How to Install a Stereo in a 1997 Toyota Corolla

Updated March 23, 2017

The 1997 Toyota Corolla did not have the stereo options that a later model has available. The factory installed stereo is either a CD player or cassette deck. To upgrade the sound system in your Corolla with a more powerful and capable stereo, you will need to remove the stock deck and connect the stereo wiring from a vehicle with 1990s technology to a new millennium unit. An audio technician will perform the necessary removal, adaptation, and installation for a fee; or you can swap the old radio for a new one yourself, and save the cost of labour.

Disconnect the grounding cable from the negative lead post on the Corolla's battery. Use a 10mm wrench to loosen the cable's clamp and rest the cable away from the battery until the installation is finished.

Pry the centre dash panel away from the dashboard with a flat screwdriver. Start at the bottom edge of the panel and create space to fit your hands. Work your hands around the perimeter of the panel until it is free from the dashboard. The panel will still be connected to the vehicle by wiring to the clock and hazard controls. Place the pale on top of the dash, out of the way, until you are ready to replace it on the dashboard.

Remove the four 8mm bolts from the corners of the stereo mounting bracket around the radio. Use a Phillips-head screwdriver for the screws and store them in the cup-holder for the upcoming installation

Pull the radio from the stereo mounting dock and disconnect the wiring to the back of the stereo. Connect the wiring to a wiring harness adaptor. The adaptor will allow the Toyota wiring to connect to the aftermarket stereo.

Connect the leads of the wiring harness adaptor to the new stereo. Slide the new radio into the mounting bracket left vacant by the old radio. Screw in the four bolts with the Phillips-head screwdriver.

Replace the centre trim panel surrounding the stereo. The panel will snap into place by hand. Start by aligning the top edge of the panel and press it against the dashboard around the perimeter.

Replace the grounding cable clamp around the negative battery lead on the Toyota's battery. Tighten the clamp with the wrench.


The Toyota Corolla accepts a single DIN stereo (2 inch by 7 inch).

Things You'll Need

  • 10mm wrench
  • Flat screwdriver
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
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About the Author

Jule Pamplin has been a copywriter for more than seven years. As a financial sales consultant, Pamplin produced sales copy for two of the largest banks in the United States. He attended Carnegie-Mellon University, winning a meritorious scholarship for the Careers in Applied Science and Technology program, and later served in the 1st Tank Battalion of the U.S. Marine Corps.