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How-to-guides -Tools for installing automotive electronics


What tools are required to install, car stereos, keyless entry, security systems and more...


Using the proper tools for the job will make the difference between maximum performance of your device, or an unreliable system that will haunt you for the duration of ownership!



Tool Time





Testing tools


Standard tools


Window crank and door panel removal tools


Wire routing tools


Radio removal tools


Radio removal tools Part-2 





Ready to install?

First things first!


If you are considering installing your automotive electronic accessory, it's probably why you ended up here......and you came to the right place!


There are several things you should do before getting started on the installation of any device.


Being prepared for the job will add to the gratification and performance of the install!



What tools will I need to do the job?


There are only a few tools required, and there probably already in your garage!


Some tools you may not have.


We highly recommend using the tools described here, however, we also understand the you may not want to incur the cost of a tool that you may not utilize often.


So, we even threw in some alternatives for the real thing.


The three major tools are:



  • Power screwdriver

  • Digital test light or preferably a volt ohm meter

  • Wire striper/crimpers




Why can't I just use a hand screw driver?



Well, for starters, hand screwdrivers went out in the 60s. Second of all, you can complete the job in half the time!


Of course you don't have to use a power screwdriver.


There are several advantages to using a power screwdriver and some disadvantages.



Let's start with the advantages:

Power screwdrivers will.

  • Increase the install time dramatically when removing fasteners and replacing them.

  • There are times when you will need the speed and torque to drive self taping screws into metal for a good chassis ground.

  • You will in some cases be required to drill pilot holes etc, to complete the installation.

Disadvantages include:

  1. If you are not experienced using a power screwdriver, you may strip or even crack fragile dash components.

  2. We said there were some disadvantages, here we could only think of number #1.






Crimpers and wire stripers


One of the most important tools you will ever have for the installation of automotive electronic accessories is the crimper/wire stripper.


The crimping will be used to connect two wires, or any terminal to most wires for the job.


It is also good to have a quality wire striper and wire cutter on the same tool, as to reduce the "clutter" in your working space and to increase the efficiency or the time it takes to do the install.







Dissection of the crimper and wire stripers





There are many different types and styles of crimper/wire stripers on the market. If you have a cheap pair of crimpers you will get a cheap install. That simple.


We're not suggesting that you go out and get a $35-$50 dollars pair of crimpers, in fact you can pick up a decent pair of crimpers/wire stripers for about $15 to $20 dollars at your local home supply store.


We happen to prefer the type used above. It's not an advertisement for a company, in fact, it can be any company you desire, as long as it is a good quality and has a few very important features we will discuss here:




For the type of crimping you will be using in most automotive electronics installation applications, you do NOT want to use the squared crimp head, as it will give an inferior crimp, allowing the wire to back out of the terminal and create an open circuit .

See Ref-1.




For automotive accessory applications, a round crimp head will give the maximum hold to the most commonly used terminals and connectors.

See Ref-2.




A multi gauge - wire striper located on the crimpers will increase efficiency of the install, as you only have to manage one tool as opposed to having a separate striper and separate crimpers.


  • When installing any device in a vehicle, you want to have the least amount of tools in the vehicle at any time.

  • This will increase the "moving around " space and reduce the chance of a lost tool.

  • Trust us on this one when we say that some vehicles have a magical place where expensive tools simply vanish into thin air and go visit and live where all your socks and underwear go! We here at mobile labs like to call it, Sockland, or (sock-land) not to be confused with Ireland). See Ref-3.



This is an important one. Your crimper/wire stripers should have a wire cutter in the very front, not in the middle where the multi- gauge wire striper is at.


This is important in many cases where you will not have ample room to access a wire in the dash by maneuvering the cutters in the middle of the crimpers.

See Ref-4.







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