It’s no secret that Toyota cars are extremely popular because of their practicality, functionality, technology and styling. But sadly one of the areas that Toyota don’t always do well with is their in-car entertainment systems – or “car stereo systems” to you and me!

If the audio quality in your pride and joy reminds you of the tinny sound you hear whenever music is playing down the telephone, it’s time that you did something about it. The thought of upgrading a car stereo system, especially in a Toyota, can often fill people with dread.


Photo Source (credit: Nacmias)

Luckily, this blog post will guide you so that you know how to upgrade each car stereo component in your Toyota.

What you will need

The first step is to identify what components you will need for your Toyota car stereo upgrade. At a bare minimum, you will need to purchase a car stereo, which is also known as a head unit.

They are called head units because they control all of the audio aspects of your car, such as audio channels, amplification and so forth.

Speakers are also a good idea to upgrade if your existing ones suffer from clipping or distortion, but you should ideally power them with a separate amplifier rather than the head unit’s built-in amplifier.

That is because aftermarket speakers will require more power to amplify sound that head units cannot provide.

If you are upgrading the speakers in your Toyota and installing an amplifier, you will also need to purchase some phono cables and speaker wire. You will need to do some measuring to determine the minimum cable lengths required:

  • Phono cables go from the back of the head unit to the amplifier;

  • Speaker cables go from the back of the head unit to each speaker.

For those of you on a budget, you can just upgrade your head unit for now and upgrade the other components at a later stage.

Head units

When you go to a car audio store, you will notice that car audio vendors sell head units mainly in two sizes: single DIN and double DIN.

Single DIN head units are the most-common ones available and can fit any car dashboard. Double DIN head units can only fit some cars, so it’s worth checking which size is best for your Toyota.

If you bought your pride and joy from Inchcape Toyota, check with those guys as they are very knowledgeable on in-car entertainment.

Steer clear of unknown brands, especially the cheap ones, as they are usually of poor quality. Expect to pay between £60 to £120 for a mid-range branded head unit with features such as Bluetooth, aux-in port, MP3 capability, RCA pre-outs and single-disc CD player.

Speakers and amplifiers

Again, stick with well-known brands and you will be fine. Ensure that the amplifier you buy is powerful enough for your speakers; otherwise they may distort at high volumes.

You will also need to consider where to install your amplifier. Some people fit them in the boot of their Toyota, whereas others opt for installing them underneath the front passenger seat.