. Remember, these instructions will be vehicle specific; never use a general guide that claims to show you how to remove the radio from a broad range of different vehicle types.

Once you have your instructions in hand, it's time to gather the tools you'll need. The instructions may include tool types, as well. While some vehicles will have very specific tools, most will require many of the same tools, as well. A flat-head screwdriver, Phillips head screwdriver, a ratchet and a variety of sockets, a ratchet extension and tape are all common tool used.

Follow the instructions in the removal manual and you'll be on your way to audio heaven. If all this sounds like too much to tackle, take it to a shop. You'll find that many offer very reasonable prices for installation. Some will even install your system free of charge if you purchase your components through them. Do your homework and you can find a great deal.  
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