2018-up Toyota Camry
Upgrading the stereo system in your Camry
2018 • 2019 • 2020
In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your Camry's stock stereo system and your aftermarket upgrade options. Use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your Toyota.
Overview of the Toyota Camry
Remember the first time you saw a Toyota Camry on the road? No? How about the last time? Still nothin’? That’s okay, we get it. Camrys have never been the kind of cars that sear themselves into your memory. Yer humble correspondent, in fact, drove a ’90-something Camry wagon all around the Southeast for work years ago. Nice car, actually. And surprisingly successful in bracket racing, too, but that’s a story for another time….
The point here is that while the Camry has long been hugely popular, it’s never been loved. With the eighth-generation Camry, though, Toyota might be changing all that. With aggressive styling, cool features, and a new focus on performance (there’s even a hot-rodded TRD version, for crying out loud), the newest Camry combines the everyday practicality people expect with something they might not — actual fun.
The base 7" radio is actually the best thing to have if you're planning an audio upgrade in your Camry (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Factory stereo system
The amount of fun you can have upgrading the Camry’s stock audio system depends on which stock audio system you’re starting with.
The base system consists of a 7" LCD receiver and six speakers. The upside is that you get factory navigation using the Toyota's Entune app, but the downside is that Entune doesn’t play well with Apple CarPlay® or Android Auto™. A new receiver can solve that disconnect, while new speakers will help enhance the sound of whatever music you play.
The factory upgrades in this Camry are centered on an 8" LCD receiver. This receiver does a lot of cool things, which is great, because you’re kind of stuck with it for the time being. This is one of those heavily integrated receivers that also contains the climate controls, so removing it is not something we’d recommend. You can still give your music a healthy boost by upgrading the speakers, whether you’re starting with the 6-speaker system or the top-shelf 9-speaker JBL system.
Steering wheel audio controls
It's relatively easy to retain your Camry'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 8" receiver also handles climate control, so it can't be replaced. It's a good piece, though, so upgrading everything else will give you the sound you want. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing your factory radio
Removing the 7" stock receiver is pretty simple, really. It’s obviously easier if you set the parking brake and disconnect the negative battery cable to prevent any electrical short. Once you’ve taken care of that, you’re ready to start.
Use a panel tool to pry the driver’s side lower dash trim panel toward the rear of vehicle to release seven retaining clips. Disconnect the wiring harness and remove the trim panel. From there, pry the passenger’s side lower dash trim panel toward the rear of the vehicle to release eleven clips and remove this panel, then pry out the passenger’s side vent trim strip to release another eleven clips. Disconnect the wiring harnesses and remove the strip.
Pry out the climate control panel to release five clips, then disconnect the wiring harness and remove the control panel. Next, pull the ignition switch panel toward the rear of vehicle to release five clips, then disconnect this wiring harness and remove the switch panel. At this point, you’re ready to remove the radio.
Detailed stereo and speaker removal instructions
Remove the four 10mm screws securing the factory radio, then pry out nine retaining clips, pull out the radio, disconnect everything, and get the stock radio out of there.
When you buy your new receiver at Crutchfield, you’ll save money on the dash kit and wiring harness adapter needed to install it. They’ll include instructions on how to connect everything and install the new receiver. Once it’s installed, reconnect all wiring harnesses (including the airbag), then reconnect the battery and test the radio to make sure it’s working properly. If it is, you can start putting the dash back together.
Tools needed: Panel tool, 10mm socket, ratchet and extension
The JBL speakers have a nifty orange surround. Removing these or the base speakers is pretty easy. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Replacing your Camry's factory speakers
The base system has six speakers and the JBL system adds three more, including a subwoofer. All speaker removal steps are the same for each model, and all the details can be found in your Crutchfield MasterSheet.
The base system's corner dash tweeters are wired in parallel with the door woofers (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the corner dash speakers
The 3-1/2" corner dash speakers are found in both systems, but there’s a bit of a difference in how you deal with replacing them.
In the base system, the dash speakers and door woofers are wired together at each tweeter location, so if you replace the tweeters, you’ll need to splice the input and output wires together to keep the woofers working. You can also use Posi-Products connectors here, which is easier and faster, especially if you’re not a splicing enthusiast.
There’s no wiring harness available for the standalone JBL speakers in this location, so Posi-Products connectors will come in handy for those, too.
The physical part of removing the speaker is pretty simple. You’ll start by prying up the corner dash grille to release two clips. Remove the grille, then remove the two 10mm screws securing the speaker. Pull the speaker out, disconnect it, and set it aside. Once you’ve made the necessary wiring connections, secure the speaker using the screws you removed earlier, then test the speakers out before replacing the grille and finishing up.
Tools needed: Panel tool, 10mm socket, ratchet and extension, wire stripper
The JBL system includes A-pillar speakers that are wired in parallel with the door woofers (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the front pillar speakers (JBL)
In the JBL system, it’s the A-pillar speakers that are wired in parallel with the door woofers. So, if you replace these speakers, you’ll need to splice the input and output wires together to keep the woofers working. Posi-Products connectors are a good idea here, too, and you’ll also need a set of our universal backstraps to secure the new tweeters in the factory cavity.
Removing the stock speakers starts with prying off the pillar trim panel to release the retaining clips. Twist the tether to release the panel, then disconnect the wiring harness. Lift the pillar trim panel and remove it, then pry out the three tabs securing the tweeter to the panel and remove it. Once the new tweeters are secured, test them out, then put things back together.
Tools needed: Panel tool, needle-nose pliers, small flat-blade screwdriver, wire stripper
Who says Camrys are boring? Check out those red interior accents! (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the front door speakers
The stock front door speakers (both kinds) are 6"x9" Toyota models that are sized a bit differently than your standard 6x9’s. Kenwood makes a couple of special 6"x9" component speaker packages that will fit nicely here. If you prefer a different brand, you can choose from a pretty healthy variety of 6-1/2" or 6-3/4" aftermarket speakers and install them using brackets that will be included with your Crutchfield speaker purchase. You’ll see them all when you enter your vehicle info.
And don’t forget that the woofers are wired in parallel with the corner dash speakers (base system) or A-pillar speakers (JBL).
Starting at the top corner, pry off the sail panel to release two clips, then remove the panel. Moving down a bit, pry off the screw cover behind the door release and remove the exposed Phillips screw. Next, starting at the rear edge, pry up the power options switch panel to release the retaining clips. Disconnect the wiring harnesses and remove the switch panel.
You'll need brackets to install aftermarket speakers in your Camry. We'll include them with your speaker purchase. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
With that panel out of the way, remove the exposed Phillips screw, then pry up the armrest panel to release eleven clips. Disconnect the tether and remove the armrest panel, then removed the exposed Phillips screw.
Pry out the courtesy light assembly, then disconnect and remove it. Next, pry out the sides and bottom of the door panel to release ten clips. Disconnect the wiring harness, the door lock and release assembly, and then remove the door panel. Remove the four 10mm screws securing the speaker, then pull it out, disconnect it, and set it aside.
Secure the new speaker to the adapter bracket, use the Crutchfield wiring harness to connect the speakers to the factory wiring, then test to make sure the speakers are working. If they are, secure the speakers and start putting the door back together. Be sure to make sure the door locks and release are working and that the wires don’t interfere with window operation.
Tools needed: Panel tool, small flat blade screwdriver, 10mm socket, ratchet and extension, Phillips screwdriver
Removing the rear speakers is pretty much the same as removing the front door speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the rear door speakers
In terms of sizing and work processes, replacing the Camry’s rear door speakers is remarkably similar to what goes on with the front doors. Well, maybe not remarkably, because it’s the same car, but still. All the details can be found in your Crutchfield MasterSheet, and you’ll even use the same tools back here. Replacing the rear door speakers will fill out your car’s sound nicely, so it’s a good thing to do.
There are no wiring harnesses available for the rear speakers, so Posi-Products connectors will come in handy here, too.
Tools needed: Panel tool, small flat blade screwdriver, 10mm socket, ratchet and extension, Phillips screwdriver, wire stripper
As you can probably tell, removing the rear deck subwoofer takes some effort. We'd suggest leaving this job to a pro. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the rear deck subwoofer
The 9-speaker JBL system includes a 9" rear deck subwoofer with its own unique bolt pattern. A wide variety of 8" aftermarket subs will fit here with the help of a mounting bracket, but you’ll need to fabricate the mounting bracket yourself. For that reason, plus the amount of work required to simply get to the subwoofer, our Vehicle Research team rates this job a "5" on their 1-5 ascending scale of difficulty.
There’s also the matter of the airbag warning harness back there. That will need to be disconnected before you do any work and you’ll need to be sure that any wiring harnesses associated with the airbag are connected before you reconnect the battery and turn on the ignition switch to test the speaker. If the harnesses are not connected properly, the airbag light will come on and that’ll have to be reset at a dealership.
The Camry hybrid's gas-electric hybrid powertrain makes replacing the stereo a little more complicated. As you might expect, these hybrid cars contain some very sensitive electronics, so here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Be sure to only use a multi-meter when testing wires, and NEVER use a test light to test wires in this vehicle. Doing so could cause some serious (by which we mean dangerous and expensive) damage.
- A hybrid is not the car to choose if you want to build a massively powerful audio system. The thirsty current draw of a high-powered stereo is not a good thing for the hybrid system, so don't exceed a 30-amp current draw or 350-watt RMS power rating.
All things considered, we’d suggest that anyone who isn’t an experienced installer/fabricator turn this particular job over to a car audio professional. But if you want to give it a go, complete instructions can be found in your MasterSheet and your Crutchfield subwoofer purchase comes with free tech support for the life of the gear.
Tools needed: Panel tool, Torx T-10 security driver, 10mm and 12mm sockets, ratchet and extension
Adding bass to your Camry
Sporty or not, the Camry is still a family sedan at heart, so there’s a good-sized trunk that’ll hold a good-sized subwoofer box. The available space is 43" W x 18" H x 30"/43" D, so if you’re big into bass, you can add a mono amplifier and make some good things happen.
If you’re starting with the base audio system, you have another option. The Alpine PSU-300CMY Powered System Upgrade adds bass and volume to your Camry with a clever combination of products that install with minimal hassle. The package includes a compact 4-channel amplifier and a powered subwoofer, both mounted in a Toyota-specific bracket which mounts under the passenger seat and wired up using vehicle-specific harnesses. The PSU-300CMY upgrade is compatible with the factory Toyota base radio and almost all aftermarket receivers. Alpine says you should be able to install this upgrade in your car in two hours or less, but allow some extra time if you’re relatively new to car audio DIY projects.
If you’re looking to boost your bass without taking up too much of your cargo space, you can choose a powered subwoofer.
A set of custom-fit WeatherTech floor liners will keep your Camry's carpets looking good.
Other options for your Camry
Here are some other great upgrade ideas for your Toyota Camry.
Floor mats to protect the interior
It's easier than you think to mess up your Camry's comfy interior while you're going about your daily business. Floor mats from WeatherTech will help protect your floors from dirt and damage.
SiriusXM satellite radio package
If you don't want to replace the factory radio, you can still add the versatility of satellite radio.
Block out road noise with sound deadening materials
The Dynamat Xtreme Door Kit is the perfect way to seal in sound. This heavy-duty insulating material is easy to install, and it really makes a difference. One kit will take care of your Camry's front doors. If you install a big subwoofer box, you might want to line the trunk lid as well.
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. 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 Camry.
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.