A look inside the Crutchfield MasterSheet™
Vehicle-specific installation instructions for car stereo and speakers
I've been with Crutchfield since 1999, where I began as one our advisors, helping our customers choose new gear. After a couple of years, I moved to the writing team where I spent a decade researching new products and getting hands on with car stereos, amplifiers, speakers, and subs. Yeah, I've been doing this for a while.
For the past few years, I've been the managing editor of Crutchfield's Car A/V web article content. I couldn't ask for a better job — we get to play with car audio gear every day! I'm a Virginia native from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Outside of work, I love listening to music, playing board games, and installing new audio systems for my friends.
More from Robert Ferency-Viars
The Crutchfield MasterSheet™ is a set of vehicle-specific instructions that shows you how to install a receiver and speakers in your vehicle. In this video, we give you a look at all of the work that goes into creating these instructions. What's more, this same vehicle info is used to fuel our massive vehicle database. When we tell you we know what fits — we really do.
Disassemble your dash with confidence
We have MasterSheets for most, but not all of the thousands of vehicles in our database. For many of those cars and trucks for which we haven't created a MasterSheet, we offer Crutchfield ResearchNotes™. MasterSheet instructions use a combination of illustrations we’ve created and photos we’ve taken to help you through disassembly, while ResearchNotes exclusively feature color photos from our files. Because they're specific to your vehicle, MasterSheets and ResearchNotes are much more helpful than the generic installation instructions you'll get anywhere else.
Take a look ahead of time
These detailed instructions are free with your Crutchfield car stereo or speaker order. We even send it to you ahead of the order via email so that you can take a look at what's involved in the installation before your new car audio gear even arrives! It'll be included in your shipping confirmation email.
If you're not sure about the challenge of installing new car audio gear, you can also purchase these instructions first, so you can evaluate the task. Then, if you order your new gear within 60 days, we'll credit the $10 cost of the instructions back to your order. Give us a shout (via phone, chat, or email) if you have any questions.
Crutchfield MasterSheets are detailed instructions for installing a new stereo and speakers in your vehicle. They show you every bolt and panel you need to remove in order to take out your factory equipment and how to install your new gear. And these MasterSheets are only available from Crutchfield. This video will give you a glimpse at all the work and research that goes into making these one-of-a-kind instructions so that you can see how detailed and reliable they are.
The key to creating a MasterSheet is firsthand knowledge of the vehicle. When a vehicle that we're looking for becomes available, our research team brings it to our garage where they disassemble the dash and doors. They note where all the screws and tension clips are and take lots of detailed measurements. They document the process with lots of photos, easily taking over three hundred pictures of each vehicle.
Over the years our guys have built good relationships with some of the car dealerships in our area. These relationships make it possible for us to get access to many new and late model vehicles. After that fieldwork is finished two things happen. Ben feeds the raw data into our extensive vehicle database and that's how we know which products will fit into over 15,000 vehicles currently on the road.
Meanwhile Tom, the team's graphic designer, analyzes the information and distills it into exactly what he needs to create the MasterSheet. In years past, Tom illustrated the MasterSheet with only line drawings, but these days his life is much easier thanks to the convenience of digital photos. He culls out the best photos from the research and uses the notes from Wayne and Ben to write clear, step-by-step instructions.
Now the MasterSheet goes through an extensive proofing process where it is examined by the research team and several of our senior technical support agents. After all these people review the document it goes back to Tom. He corrects any mistakes and applies any changes suggested by the reviewers. Finally the MasterSheet is added to our vehicle database so that it can be printed out for any customer who owns that vehicle. But that's not where the process ends.
We rely on customer feedback to ensure that our MasterSheets are as accurate as possible. Some vehicles will have different option packages resulting in a different stereo installation. So whenever we get a reported error from customers we make use of that. We research it, confirm it, and then correct the MasterSheet if necessary.
So when you order your car audio equipment from Crutchfield, you're also getting a quality set of instructions that will let you install your gear like a professional. And if you happen to run into a snag, our in-house technical support crew is just a phone call away.