2006-2011 Honda Civic
2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011
Rick Carlton has served as a professional automotive/motorsports journalist, writer, researcher, editor, and publisher for thirty years. He has also served as a press/media consultant for a range of professional motorsports organizations. He contributed several vehicle profile articles to Crutchfield's Research Garage.
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2006 Honda Civic coupe (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Honda Civic sedan (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Overview of the Honda Civic
After the Honda Civic’s initial release in 1972, it gradually evolved from its humble beginnings as a sub-compact coupe, to become a leader in the compact segment. By 2011, the (much) bigger, better Civic regularly topped nearly all competitors in U.S. market sales.
The Civic was available as a coupe or sedan, with a host of optional amenities ranging from leather seating to premium entertainment systems, to high-revving 1800cc, and 2000cc VTec engines. The Civic was also one of the first widely accepted hybrid gas-electric vehicles.
There are plenty of sharp-looking 2006-11 Civics out there, so whether you have one already, or just want one, you have excellent taste in cars. An aftermarket sound system is a great way to make your car truly yours. Here are a few tips on how to upgrade the audio in your Honda Civic.
The Honda Civic's stereo (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Factory stereo system
The 2006-2011 Honda Civic carried a base stereo package comprised of an AM/FM/CD unit with an auxiliary input and either four or six speakers. The 6-speaker system added a pair of tweeters in the dash.
An upgraded sound system was also available for Civic owners who wanted a bit more oomph from their stereos. This system featured seven speakers, including a subwoofer in the rear deck. An external amplifier was included to power it all.
An in-dash GPS navigation receiver was another option available on most models. We'll get into the pros and cons of replacing this receiver below.
Replacing your factory radio
With a variety of factory stereo systems comes a variety of techniques used to remove them. Here's a quick breakdown of the basic things you'll need to do:
Removing the radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)\
4- or 6-speaker stereo systems without navigation
The Civic can handle either a single-DIN or double-DIN stereo up to 8-7/16 inches in depth, so you have lots of options for your new receiver. When you replace your factory stereo, you’ll lose the auxiliary input, so make sure your new stereo has the inputs you need for your electronic devices and music sources.
Removing the factory stereo is a little bit involved, but our MasterSheet will walk you through it, step by step. To remove the factory stereo, the first thing you’ll need to do is use a panel tool to pry away the knee panel located just under the steering column. Once the retaining clips are free and the knee panel is out of the way, locate the single Phillips screw in the center of the lower internal dash assembly and remove it. This process will allow you to lift the entire instrument trim panel away, disconnect the instrument-cluster’s wiring harness then move on.
Next, open the storage compartment, pry off the internal storage panel located next to the power module and remove it. Once that panel has been set aside, remove the two 8mm Phillips screws located behind the panel, then move to the trim panel that encloses the stereo and climate controls. Pry the trim away until the retaining clips are free and, finally, lift the entire trim assembly away from the dash in order to gain access to the radio/climate control assembly, lift it out, disconnect the wiring harness, and set it aside.
Honda Civic dash adapter kit
Installing a new stereo, no matter which size you choose, will require a special integration kit. This kit replaces the central dash panel and integrates the climate controls and new stereo, just like the factory dash panel. The kit is available in three colors, to match your dash. When installing the integration kit, you’ll need to remove the climate controls from the factory dash panel and attach them to the kit. Once you’ve mounted the kit, installing the new stereo in your Civic is straightforward. Just follow the mounting instructions included with the kit.
You’ll also need a wiring harness so that you can connect the new stereo without cutting into to the car’s wiring. You attach the wires from one end of the harness to the wires from the stereo. The other end of the harness has a connector that plugs into the Civic’s stereo connector. Honda uses a non-standard connector for the radio antenna, so you need an adapter for that too. Luckily, when you purchase your stereo from Crutchfield, the wiring harness, the antenna adapter, and the integration kit are deeply discounted with your order. A pack of Posi-Products Car Stereo Connectors makes the job of connecting the harness wires to the stereo wires much easier.
One important note: If your Civic is a DX model that doesn’t have a factory stereo, you’ll need to purchase stereo mounting brackets from your local Honda dealer.
The amplifier bypass harness from Metra
7-speaker stereo system without navigation
The upgraded, 7-speaker system is largely the same, and you'll use the same integration kit in the dash. The biggest difference comes from the addition of a factory amplifier. You'll need to bypass that amp when you install your new receiver.
Bypassing the amplifier entails using a “bypass harness” to run the speaker wires from your new stereo to the factory amplifier location. (This bypass harness is offered at a discount if you purchase your new stereo from Crutchfield.) The location of this amplifier depends on which type of car you have. In sedans, it’s located under the driver’s seat. Just run the harness’ wires to the amp.
In coupes, you’ll find the amp beneath the center console, in front of the gear shifter. In this case, you’ll need to disassemble the console to get the wires to the amp, a process that is explained fully in your Crutchfield MasterSheet.
In either case, you unplug the speaker connector from the amplifier and plug it into the connector on the bypass harness. This removes the factory amplifier from the system, letting you safely power your speakers with the new in-dash receiver.
For a look at how to do this installation, watch our stereo and speaker installation video at the end of this article.
The optional Honda navigation radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Civic stereo systems with navigation
If your Civic came with a factory navigation system, then you might want to consider leaving the stereo as-is, or having a car audio professional do the installation. The difficulty lies in the amount of work involved in mounting a new stereo in the dash. There aren’t any installation kits available to make this easier, so you’ll have to create a custom trim panel to fill out the space around the new stereo.
Otherwise, the wiring works according to the two scenarios above. To be honest, if you have the Honda nav system, you’re better off keeping it and improving your car's sound system by replacing your speakers and adding an amplifier.
Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, panel tool, 8mm socket, ratchet, and extension
Steering wheel audio controls
It's relatively easy to retain your Civic's steering wheel audio controls when you install a new stereo. When you enter your vehicle information, our database will choose the adapter you need to make your factory steering wheel controls work with your new receiver.
Replacing your factory speakers
Regardless of which stereo system your Civic has, speaker access and replacement is essentially the same. There are some differences between the coupe and sedan, of course, and they're noted below.
The tweeters are near the base of the A-pillars. They're not easy to replace, but the work is worth it. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
If your Civic has tweeters in the dash, they are easy to remove. Just pry up the dash grille panel and pull it toward you to remove it. Unplug the tweeter harness and pry the tweeter out of its setting. Installing replacement tweeters involves fashioning a mounting bracket, and we offer a universal backstrap that’s great for this.
If you’re comfortable using a hole saw, you can flush-mount the tweeters in the dash grille itself. You’ll have to cut off the plug on the speaker wires and connect the wires directly to the new tweeter’s wires. A few Posi-Product speaker connectors would be very helpful here.
The factory tweeter has a diameter of 1-1/2" and you have an available depth of 1-1/8", so keep these dimensions handy when you’re shopping for replacements.
A front door speaker (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Front door speakers
The front doors will accept a number of 6-1/2" speakers, but the space between the front of the speaker and the door panel (called the mounting height) is limited to 3/4", so speakers with large tweeter assemblies might not fit. Stepping down to a 5-1/4" speaker opens up more options.
In either case, you’ll need a mounting bracket to hold the speaker in place and a wiring harness so that you can install the new speaker without modifying the Civic’s wiring. These parts are available at a discount when you purchase your new speakers from Crutchfield.
The process of removing the door panel varies slightly depending on whether you have a coupe or sedan. In either case, you’ll remove a few screws behind the door release and handle, then pry off the door panel. The speaker is held in place by a single screw. Remove the screw, pull out the speaker, and unplug the factory wiring harness from the speaker. Our MasterSheet™ instructions, included with your order or available separately, will walk you through this process step-by-step.
Now for the new speakers. Attach the speaker to the mounting bracket, according to the included instructions. Connect the wiring harness to the speaker, then plug it into the Civic’s wiring connector. Mount the new speaker and bracket assembly in the door with the same screw you removed earlier, then reassemble the door panel.
Replacing the coupe's rear deck speakers takes effort, but the actual job isn't terribly difficult (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Rear deck speakers
The rear deck is outfitted with a pair of 6-1/2" speakers, so you won’t have any problems fitting most aftermarket 6-1/2" speakers in there. As with the front door locations, you have the option of using a 5-1/4" speaker in this location. You’ll need to use a mounting bracket and wiring harness in either case.
The Civic coupe's rear deck speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The installation process depends on whether you have a coupe or sedan. In the 2-door version, you’ll have to pry up the rear deck to uncover the speakers.
This is done by folding down the rear seat and removing two screws in the front edge of the rear deck. (In EX and SI coupes that have a subwoofer, there are ten retaining clips instead of the screws.
Place your hand under the front edge of the rear deck and push up to release them.) Pull down the trim panel for the trunk light and disconnect the rear-window brake light harness. Guide the seat belt through the slot in the rear deck and remove the deck. Remove the single screw from each speaker, pull up the speaker, and unplug the wiring connector.
Just like in the front doors, you'll attach the mounting bracket to the new speaker, connect the wiring harness, and secure the new speaker assembly to the rear deck. Repeat with the other speaker, the reassemble the rear deck.
The Civic sedan's rear speakers are much easier to work with (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Replacing the rear speakers is a much easier task in the Civic sedan. No panel removal, no problem. All you have to do is pry up the grilles over each speaker, then remove the four screws securing the speaker to the deck. Assemble the speaker and mounting bracket structure, connect the wires, and put it all back together.
You'll find some notes below on what you'll need to do when you're replacing the factory subwoofer found in the Civic EX and SI models.
Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, small flat blade screwdriver, panel tool
The factory sub is in the rear deck (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Bass in your Civic
Some Civic models have a factory subwoofer mounted in the center of the rear deck. This location is sized to fit an 8" subwoofer, but there’s not a lot of room to accommodate an aftermarket sub. The mounting height is limited to half an inch due to the rear deck panel. Mounting depth and magnet width are both limited by the trunk torsion bars below (available depth is 4" and magnet diameter is 4-1/2").
The rear deck is a very handy spot to mount a better woofer if you can find one that fits. An aftermarket sub mounted in this location needs to be free-air capable, and you’ll need to install an amplifier to power it. The factory amp is fine for the factory woofer, but it’s not going to give you the power needed to drive an aftermarket sub.
Removing the woofer is simple. Fold down the rear seats, place your hand under the front edge of the rear deck, and push up to release the deck. Guide the seatbelt through the slot in the panel, then lift the panel off of the deck and set it aside. The woofer is secured by four Phillips screws and the wiring connection.
The JL Audio Stealthbox custom-fit subwoofer fits right in the trunk (Courtesy of JL Audio)
If you want a low-profile bass system, but don’t have the rear deck option (or can’t find a sub to fit the deck), consider the JL Audio Stealthbox®. The enclosure mounts in the rear corner of the trunk, on the passenger side, and contains a 10" JL Audio subwoofer wired for a 2-Ohm load. Add an amplifier (the Stealthbox can handle 150-600 watts RMS) and the Stealthbox will give you a new appreciation for what good bass can sound like.
Standard component subwoofer boxes and powered subs are also a good option in the Civic, depending on how much bass you want and how much cargo room you’re willing to give up. The available space for a subwoofer box is roughly 34" wide and 15" high, with an available depth (front to rear) of 29" at the top, and 34" at bottom.
Looking for some other ways to upgrade your Civic? Here are a few suggestions:
Hands-free calling and iPod® control
If you are keeping your factory stereo, you can still add a Bluetooth® phone interface or an iPod adapter. A universal Bluetooth adapter works with any car. For your iPod or iPhone®, you can add an interface that lets you control your music from the Civic’s stereo, and keep the device charged, too. When installing one of these iPod interfaces, or a one of the Bluetooth kits that need to be hardwired, you still need to remove the factory stereo to connect the new device to the rear input.
Adding an alarm system to your Honda Civic is no more difficult than most other vehicles, but it's still a complex and time-consuming process. Unless you're experienced with this sort of work, you might want to rely on the skills of a professional installer. If you want to add remote start capability, you’ll need a transponder bypass module in addition to the remote start system. Our advisors can help you choose the best option.
Good, better, best
Good: The Civic's stereo system offers a lot of options for upgrades. The factory nav unit is hard to replace, so don't. Keep it and invest in a great set of speakers. If your car doesn't have nav, replace the radio first and get to the speakers whenever you can.
Better: After you’ve done the basic upgrades, you have a choice of what to do next. 1) Add a nice subwoofer and amp to the trunk to give you the bass notes you just can’t get from the regular speakers. 2) Add a 4-channel amplifier to drive your aftermarket speakers. The extra power will bring out details you probably didn’t know you were missing.
Best: Do whichever option you didn’t do above. Adding the 4-channel amp will let you get the most out of your upgraded speakers. When you’re ready for a bass system, seriously consider the JL Audio Stealthbox. It’s a little pricey, but you’ll like having both the hard-hitting bass AND cargo space.
Now that you have some idea of what's involved in upgrading the audio gear in your Civic, watch our short installation video. You'll see for yourself that the task isn't that hard.
This video is a quick look at the installation. For a step-by-step, detailed look, watch our full-length version of how to install a stereo and speakers in a Honda Civic.
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