Installing a flip down TV in a car

Updated February 21, 2017

A flip down style TV works well in a car because the TV screen can be flipped upward and stored away when not in use. You can install one of these sets in your car yourself. You must decide on the type of flip down TV that is right for your car. There are two general places to install a TV set: on the ceiling or within the seat headrest.

Check to see if a metal sheet rests between the roof upholstery and the headliner if you're inst. You might need to partially remove the upholstery to check this. If no such sheet exists, install a sheet of plastic or plywood underneath the upholstery.

Drill the screws on the TV frame into the metal/plastic/wood sheet to secure it to the ceiling. The best location is directly in between and alongside the backrests of the front seats.

Connect the TV to its external audio/video unit if it has one. Run the wire through the ceiling and the door frame so it doesn't dangle out in the middle of the seating compartment. Store the unit in the glove compartment or under the passenger seat. See if you can connect this box to the car's cigarette lighter with an adaptor cable.

Wire the TV to your car's electrical system through the steering column if it doesn't have an A/V unit or adaptor plug that will work. Run the wire through the ceiling and the door frame if it connects directly to the TV. If it connects to an A/V unit, run the wire along the dashboard edge or another way that it won't get in anyone's way.

Make sure a headrest flip-down set will fit within your car's headrests. Place the TV frame upside down against the headrest to measure it. A seven inch screen should fit into any vehicle. Anything larger might not fit in a compact car.

Remove the headrest from the seat and the upholstery from the headrest. Outline the edge of the TV's holding frame with a felt marker on the back of the headrest's foam cushioning.

Cut a hole in the foam with a razor knife, making it deep and wide enough to perfectly fit the frame within the headrest.

Place contact cement within the hole and place the frame into the hole. Find the hole in the frame where the TV cable goes through and poke all the way through the foam at that hole with a screwdriver or similar device.

Cover the headrest with its upholstery and cut the upholstery away over the frame. Place the TV into its frame and run the cable through its hole and out the bottom opening of the upholstery cover. Connect the wire to the TV's audio video box, if it has one, and store the box under the seat or in the glove box.

Decide how to connect the TV to the car's electrical system. You can wire it directly through the steering column, but using a cigarette lighter adaptor plug can be easier.

Things You'll Need

  • Flip down TV set
  • Drill/screwdriver
  • Razor knife
  • Contact cement
  • Cigarette lighter plug
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About the Author

Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.