How to Find Out What Equipment Fits Your Vehicle (2024)

Table of Contents
Head Unit Speakers FAQs

A recurring problem many people seem to have is not knowing what car stereo equipment will fit in their vehicle. It's often hard to determine what size speakers you have when the cones are behind factory grills. Even the radio may not be a standard size. Here's how to find out what you've got to work with in your vehicle.

Head Unit

The vehicle's radio is out in the open and a few simple measurements will tell you if it's a standard size. The most common size is called DIN (German abbreviation for Deutsche Industrie Norm which translates to German Industry Standard). The DIN size head unit has visible dimensions of 2 1/8" (50mm) tall and 7 1/8" (180mm) wide. There is no standard for the depth of the unit. Most aftermarket head units are a direct fit for this size and an adapter kit will not be required.

A double DIN head unit will often be found in Japanese vehicles (Toyota, Honda, Nissan, etc.) and is the same width but twice as tall as a standard DIN receiver. There are at least two options available for these openings. The first is to use a standard DIN radio in a DIN to double DIN adapter kit. This will allow the head unit to sit in the top half of the kit while the bottom half may have a pocket, an opening for an equalizer or an opening for a second DIN component. The other option is to use an aftermarket double DIN radio as a direct fit. Several manufacturers make this size in at least one model.

After that we have to deal with the non-standard sizes used by some American manufacturers such as GM (Chevy, GMC, Cadillac, etc.) and Chrysler (Dodge, Chrysler, etc.). These are commonly referred to as 1.5 DIN or "DIN and a half". Some refer to this size as "GM/Chrysler". These manufacturers also tend to have shallow dash cavities that make fitting a common depth radio (around 7") difficult. Usually the solution is to get an adapter kit for your DIN radio with a protruding front piece. This will allow you to fit the deeper head unit but the front of the unit will stick out and not sit flush with the dash. A good installer can get around this but it can be costly (re-forming/re-routing air vents, etc.). Another solution is to get an aftermarket radio that is built to the same size specifications as the original GM/Chrysler unit. Pioneer used to make a couple models that would fit without an adapter kit but their website no longer shows those size.

Then there are an assortment of very odd sized radios. Older GM pickups have a split unit with the control section near the instrument cluster and the tape/CD section in the middle of the dash. Older Ford Taurus models used an oval radio with the AC/heat built into the same panel. Both of these were overcome with the proper kits. Now more and more new cars are coming out with non-standard sizes and radios integrated with other vehicle electronics. This makes it more difficult to replace a factory stereo with an aftermarket one. This battle between the aftermarket and the OEM has raged for decades but the aftermarket has always found a way to adapt their equipment to whatever the OEM throws at them. It can take some time to design and bring to market these complex adapters but eventually there will be a packaged solution. The good news for consumers is that the quality of factory electronics keeps getting better and many consumers won't need to replace their factory head unit (at least for sound quality reasons). Instead they can spend the bulk of their upgrade money on the speaker system which is where the greatest benefit will be found.

Speakers

Speakers are a whole different ballgame. There are many different speaker sizes and it's tough to generalize which manufacturers use which size. The most common OEM sizes are 3.5",4", 5 1/4", 6 1/2", 4x6", 4x10", 5x7", 6x8" and 6x9". There are also two ways to mount speakers, top and bottom mount. Most speakers are top mount but some rear deck speakers will mount from the bottom of the panel (trunk side). For those with odd sized holes or holes bigger than the size you want to install you can buy, make or have made an adapter plate. The pre-manufactured models are usually made from plastic. The custom models can be made of several materials but I find the easiest to work with are Masonite (also called hardboard) in 1/8" and 1/4" sizes and the thinner varieties of MDF (1/4"). If the area will be subject to moisture plexiglass (acrylic) is a good option. Anything is possible if you just have the money to do it of course.

So that brings us to the real issue. How do you find out what fits your vehicle? The source most people (and many shops believe it or not) use is Crutchfield. For years their catalog was THE reference guide to have on what fits where. And it was free which also made it a very popular choice. Now the print catalog doesn't have the same amount of information but their website does. Using their "What Fits My Car" feature you can choose your vehicle from the drop down menu and it will give you a list of what products will fit your car. For example, using a 1995 Honda Civic Coupe it tells us that the rear deck speakers are 5 1/4" and the front door speakers are 6 1/2" models. We then have to look at the models of head unit to see that we have a DIN size radio (we know because the DIN sized radios show an EZ fit). Here's the link for the Crutchfield "What Fits" page.

There is an arguably better tool out there but it only covers vehicles up to 2007. A couple of the major manufacturers have partnered with MobileToys, a major provider of vehicle information for the aftermarket industry (especially car audio retail shops). Their database lists almost every vehicle made and what fits where. Thanks to the new partnership the consumer can now use this technology. Now these are designed to help you find the partner's products that will fit your vehicle and it does that very well. However it also shows you the size and depth of openings available in your vehicle. Very powerful. The one I like the best is right at MobileToys website.

Using our same Honda car we find the same information for speaker size but we can also click on the "Vehicle Details" link and see a popup that shows photos of the vehicle's dash and speaker areas with size AND depth figures. These depth figures are something that we really need to pay attention to. Buy a head unit or speakers that are too deep and you're going to have problems. Armed with this new information you can now find out what components will fit your vehicle without relying on a salesperson for advice. Knowledge is power.

The Car Audio Help DVD catalog includes five different videos covering many areas of car audio installation and custom fabrication. Topics range from basic system installation (head units, amplifiers, speakers, etc.) and mobile security (car alarms and remote start) to subwoofer box design and fiberglass fabrication. If you're interested in custom fabrication and car audio installation be sure to check out what we have to offer.

Click here to see the discount DVD packages

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How to Find Out What Equipment Fits Your Vehicle (2024)

FAQs

How to Find Out What Equipment Fits Your Vehicle? ›

Your VIN can help you discover specifications like the year, make, and model of your vehicle, as well as what engine size, drivetrain specifications, and optional equipment you may have. This helps ensure that you get exactly the right parts for your vehicle the first time.

How do I know what equipment is on my car? ›

The window sticker provides information that helps you identify which features your vehicle is equipped with. Window stickers are generated at the time of a vehicle's production and provide information on a vehicle such as: The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP).

How do I know what parts will fit my car? ›

The best way to ensure a part will fit is to check the look, dimensions, and/or OE number stamped on the original part you want to replace. You can also enter the part number you want into the search box on our website. Use our shop by vehicle function on the website to view only products that fit your car.

How do you find out your vehicle's specs? ›

Identifying vehicle specs by VIN is as simple as grabbing a VIN number and plugging it into a VIN decoder tool. Some VIN decoding services, typically those designed for commercial use, allow users to submit the VIN pattern (characters 1-8, 10, and 11) as well as the full 17-digit VIN.

How to find aftermarket parts that fit your car? ›

Know Your Vehicle's Make, Model, and Year

This information is the foundation for selecting compatible auto parts. It helps you find components designed specifically for your vehicle, ensuring a perfect fit and optimal performance.

Can my VIN number tell me what features my car has? ›

The VIN number tells you when and where the car was built. It tells you the manufacturer, year, make and model, and the trim level including unique features and specifications. Your car's VIN number can be used to track recalls, registrations, warranty claims, thefts and insurance coverage.

Can I get a build sheet from a VIN number? ›

An equipment list or build sheet contains all of the standard and optional equipment on your vehicle at the time it was built. It is specific to your vehicle and can be referenced using your 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number. Provide your VIN here to download your equipment list.

How to check compatibility of car parts? ›

Find parts and accessories that are compatible with your vehicle:
  1. Go to the Automotive Store.
  2. Select one of your saved vehicles in the Find parts for your vehicle drop-down menu.
  3. Select Go.
  4. Browse the compatible parts and accessories for your vehicle.

Can you look up parts by VIN number? ›

Using your VIN to find parts for your vehicle is the best way to can locate the correct parts that will fit your specific vehicle, especially if you're not familiar with the features of your vehicle or what options it may have had when it was built.

How do I know what parts I need for my car? ›

Identify the Exact Part Needed: Check your car's manual for the part number or specific details. Note the make, model, and year of your vehicle. Use Reputable Online Retailers: Websites like AutoZone, Rock Auto, and Advance Auto Parts are reliable sources.

What trim level is my car? ›

Check The Owner's Manual

The easiest way to determine your car's trim level would be to consult your car's owner's manual. The owner's manual should list all of the different features and amenities included with each trim level for your specific car model.

How do I know what frame my car is? ›

Visual Inspection Techniques

Check for irregular gaps between body panels, doors, and windows. Uneven gaps may indicate frame misalignment. Inspect the frame for any visible cracks, bends, or deformities. These can be telltale signs of structural issues.

Can you look up VIN for free? ›

NICB's VINCheck is a free lookup service provided to the public to assist in determining if a vehicle may have a record of an insurance theft claim, and has not been recovered, or has ever been reported as a salvage vehicle by participating NICB member insurance companies.

What cars share the same parts? ›

Cars that use the same parts
  • Lotus Esprit / Morris Marina: door handles. ...
  • Aston Martin DBS / Hillman Hunter: rear lights. ...
  • Jaguar XJ 220 / Citroen CX: wing mirrors. ...
  • Pagani Zonda / Rover 45: HVAC controls. ...
  • Aston Martin DB7 / Mazda 323 – rear lights. ...
  • Mercedes SLR McLaren / Mercedes Sprinter: indicator switches.
Feb 3, 2022

Is there an app to identify car parts? ›

Parts Detect provides a platform for finding the parts and products you need instantly by location, warranty, quantity and availability. Parts Detect is a free mobile application that allows automotive repair professionals to find aftermarket and OEM parts within seconds.

What is the best website to buy car parts from? ›

So, whether you're a professional mechanic or a car enthusiast, discover the best online resources for all your car parts needs.
  1. Shop Eddies. ...
  2. CARiD. ...
  3. O'Reilly Auto Parts. ...
  4. Summit Racing. ...
  5. Jegs. ...
  6. 1A Auto. ...
  7. NAPA. ...
  8. Parts Geek.
Jun 24, 2024

How to check car equipment? ›

There are many websites and apps available that allow you to enter your car's registration number (or VIN) and receive a detailed report of its technical specifications. Some popular options include Autotrader and What Car? Check with your dealership.

What is the equipment number on a car? ›

California Air Resources Board

All vehicles sold in the United States have a unique drive-train identifier called the "Test Group" or "Engine Family" Number. This number allows owners, parts suppliers, and service providers to determine specifications and installed emissions control equipment of motor vehicles.

How do I know what gear my car is in? ›

If your car has letters, it will usually be in one of these four positions: P, R, N, or D. If your vehicle has numbers, it will be in either first gear (which is indicated by the number one), or second gear (which is shown by the number two).

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