2015-up Ford Mustang
Upgrading the stereo system in your Mustang
2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019 • 2020 • 2021 • 2022
In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your Mustang's stock stereo system and your aftermarket upgrade options. Use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your car.
Overview of the Ford Mustang
The cool thing about the latest Ford Mustang is that it looks exactly the way someone who was abducted by aliens in 1999 would expect a Mustang to look if they returned to Earth tomorrow. That person would still be freaked out about pretty much everything else, of course, but at least this car would make perfect sense. ("Oh yeah, the Mustang’s totally cool. Um, why are all those people staring at their garage door openers?")
The neat thing about this design is how everything about it says "Mustang," but nothing says "retro." It’s sleek, sporty, distinctive, and everything you’d expect a 21st Century Mustang to be, plus even the base models are quick enough to add some adrenaline to your daily drive. As for the high-performance models, they won’t go to warp speed, but they’re still pretty impressive for primitive human technology. And the engines sound awesome, whether they’re burbling at a stoplight or screaming away.
The stock stereos are a bit shy of awesome, though the optional Shaker or Bang & Olufson systems are actually pretty good as factory gear goes. But if you’re serious about car audio, you’ll want to make some upgrades to your Mustang. This article will give you an overview of what can be done and how you’ll go about doing it.
This Mustang can be equipped with several different factory radios (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Your Mustang's factory stereo system
Even in standard form, this Mustang has a lot of tech on board. The base radio was an AM/FM/CD/MP3 unit with a color LCD display, SYNC, Bluetooth® connectivity, USB/AUX inputs, and a backup camera system. There’s also a cluster-mount LCD driver info display.
Available upgrades over the years have included SiriusXM satellite radio, HD Radio, MyFord Touch (2015) or SYNC 3 (2016-up) with an 8" touchscreen, smartphone integration, Apple CarPlay™ and (in later models) Android Auto, voice control, GPS navigation, and more.
Speaker-wise, there’s the base system, plus a 9-speaker premium system and the thunderous 12-speaker Shaker surround sound system. If your car has a factory amplifier, you’ll find it above the driver’s side kick panel.
That’s a lotta stuff and, in addition to having to modify the car's sub-dash to install certain new receivers, you’ll lose some of those features (SYNC, SiriusXM, and video entertainment, to name three) in certain scenarios. With the right stereo and the right wiring harness adapters, however, you can regain and arguably upgrade those features.
When you enter your vehicle info, our database will show you what fits and what you need to make the installation work.
This the the factory 8" LCD receiver (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing your Mustang's factory radio
Both the base and the 8" LCD receiver are reasonably easy for the DIY-er to remove, but in both cases, there are a lot of steps involved. It’s totally do-able, but it’s important to take your time, stay organized, and be patient during the process. All the step-by-step removal details can be found in your Crutchfield MasterSheet.
Installing your new receiver isn’t all that hard, either, but there are some things to keep in mind before you undertake the project. A lot of the "installing the receiver" part of the job is basically the removal process done backwards, but there are some other parts that are a bit more challenging.
The first involves the dash cavity, which, depending on the stock radio you have and the aftermarket receiver you choose, may need some modification. This sounds scary and difficult, but it really isn’t — all you need to do is cut out the stock radio’s plastic rear support with a hacksaw or a Dremel® style tool. We’ll tell you if this is going to be an issue with your car before you order, so if you don’t have the tools you need already, you have time to run to the hardware store.
Detailed stereo and speaker removal instructions
Both the dash kit and the wiring harness adapter needed to install your new receiver will come at a very nice discount when you order your new stereo from Crutchfield. Both come with instructions, and combining those with your MasterSheet will give you plenty of helpful how-to info.
That said, even the most experienced car audio DIY-ers might have questions about how all this is going to work, so if you’re not quite sure, give us a call and talk to one of our highly-trained car audio experts. We’ll help you choose the gear you need, and if you get into a jam during the installation itself, your Crutchfield purchase comes with free tech support for the life of your gear.
Tools needed: Panel tool, 7mm socket, ratchet and extension, possibly a hacksaw blade (for cars with the 8" LCD)
Steering wheel audio controls
It's relatively easy to retain your Mustang'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.
The premium systems have woofers and midrange speakers in the doors (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing your Mustang's factory speakers
While the receivers are a wee bit complicated, the various speakers found in this Mustang are (generally) easier for the average DIY-er to deal with.
Removing and replacing the center dash speaker is a pretty simple process (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Center dash speaker
Removing this speaker is very straightforward. You’ll start by using a panel tool to pry off the trim panel on the right-hand side of the glove box. It's held in place by three retaining clips. Moving to the top of the dash, pry off the center vent panel to release thirteen (!) retaining clips and remove that panel.
Next, pry up the grille panel to release four clips, starting at the edge closest to you. Remove the grille, then remove the two 7mm screws securing the speaker, disconnect the harness, and remove the speaker.
A wiring harness is not available for this speaker location, so you’ll want to use Posi-Products speaker connectors to connect the new speaker to the factory wiring.
Tools needed: Panel tool, 7mm socket, ratchet and extension
Removing the pillar tweeters is pretty simple, but you'll have to do some (very) mild fabrication work to install aftermarket models (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Front pillar tweeters
The front pillar tweeters, which are wired in parallel with the door speakers, are pretty easy to deal with, but there are a couple of things you’ll need to do to install the new ones.
Starting at the top edge, pry out the pillar trim panel to release two retaining clips. Twist the panel retainer to release it, then pull the bottom of the trim panel toward the rear of the vehicle, tilt the trim panel toward the center of the car, disconnect the harness, and remove the panel. Pry the tweeter out to release three clips, then remove the tweeter.
To install the new tweeters, you’ll either need to fabricate your own speaker brackets or use our universal backstraps to secure them. Unless you’re exceptionally crafty, we recommend the second option. You’ll want to use Posi-Products speaker connectors to connect the new tweeters, too.
There are some "ins and outs" to know, depending on which stock system you’re upgrading. Talking to a Crutchfield Advisor will help you get the gear you need and smooth out some of your inevitable installation questions.
Tools needed: Panel tool
You'll need to remove the door panels to reach the door speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Woofers and mids
Removing and replacing your Mustang’s woofers and/or midrange speakers will involve removing the door panels, a process that’s not terribly difficult, but does involve patience and careful work. It’s totally doable for the average DIY-er, though, and if you have questions, you can always call our tech experts and get the helpful advice you need.
Starting at front edge of the panel, pry out the screw cover behind the door release handle to release one retaining clip, then remove the screw cover and remove the now-exposed 10mm screw. Next, starting at the front edge again, pry up the power switch panel to release five clips, then disconnect the harness, remove the switch panel, and remove the 10mm screw panel you see.
Remove two 7mm screws along the bottom edge of the door panel, then pry out the sides of the door panel to release seven clips. Lift the panel up, disconnect the harnesses and door release cable, and remove the panel. Be sure to store the panel someplace safe until it’s time to re-install it.
For the midrange speaker, you’ll need to remove two Phillips screws securing the speaker to the factory bracket, then disconnect the harness. Remove the three 7mm screws securing the bracket to the door steel, then cut off the wires at the speaker. Be careful with the bracket, because you’ll need it for your new aftermarket midrange. You’ll need some more Posi-Products speaker connectors for those new speakers, too.
For the woofers, you’ll need to remove three 7mm screws securing the speaker to the door, then disconnect the harness and remove the speaker.
Tools needed: Panel tool, 7mm & 10mm sockets, ratchet and extension, wire cutters
Getting to the rear deck speakers isn't as hard as you might think (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Rear deck speakers (Coupe)
The Mustang’s 6-3/4" rear deck subs are reasonably easy to remove and replace, which is somewhat unusual among modern-era "pony cars." Illustrated step-by-step instructions can be found in your car’s Crutchfield MasterSheet.
Pry up the door scuff panel to release seven clips and remove the panel, then repeat the process on the other side. Next, push in two releases along the front edge of the rear seat bottom, then lift up, pull the cushion toward the front of vehicle, and remove it. Be sure to store the cushion somewhere clean and safe before you get back to work.
Fold down both rear seat back cushions. Then pry out the rear side panel to release seven retaining clips and work the seat belt through the panel slot until it’s out. You’ll need to do this on both sides.
Pry out two clips along the front edge of the rear deck panel, then pull the deck panel toward the front of vehicle to remove it. With the speakers exposed, you can remove the three 7mm screws securing the speaker to rear deck, disconnect the harness, and remove the speaker.
Tools needed: Panel tool, 7mm socket, ratchet and extension
Rear side speakers (Convertible)
In the Mustang convertible, the 6-3/4” rear speakers are located in the rear side panels. They’re reasonably easy to get to, but since this is a very shallow (a bit less than 2") space, there aren’t any aftermarket speakers that’ll fit back here at the moment.
In the event that some suitable speakers arrive or you’re just planning to go full-custom back here, the stock speakers are at least reasonably easy to get to. It’ll help to be patient when you’re prying on things, though.
You’ll start by pushing in the two buttons under the front edge of the rear seat bottom cushion, lifting the cushion up, and removing it. Be sure to store it someplace safe while you’re working to keep it clean and pristine. Pry up the rear side panel’s top cover to release nine retaining clips, then disconnect the harness and remove the top cover. Starting at the front edge, pry off the rear side panel to release eight clips, then remove the side panel.
With the speaker exposed, you’ll then remove the three 8mm screws securing the speaker to the factory bracket, disconnect the harness, and remove the speaker.
Tools needed: Panel tool, 8mm socket, ratchet and extension
The stock 8" subwoofer can be found on the right side of the trunk (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Bass in your Mustang
In Mustangs equipped with the Shaker or Bang & Olufson systems, there’s a reasonably thumpy factory sub in the trunk. If your taste in bass is more towards the unreasonable (to some) side of things, you’ll want to get the stock sub out of there and go aftermarket. When you’re shopping, remember that replacing your Mustang’s low-impedance factory speaker with a 4-ohm aftermarket speaker will usually result in lower volume levels. Your best bet is a low-impedance replacement.
Remove three Torx T-20 screws securing the subwoofer enclosure's cover panel, then remove the panel. Remove one Torx T-40 screw and two 1/2" bolts securing the enclosure to the body, then disconnect the harness and remove the enclosure.
Next, remove the 8mm screw inside the cavity (on the rear of the enclosure) and six Torx T-20 screws on the front of the enclosure. Finally, you’ll remove the sub's grille, then pry up the sub itself, disconnect the harnesses and remove it from the enclosure.
In most cases, installing the new speaker is basically all that, but backwards. In some rare cases, you’ll need to drill new screw holes. You’ll definitely need to remove the locating pins from the stock location before you mount the new sub. Sounds weird, but weirder still, doing so won’t cause problems if you ever want to reinstall the old sub. Speaking of which, the old sub’s grille is permanently attached in some models. If yours is one of those, you’ll need to purchase a new grille for your aftermarket sub.
Tools needed: Torx T-20 & T-40 drivers, 1/2" & 8mm sockets, ratchet and extension, (in some cases) cordless drill
The shape of the trunk opening might complicate the installation of a really big subwoofer box (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Adding bass to your Mustang
The Mustang’s trunk isn’t exactly vast, but you knew it wasn’t an old Crown Vic when you bought it, right? There is room for a subwoofer box (39" W x 15" H x 38"/32" D, to be more precise), but the size of the trunk opening will limit the size of the box you can stuff in there. If you want something really big, you might be able to fold down the rear seats and install the box from the front of the trunk.
In the convertible, the top takes up a fair amount of space, so measure carefully and give us a call before ordering an enclosure. A compact powered sub might be your best bet here, actually.
There’s also a custom-fit option. JL Audio’s Stealthbox sub/enclosure combo is designed for the Mustang coupe and fits into the passenger’s side rear corner of the trunk. This Stealthbox contains a 400-watt JL Audio 12TW3-D4 in a sealed enclosure, and it’s wired for 2-ohm mono. If your coupe (it won’t fit convertibles) has a stock sub, you’ll need to remove it.
You can keep this factory amp, or replace it with something more powerful (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Other options for your Mustang
Here are some other cool things to consider for your Mustang.
Adding an amplifier, even to the Shaker systems that include small factory amps, will increase the sound output and clarity of your music. It will get louder and it will sound better. Since some of the factory speakers have odd impedance levels, you'll want to upgrade those when you upgrade your amps. If you're planning a multi-amp system, see below for a few tips from one of our experts.
Many Mustangs come from the factory with a satellite radio tuner. If you're replacing your factory radio, you can switch over to an external SiriusXM satellite radio tuner and simply transfer your subscription.
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.
A replacement battery terminal clamp makes it easier to build a high-powered system in your Mustang (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Tips for installing a mega-powerful system in your Mustang
If you’re thinking about creating a big, thunderous system for your Mustang, here are some handy tips that'll help. Ben, one of the experts on our Vehicle Research Team, learned a few things while installing a dual amp system in a 2021 model.
The Mustang’s positive battery terminal lacks a sufficient connection for a high-current power wire (4-gauge in this case). Normally, you’d simply connect the power wire’s ring terminal to the threaded post under the 10mm nut on the battery. But in this case, there’s not a direct connection to the metal of the terminal and we wouldn’t want to use anything larger than an 8-gauge wire.
Installing an EFX battery terminal clamp (shown above) on the battery solved the problem. He used a rotary tool to cut open the factory terminal crimp in order to preserve as much of the OEM wire as possible.
We had to get creative to find a way to run the power wire through the Mustang's firewall (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Ben also found a great way to pass the power wire through the firewall. No grommets were in the immediate area, so some drilling was required. We’ve included all this information and more photos in the disassembly instructions included with your Crutchfield purchase.