1999-2000 Honda Civic coupe/sedan
1999 • 2000
Matt Holliday was one of Crutchfield's ace car enthusiasts for several years. He brought a lifetime of knowledge and experience to our team. He has since left the company to join the family business and pursue other interests.
More from Matt Holliday
1999 Honda Civic (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The Honda Civic is one of the most frequently seen cars on the road for a reason – it’s affordable, reliable and doesn’t require much to keep it running for a long, long time. It's also a great car for budding do-it-yourselfers, because of how easy it is to find and install high-performance aftermarket goodies.
The same goes for high-performance audio equipment. If you're thinking about building a serious system, the Civic is a great place to start. In fact, bumping up the sound can be even simpler and more rewarding than bolting on the go-fast parts.
The Civic's factory radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The standard stereo system in the Civic is an AM/FM radio with a CD or tape player with the option for a CD changer. Speakers are located in the front doors on all models and in the rear deck for coupes and sedans. Hatchbacks have speakers positioned on either side of the rear seat.
Here's a look inside the Civic's radio cavity (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Replacing your factory radio
After you take out a few dash panels, getting the factory stereo out is a snap. The dash opening is large enough to accept any type of stereo, from budget-friendly units that improve on what came from the factory to top-of-the-line double-DIN decks that give you navigation, Bluetooth and a world of add-on options. With such a wide variety of stereos available, choosing the right one might be harder than installing it. Our advice? Think about how you use your Civic every day and choose a receiver that does everything you need—and maybe a little more. That way, you'll avoid having to upgrade again in the near future.
Tools needed: Phillips screw driver, 8mm driver
Replacing your factory speakers
The Civic's speakers are easy to get to, easy to work with, and easy to upgrade.
Front door speakers behind factory grilles (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The Civic's large stock front door speakers give you plenty of options, too. Most 6-1/2 inch speakers fit easily, and the common size means there are upgrades for any budget. The larger size also makes it possible to get solid low notes, and adding a set of component speakers will give you a full, rich sound up front, right where it should be.
The door panels are easy to remove to get to all the necessary connection points, making the task a great way to get comfortable with doing your own upgrades to your Civic’s stereo.
In the front doors, you'll see a plastic cup that sits behind the factory speaker. This cup restricts your choices for new speakers because you can't use a speaker that's much over 2" deep. It's easy to cut out the back of the plastic cup to provide enough depth for your new speakers, and that will really open up your choices. It's a good idea to use speaker baffles to protect your new speakers.
Rear deck speakers, old and new (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Rear shelf speakers are a simple, bolt-in upgrade on Civic coupe and sedan models. The speaker openings are large, but you have to remove the rear seat to get to them. You can install 6"x9"s back there, or go with 6-1/2" or 5-1/4" speakers with the help of mounting brackets.
Again, you’re only limited by your budget, and swapping out these rear speakers will really fill out the sounds in your Civic. You'll have to remove the rear seats and rear deck material, along with several interior panels, to get to the factory speakers, but removal and installation is straightforward and yields big results. Crutchfield will give you a very nice discount on these brackets, and the wiring harnesses with your speaker order.
Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, panel tool, 10mm, 12mm drivers
Sound Ordnance subwoofer and enclosure
Adding bass to your Civic
Honda didn’t put much thump in the Civic, so adding a subwoofer will really wake up any style of music. The Civic has impressive trunk space for a compact car, so there is plenty of room to add the necessary amp to go along with a sub and enclosure.
Make sure you pick a deck with preamp outputs to make installation easier, and match your new subwoofer to an amp that has enough power to push it. You can also get big improvements by updating the rear 6"x9" speakers for added midrange to complement your subwoofer and fill in any gaps in your music.
With a car like the Civic, the aftermarket upgrade opportunities are amazingly plentiful. Here are a few things we'd suggest.
This wasn’t an option on your Civic, but is a necessity if you find yourself on the road a lot. Most receivers have the ability to add and control satellite radio tuners, or you can pick up a dock-and-play unit that can be easily transferred between vehicles. Your favorite stations will be right there wherever you go, and you’ll love the variety of music, sports and news, as well as hearing music you probably wouldn’t ever hear on FM radio.
No amps were offered from the Honda factory, but they’re a must if you want the best possible sound. Just how much sound is up to you, but a good place to start is added power for your front speakers. If you’re adding a sub, you’ll also need a way to power it, so look at multichannel amps that can handle the subwoofer and your door speakers. There is plenty of room for the additional juice, with ample trunk space and room under the seats.
With so many Civics being utilized as commuter cars, an in-dash navigation system can really come in handy. Double-DIN stereos fit nicely in the Civic’s dash and give you a high-end look and easy visibility when you’re tracking your progress on the road. If you’re Civic only pulls commuter duty and you have more than one car, take a look at the portable GPS devices from companies like Magellan, TomTom, or Garmin. They’re easy to move from car to car, packed with handy points of interest and come with trusted software and preloaded maps for your journey.
Installing a security system in your Civic isn't easy (security systems rarely are), but it's definitely a good idea. Our Crutchfield Advisors can help figure out what you need to get the job done, but we usually recommend taking your car and new gear to a professional installer.
First-timers: The Civic is a great first car, so this is probably the first time many people will be making stereo upgrades. The car’s simplicity makes it easy for these first-timers, and even little improvements make a big difference. Add a new stereo for a little more power and greater listening options, as most new stereos have the ability to play and control your iPod so you can pack more of your music into your ride. New front door speakers are easy to install and can really respond well with the added juice from a more powerful receiver. But you’ve been warned: once you hear how great these simple upgrades sound, you’ll be hungry for more.
Lots of seat time: If you’re using your Civic as a commuter to take advantage of its great fuel mileage, you’re probably spending a lot of time behind the wheel. Consider adding a new stereo that’s satellite radio ready to give yourself options for great music, news and sports anytime, anywhere. Adding new speakers and powering them with amps will make sure your music is crisp and clear, and sound deadening material from a company like Dynamat will help keep the road noise out during rush hour traffic. A stereo with built-in navigation or an add-on unit gives you the ability to find routes around traffic and informs you on the closest places to gas up or grab dinner on your way home.
The ultimate tuner: You can’t be a real tuner without great tunes, and the stereo is often the first thing that gets swapped out of a Civic. Upgrading to a double-DIN head unit adds great looks and the potential to play movies, better controls to tweak the sound, and a world of extras like iPod control, Bluetooth connectivity and more. Tuning is all about power, and the stereo is no exception, so amps and a thumping sub are a must – find a good multi-channel amp to conserve space and you’ll be able to power all your speakers and a sub for a system that will do any style of music justice.
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