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2006-2012 Toyota RAV4

2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012

2006-12 Toyota RAV4

In a Nutshell

This article will explain how to install new car stereo gear in your Toyota RAV4. Check it out and then use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your car.

The stock speaker systems, especially the JBL, aren't terrible, so we suggest replacing the receiver first. Depending on which receiver you choose, you'll get much better sound and vastly improved connectivity.

Replacing the speakers has some slightly challenging parts, but it's a good project for the average DIY-er and the audio improvement will be worth the effort. To get the absolute most out of your system, add an amplifier for the speakers and a subwoofer to boost your bass.

Full Story

Overview of the Toyota RAV4

When it comes to so-called "cute utes," the Toyota RAV4 is one of the best around. The third-generation model, which debuted in 2006 and lasted until 2012, was extremely popular with both press and public for its ride, handling, and overall non-truckiness.

A small SUV is nothing more than a modern interpretation of what we used to call a station wagon anyway, so if you're looking for a vehicle that drives like a car and hauls like a truck, the RAV4 is an excellent choice. Replacing the factory stereo is a good choice, too.

This article is an overview of your vehicle's audio system and its upgrade options. If you're looking for step-by-step instructions on how to install a car stereo or speakers in your RAV4, there's nothing better than our exclusive Crutchfield MasterSheet™. This detailed, well-illustrated document is free with your Crutchfield order, or you can purchase one separately for $9.99.

Toyota RAV4 standard radio

The RAV4's standard radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Factory stereo system

The RAV4's stock system was your basic AM/FM/CD/MP3 receiver with 6 speakers. Sport and Limited models could be had with a 9-speaker JBL system that included an in-dash multi-disc receiver and built-in Bluetooth® capability. An optional DVD-based rear seat entertainment system was also available.

Towards the end of the third-gen RAV4's production run, a touchscreen nav system appeared on the option sheet. The RAV4 also included Toyota's Entune telematics, a satellite service available to SiriusXM users and compatible with select cell phones via app.

These systems aren't awful, but they're not exactly outstanding, either. If you care about sound, you'll want to upgrade the audio in your RAV4. If you replace either factory radio, you'll lose the factory AUX input connection. This is no big deal, since nearly every aftermarket receiver out there has at least one of those inputs and most have more.

Toyota RAV4 JBL radio

The optional JBL package included this receiver. (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Replacing your factory radio

Replacing the radio isn't especially challenging, but if you're working with a JBL system (signified by a "JBL" logo on the face), there's a bit more to the job. Regardless of which radio you're replacing, you'll use the same dash kit. The difference is that if you're dealing with the JBL, you’ll also need a special wiring harness that retains the amp.

It may seem odd for an aftermarket car stereo retailer like Crutchfield to recommend retaining the stock anything, but in this case, keeping the JBL amplifier makes sense for a couple of reasons.

First, if you replace it, you’ll have to run new wires from your new radio to each of the speakers in order to bypass the amp. This is a time-consuming job for even the most experienced car audio installers, so we really don't recommend it for first-timers. Second, even though you're retaining the stock JBL amp, you'll still hear a noticeable change in sound quality because your new receiver sends a much cleaner signal to the amp. In other words, you can get better sound without doing a whole lot of work. What's not to like?

PAC offers a Toyota Factory Integration Adapter (TATO) to plug into the factory harness and keep the JBL system’s amplifier working. It's important to note that your new stereo must have two sets of preamp outputs in order to connect to the TATO adapter. Crutchfield offers a very nice discount on this special adapter, and we'll also give you a great deal on the mounting kit. We include our step-by-step Crutchfield MasterSheet™ instructions for your RAV4 free with your order.

That said; if you really DO want to replace the factory amp and start over, we'll be happy to help…

At least the receiver itself isn't hard to deal with. You'll start by prying out the side trim panels, starting at the bottom edge and carefully releasing the retaining clips. Once those are out of the way, remove the four 10mm bolts securing the radio bracket, pull out the radio to release the clips, and disconnect the wiring harness and antenna.

With some aftermarket receivers, you'll need to use the factory radio's brackets in order to install your new receiver. If you don't have the brackets anymore, you can obtain a new set from your dealership.

Tools needed: Panel tool, 10mm driver

Steering wheel audio controls

It's relatively easy to retain your RAV4'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.

Shop for car stereos that fit your Toyota RAV4

Replacing your factory speakers

Installing aftermarket speakers will really transform the sound in your RAV4.

Toyota RAV4 JBL front speaker

The base and JBL speakers (shown) look different, but they're in the same locations and replacing them involves the same basic steps. (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Front doors

The RAV4's front doors contain a pair of 6-3/4" stock speakers. The 4-ohm non-JBL swap is reasonably straightforward, but there are some installation details to note before you start. The JBL system offers some different challenges, but isn't hard to work with.

Base system: A variety of 6-3/4" or 6-1/2" speakers will fit in this location. You'll need adapter brackets for the smaller speakers, and they're available at a deep discount with your Crutchfield speaker purchase.

Getting to the speakers requires removing the door panel, which is relatively simple on the RAV4. It also involves a bit of drilling, which is less simple.

The drilling part isn't hard (you're simply removing rivets), but any time you're using a drill on anything, it's important to work carefully and wear eye protection. Your Crutchfield MasterSheet™ (free with purchase) contains detailed, illustrated instructions for the entire process.

The front tweeters and the door woofers are wired together at each tweeter location, so when you replace the tweeters, you'll have to splice the input and output wires together to keep the woofers working. Posi-Products connectors will make this a lot easier, and you'll use a couple more to connect the tweeters to the factory wiring.

The tweeter is glued to the factory bracket, so be very careful when you're separating the two. A little bit of patience can prevent a whole lot of damage. Once that's done, you'll need a way to mount the replacements, since there isn't an aftermarket bracket for this location. You can cut and bend our universal backstrap to hold the new tweeter in place.

Tools needed: Panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, 10mm driver, drill with drill bit

JBL system: Replacing the JBL speakers is largely the same as above, but there are a few minor differences. For one thing, when you're replacing the 2-ohm JBL woofers (and tweeters), it's important to note that using higher-impedance speakers will result in lower volume levels. Your Crutchfield advisor can help you choose appropriate replacements.

The tweeter bracket is secured to the vehicle with two 1/4" screws, so you'll need to remove those before you disconnect the harness. The tweeter itself is glued to the bracket, so be careful when you're separating them. It's easier than you think to ruin the bracket if you lose patience and apply too much brute force.

Tools needed: Panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, 1/4" driver, drill with drill bit

Toyota RAV4 rear door speaker

Replacing the RAV4's rear door speakers is relatively simple. (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Rear doors

Replacing the rear door speakers starts with removing the door panels. A variety of speakers will fit, and the adapter brackets for the smaller speaker are available at a deep discount with your Crutchfield speaker purchase.

Base: The process here is similar to what you did up front, including the rivet-drilling. Be patient, wear eye protection, and pay attention to what's around where you're drilling.

You'll also want to check the drilling depth and location to avoid damaging the vehicle. Your MasterSheet contains detailed, illustrated instructions for the entire process.

Tools needed: Panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, 1/8" drill and drill bit

JBL: The JBL system's rear speaker replacement process is also similar to the front door version. Unlike the non-JBL system, you won't have to do any drilling. You will have to pay attention to the impedance of your new speakers for the reasons noted above. In addition to the 6-3/4" or 6-1/2" speakers that will fit into the RAV4's doors, the JBL version lets you choose from a variety of 5-1/4" models.

Tools needed: Panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, small flat blade screwdriver

Shop for speakers that fit your Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4 tailgate speaker

JBL-equipped RAV4's have a subwoofer mounted in the tailgate. (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Bass in your Toyota RAV4

The RAV4's rear cargo door opens horizontally and to the right. That undoubtedly works fine in driveways and parking lots, but if you're parked on the street, loading or unloading is going to be a bit awkward. It’s probably one of those things you just get used to.

On the upside, replacing the factory 8" dual voice coil sub found in JBL-equipped models is a lot easier with this layout than it would be if the door opened vertically. So there's that.

It's not a bad sub (Any sub is better than none, right?), but an aftermarket model will give you a lot more bottom-end power. Aftermarket replacements are available, but you’ll be limited to shallow mount subwoofers, and even then, the pickings are slim. There’s only about 2-1/4” of depth available in that door. Again, our Sales Advisors can help you find a workable replacement. A speaker wiring adapter is not available, so you’ll need to splice the wires. A couple of those Posi-Products wiring connectors we mentioned earlier will do the job.”

Toyota RAV4 cargo area

The RAV4's cargo area offers plenty of space for a subwoofer or two. (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Another thing to look forward to (or not) is drilling out the four rivets that hold the stock sub in place. This isn't a difficult thing if you have any experience at all with a power drill, but any time you're using a drill on anything, be careful.

This is a 2-ohm subwoofer that receives only bass frequencies from the factory amp, so remember that replacing it with a higher-impedance speaker will often result in lower volume levels.

Tools needed: Panel tool, drill with drill bit

Adding more bass to your RAV4

Without the third-row seat, you have a 42" W x 17" H x 32"/35" D space available for a subwoofer enclosure. If you actually use that third seat on a frequent basis or need to retain room for stuff and things in your RAV4, a powered subwoofer will give you plenty of bottom end thump without taking up the majority of your cargo area.

There's also a 35" W x 19" H x 8" D space available under the cargo floor, so keep that in mind when you're shopping.

Shop for vehicle-specific subwoofers for your Toyota RAV4

Kenwood CMOS-230 rear view camera

The Kenwood CMOS-230 rear-view camera

Other options for your RAV4

There are lots of things you can do to make your RAV into an even better all-around vehicle. Here are few ideas.

Navigation

An aftermarket in-dash navigation receiver would be a great addition to your RAV4, because there’s plenty of room behind the dash. Not only will you get great directions, but you'll love using the big touchscreen to control your audio system.

Rear-view camera

Even in a small SUV, parking lot maneuvers can be challenging. If you upgrade to a big-screen DVD or nav receiver, look for one with a rear-view camera connection. The subtle little cameras can be a big help when you're backing out of a tight space.

Security

Installing a security system in your RAV4 isn't easy (security systems rarely are), but it's less complicated than it could be. Our Crutchfield Advisors can help figure out what you need to get the job done, but we usually recommend taking your car and new gear to a professional security system installer.

Shop for car security systems for your Toyota RAV4

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.

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/23/2018

    Joe, It might not be either, actually. Could be a bad ground. That's one of the biggest causes of unwanted noise getting into an audio system.

  • Joe Costella from Yorktown Heights

    Posted on 4/20/2018

    I have a 08 rav 4 sport. My son has been driving it blasting the speakers and now Low sound comes out of all speakers a bit muffled but no static I orderd new speakers and replaced them but it does the same thing. I don't know if it's the radio or amplifier

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/15/2018

    Ernest, We haven't officially researched a nav-equipped RAV4, but we dug around a bit and learned that the radio replacement process shouldn't change much with the nav receiver. I'll forward this to to our sales team, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Ernest

    Posted on 3/14/2018

    I have a 2011 Rav4 with the nav system. All the option are for either with or without JBL. Do you have a sheet for replacing the nav type radio?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/15/2017

    Aurora, Since you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. We'll be happy to help.

  • Aurora Fowler from AUSTIN

    Posted on 6/14/2017

    I have a 2007 Rav 4 Limited with a blown subwoofer on cargo door. I am replacing it with a powered sub that I purchased from you (Sound Ordnance B-8P - en route). Can I assume that I will need access to the amp that's located on the right side of the cargo door? I've disconnected the blown sub & leaving it there as there is no real replacement for it. The Master Sheet Crutchfield sent me does not have much info on sub installation. Does the B-8P come with a usable wiring diagram?

  • Bill from Middleboro

    Posted on 5/5/2017

    I have a 2010 rav4 sport with a non JBL receiver. I updated with a Kenwood excelon KDC-X399 from you. When I'm driving the vehicle during the day no matter what color i make the radio face i can't read it due to the glare. I was thinking of changing the a 2 din JVC because of the face angle. Ant ideas or suggestions?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/1/2017

    JR, I've sent your question to our sales team, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • JR from Tampa

    Posted on 4/28/2017

    So what are the options among 8-inch 2-ohm shallow subs?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/5/2017

    David, There is an adapter for that. When you enter your vehicle's info into our Outfit My Car tool, you'll the stereos that fit your car, plus the correct harness. If you have any questions, our advisors are available via phone or chat.

  • David Flanagan from Columbia

    Posted on 4/5/2017

    I have a 2011 rav4 sport. It has a jbl head unit I think. It doesn't jbl but it looks exactly like it and it has a 6 disc changer. I have purchased a pioneer avh4800 and I have it all wired up and put in. Is there an adapter to retain the factory aux input?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/16/2017

    Roy, We have several good options, actually. I've sent your question to our sales team, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Roy from Port St Lucie, FL

    Posted on 3/16/2017

    Have a 2010 RAV4 base. Would like to add bluetooth capability. Do you have a good option? Toyota dealers sell one for around $60 but I'm wondering if there's something better out there.

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/22/2017

    Jim, The behavior you're describing here seems pretty normal, really, and we can't think of an easy or practical way around it. Wish we had something astonishingly clever to share with you, but that's pretty much all there is.

  • Jim from Mount Airy, MD

    Posted on 2/20/2017

    Thank you for the reply. I often switch the ignition from ON to ACC to stop the engine while waiting for my passenger to run an errand. When I switch the ignition to START, the head unit reboots, which is annoying and most inconvenient when using Bluetooth, navigation, etc. I found a wiring schematic for my Rav4 which indicates that the ignition does not open the continuous power circuit, suggesting that my head unit does not tolerate the drop in voltage while cranking (I have only a digital multimeter which reads ~10V when the starter is engaged). Is this not a common problem for which there is an off-the-shelf solution (supercapacitors, battery packs, etc.)?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/20/2017

    Jim, "By "rebooting," do you mean that it acts like this is first time the stereo has ever been turned on? If that's the case, then it sounds like the constant power wire might not be connected to the correct place. If you purchased the stereo from Crutchfield, give us a call and our tech support team will help you out. 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.

  • Jim from Mount Airy, MD

    Posted on 2/19/2017

    My touchscreen head unit reboots when I start my 2009 RAV4 (non-JBL). Installing two 2200uF capacitors (in parallel) to the red ACC wire (in series with a 1A diode) keeps the head unit on for about 10 seconds after switching the ignition off, but it still reboots when cranking. Does the ignition open the continuous power circuit when in the Start position or is this merely due to voltage drop from the starter? Surely this is a common problem; what do you recommend?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/29/2016

    Brian, Congrats on the purchase! Some pretty cool receivers will work in this truck, so you have options. When you enter your vehicle's info into our Outfit My Car tool, you'll see which stereos fit your car, plus the correct harness. If you have any questions, our advisors are available via phone or chat.

  • Brian from Ohio from Canton

    Posted on 12/28/2016

    I just bought a 2011 Rav 4 Sport and is looking to replace the factory head unit with a touchscreen, do you have any suggestions or links?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/31/2016

    Jeff, You have some options if you want to retain satellite radio in your truck, so it might help to talk with one of our experts. I'll forward this to our sales team, and someone will contact you via email soon.

  • Jeff from Surprise AZ

    Posted on 10/30/2016

    I have a 2011 Rav4 with xm and want to retain radio for xm lifetime subscription. Can I install a kenwood ddx9703s and use the factory radio as an xm tuner? Thank you.

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/7/2016

    Torrey, Our MasterSheets typically focus on general disassembly, so info on things like backup cams won't be included. The camera itself will have basic instructions, though, and since you bought your gear at Crutchfield, you can call our Tech Support team for free advice on how to make it all work.

  • Torrey from York

    Posted on 7/7/2016

    Hello!! I recently purchase a Master Sheet for my Toyota Rav 4 2009 limited. I notice it had nothing on running a backup camera so my question for you is what is your recommended spot to hook into the panel underneath the steering wheel or run a line to the reverse backup light.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/27/2016

    Rick, you'll use this kit to fit a new stereo into your dash. You'll need some additional gear if you'd like to retain certain factory features. Give us a call for details or use our vehicle selector to confirm which stereos fit your car and get some info on everything that is needed for the installation.

  • Rick from Rio Rancho

    Posted on 5/26/2016

    I have a 2006 model and I only want to replace the receiver to add USB capability. I'm confused how these after market squarish sets are suppose to fit into what seems like a one of a kind shaped stereo pocket. Is it installed behind the face keeping the face intact? I'm not seeing how this is going to work.

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/3/2016

    Heather, I've sent your question to our sales team for the best answer, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Heather from Portland, OR

    Posted on 5/3/2016

    I'm hoping to get some advice for replacing my stock unit in my 2014 RAV4, and most of the info I find is for older models. I am hoping to put in my old pioneer avh-p4300dvd. It is ready for Bluetooth and backup camera, with the purchase of additional components. What I'm unsure of is if I need to buy extra adapters to use the factory Bluetooth, microphone and backup camera. Also the stock unit displays gas mileage and trip odometer. Is it possible to keep these features somehow? I've replaced a few head units, but the complexity of this issue has me stumped. Going from a specific car to a specific head unit has made searches on the problem lacking in helpful information. Thank you.

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/21/2016

    Tony, The MasterSheet for the RAV4 contains info on removing the receiver, door speakers, and the rear cargo door sub.

  • Tony from Lancaster

    Posted on 4/20/2016

    Hello! Can you please tell me if your master sheet covers the removal of a back door panel to a Rav 4 2009 limit

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/7/2016

    LaDonna, The JBL amp is a separate piece, and it's located behind the panel on the right side of the cargo area. Getting to it involves removing a lot of panels, but it's a doable project. Before you do all that, you should make sure the receiver and speakers are connected properly -- the amp might not be the problem. As a side note, if you do swap in a used amp, upgrading to an aftermarket receiver will give you much better sound. Good luck!

  • LaDonna Weir from Franklin

    Posted on 3/5/2016

    Hello, I am wondering if you can help me out. I have an 07 RAV 4 limited, with the upgraded JBL system. Recently it went out. The toyota mechanic says the "amp went out" and it would cost me $400+ to replace it. I've been looking online for a used replacement and have found a few. Question for you....Is the amp inside the radio itself or is it a whole separate piece of equipment? The radio itself turns on and off, I just have no sound. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/23/2016

    Seth, 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.

  • Seth from Bay Minette

    Posted on 2/22/2016

    Thank you so much for the information, one more thing I need to know is if a 12 pin block locking thing be added to the end of the http://www.crutchfield.com/p_142LOC80/Scosche-LOC80.html?tp=2001

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/22/2016

    Seth, I've sent your question to our sales team for the best answer, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Seth Quimby from Bay Minette

    Posted on 2/20/2016

    I need to find a converter for my rca cable and I have the stock radio in it is a 12 pin, please give me a link to buy the right converter!

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/16/2015

    Colin, we sent your question to our sales team for the best answer. They'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Colin from Johnson City, TN

    Posted on 7/15/2015

    Hello. I have decided it is time to replace my subwoofer in my 2009 Toyota RAV4 - is has finally blown. It is a limited model which includes a JBL stereo with an OEM 8 inch subwoofer. The sub is 2 ohms and has dual voice coils. It is mounted in the back door and is a shallow sub, about 2.5 inches deep. It is attached to the JBL OEM amp as well. I am not exactly sure of the amp and sub wattage. I also have a 10 inch box sub, 4ohm and I have a 400 watt amp to go along with it. I am debating on ordering a new sub that is as similar to the OEM as possible or trying to add me old sub an amp. I truly appreciate your time and information. It is tough to find info on this topic.


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