How to Remove a Stereo Without an Audio Removal Tool

Written by jule pamplin
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How to Remove a Stereo Without an Audio Removal Tool
(autoradio 2 image by Nathalie P from

Varying car manufacturers design their stereo systems to be extracted and replaced using a specific set of procedures. Sunday's procedures include the use of audio removal tools. The Ford Motor Company often uses the Ford DIN removal keys to pull their factory stereos from the stereo mounting dock in their vehicles. For Ford vehicles, Mazda vehicles (which employs a similar tool), and other types of vehicles; removing the stereo can still be performed without the aid of these special tools.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 10mm wrench
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Wire hanger
  • Flat screwdriver

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    Generic Instructions.

  1. 1

    Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery of the vehicle using a 10mm wrench or Philips-head screwdriver to loosen the clamp from the negative lead post.

  2. 2

    Remove any dash panels or other interior components that hide the stereo mounting bracket. The procedure for gaining access to the stereo mounting bracket varies among vehicles. Consult your vehicle owner's manual for specific instructions.

  3. 3

    Remove the screws on either side of the stereo with a Philips-head screwdriver.

  4. 4

    Pull the stereo from the stereo mounting bracket to access to the stereo wiring connected to the back of the radio.

  5. 5

    Pull the stereo wiring from the back of the stereo deck. The wiring that is bound together with a plastic wire binder must be pulled from the stereo by the binder, not by the wires. The antenna cable also needs to be pulled from the back of the factory radio.

    Ford and Mazda Vehicles.

  1. 1

    Make Ford stereo removal key substitutes out of wire hangers. Cut two 7 inch sections of the wire hanger. Bend each hanger segment into a "U" shape.

  2. 2

    Insert the two ends of each Ford tool replacement into the holes located at either side of the face of the Ford factory stereo.

  3. 3

    Pull outward on the hanger segments while pulling the stereo from the stereo mounting dock of the Ford or Mazda vehicle.

  4. 4

    Disconnect the wiring from the back of the factory stereo and pull the antenna cable from the unit.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a flat screwdriver with a thin cloth wrapped around the blade, to pry any dash panels away from the dashboard of your vehicle.

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