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Why won't a double-DIN receiver fit in my car?

Looks can be deceiving — that's why we measure everything

Jon Paulette is a veteran automotive writer who has spent a fair portion of his life hanging out at racetracks and talking to amazing people who make extremely loud cars reach ridiculous speeds. Despite all that, he still has enough hearing left to enjoy a stupidly large music collection. A native Virginian, Jon lives in the Charlottesville area, roots for the Nationals and would like a good BBQ sandwich right about now.

More from Jon Paulette

Ford F-150 dashboard

You'd think a nav receiver would fit here.... (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Your eyes deceive you

When you're buying a set of tires for your car or truck, you don't just pop into your local big box store and grab the first set of round, treaded black things you see when you walk in the door. Eyeballing works fine for some purchases, but when it comes to cars, it's best to make sure you're buying something that fits.

When you're looking at a good-sized receiver nestled in an expansive dashboard, it's only natural to assume that a touchscreen DVD/nav receiver will fit right in. Alas, that's not always the case. Some of the most popular vehicles on the road may seem like excellent candidates for a double-DIN (4" tall) receiver, but, thanks to a variety of factors, they really aren't. Let's take a look at a couple of examples:

Ford F-150 radio

That sharp slope dips underneath a dash support (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Ford's tough

Let's say you want to replace the factory receiver in a 2003 Ford F150, for example. Your truck is equipped with Ford's corporate (or "OEM") head unit, variations of which appeared in trucks and other Blue Oval products for years. It does a nice job of filling the dash opening, but if you want better sound, it's the absolute first thing you need to replace.

The radio cavity's plenty spacious, but there's a metal rear support brace in the dash that that gets in the way. In the F-150, the stock receiver actually slopes down to single-DIN (2" tall) size in the rear, which helps it fit underneath the brace. You could widen the opening and remove the support brace to get a double-DIN in there, but that sort of modification isn't easy and is beyond the scope of most car audio enthusiasts. At that point, you're not just installing a stereo; you're customizing your truck. Custom work, by the way, is totally cool, so if you do something like that, send some pics and info to our Custom Car Showroom.

If you just want to install a new receiver, you do have options. Thankfully, there are a lot of great single-DIN receivers out there with tons of great features. We offer great-looking dash kits that will fit right into your Ford and even give you a bonus storage cubby. If you still need nav, you can rely on your phone or a portable GPS navigator. You'll get the directions you need in a package that fits in your pocket when you reach your destination.

Find the audio gear that fits your car or truck

Visit our Outfit My Car page and enter your vehicle information to see stereos, speakers, subs, and other audio accessories that will work in your vehicle.

1998 Chevy Blazer radio

GM's traditional 1.5-DIN radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)

GM's 1.5-DIN radio

General Motors had a standard OEM radio of its own for years, and while the shape was nice and normal, the radio was a non-standard "1.5-DIN" size. It's tempting to call this odd, but 1.5-DIN radios were installed in hundreds of thousands of GM products over the years, so maybe everything else is odd and this is totally normal. Whatever it is, it looks like it's the same size as the double-DIN receiver you're checking out at Crutchfield, but it's actually smaller.

As a result, your shopping choice comes down to a limited number of single-DIN receivers with flip-up faces (which don't work in all vehicles) and a good number of regular single-DIN models. As with the Ford truck above, you'll get a free (or deeply discounted) dash kit with your radio purchase. The kit will do a nice job of trimming out the smaller, 2" tall radio and make it look right at home in your dash.

RetroSound Newport

RetroSound Newport digital media receiver

If you really want something that fits perfectly, there is an option. The RetroSound Newport digital media receiver is a perfect fit for a wide variety of older vehicles equipped with 1.5-DIN radios. It offers all the high-tech features you need to bring your car's audio system into the 21st century, including a dedicated iPod® interface, built-in Bluetooth® connectivity, dual USB ports (one on the front, one on the rear), and two auxiliary inputs. The subtle styling is remarkably era-appropriate, with a black plastic face and actual control knobs, so the Newport blends right into any dash.

Ford, Chrysler, and Jeep offered 1.5-DIN receivers of their own in various models over the years, so if you have a  "vehicle of a certain age," be sure to measure the stock radio.

A fitting finish

The moral of the story is that fit isn't a matter of perception, it's a matter of reality. That's why our vehicle research team spends hours taking apart car interiors and measuring everything that relates to the stereo system. We know how big the receiver opening is, we know what might get in the way, and we know how hard (or easy) it is to get into the dashboard and replace the stereo.

When we say something fits your car, it fits your car. And if we say it won't fit, we'll tell you why and we'll help you find a solution that gives you the sound you want. Visit our Outfit My Car page, enter your vehicle information, and start shopping for your new car stereo. If you have any questions, our advisors are really smart and available by phone, email, or chat.

Last updated May 23, 2016
  • Cris from passaic

    Posted on 7/20/2015 7:38:46 PM

    Can I install a double din radio in my 2006 Acura tl? If I can what size?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/21/2015 7:52:50 AM

    Cris, you won't be able to install a double-DIN receiver in your Acura, and a single-DIN receiver will require you or a professional installer to fabricate a kit to fit the dash. Keep in mind that installing a new receiver will also require you to bypass the factory amps.

  • Raymond Obi from Newyork

    Posted on 8/31/2015 11:17:59 AM

    Please can i use a double din or single din dvd car stereo on my 2004 infinity fx 35 thanks

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/1/2015 9:14:34 AM

    Raymond, you'll be able to install a single-DIN stereo in your fx35. However, you will need to fabricate a dash kit for it to fit. You may want to consult a professional installer before upgrading your stereo. If you'd like to upgrade your stereo, be sure and give us a call for the rest of your installation needs.

  • Tyler

    Posted on 12/16/2015 7:49:04 PM

    What sizes stereo can fit in my 2007 dodge Dakota?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/17/2015 10:00:47 AM

    Tyler, You can use our vehicle selector to confirm which stereos fit your car and get some info on what else is needed for the installation. If you want even more information, we also have a Vehicle Profile on the Dakota.

  • David Wheeler

    Posted on 2/4/2016 2:56:26 PM

    Can a double din fit in my 1998 buick regal GS?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/8/2016 6:53:19 AM

    David, yes, you should be able to fit a double-DIN stereo in your Buick's dash. For more information, use ourvehicle selector to confirm which stereos fit your car and get some info on what else is needed for the installation.

  • rob from Beach park, il

    Posted on 3/7/2016 3:27:30 AM

    Will a double din fit in my sister's 97 grand prix?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/7/2016 9:59:45 AM

    Rob, You can use our vehicle selector to confirm which stereos fit your car and get some info on what else is needed for the installation. If you have any questions, just give us a call.

  • Ben from Danville

    Posted on 4/14/2016 3:33:14 PM

    What size radio will fit in my 2003 f150 without modifications?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/15/2016 8:52:17 AM

    Ben, A variety of single-DIN receivers will fit right in. For double-DIN models, you'll need to remove a rear support bracket, which is no big deal, really. I've sent your question to our sales team, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Derek from Dallas

    Posted on 4/16/2016 10:33:40 AM

    What options do I have with a 2010 lincoln mks with THX system, but no navigation. I would like to keep factory amp and speakers, but would like to change the reciever.

  • hitin

    Posted on 4/16/2016 6:20:24 PM

    I got a Altima 2.5 s , 2006 model, can I get a new double din for it?! The head measurement are as following: H175 (mm) W105 (mm) Thanks!

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/18/2016 9:40:12 AM

    I've sent your question to our sales team for the best answer, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/18/2016 9:43:32 AM

    Derek, I've sent your question to our sales team for the best answer, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Mike from Baltimore

    Posted on 5/21/2016 10:15:45 PM

    Can I fit a double din in a 2001 ford explorer?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/23/2016 8:58:31 AM

    Mike, There are a few double-DINs that can fit, but it'll take some work. You can use our vehicle selector to confirm which stereos fit your Explorer and get some info on what else is needed for the installation.

  • Josiah from Traverse City

    Posted on 6/22/2016 12:12:29 AM

    I would like to put a JVC LD-R770BT into a 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse, and your vehicle selector says that the unit is too long by 0.03". If I'm very stubborn about my selection, how difficult should I expect installation to be? As simple as moving wires? Or grinding out a fraction of an inch of metal?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/22/2016 9:48:24 AM

    Josiah, Can you make it fit? Maybe, but it's probably not going to be easy and it might not work at all. Think of it as a cool-looking hat that's just a bit too small. You can mash it onto your head if you really want to, but it's not going to be comfortable, so why not get a different hat? That JVC is a nice receiver, but we have plenty of others that will work better in your car.

  • Rick in VA from Ashburn

    Posted on 7/14/2016 5:47:30 PM

    I have a 2004 Chevy Express van front end for my class C RV. I am looking at replacing the JVC head unit that came with the RV (it gets hot when playing CDs and turns on when hitting a bump). There is a gaping hole below the unit that suggests a double DIN unit might fit but your vehicle selector only offers single DIN units. My concerns are: 1) the amount of movement the unit has when driving is causing the wiring to jump resulting in turning on the unit when off; 2) the skipping a CD will have when driving over rough pavement. Do you have any suggestions?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/15/2016 9:23:20 AM

    Rick, The 2003-2007 models only have space for a single-DIN, but the 2008-up vans can also accept a double-DIN (4" tall) aftermarket stereos. Unless your dash was modified during the RV build process, there's only room for a 2" receiver (and a mounting kit, of course) in that space. If you're not sure, measure the opening and give us a call. As for the skipping and other issues, a new receiver/kit/harness should be much better that what you have now, but nothing is totally skip-proof -- a lesson I've re-learned during our local festival of road construction! I'll forward this to our sales team and someone will be in touch via email. Thanks for writing in!