How to Remove a Car Stereo Without Keys

No stereo Keys

If you have an older car or you simply want to change your car stereo, the first step is to remove the one that is currently in your car. Car manufacturers make car stereos so that they require a key or a special tool to remove them.

Continue reading to learn how to remove a car stereo if you don’t have a key.

You can remove a car stereo without keys in a number of ways depending on the make and model of your car and radio. The first way being with a screwdriver. Secondly, with a wire hanger or with home objects such as a kitchen knife.

Mode of Removal

PLEASE NOTE: Removing a stereo with keys will result in the best and easiest removal. With keys being readily available and cheap (>$5 or >£2 ) for most cars it can make more sense to buy the keys. 

How to Remove a Car Stereo

Different car manufacturers make their car stereos so that they can be removed and replaced using particular steps. You need a key to remove Ford stereos, but you need other audio removal tools to remove other types of stereos. Ford uses a Ford DIN removal key to remove the stereo from the mounting deck.

There are some types of cars, such as Mazda, that don’t use a key to remove the stereo unit. However, if you need to remove a car stereo and you don’t have a key, there are steps that you can follow. Take a look at the following steps you will need to take.

Simple Removal (No Key Slot)

Some cars do not have key slots to remove stereos and simply have screws locking them in place, so in this instance you’ll only need a screw driver.   

Step One

Car battery

Start by disconnecting the negative battery cable from the battery of the vehicle. You will need to use a 10 mm wrench or you can use a Phillips-head screwdriver to loosen the clamp. This will disconnect the negative battery cable so that you can proceed.

Step Two

Next, you will need to remove anything that hides the stereo mounting bracket. You can remove the dash panels and other components so that you will have access to the mounting bracket. This step will vary with different types of cars, so you might need to check your owner’s manual to find out exactly how you can access the stereo mounting bracket.

Step Three

The next step is to locate screws that are on each side of the stereo that go to the mounting bracket. You can remove them with a Phillips-head screwdriver.

Step Four

car stereo taken out

Now you should be able to pull the stereo out from the stereo mounting bracket. Once you do, you can reach the wiring, and you should pull them out as well. You can pull the antenna cable out as well, and then you can disconnect the car stereo.

Removal Without a Key

If you need to remove a car stereo that uses a key, but you don’t have the key, you can start by making a simple device to use in place of the key. Take a wire hanger, and you can cut two sections that are seven inches each. Once you do this, you can bend each section into the shape of a “U.” See the video below for visual explanation: 

Play Video

Step one

Disconnect the negative battery cable. You can use a 10 mm wrench or a Phillips head screwdriver to loosen the clamp. You need to make sure that it is loosened from the negative lead post so that you can disconnect it.

Step two

As in the simple removal, you will need to remove anything that is preventing access to the stereo mounting bracket and system. You need to remove the dash panel and anything else that is blocking your access.

Step Three

Now you can take your stereo removal key substitute and get ready to remove the stereo. You will see holes that are located on both sides of the face of the stereo. You can insert the two ends of each homemade U-hook into these holes.

Step Four

Now, with the U-hooks inserted, you can pull the stereo outward from the stereo mounting dock. Pull it out enough to reach the wiring and the antenna cable. You can then disconnect the wiring and the antenna cable.

Removal Without Supplies

If you don’t have a key or the wire hangers you need to make your own homemade key, you need to find another way to remove the car stereo. Fortunately, there are different options.
You can use two knives or other objects that are similar. For instance, you might have two flat long screwdrivers or two hard plastic box covers that you can use.
The first steps are always the same. 

You need to disconnect the negative battery cable and pop the dash panel and anything else concealing the car stereo first. Then, you can follow these steps.

Play Video

Step one

Take the knives or other flat-surfaced objects, and slide them between the radio on the metal frame on both sides. These objects will unlock the stereo so that you can remove it.

Step Two

Pull both of the knives toward you, and turn the sharp ends of the knives to face each other as you pull. The radio should start coming out of the bracket.

Step Three

Pull the knives out. Now, you should be able to pull the stereo the rest of the way out with your hands. Once this happens, you can disconnect the wires and the antenna from the stereo.

You will find that different manufacturers use different stereo removal keys. The wire U-hook key works with Ford stereos, while the steak knives will work for a Volkswagen, Mercedes, or a Porsche. You need to know what kind of stereo you have and what kind of tool it uses. Most of them use simple tools that you can replicate pretty easily.

Final Words

When you need to remove your car stereo, but you don’t have the stereo removal key, you may worry that you will have trouble getting it done. Fortunately as long as you know what kind of stereo removal key you need, you should be able to make something at home that will work for you.


The key is to plan ahead so that you can make the tool you need when you get to the step of removing your car stereo. As long as you are prepared, it will be easy to do.

If you have an older car or you simply want to change your car stereo, the first step is to remove the one that is currently in your car. Car manufacturers make car stereos so that they require a key or a special tool to remove them.

Continue reading to learn how to remove a car stereo if you don’t have a key.

You can remove a car stereo without keys in a number of ways depending on the make and model of your car and radio. The first way being with a screwdriver. Secondly, with a wire hanger or with home objects such as a kitchen knife.

Mode of Removal

PLEASE NOTE: Removing a stereo with keys will result in the best and easiest removal. With keys being readily available and cheap (>$5 or >£2 ) for most cars it can make more sense to buy the keys. 

How to Remove a Car Stereo

Different car manufacturers make their car stereos so that they can be removed and replaced using particular steps. You need a key to remove Ford stereos, but you need other audio removal tools to remove other types of stereos. Ford uses a Ford DIN removal key to remove the stereo from the mounting deck.

There are some types of cars, such as Mazda, that don’t use a key to remove the stereo unit. However, if you need to remove a car stereo and you don’t have a key, there are steps that you can follow. Take a look at the following steps you will need to take.

Simple Removal (No Key Slot)

Some cars do not have key slots to remove stereos and simply have screws locking them in place, so in this instance you’ll only need a screw driver.   

Step One

Car battery

Start by disconnecting the negative battery cable from the battery of the vehicle. You will need to use a 10 mm wrench or you can use a Phillips-head screwdriver to loosen the clamp. This will disconnect the negative battery cable so that you can proceed.

Step Two

Next, you will need to remove anything that hides the stereo mounting bracket. You can remove the dash panels and other components so that you will have access to the mounting bracket. This step will vary with different types of cars, so you might need to check your owner’s manual to find out exactly how you can access the stereo mounting bracket.

Step Three

The next step is to locate screws that are on each side of the stereo that go to the mounting bracket. You can remove them with a Phillips-head screwdriver.

Step Four

car stereo taken out

Now you should be able to pull the stereo out from the stereo mounting bracket. Once you do, you can reach the wiring, and you should pull them out as well. You can pull the antenna cable out as well, and then you can disconnect the car stereo.

Removal Without a Key

If you need to remove a car stereo that uses a key, but you don’t have the key, you can start by making a simple device to use in place of the key. Take a wire hanger, and you can cut two sections that are seven inches each. Once you do this, you can bend each section into the shape of a “U.” See the video below for visual explanation: 

Play Video

Step one

Disconnect the negative battery cable. You can use a 10 mm wrench or a Phillips head screwdriver to loosen the clamp. You need to make sure that it is loosened from the negative lead post so that you can disconnect it.

Step two

As in the simple removal, you will need to remove anything that is preventing access to the stereo mounting bracket and system. You need to remove the dash panel and anything else that is blocking your access.

Step Three

Now you can take your stereo removal key substitute and get ready to remove the stereo. You will see holes that are located on both sides of the face of the stereo. You can insert the two ends of each homemade U-hook into these holes.

Step Four

Now, with the U-hooks inserted, you can pull the stereo outward from the stereo mounting dock. Pull it out enough to reach the wiring and the antenna cable. You can then disconnect the wiring and the antenna cable.

Removal Without Supplies

If you don’t have a key or the wire hangers you need to make your own homemade key, you need to find another way to remove the car stereo. Fortunately, there are different options.
You can use two knives or other objects that are similar. For instance, you might have two flat long screwdrivers or two hard plastic box covers that you can use.
The first steps are always the same. 

You need to disconnect the negative battery cable and pop the dash panel and anything else concealing the car stereo first. Then, you can follow these steps.

Play Video

Step one

Take the knives or other flat-surfaced objects, and slide them between the radio on the metal frame on both sides. These objects will unlock the stereo so that you can remove it.

Step Two

Pull both of the knives toward you, and turn the sharp ends of the knives to face each other as you pull. The radio should start coming out of the bracket.

Step Three

Pull the knives out. Now, you should be able to pull the stereo the rest of the way out with your hands. Once this happens, you can disconnect the wires and the antenna from the stereo.

You will find that different manufacturers use different stereo removal keys. The wire U-hook key works with Ford stereos, while the steak knives will work for a Volkswagen, Mercedes, or a Porsche. You need to know what kind of stereo you have and what kind of tool it uses. Most of them use simple tools that you can replicate pretty easily.

Final Words

When you need to remove your car stereo, but you don’t have the stereo removal key, you may worry that you will have trouble getting it done. Fortunately as long as you know what kind of stereo removal key you need, you should be able to make something at home that will work for you.


The key is to plan ahead so that you can make the tool you need when you get to the step of removing your car stereo. As long as you are prepared, it will be easy to do.

Alex
Alex

I loved my car but was frustrated with my media system. So I upgraded my stereo, making silly wires and precarious phone mounts a thing of the past. The Apple Car Play stereo was so good I wanted to show more people how this could be done and truly upgrade their cars multimedia system!

Founder
StereoUpgrade.com

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