2007-2013 Chevrolet Avalanche
How to upgrade the stereo system in your Avalanche
In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your Avalanche's stock stereo system and your aftermarket upgrade options. We'll tell you all about:
- The factory stereo system
- Removing the factory radio
- Removing the factory speakers
- Adding more bass
- Other options for your Avalanche
Then, use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your truck.
Overview of the Chevy Avalanche
If you're looking for one big vehicle that can do just about anything the average person needs to do, the Chevy Avalanche might be everything you need. It's definitely big, and the innovative "Midgate" allows it to transform from comfortable SUV to lumber-haulin' pickup truck in almost no time. That's a very cool thing, because most of us need a passenger vehicle most of the time and a truck some of the time. The Midgate makes the Avalanche a terrific truck all of the time.
The Avalanche is also a Chevy truck, which means it's a nice platform for an upgraded audio system. Replacing the factory radio and speakers is pretty straightforward, but adding bass can get a bit complicated. We'll help you choose the right gear and give you the advice you need to get the job done right.
The factory radio is reasonably easy to remove and replace (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The factory stereo system
The Avalanche was available with several different stereos, including a 6-CD Bose system. Other options included rear seat audio, DVD systems, and/or satellite radio. Replacing the factory receiver won't cost you any of the features you actually like, thanks to adapters that let you keep your OnStar®, steering wheel controls, Bluetooth® connectivity and more. You will, however, lose the factory nav system if your vehicle is so equipped.
Augmenting or flat-out replacing most of the factory stereo equipment is fairly easy, though getting to the amplifier and subwoofer of the Bose system requires some extensive interior tear-down. We'll talk more about that later.
There's plenty of space in here for a wide variety of aftermarket radios (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the factory radio
Removing the stock receiver isn't terribly difficult, but you should work carefully and patiently to avoid damaging the trim pieces. Starting at the bottom edge, pry around the edges of the receiver trim panel to release the retaining clips. These clips are very tight, so don't succumb to the temptation to use brute force. They'll come, but finesse is the best approach.
Once you've gotten the trim panel off, remove eight 7mm screws securing the switch panel, the temperature controls and the radio. It's okay to let the switch panel and temperature controls hang while you pull out and disconnect the radio.
Single- or double-DIN aftermarket receivers will fit in the Avalanche. You'll install your new stereo by following the instructions for the installation kit you'll get at a deep discount with your Crutchfield stereo purchase. It's a good idea to test the receiver and make sure it's working properly before you button everything up. You don't want to remove that trim panel twice, and certainly not in the same afternoon.
Detailed stereo and speaker removal instructions
Some double-DIN (4" tall) radios will not fit because the wiring harness interferes with the dash substructure. Check our product photos to make sure the radio you're buying does not have wire harnesses or RCA connectors that plug into the top half of the back of the radio. If you have any questions, our Crutchfield Advisors are here to help.
In order to connect a new stereo to your truck's electronics, you'll need a special integration adapter that retains your warning chimes, keeps the Bose amplifier working, and retains the OnStar functionality (if either of these are present). You might also need a relay to keep your audible turn signals working with your new car stereo. You'll also need an antenna adapter to connect the Chevy antenna plug to your new radio. And, if your Avalanche is equipped with the GM Rear Seat Entertainment (RSE) system, you'll also need a separate adapter to connect it to the audio/video output on your new receiver.
You'll get all the adapters you need at a very nice discount when you order from Crutchfield.
Since installing a new receiver can disable the warning chimes in your Avalanche, in the interests of safety, you must use the recommended Crutchfield integration adapter to retain these warning chimes. We will not provide technical support for any installation that does not utilize the recommended adapter.
Tools needed: Panel tool, 7mm driver.
Read our Car Stereo Buying Guide for shopping tips and advice.
Steering wheel audio controls
In most cases, it's reasonably easy to retain your truck'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.
Removing the factory speakers
The Avalanche has speakers in the front and rear doors, plus A-pillar tweeters and a center dash speaker.
As with most Chevy trucks, the front door speakers in your Avalanche are easy to replace (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Front door speakers
The front speakers are a sort of non-standard size, but they can be replaced with a variety of 6-1/2" or 6-3/4" speakers. A speaker adapter bracket is required, and it's included free with your speaker purchase. A wiring harness is not available, though, so you'll either need to splice the speaker wires or connect the speaker to the vehicle wires using a set of Posi-Products connectors. If you use your truck off-road at all, the latter is a better option because the connection is much more secure.
The removal and replacement process isn't difficult, but it is somewhat detailed and there is drilling involved. Helpful instructions can be found in the Crutchfield MasterSheet included free with your order.
If you're even slightly handy around the home and garage, you know how to use a power drill. That said, we should remind you to be extremely careful when drilling in a vehicle. Be aware of things such as wiring, windows, fuel lines and safety devices. And, of course, check (and re-check) the drilling depth and location before you drill.
One last thing: Your new speakers might include mounting screws, but then again, they might not. Check your packaging and, if needed, make that run to the hardware store before you start working.
Tools needed: Panel tool, 7mm & 10mm drivers, drill & 1/8" bit.
Speakers that fit in the front doors will work back here, too (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Rear door speakers
The rear speakers are a little easier to work with. As with the front speakers, the rears are a non-standard factory GM size, but they can be replaced with a host of 6-1/2" or 6-3/4" aftermarket models.
You'll need to do a bit of drilling here, too, but it's the same basic job that it was up front. You should check for mounting screws in your rear speaker packaging, too.
Detailed instructions for the rear door speaker installation can also be found in your Crutchfield MasterSheet.
Tools needed: Panel tool, 7mm & 10mm drivers, drill & 1/8" bit.
The tweeters are located in your truck's A-pillars (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Front pillar speakers
The tweeters are mounted at the base of the "A" pillars. They're covered by a grille that you'll need to pry off before you pull the entire assembly away from the pillar trim panel. From there, pry the tweeter away from the grille and clip the wires.
Because of that little bit of work, you'll need to use a set of Posi-Products connectors or splice the wiring when you install a new tweeter. You'll also need to fabricate a way to secure the new tweeter. Our tech support team can offer suggestions.
Tools needed: Small flat blade screwdriver.
The dash speaker is pretty easy to work with (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Center dash speakers
If your Avalanche has a center dash tweeter, it's easy to get to, but a bit challenging to replace. There aren't any aftermarket tweeters that fit exactly, so you'll have to fabricate a mounting bracket to install a new tweeter in this location (our universal backstrap can really help in situations like this). If you're not into wire splicing, you'll also need Posi-Products connectors for this installation.
Tools needed: Panel tool, 7mm driver.
Read our Car Speakers Buying Guide for more information.
Bass in your Avalanche
The factory subwoofer is an oblong piece that's roughly the size of a 6-3/4" speaker. It's located in the center console, which is nice, but if you want to replace it, the entire console must be removed. That's not so nice. It's actually a very difficult process, and it's quite easy to damage the truck's interior. Because of all this, we don't recommend replacing the factory subwoofer.
If you want big bass, though, it's available. JL Audio's fiberglass Stealthbox enclosure houses a 10" JL Audio sub and works nicely in trucks with front bucket seats and a center console.It's an impressive piece, and installing it takes an impressive amount of skill and experience. Consult a Crutchfield Advisor before you order, and consider turning the work over to a pro. This enclosure will not work in vehicles that have A/C vents on the back of the center console.
You can also add more sound up front, with the help of a Q-Forms Kick Panel Pod. As you might imagine, it installs in the kick panel, and is available in three colors to match your truck's interior. Q-Forms enclosures hold 6-1/2" speakers in an ideal position, angling them to maximize sound quality. Since the Q-Forms are located near your feet, the distance from your ears to each speaker becomes closer to equal, creating a superior soundstage. Q-Forms do not come with pre-cut holes and installing them can be challenging, so check with a Crutchfield Advisor before you order. And, yes, you should consider turning the work over to a pro.
Learn more about building a bass system in our Car Subwoofer Buying Guide.
Other options for your Avalanche
There are plenty of other ways to improve your Avalanche. Here are some of the ways Crutchfield can help.
With a vehicle this large, it's important to be aware of your surroundings. A rear-view camera is a big help when you're backing up in a crowded parking lot.
The factory Bose system includes amps, but they aren’t ideal for use with aftermarket head units or speakers. It’s best to bypass or eliminate these amps in favor of newer gear if you want the best possible sound. You’ll find room for a new amp in the spaces under and behind the seats or in the center console. Learn more about adding amps to your system in our Car Amplifier Buying Guide.
We frequently suggest speaker baffles for other vehicles, but for the Avalanche, we strongly recommend them. These big, thick doors can waste a lot of great sound, and this is an inexpensive way to rein it back in. The rubber baffles are easy to install, and they'll give you improved performance while also protecting your speakers.
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. The iDatastart system is incredibly convenient and makes it easier than ever to install a remote start system, so we highly recommend it. The module requires a vehicle-specific T-harness (sold separately) to connect with your vehicle's computer, security, and ignition systems, so 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 vehicle.