Making sure that you have the car stereo you want is easier than ever. If you buy a car, and it doesn’t have a head unit, you can get one and install it. This way you can make sure that you have the features you are looking for in your car stereo. You may wonder how much it costs to install a head unit. The cost depends on a few different factors. You need to decide whether you plan to install it yourself or take it to a professional. Installation will vary depending on what you buy and how complicated it is to install.
Continue reading to learn the ways to install a head unit and what it costs.
The average cost for head unit installation can vary but is around $100 or (£100) in labour work. However, the full cost of the head unit stereo, fittings, parts and labour can run up to $1,000 or (£750).
There are a number of factors that effect the price of installing the head unit and can vary massively depending of the model of your vehicle and the head unit you want to install. These include:
If you are able to install the head unit yourself, you can save some money. You may need to buy a few supplies, but it won’t cost much. However, if you plan to hire a professional, you will pay more. You can be certain that they will install it correctly and usually come with a warranty, so this is an advantage. The costs usually begin around $100 (£100) for simple install, and it can run all the way up to over $1,000 (£750) for all of the needed supplies. It depends on how complicated the install is.
Installing a car stereo doesn’t take very long if you know what you are doing or if you hire someone who does. You have to remove the dashboard trim, which is the part that takes the most time.
How Much Do Professionals Charge for a Head Unit Install?
If you’d prefer a professional to install the head unit for you there are a number of options depending on your location and preference.
Local Auto Electrician: Many garages will be qualified to do auto electrics and may be able to assist you in head unit installation. Sites such as Yelp.com list garages in your local area with some perhaps specializing in auto electrics.
If you buy a standard head unit that can be easily be installed, the professional may have a simple price, such as $100 / £100. However, for a more complicated job, the professional might charge by the hour. The more complicated it is, the more it will cost. This is something to keep in mind when you are setting your budget and picking your head unit.
~$100 / £100
Best Buy Install (United Sates): Best Buy offers their Geek Squad Auto technician service which covers full installation which are MECP-certified. Another great part of Best Buy’s service is that it’s warrantied for life and if you ever decide to sell the car it was fitted it they’ll reinstall the factory unit for free!
Best Buy will make sure the head unit is compatible and you can also have extra technology fitted at the same time for an extra charge such as a reversing camera.
$99.99 – Best Buy Dash Installation | No hardware included
Halfords We Fit (United Kingdom): Halfords offer a fitting service for almost all of their stereo equipment. They will help ensure that the car fits with the stereo in the best way possible and include a 12 month warranty for the new system. The prices range depends on the system and vehicle but is mostly around £100 on top of the head unit price. Halfords estimate it would take between 1-2 hours to fit, so you can book a slot that suits you.
While it may be daunting to install a new head unit in your vehicle, there are many online resources on how this can be done, especially for the popular cars.
Websites such as Crutchfield.com (US) have detailed instruction manuals and kits that you can buy to help with the installation process and make sure your car is compatible. YouTube is also a great resource with lots of head unit installation videos for all kinds of cars, they may not be the exact models but they can help guide you in the right direction.
For example check out this video below by Nate Reyes on installing an Apple Car Play Head Unit into a Toyota GT86.
What Type of Head Unit Will You Install?
When you install a new head unit, the cost of the install will depend on what type you plan to install. Most new cars come with an infotainment system, but if you don’t like the one that comes with your car or if you don’t have one, you can choose one and have it installed.
Features you should think about include:
- Screen Size
- Apple Car Play and or Android Auto
- Navigation System
- DAB Radio
- Compatibility issues
A wiring harness helps connect the head unit to the vehicles wiring system.
Antenna Adapter or New Antenna
The antenna allows you to connect to the radio and you should be able to buy an adapter that connects to your old aerial. Alternatively, you can purchase a new aerial.
Steering Wheel Control / Patch Lead
This allows you to be able to use your functions on the steering wheel to interact with the head unit.
Fascia (Head surrounding frame)
The Fascia is the frame that will sit around the head unit in the dash opening, to make it look like it has a clean factory look. Ideally, this should be the same colour as as the rest of your dash.
Having a great head unit in your car makes your life easier. You can get one that plays music and can integrate with your smartphone. You have a lot of different options when you are choosing which one to buy, and it is important to set your budget first.
Once you choose your head unit, you need to install it. You can install it yourself if you know how, which will be inexpensive. Alternatively, you can use some of the extensive guides online. If you want to hire a professional to make sure that it is installed correctly, you can spend anywhere from $100 (£100) and up.