How to Install a Car TV

Written by chris moore
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There are multiple types of TV sets that can be installed in a car. The most common locations to install a TV are inside a seat headrest, on the overhead ceiling or within the dashboard console. Each location requires a specific type of TV set with a different method of mounting it within the car.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Permanent marker
  • Razor knife
  • Contact cement
  • Adhesive remover
  • Metal/plywood sheet
  • Adhesive spray
  • Screwdriver
  • Audio/video cables

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Disconnect the headrest from the car seat and remove its upholstery. Trace the outline of the TV's mounting frame onto the foam cushioning with a permanent marker.

  2. 2

    Cut a hole into the foam using a razor knife for the frame to fit into. Using the frame as a guide, whittle into the hole until it is deep enough for the frame to fit into. Glue the frame into the hole with contact cement and poke another hole into the foam with a screwdriver where the frame's cable hole is.

  3. 3

    Place the headrest's upholstery cover back on and cut the fabric away where it is over the frame.

  4. 4

    Place the TV into the frame once the contact cement is dry and hard and run its cable through the other hole. Connect the TV to its tuner console with audio/video cables and store the tuner under the seat.

  5. 5

    Connect the TV's power adaptor cable and route it so it can plug into a cigarette lighter adaptor. If it doesn't use one of these, it will have a three-way cable where one connects to the car starter, another to a constant 12-volt source and the last one to a good ground. Disconnect the negative battery cable before connecting any wires

  1. 1

    Make sure there is a metal sheet installed in the ceiling below the headboard. This is needed to mount the overhead player onto.

  2. 2

    Pull away the upholstery on the ceiling. This might require a solvent that will remove the upholstery's adhesive. Insert a plywood or metal sheet between the headboard and upholstery and glue it to the upholstery.

  3. 3

    Mount the TV set to the ceiling, making sure the screws for the TV's mount are securely screwed into the sheet within the ceiling.

  4. 4

    Route the wires to the engine compartment if the TV doesn't use an adaptor plug for the cigarette lighter. With the negative battery cable unplugged, connect the TV's red wire to the starter's electrical connector, the yellow to the battery or other 12-volt source and the black to a metal ground like on the chassis.

  1. 1

    Unplug both battery cables from the car's battery, starting with the negative terminal.

  2. 2

    Remove the stereo from the car. Pry away and remove any trim panels on the dash, then unscrew the mounting screws on the stereo and disconnect the electrical connectors. Some stereo units have an antitheft mounting system requiring special tools that fit into holes on the stereo front to release its mounting clips.

  3. 3

    Place the TV within an installation kit designed for your model car. Connect the antenna's cable to the TV and mount the antenna on the outside of the car; the boot or the roof near the door frame are two possible locations. Route the cable along the weatherstripping or secure it to the side with cable ties.

  4. 4

    Connect the TV to its tuner box with RCA video (composite) cables and store the tuner somewhere secure, like the glove box. Wire the TV to the radio antenna and stereo connectors with a wiring harness designed for your car, which can be purchased at a car audio supply store.

  5. 5

    Mount the TV into the stereo's old spot within the dash, fasten all the mounting screws and replace the trim panels. Reconnect the battery cables once the set is mounted, starting with the positive terminal.

Tips and warnings

  • Installation instructions for a particular model TV set can always vary.
  • Some models and methods, like the overhead model, can be more difficult to install that others and might be best left to a professional.

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