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2006-2014 Honda Ridgeline

How to upgrade the stereo system in your Ridgeline

honda ridgeline

In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your Ridgeline's stock stereo system and your aftermarket upgrade options. We'll tell you all about:

Then, use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your Honda.

Overview of the Honda Ridgeline

When Honda decided to build a pickup, they could've aimed straight at the big, brawny best-sellers from Ford, GM, and the rest. But, because they're Honda, they went their own way and came up with this. The Ridgeline is a pickup, yes, but it's unlike any other pickup out there.

It's as though Honda reviewed two decades of pickup-related TV advertising, edited out all the things most pickup owners never actually do, and designed a truck for the stuff that was left. As a result, a stock Ridgeline might not be quite right for the grim-faced, mountain-jumping, bull-wrestling people who live in pickup ads, but it's just fine for the rest of us.

The Ridgeline is comfortable, capable, and competent, plus, like all Hondas, it's as reliable as a kitchen timer. If you want to start jumping mountains, there are plenty of aftermarket performance parts out there. But if you just want to enjoy your music on your commute, we have the aftermarket audio gear you need.

honda ridgeline radio

The factory radios aren't terribly hard to replace, and you have lots of aftermarket options (Crutchfield Research Photo)

The factory stereo system

The Ridgeline's factory stereo options were pretty decent, all things considered. The standard receiver was an AM/FM/CD/MP3 unit with XM radio that played through a seven-speaker audio system. The upgrade was a navigation receiver with the same basic features and speakers, plus built-in Bluetooth® connectivity.

When you replace the factory radio, you'll lose features like the factory XM satellite radio, plus the nav (if present) and the factory subwoofer and subwoofer amplifier (again, if present). A wide variety of DIN (2" tall) and double-DIN (4" tall) receivers will work in this truck, so you'll have no problem replacing and upgrading anything you lose.

You'll need a dash kit to install a new receiver, and it's available in colors that match your dash perfectly. The kit and wiring harness are not free, but you'll get a very nice discount when you order from Crutchfield. You'll also get a free Crutchfield MasterSheet with complete, illustrated instructions on removing the factory audio gear from your Ridgeline.

honda ridgeline radio replacement

You'll need to remove the dash panel to get to the radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Replacing the factory radio in your Ridgeline

Regardless of which factory radio you're removing, the radio replacement process is the same. It’s not a difficult process, but you will be removing the entire dash panel (from the driver's side edge to the other side of the radio, anyway), so work carefully.

You'll start by using the shift lock release to move the gear lever to the lowest position and tilting the steering column to its lowest position. With those out of the way, use a panel tool to pry around the edges of the instrument panel and loosen it up. When you can, carefully pull the panel out enough to disconnect all the wiring harnesses, then remove the panel.

Detailed stereo and speaker removal instructions

MasterSheet image
With step-by-step disassembly instructions and plenty of up-close, detailed photos, our exclusive Crutchfield MasterSheet™ takes the guesswork out of removing the factory stereo and speakers. It's free with your Crutchfield order, or you can purchase one separately for just $9.99.

That, believe it or not, it the hard part. From here, just remove five Phillips/8mm screws securing the radio, then pull the radio out and disconnect it from the factory wiring.

The dash and wiring kit purchased along with your stereo order comes with instructions on how to connect your new receiver to the dash kit. If you have any questions, your Crutchfield purchase also gets you free lifetime tech support, so just give us a call.

Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, 8mm driver, small flate blade screwdriver, panel tool

Read our Car Stereo Buying Guide for shopping tips and advice.

Shop for car stereos that fit your Honda Ridgeline

Steering wheel audio controls

In most cases, it's reasonably easy to retain your Honda'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 a compatible aftermarket receiver.

honda ridgeline front door

A wide variety of aftermarket speakers will fit in the Ridgeline's front doors (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Replacing the factory speakers in your Ridgeline

The Ridgeline has speakers in the dash and doors. Some models are equipped with an 8" subwoofer, which is located behind the rear seats.

honda ridgeline dash tweeter

The dash tweeters are located on the corners of the dashboard (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing your Ridgeline's dash speakers

The two dash tweeters are located on the far front corners of the dashboard, near the base of the windshield. Each one measures a bit over 1-1/2" in diameter, and they're not that hard to reach and replace.

Starting at the edge closest to the windshield, pry up the speaker/grille assembly, lift it out, disconnect the wiring, and remove it. Then, pry open the speaker retaining clips and remove the speaker.

No mounting brackets are available for these speaker locations, so you'll need to use a set of our universal backstraps (or hot glue or silicone) to secure your new tweeters. You might need mounting screws here, so check the speaker box before you start and hit the hardware store if you need to.

These tweeters are wired in parallel with front door woofers, so this is a great spot for component speakers.

Tools needed: Small flate blade screwdriver

honda ridgeline front door speaker

See the tabs and slots? That's why you'll be drilling new mounting holes (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing your Ridgeline's front door speakers

The front door woofers are 6-1/2" component pieces that can be replaced by same-size, 5-1/4", or 6-3/4" aftermarket speakers. This isn't a tough task for the average DIY-er, but you will need to drill new mounting screw holes for your aftermarket speakers.

If you've ever operated a cordless drill at all, you can do this – but don't get cocky. You're drilling into a truck made of metal, not a piece of wood, so pay attention to what's around and behind the spot where you're about to drill. You don't want to damage wires, windows, or the truck's door. You also don't want to drill out your own eyeball, so wear eye protection.

As we noted above, this isn't hard, but there are a few steps involved, so it's important to be organized and stay patient. You'll need to remove the door panel, so have a good, clean storage space ready for it before you get to work.

Start by prying off the sail panel and releasing the retaining clip. Then, pry out the screw cover behind the door release handle and remove two 7mm screws. Pull out the door release assembly and disconnect the door release cable, then remove the three exposed Phillips screws.

Next, pry out the rubber mat at the bottom of the door pull cup and remove another exposed Phillips screw. From here, just (gently) pry out the side and bottom edges of the door panel, lift it off, disconnect the harness, and set it aside. You'll remove the speaker by pressing down on the top clip and releasing it from its slot.

As you disconnect the wiring harness, you can take a look at the three speaker mounting points and start to see exactly why you have to drill new mounting holes. After basking briefly in that moment of clarity, place your new speaker mounting bracket over the cavity and use it as a template to mark the new mounting holes. Put the assembly aside and (carefully) drill out the holes with a 1/8" bit.

Once that's done, secure the speaker to the bracket, attach the bracket to the door, get everything hooked up, and test the speaker to make sure it's working. Before you replace the panel, make sure the wires aren't interfering with the windows or the door locks.

Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, small flat blade screwdriver, panel tool, 7mm socket, ratchet and extension, power drill and 1/8" bit

honda ridgeline rear door speakers

Replacing the rear door speakers involves basically the same process used up front (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing your Ridgeline's rear door speakers

Replacing the rear door speakers is almost exactly the same as it is up front. You'll have the same array of speaker size options to choose from (5-1/4", 6-1/2", 6-3/4") and you'll use the same tools – including your eye protection. Especially that.

Detailed, illustrated disassembly instructions can be found in your MasterSheet, of course.

Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, small flat blade screwdriver, panel tool, 7mm socket, ratchet and extension, power drill and 1/8" bit

Read our Car Speakers Buying Guide for more information.

Shop for speakers that fit your Honda Ridgeline

honda ridgeline subwoofer

The sub is located behind the rear seats (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Bass in your Ridgeline

The factory subwoofer is located in a plastic enclosure behind the rear seat, on the passenger's side. The rear seat assembly must be removed to access the enclosure, but that isn't as hard as it probably sounds. It is kind of involved, though, so make sure you've got time to do it right, have some bowls or mugs handy for all the screws you'll be removing, and, above all, stay patient.

The factory sub is an 8", 2.5-ohm model that's mounted in a snug little enclosure designed to fit into this rather tight space. There are some shallow-mount 8" subs that will work here, but there are some things you should know about this swap, so talk to a Crutchfield advisor before placing an order. You'll also need to fabricate a mounting bracket to secure your subwoofer. This takes some work, but if retaining your truck's factory look and functionality is as important as better bass, it's worth it.

Complete details on the entire seat removal/sub replacement process can be found in your MasterSheet. Again, it's kind of a long list, but it's not nearly as bad as it looks. If you have questions, just give us a call and we'll help you find the sub you need. We'll also help you find an amplifier to go with it, because the factory model isn't up to the demands of a powerful aftermarket subwoofer.

If you really, really dig bass and you want to add a couple of large subs to your Ridgeline, you'll have to build a custom enclosure (like this guy did) that fits under the rear seats. Will it involve some hard work? Yes, but if you want more thump in your truck, it's a smart way to go. If you're not that handy, your local custom audio shop can probably handle the job if you can handle the bill.

Tools needed: Panel tool, 10mm and 14mm sockets, ratchet and extension

Learn more about building a bass system in our Car Subwoofer Buying Guide.

Accele RVCLPMBS backup camera

The Accele RVCLPMBS rear view camera mounts on your Ridgeline's license plate

Other options for your Ridgeline

The aftermarket offers an amazing variety of other ways to improve your Ridgeline. Here are some of the ways Crutchfield can help.

Add a rear-view camera

The Ridgeline isn't a huge vehicle, but it's not exactly a Honda Fit, either. A rear-view camera can be a big help when you're backing up in a crowded parking lot. We offer cameras from Kenwood, Alpine, Pioneer, and more. Some are designed to work with same-brand receivers only, but others come with a composite video connector and will work with almost any video receiver.

Install some sound deadening

Like most big, boxy trucks and SUV's, the Ridgeline can roar a bit at highway speeds. To combat wind noise and road roar, you can install Dynamat in the doors and (if you install a big sub) rear area. This sound-deadening material will keep the noise out and allow you to really enjoy your music.

Protect your truck with a security system

Installing a security system in your Ridgeline isn't easy (security systems rarely are), but it's definitely a good idea. Our Crutchfield Advisors can help figure out what you need to get the job done, but we usually recommend taking your truck and new gear to a professional installer.

Let's get started!

Ready to shop? Use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your car or truck. If you have questions, give us a shout via phone, chat, or email

  • Doug from Hilliard

    Posted on 3/23/2021

    2008 Ridgeline RTL, OEM Screen was cracked and I replaced it with the JVC KW-750BT, is it possible to retain the OEM Backup camera with this unit?

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 3/24/2021

    Doug, Should work, but you'll need an adapter. Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.
  • Bill Krauss

    Posted on 2/15/2021

    is it possible to retain the factory subwoofer by using a small amplifier behind the head unit?

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 2/15/2021

    Bill, That's going to be tight. Maybe too tight. With questions like this, it's always better to have a conversation with a real live human. Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.
  • Seb from Austin

    Posted on 1/5/2021

    If I'm just looking to replace the stereo with a system with Apple CarPlay, can I keep the stock speakers, amp, and woofer? I have a 2006 Ridgeline RTL. Thank you!

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 1/5/2021

    Seb, When you replace the factory radio, you'll lose features like the factory XM satellite radio, plus the navigation and the factory subwoofer and subwoofer amplifier. The speakers will be fine. When you enter your vehicle's info into our Outfit My Car tool, you'll see which stereos fit your Ridgeline, plus the correct harness. If you have any questions, our advisors are available via phone or chat.
  • Duane Kranendonk from Calgary

    Posted on 2/27/2020

    Hello, When replacing the 2006-2014 Ridgeline Factory Nav system with an aftermarket unit. Go to a Honda Parts Desk and order the standard storage pocket to replace the NAV Radio module. The dealership will likely charge about $30-$50 for this part. ( You might miss the larger factory screen but your truck will have a much lighter dashboard and you can use Android or Apple Maps that are always being updated for no charge. In addition to removing about 8lbs of very dated electronics.) Just order the part in the same year and color match the existing dash. The flip down door came in grey, beige, black color hues that changed year by year. This was where I hid the USB thumb drive and phone connection. I initially had installed a small amplifier in the dashboard to retain the factory sub. But after a few years decided to replace all the factory speakers and sub. (But I wanted to retain the storage.) So I installed a low profile Rockford Fosgate 8" sub with Rockford Fosgate Amp in the back behind the seat. I needed to cut out the sub and create a modified bracket to hold the sub in front mount. I'm certain a custom box would be better. But replacing all the speakers with Rockford Fosgate made an enormous improvement on the music enjoyment.

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 2/27/2020

    Duane, Good stuff! If you have time, visit our Custom Car Showroom and tell us about your truck.
  • Todd Hamilton from Columbus

    Posted on 1/2/2020

    I just purchased a Kenwood ddx8906s for my 2013 Ridgeline RTS. What do I need to do to keep the factory sub?

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 1/3/2020

    Todd, When you replace the stock radio, you lose the factory subwoofer and subwoofer amplifier. To replace the lost bass, you'll need a new sub/amp combo. Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.
  • Jeff Dillon from Seward

    Posted on 10/15/2019

    I just purchased a near mint 2011 RTL with an old Nav unit and separate stereo. Aside from the strange cd-ROM drive beneath the driver's seat (shrug), I'd like to update the head unit and see that you have seemingly everything I need. Except I am having trouble figuring out what to do on the dash with the space the old stereo takes up. A modern head unit will replace the NAV and CD changer space while adding a stereo, so what goes in the gap left behind after I take out the stereo? Any help is appreciated!

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 10/16/2019

    Jeff, When you buy your new stereo at Crutchfield, we'll give you a nice discount on the wiring harness and dash kit you'll need for the installation. It'll look fine. 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.
  • Chris

    Posted on 5/8/2019

    Would a double din unit with sub output allow me to keep the factory sub without additional modification? I'm considering a pioneer AVIC-5201NEX.

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 5/9/2019

    Excellent choice. 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.
  • Rene Pantoja from Los Angeles

    Posted on 3/15/2019

    Hi .. sorry to bother you can you help me witha question: Can I replace my conventional radio on my 2006 Ridgeline with a navigation radio from a 2007 Ridgeline?? is this replacement Just plug and play? Thank you

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 3/15/2019

    Rene, OEM-for-OEM upgrades aren't really our usual bag, but I'm pretty sure that this swap won't work because of the wiring harnesses. If you want to install an aftermarket nav receiver, we can help you with that and we'll even give you a very nice discount on the wiring harness adapter you'll need for the new one. Give us a call!

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