2005-2006 Nissan Altima
2005 • 2006
John Pollard spent the first six years of his time at Crutchfield on the phone helping people as an Advisor. He later joined the writing staff, focusing on car stereo gear. A native of Charlottesville, VA, he left our rolling hills for the idyllic wonderland of Seattle. Despite the distance, John still works for us, leading up a special project for our vehicle photos database.
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2005 Nissan Altima (Crutchfield Research Photo)
With an efficient engine and sharp styling, the 2005-06 Nissan Altima remains a popular choice for commuters and car lovers alike. For this Altima, Nissan offered a basic system and upgraded Bose stereo system, and aftermarket upgrades are available for each. You can replace the stereo and speakers without too much work, and you can even retain your steering wheel audio controls.
This receiver is part of a factory Bose® system. Note the logo. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Replacing your factory radio
The Altima was available with two different systems, a regular 6-speaker system and an optional Bose® system.
Installing an aftermarket stereo is a great way to make your factory system sound better, plus add new features like iPod control or HD Radio reception. You’ll need a dash kit to install a DIN (2" tall) or double-DIN (4" tall) car stereo, and it's a good idea to get a wiring harness that plugs into the Nissan plug so you don't have to cut into the factory wiring. The dash kit and harness needed for this installation are deeply discounted when you buy from Crutchfield, and our step-by-step instructions for your Altima are free.
If you don't want to change your radio, you’ll find inputs on the rear of the Nissan radio that allow you to add an iPod adapter or a satellite radio tuner, then control them with the Nissan radio or your steering wheel controls. You can certainly put together a complete audio system with new speakers, amplifiers, and subwoofers while retaining the factory radio, but a nice aftermarket stereo offers superior circuitry that will make these upgrades sound even better.
Note: If you have the Nissan satellite radio option, you’ll lose it when you install a new stereo.
The Altima's dash, disassembled (Crutchfield Research Photo)
You’ll know that you have the upgraded Altima system if you see the Bose® logo on your radio and on the rear deck speaker grilles. The Bose system sports a set of 5-1/4" speakers in the rear door, along with the tweeters in the dash, 6-3/4" speakers in the front door, and 6"x9" speakers in the rear deck.
You’ll use the same dash kit to replace the radio in the Bose system, and you’ll also need a special Nissan/Infinity Factory Integration Adapter (made by Scosche) that connects your new stereo to the Bose system's amplifier.
Why keep the Bose amplifier? If you want to get rid of it, you’ll have to run speaker wires from your new stereo to each of the speakers in your Altima, and that takes a lot of time and effort. Plus, a nice aftermarket receiver will send a cleaner signal to the amp so you'll hear the difference in the quality of sound. This Scosche adapter is also available at a deep discount.
If you want to keep the Bose radio, you can buy adapters to connect your iPod® or add satellite radio reception. You can also replace the factory speakers in the Bose system without having to replace the radio.
Note: If you have the Nissan satellite radio option, you’ll lose it when you install a new stereo.
Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, small flat blade screwdriver, panel tool
Steering wheel controls
Two companies (PAC and Axxess) make adapters that allow you to connect your Altima's steering wheel audio controls to a new car stereo. Nissan uses a single wire for every button on your steering wheel. The PAC adapter requires multiple resistors to distinguish between the different signals from the steering wheel controls, while the Axxess ASWC-1 adapter allows you to tap one wire for each function. We recommend the Axxess piece for this Altima.
A look at the Altima's front door (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Replacing your factory speakers
Removing and replacing the speakers is basically the same with the two different systems. The Bose ystem adds rear door speakers and an amplifier to the mix, though.
Basic 6-speaker system
This basic system comes equipped with tweeters in the dash, non-standard 6-3/4" speakers in the front door, and 6"x9" speakers in the rear deck. Nissan typically uses 2-ohm speakers in their factory systems, so you’ll want to use JBL, Infinity, or other aftermarket speakers that offer 2-ohm impedance if you're keeping the factory radio, or you’ll hear a very noticeable loss of overall volume.
A close-up of the front door speaker (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Front doors: The Altima’s front doors house 6-3/4" speakers with a 3-bolt pattern, so an aftermarket 6-3/4" speaker will not fit. You can install a 6-1/2" or 5-1/4" speaker in the front door with the help of a mounting bracket, but you’ll have to redrill your screw holes.
The door panel must be removed to get at the speaker and the factory speaker is attached to the door with three Phillips screws. The factory speaker is molded to the bracket, so you will definitely need a new bracket to mount any aftermarket speaker. Those mounting brackets are available at a special price with every speaker order. At this time, wiring harnesses are not available to connect your new speakers to the factory wiring, so you’ll need to splice into the factory wires or cut the factory plug to connect the new speaker.
The Bose® system includes rear deck speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Rear deck speakers: You’ll find 6"x9" speakers on the rear deck in the 6-speaker system. To access this location, you'll need to remove the rear seat and the rear deck to access the speakers, not a difficult job but it'll take a little time. You can replace these speakers with aftermarket 6"x9" speakers or use a bracket to install 6-1/2" or 5-1/4" size speakers. At this time, there isn’t a wiring harness available for the rear speakers either so cutting or splicing will be necessary.
Tweeter with "A" pillar removed (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Dash tweeters:The Altima does have tweeters in the front "A" pillars which are the supports that attach your dashboard to the roof. You will remove the "A" pillar trimpanel to access the tweeter location. Keep in mind that tweeters do not come in standard sizes, so you may have to cut, drill, glue, or fabricate a mounting plate to install an aftermarket tweeter in the factory location. If you're shopping for tweeters, the factory tweeter is a shade under 1-3/8" in diameter, and you have a mounting depth of about 1-1/2" behind the pillar.
Bose® system rear door speaker (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The upgraded Bose system adds rear door speakers and an amplifier to the mix. The other speaker locations are present from the standard 6-speaker system and accommodate the same size speakers. Again, the Bose speakers are usually 2-ohm, so you’ll want to pick new speakers with a lower impedance.
Rear door speakers: The rear door speakers found in the Bose system are standard 5-1/4" speakers. You’ll have to remove the door panel to install new 5-1/4" speakers. You shouldn't have to drill new screw holes or use a mounting bracket for installation, and there's a wiring harness (available at a discounted price) that will attach your new speakers to the Nissan speaker plugs.
Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, small flat screwdriver, 8mm, 10mm, and 12mm socket, panel tool, wire stripper/crimp tool, crimp caps, drill and 1/8" bit
There's room for more boom in the Altima's trunk (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Adding Bass to your Altima
The bad news is that nobody makes a custom-fit sub enclosure for the Altima, but Altima comes with a decent-sized trunk so finding room for a subwoofer and amplifier (or a powered sub) won’t be a problem. You’ll have easy access to the wiring of the rear deck speakers if you want to use them to get audio signal for your subwoofer system.
Here are some other ways to make your Altima sound terrific:
An amplifier will give you a big boost in the performance of your new speakers, even if your vehicle came with the Bose system. We don’t recommend using an amplifier with your factory speakers as they won't handle that much power.
Digital signal processor
If modifying your ride just isn't in your DNA, there's another option for vehicles without factory amplifiers. The Helix PP50DSP processor can make a dramatic improvement in the sound of your factory system. It works like this: you buy the processor, along with a vehicle-specific cable and a plug-in powered sub. The cable plugs into your factory radio's plug, connecting the processor/amp to your factory speakers. Next, go to Helix's site, download your vehicle’s audio parameters onto a microSD card, then load that info into the amp/processor. The PP50DSP is now ready to use equalization and time alignment to make your factory speakers sound great. Add in the bass from the optional Helix sub, and you've got a total system upgrade with minimal work.
You can add satellite to the factory radio to enjoy commercial free digital music by adding a satellite tuner. This tuner can be controlled by the factory stereo and will show station and artist information on the display. You can also add a Dock-and-Play satellite radio that you can take from car to car.
If your factory radio came equipped with satellite radio, you will lose that option with a new car stereo. Look for a new radio that’ll work with an outboard SiriusXM tuner.
It's a pretty straightforward process to install a security or remote start system in the Altima, and any alarm or remote start system we sell makes a great add-on for this vehicle. You shouldn't have a problem if you have experience installing car security systems; if you haven't installed equipment like this, we recommend you go to a professional installer.
We strongly suggest the use of a data integration interface for security or remote start installations because it’s a real time saver in this car. Both the Xpresskit DLPK interface or the Flashlogic FLCAN will work in the Altima and they both offer similar features.
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