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Car stereo installation for less than $500?

Sept 2004

My car stereo on my 96 Honda Civic is dying a painful death. It got terrible radio reception, even during its prime. I'd like to have a new one installed. My car is pretty old and I'm not an audiophile, I'd just like a CD player and a radio that sound decent because I listen to the radio constantly. I'd like it to cost under $500. Is this possible? I checked the archives but couldn't find a recommendation for a place to purchase and install a car stereo. Should I just go to Good Guys or Circuit City? Any recommendations on where to go and what to buy would be appreciated. I Want My KQED & KNBR


Frank's on Allston Way in Berkeley! I bought a CD player/AM/FM radio for my car in the summer of 2003, and it was definitely under $500, even though I also needed new front speakers. They're open Saturdays, too.
Happy Listener

Replacing car stereos - too expensive?

June 2004

Our car stereo system has been broken for some time (CD and tape...the radio works). It's the system that came with the car and would be expensive to take out and send back to the manufacturer so my husband has just left it and we just use the radio. For longer trips we bring a portable ''boom box'' but the sound doesn't transfer to the back as well. We're going on a longer trip soon and I want to replace the stereo with one with that works. It can't be THAT expensive, can it? How much is a new car system (we don't need speakers). CD and tape, or even just tape? How much to have it put in? Where did you go where the service was great? It just seems like not a big deal but my husband has this idea that it's exorbitantly expensive. Thanks for any info. anon


Go to EBAY. You should be able to find a replacement car stereo for $20 and up. Many people sell the stereo the car came with because they want something fancier. And then put it in yourself. This is really easy - I am anything but handy, but if I was able to do this, so are you. not a handywoman
We just replaced the factory car stereo that came with our 1996 Toyota with a cassette/CD/radio unit from Crutchfields.com. My husband, who is reasonably handy but no Bob Villa, did it himself with the handy-dandy instructions from Crutchfields. Took maybe 30 mins to do, and they will sell you the necessary gear along with the stereo unit. It really was no biggie. Wendy Woolpert
My factory car radio stopped working last year, and I was told by the technician at the car repair place that if they replaced the car stereo in my 10-year-old car, it would cost $800 just for a stock radio. He advised me to go to Circuit City and buy a radio there. I did just that, and got a respectable Alpine CD/radio for $159, on special for $119. Installation was free, but there are other wires you need to have for the installation which bumped the price back up to about $150, which is still not a lot of money. If Circuit City is not busy at the time of purchase, your CD/radio can be installed within the hour. I bought my radio on a Friday afternoon and the wait was more than 2 hours, so I decided to return Saturday morning as soon as it opened and the unit was installed in about 40 minutes. There price range for the CD/radios is wide and I selected something from the low end. Even so, the new Alpine CD/radio is a vast improvement over the factory radio - it even makes the old speakers sound like better speakers! I also love the option of playing a CD when the airwaves are inundated with commercials. North Berkeley mom
Hi, My wife and I are on our fifth or so car radio in our 92 Honda Civic. What I have figured out over time is that if you limit yourself to a ''factory'' radio -- that is a radio that comes specific to your car -- it is less likely to get stolen. To find one -- you should look on craigslist.org, or ebay.com. If you get almost any ''aftermarket'' radio from Circuit City, Best Buy etc.... my experience is that it won't be long before its stolen. Good luck! Steve
why not get a few free estimates from the dealer, indep. mechanics, or car audio specialists? then you'll know exactly how much. Anon.
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