If you're planning on purchasing a new car stereo receiver for your vehicle, you have a lot to look forward to. In addition to upgraded sound quality, you also have the chance to opt for larger displays with touch-screen controls as well as additional capacity for Bluetooth, GPS navigation, MP3 music storage, and more.
Before you choose a radio and make your purchase, it's important to understand that most aftermarket units are universally sized. This means they come in a range of standard-size dimensions in order to fit inside many different dash openings. But because those dash openings are typically larger than the radios themselves, adapter pieces will be necessary to fill in any gaps which may remain.
In this article, we look at five different types of stereo installation kit components you may need, and various factors that favor each type. There are both "pockets" and "housing" pieces designed to cradle your radio and secure it in place properly. There are also "radio plates", "trim rings", and "dash kits" that serve as visual filler panels to create a finished look once your radio is mounted in place. You won't need all five of these components, but you will need one or more, depending on how your vehicle's console is laid out.
Many (but not all) of these installation kit pieces are vehicle-specific, meaning they're sized for an exact fit on your specific year, make, and model car or truck. Mounting tabs and holes will also be strategically placed to line up with existing ones on your vehicle's console frame. For more details on radio installation, "single DIN" vs. "double DIN" style radios, and dash kits, we invite you to read our related article Car Stereo Installation 101. If you're upgrading from a "single DIN" (standard size) radio to a larger "double DIN" one, we've got you covered also.
Radio pockets are essentially support sleeves that your radio slides into. With exception of the front, sleeves envelop a radio on all sides, and are bolted securely within the vehicle's console area. These are most commonly needed when you're replacing one standard-size, single-DIN radio with another similarly-sized one. Radio pockets include mounting brackets and may or may not come with trim rings (see further below). We've got radio pockets from Metra, American International, and Scosche.
If you've got extra console space that you don't need because you're installing a smaller-than-OEM radio, slim pockets such as the Metra Dash Board Pocket can also be installed as a cubbyhole for storage of CD cases or other small items. And if you're looking for pockets designed with dimensions suited to equalizers, we've got them from Metra and Scosche.
Radio housings cradle and support the radio on all sides except the top, which is completely open for ventilation and wiring access. Commonly used with "double-din" type radios that won't fit in factory spaces, radio housings are excellent for custom and under-dash installations.
Radio plates include both "trim plates" and "delete plates". Made of plastic or metal, "trim plates" sit behind the faceplate of the radio that you see from the front. They're used if you're installing a traditional "2 shaft" radio with 2 control knobs sitting on metal shafts that protrude through the front of the radio.
"Delete plates" are plain, black pieces that cover empty holes in a dashboard caused by the absence of a radio. These are commonly used on classic vehicles, which often weren't equipped with a radio from the start. We've got delete plates from Goodmark, Omix-ADA, and OPGI.
Radio Trim Rings
Trim rings are flat rectangular pieces that cover exposed edges around the front of the radio. Usually, these are included with radio pockets, dash kits, and other components. Should you need individual trim rings, we've got vehicle-specific ones from Scosche and Metra as well as universal-fit ones from American International.
Dash kits are decorative overlay pieces that are bolted on after the radio has been installed into position. Because dash kits are designed to match the overall look of the vehicle's center console area, they may or may not feature built-in control buttons and digital displays.
Depending on make and model application, some kits may be simple trim pieces while others may serve as faceplates for the entire center dash console. In our dash kits section, you'll find lots of stylish offerings for both single-DIN and double-DIN radios.
Dash kits usually include customized mounting brackets and/or a fitted radio sleeve. A dash kit is a must if you are converting from a single DIN unit to a double DIN radio (or vice versa).
We make it easy for you to make your selections. Looks for the "TYPES" menu on the left side of the screen, then check the box corresponding to the component type that you think you'll need.
Upgrading the "infotainment" system (as the industry now calls the combination of "information" and "entertainment" systems) can be one of the more fun installations you do. Don't be frustrated trying to install these universal-fit stereos and head units! Intelligent choices among these installation kits will finish off the inside of your ride so that the upgrade looks and feels like a factory fit.