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2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5/Pursuit

Upgrading the stereo system in your Cobalt or G5/Pursuit
2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010

2005 Chevrolet Cobalt coupe

In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your car's stock stereo system and your aftermarket upgrade options. Use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your Chevy or Pontiac. 

Overview of the Chevy Cobalt

The Chevrolet Cobalt rolled out in 2005 as the all (or mostly) new successor to the venerable Cavalier. After nearly 22 years of the staid Cavalier, it was clearly time for a change, and the Cobalt was exactly that. The Cobalt boasts upgraded ‘everything,’ including a complete suspension and chassis re-design, plus a host of new standard amenities. As a result, the Cobalt did a pretty good job of holding its own in the small-car market.

The car was available as either a coupe or sedan, with the 4-door offering both LS and LT variants. The LS was the standard 4-door version of the coupe, while the LT offered all kinds of luxury interior appointments, including leather seats and an upgraded sound system. The upgraded stereo was also found in the Supercharged SS coupe.

Note: This info also applies to the "same, but different" Pontiac G5 and Pursuit. We'll refer to the Cobalt throughout, but the process works with the Pontiacs, too.

chevy cobalt radio

The Cobalt's factory 2006-2006 radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Factory stereo system

The coupe and the LS sedan were equipped with the standard sound system: an AM/FM/CD receiver plus a 4-speaker array. The LT sedan featured an upgraded 7-speaker Pioneer sound system with the same stereo, in addition to the other luxury upgrades. Both body styles also had an OnStar® option.

The Pioneer system added tweeters to the front doors and a subwoofer in the trunk of the car. The system was powered by a Pioneer amplifier located above the driver's kick panel.

chevy cobalt factory radio 2007 up

The 2007-up radio looks different, but the removal instructions are the same. (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Replacing your factory radio

The factory radio is entirely enclosed by plastic trim, and located above the climate controls. As a result, getting to the receiver to remove it and replace it with a new unit can be a delicate process. Before you choose a new receiver, there are some ‘gotchas’ you need to know about.

  • When replacing your factory radio, you'll need a special integration adapter in order for the new stereo to work with the car's electronics system.
  • Next, if you want to retain the Driver Info Center, your new stereo has to be single-DIN size and you'll need a second integration adapter.
  • If you don't care about retaining the Driver Info Center, then you can choose either a single-DIN or double-DIN receiver.
  • Finally, if you want a double-DIN receiver, make sure it doesn't have a fold-down face. That style won't work in this dash.

All of this might sound confusing, but if you purchase your new receiver from Crutchfield, you don't have to worry. Your Crutchfield advisor will make sure you get the right parts, and you'll get a deep discount on the price. We'll also include our one-of-a-kind Crutchfield MasterSheet™ to guide you through the disassembly process.

chevy cobalt radio cavity

The rear panel in this opening might need to be removed when you install a new stereo (Crutchfield Research Photo)

To get to the receiver, first pry off the trip meter switch panel, disconnect the wire harness, and set it aside. Once that’s done, go the glove box and carefully pry the trim away from above the accessory space and remove it. Next, pry off the trim surrounding the receiver/climate control panel.

Once you have all the trim panels off, remove four 7mm retaining screws, and pull the receiver assembly out of the enclosure. Disconnect the receiver from the wire harness, and then take the receiver out of the assembly.

Detailed stereo and speaker removal instructions

MasterSheet image
With step-by-step disassembly instructions and plenty of up-close, detailed photos, our exclusive Crutchfield MasterSheet™ takes the guesswork out of removing the factory stereo and speakers. It's free with your Crutchfield order, or you can purchase one separately for just $9.99.

Some new receivers will be too deep to fit into the dash. In these cases, you'll have to use a hacksaw to remove the rear structure that supported the factory radio. The Crutchfield website will alert you if the stereo you're looking at is too deep, but specifically, this situation applies to any stereo more than 6-5/8" deep.

Tools needed: Small flat-blade screwdriver, panel tool, 7mm and 8mm sockets, plus a ratchet and extension, hacksaw blade (for stereos requiring a depth of more than 6-5/8")

Shop for car stereos that fit your Chevrolet Cobalt

Steering wheel audio controls

It's relatively easy to retain your car'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

New speakers will add a lot of life to your Cobalt's stereo system.

chevy Cobalt factory door speaker

The Cobalt's factory door speaker (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Front doors

In both the standard and upgraded stereo systems, the Cobalt’s factory front speaker is a 6-3/4" model placed in the lower front portion of the door panel. Most 6-3/4" speakers will fit the Cobalt's doors. You can also install 6-1/2" or 5-1/4" speakers with the help of a mounting bracket, which is supplied by Crutchfield with your speaker order. There are no wiring harnesses available for the Cobalt, so you'll have to cut off the factory plugs and connect the wires to the speaker terminals using quick slides.

To replace the speakers, you have to remove the door panel. Begin at the top of the door by prying the sail-panel away from its retaining clips. From there, move to the door latch assembly and remove the single 7mm screw, which is hidden by a round cover. Next, lift up the plastic cover from the door pull well and remove two more 7mm screws hidden there.

Pull up the control panel, starting at the rear edge, and unplug the harness. If you have manual windows, remove the window crank before pulling off the panel. After that, go to the door panel edge and remove the two plastic retaining plugs, then disconnect the door latch cable from its assembly. Finally, lift the panel off the door and set it aside. To remove the speaker, simply remove four 7mm screws and lift the unit off its bracket.

To install a new speaker, all you'll usually need to do is remove the old one and mount the new one using a mounting bracket. But on some Cobalts, you'll have to drill new screw holes in the door. It's an extra step, but not that hard. Hold the speaker in place, mark the holes, then use a 1/8" bit to drill the new screw holes. Always wear eye protection when drilling, and be careful not to drill into any wiring.

chevy cobalt tweeter

The factory tweeter (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Tweeters

In the case of the upgraded Pioneer system, the tweeter is located in the sail panel. Remove the sail panel from its retaining clips, then disconnect the tweeter from the car’s wiring harness.

To install a new tweeter in this location, you'll have to fabricate a mounting bracket to hold the tweeter in place. Our inexpensive universal backstrap works very well for this. As with the speakers, there are no wiring adapters available, so you'll have to cut off the factory connector and attach the wires to the tweeter.

chevy cobalt rear deck speaker

Rear speaker as seen from the trunk (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Rear deck

The Cobalt's rear speakers consist of a pair of 6"x9" speakers located in the rear deck. There's plenty of room to mount new 6x9's, or you can install 6-1/2" or 5-1/4" speakers with an adapter plate. As with the front speakers, the adapter is free from Crutchfield with your speaker order. And also like the front speakers, there aren't any wiring adapters available, so cut off the factory connectors and attach the speaker wires to the speaker terminals using quick slides.

Removal and replacement are pretty straightforward. First, lay the rear seat down to expose the rear storage area, then pry up the rear headrest covers and remove them. Next unscrew the mounting bolts, followed by the headrests themselves. In the sedan, you have to remove a screw from the side pillar, then pull off the trim panel. There's no screw in the coupe, so the trim panel can be pried off.

Once the trim panels are free, pull the edges of the rear-deck batting away and lift up the rear deck. Once you have the deck up, simply unscrew the four screws securing the speaker, lift the speaker off its bracket, and unplug the speaker harness.

Tools needed:  Phillips screwdriver, small flat-blade screwdriver, panel tool, 7mm, 8mm, and 1/2" sockets, ratchet and extension, Torx T15 driver, plus a drill and 1/8" bit

Shop for speakers that fit your Chevrolet Cobalt

chevy cobalt pioneer subwoofer

The subwoofer in the Pioneer system (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Bass in your Cobalt

The Cobalt’s upgraded Pioneer stereo system included a 10" dual-voice coil subwoofer mounted in a plastic enclosure in the trunk. Crutchfield doesn’t currently recommend replacing this sub with any specific component subwoofer. Doing so would likely require some modification of the enclosure, and you'd likely need to add a new amp because the factory amp isn't all that powerful.

With or without the Pioneer option, there's plenty of room in the rear of the car for a subwoofer box. You can fit most enclosures for 12" or smaller subwoofers. Or if you want to conserve your cargo space, you could install a powered subwoofer.

Other options for your Cobalt

Here are some other ideas to improve your Cobalt:

iPod® and Bluetooth® adapters

There are no adapters that will allow you to control your iPod or iPhone® from the Cobalt's factory stereo. You'll have to rely on a basic FM transmitter to play your music through the stereo. A better option would be get a Bluetooth adapter that integrates with your stereo so you can stream music from your device to the stereo. And of course, this would also give you hands-free calling capability.

Remote start and security systems

Adding remote start capability to your vehicle lets you warm it up in the winter or cool it down in the summer. The iDatastart system is incredibly convenient and makes it easier than ever to install a remote start system, so we highly recommend it. The module requires a vehicle-specific T-harness (sold separately) to connect with your vehicle's computer, security, and ignition systems, so we ask that you call to order so that we can make sure you get the right harness for your ride.

You can also talk to your Crutchfield Advisor about a security system. They’re not as easy to install (we usually suggest letting a professional do the job), but we can help you choose a system that’ll work in your vehicle.

Shop for car security systems for your Chevrolet Cobalt

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.

  • Brian from Baltimore

    Posted on 6/18/2019

    Any chance the specs for the speakers, as far as power, are listed somewhere? I'm currently shopping on Amazon for new front speakers for a 2007 Cobalt LS (stock speakers are blown), and don't really know what to get as far as wattage or 2-way vs. 3-way. I don't wanna pay extra for great speakers if the system can't handle it and/or I won't notice a difference between those and cheaper speakers, due to the limitations of the stock radio. If that makes sense. Basically, I don't wanna be buying a Blu-Ray player to hook up to an old CRT TV, because it'd be a waste of money.

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 6/19/2019

    Brian, You don't have to to spend a ton of money to get decent speakers. And technically speaking, anything's better than what you have, right? Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.
  • Jeremy Jensen from Wellsville

    Posted on 5/28/2019

    What model pioneer subwoofer is in the Cobalt SS?

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 5/28/2019

    Jeremy, Far as I can tell, the model number is TS11ECE. Replacing this 2-ohm sub is a challenge, because there's no wiring harness available and you'll probably need to cut a larger opening in the enclosure or remove the original mounting post.
  • Jake from Ellington

    Posted on 5/18/2019

    Forgot to mention that if it has manuel windows there's a ring that has to be removed before the crank comes off. If not the door panel wont come off.

  • Commenter image

    Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/25/2018

    Joe, It's hard to give a solid "yes or no" to questions about OEM-for-OEM swaps like that one. These cars were around a long time and things changed from year to year, so it might not be as easy as it seems. Your best bet is to check out an owners' forum online and lay out the project you have in mind. Chances are, someone out there has done it or knows whether or not it can be done. Good luck!

  • Joe from Wyandotte

    Posted on 5/23/2018

    Can you install the pioneer system, stereo sub woofer and amp in a car that does not have it from the factory have a parts car that has it and would like to swap it to another

  • Commenter image

    Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/23/2018

    Jeana, If you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details.

  • Jeana from SHASTA LAKE

    Posted on 4/23/2018

    Hi i have a 2009 coblat and iam replacing the stock stereo i bought the interface wirehardness and matched the wires and its not coming on ..the stereo is brand new so i know its not that ami doing something wrong

  • Commenter image

    Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/29/2018

    James, The key to the plan is the wiring harness that comes with the new stereo, and we'll make sure you have the right one. When you enter your vehicle's info into our Outfit My Car tool, you'll see which stereos fit your Cobalt, plus the correct harness. You'll also save some money on that harness when you shop at Crutchfield! If you have any questions, our advisors are available via phone or chat.

  • James Vickers from Mobile, AL

    Posted on 1/29/2018

    I've got a 2005 Cobalt, no audio controls on the steering wheel. I do have cruise control. I don't think I have a DIC, though I do have the two buttons to access a small little rectangle with a trip, radiator temperature, mileage, estimated mpg., but it is nothing like a large screen my mother has on her 2015 Impala. I feel comfortable that I can do the work, but I feel like I probably would not lose cruise control--would that not be a whole different circuit? And since I have no audio controls on my steering wheel, I would not lose those, right? And I've read a few posts saying they did not lose the little information center too. Can you clarify any of this stuff? It may not seem important, but I like being able to check the engine temperature, and having trip meters.

  • Commenter image

    Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/11/2018

    Daniel, Probably not, but if you install a new sub (and/or amp), you'll want to run new wiring anyway. A compact powered sub can offer the sound you want without taking up too much space. Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.