Installing an Android-friendly stereo in a 2011 Honda FIT
And new speakers to improve the sound
Leo, one of Crutchfield’s International Advisors, mentioned that his personal trainer Michael wanted to get his Nexus 6P smartphone more integrated into the audio system in his 2011 Honda FIT Sport. As fate would have it, we were wanting to cover an installation involving Android Auto™.
Thoughts about changing the factory system
Michael wanted much more Android integration and better sound from the system in his Honda, which included the base-level radio and speakers. His first attempt at a car DIY project was replacing a radio in his wife’s car, which he admits resulted in something that looked like a “botched robbery attempt.” So Leo, with the help of Crutchfield, decided to lend Michael a hand in installing his new system.
Beginning with the new multimedia center
Michael chose Sony’s XAV-AX100 digital media receiver. It offers Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto, so it’ll work with just about any smartphone. For Michael, that means using an interface he already knows on a larger display in his dash. With his phone connected, Michael got access to his audiobooks and podcasts in no time.
A dash makeover — installing the new stereo
The FIT’s dash has a sleek look to it, with many of its controls spread around the front panel. Michael was a little concerned about replacing it, until we showed him the dash kit and instructions we offered specifically for his Honda. This kit was a little different than most, because Michael had to remove the retention clips from the factory trim and insert them into the kit, so it fastened to the dash. He also had to attach the factory airbag warning light, vents, and the hazard switch to pre-cut openings on the kit.
Michael fastened the Honda vents to the Metra dash kit.
Once the kit's brackets and wiring harness were attached to the Sony stereo, Michael and Leo ran the Bluetooth® microphone wire and installed the USB cable behind the dash. The Sony has a rear USB port, so Michael had to plan on where he wanted access to it. With that complete, the duo slid the radio in place and secured it.
Pro tip: It's a great idea to plan on what you're going to connect to the receiver, so you can get everything installed before the new car stereo goes back in the dash.
The old speakers get the boot
We let Michael know that there was some work involved in replacing the factory speakers, but we also let him know that with the brackets, instructions, and Tech Support we provided, it was certainly a job he and Leo could handle.
Using our trusty Bojo panel tools and a screwdriver, they had the front and rear door panels off in no time. Next they unscrewed the speakers from the doors and unplugged the wiring harnesses.
Pro tip: Occasionally a snap will get stuck in the door metal when removing a door panel. That's when the S&G tool we carry comes in really handy for prying out the snap without breaking it, so you can reattach it to the door panel.
Moving the new speakers into position
The magnet on the Sony speaker (left) is much bigger than the one on the factory speaker, providing more power to move the driver. And that means bigger sound.
For the new speakers, Michael went with two pairs of the Sony XS-GS1621 6 3/4" car speakers as a nice match for the power and clarity of the Sony receiver. In addition to the better smartphone integration, Michael was also looking for better sound for his music, podcasts, and audiobooks.
The speaker brackets Michael used for all four doors in his Honda fit nicely into the factory openings. Michael screwed the new speakers into the brackets, and then he fastened these brackets into place. He completed the task by using the plug-in wiring harness adapters we also offer for this Honda FIT. Michael noticed that there was a gap between the brackets and the contoured door metal, so we suggested some adhesive foam to fill in those gaps to prevent unwanted vibrations.
Pro tip: When a speaker or speaker bracket doesn't mount flush to the factory cutout in a door, it's a good idea to use some sort of foam tape to seal those gaps. You can even use a foam baffle to fill the gap and cut out the back of it to retain more bass response.
Ready for a sound check
Leaving the dash and door panels off in case something needed to be tweaked, Leo and Michael were ready to test the system. Michael noticed better sound right away. Then he went through the menus and connected his phone to get a look at how Android Auto worked. In a matter of seconds, we watched him fly through the interface, just as if he was working through his phone.
Pro tip: Once your gear is installed and you're ready for a test run, it's best to keep your panels and dash trim off if they're not needed to secure your new gear. This saves you from doing extra work in case you need to diagnose a problem, change a setting, or fix a connection, since you have easier access to the gear. Replacing panels and trim should be the very last thing you do, taking care to make sure everything is snug once it's in place.
We could tell Michael was digging his new system right from the moment he turned it on. He commented on the improved clarity of the speakers, but it was the familiar interface as he used the touchscreen controls to work with his Nexus phone. "Because it works just like my phone’s interface, Android Auto is the bomb!"
When you're ready to improve the sound and get your smartphone better integrated in your ride, give us a shout, shoot us email, or pop in on a chat. Our Advisors are ready to help with a new system for your vehicle.