How to Install a CD Player to Replace the Original Cassette Player

Updated March 23, 2017

The standard for car stereo systems is ever evolving. Standard AM radios gave way to AM/FM stereos, which led to cassette players. Now you can replace your cassette deck to enable your vehicle's system to play CDs from the deck in the dashboard. You can choose to have the cassette deck replaced with a CD player by a professional audio technician or you can swap the deck for a new in-dash CD player yourself and save the cost of labour.

Raise the bonnet of the vehicle to gain access to the battery terminals. Remove the rubber covering over the negative battery post.

Loosen the negative battery cable bolt with a wrench or pair of pliers. Remove the cable from the negative battery lead post.

Remove the dashboard panelling that surrounds the stereo dock. Use the tools described in the vehicle's repair manual or pull the panels free from the dashboard by hand, if possible.

Remove the screws or bolts that secure the cassette deck into the vehicle's stereo mounting bracket. Use a Phillips-head screwdriver or socket and nut drive. Consult the repair manual for the proper tool sizing for this and future steps.

Pull the cassette deck straight from the vehicle's stereo dock.

Unplug the stereo wiring from the outlet(s) on the rear panel of the cassette player. Pull the plastic wire connectors from the outlets by hand.

Disconnect the antenna from the cassette player by unplugging the antenna cable from the outlet on the back of the player.

Insert the installation sleeve included with the CD player into the stereo dock. Fold the metal tabs at the opening of the collar downward with a flat screwdriver to hold the sleeve in the dock.

Pull the stereo wiring and antenna cable through the sleeve.

Plug the plastic wire connector from the vehicle's stereo wiring into the end connector(s) of the wiring harness adaptor.

Plug the wiring harness adaptor connector into the outlet on the back of the CD player. Consult the CD player's manual to determine the correct outlet for connection if there are more outlets available than harness leads.

Plug the antenna wire into the outlet marked "FM ANT" or "ANTENNA" on the rear panel of the CD player.

Slide the CD player into the dock. Push the deck into the sleeve until it snaps into place.

Replace the dashboard panelling around the stereo dock. Return to the vehicle's engine compartment.

Replace the negative battery clamp around the negative battery terminal post. Tighten the clamp's bolt with a wrench or pair of pliers. Replace the rubber covering over the negative battery terminal. Close the vehicle's bonnet.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench or pliers
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Socket set and nut drive
  • Wiring harness adaptor
  • Stereo installation sleeve (maybe included with CD player)
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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.