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2009-2013 Toyota Corolla

How to upgrade the stereo system in your Corolla

Toyota Corolla

In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your Corolla'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 Corolla.

Overview of the Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corollas don't just blend into the background, they are the background. And that's not a bad thing. Corollas have long been known as smart, solid cars that start every morning, go where they're pointed, and don't add drama to your busy day. If 2009-up Corollas sometimes seem to be everywhere, that's mostly because they're good cars. If people liked bad cars, we'd all be as tired of looking at Yugos as we are of seeing lame old references to how bad Yugos were. Corollas work; which is why people – lots and lots of people – buy them.

The tenth-generation Corolla's enormous popularity means there are plenty of good used models out there waiting for good new owners. It's not the flashiest car around, but if you're looking for a reliable ride that's easy on gas, easy on the eyes, and easy to own, a 2009-13 Corolla is a solid choice. If you're looking to make your driving experience a little more interesting, upgrading the factory stereo is a great place to start.

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.

The factory stereo system

The Corolla's base stereo was an AM/FM in-dash single CD player with CD MP3/WMA playback and an aux audio input, with four speakers. Speed sensitive volume control was also standard. A mid-line upgrade added two more speakers, and an optional 8-speaker JBL stereo was available from 2009-2011.

Later models added more features, including optional touchscreen navigation and Toyota's Entune multimedia entertainment and information system.

Replacing the factory radio is relatively easy in the Corolla, regardless of the factory system. Single- or double-DIN receivers will fit nicely, so whether you're going CD-free with a digital media receiver or looking for a fully-loaded DVD/Nav receiver, you'll have plenty of possibilities to choose from.

The Corolla's factory radio

The Corolla's factory radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing the factory radio

You'll notice a seam in the center stack, just below the radio and above the heating/air controls. Starting at that seam, pry the lower trim panel straight out to release the retaining clips. Remove the strips on either side, then repeat the process on the upper side trim strips. If you work slowly and carefully, the trim should come off just fine. Trust us, patience is a virtue when you're dealing with plastic retaining clips.

Next, place a towel on top of the dash to protect the finish from possible scratches. Pull the upper vent assembly toward the rear of vehicle to release it, then place the assembly on top of the dash. The factory radio is secured by four 10mm screws. Remove them, and pull out the radio to release the retaining clips, disconnect the harness and set the old radio aside.

To install your new stereo, you'll need a mounting bracket and a wiring adapter. Both are available at a deep discount with your Crutchfield receiver purchase. Secure the receiver to the mounting bracket, then make the necessary wiring connections following the instructions supplied with the wiring adapter.

Once that's done, hold the receiver assembly near the dash, connect the wiring adapter to the Corolla's wiring harness and plug the antenna lead into the rear of receiver. Slide the entire assembly into the dash and secure it with the 10mm screws you removed earlier. Give the receiver a quick test. If it works, you're ready to reassemble the dash.

Replacing the factory radio will result in the loss of your factory aux input connection, the factory navigation system, and, if you have a subscription, your factory XM satellite radio. Those features are easy to replace (and improve, really) if you purchase the right aftermarket receiver.

Note: Make sure the wiring harnesses associated with the airbag are connected before turning on the ignition switch to test your new receiver. If it isn't connected, the airbag light will come on. Resetting it will require a trip to the dealership, so save yourself some money and time by double-checking this connection.

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

Shop for car stereos that fit your Toyota Corolla

Steering wheel audio controls

In most cases, it's reasonably easy to retain your car'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.

Toyota Corolla front door

The Corolla's front door (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Replacing your factory speakers

A speaker upgrade will really improve your Corolla's sound, even if you keep the stock radio.

Front door woofers

The Corolla's front doors contain a pair of 6-3/4" speakers. The 4-ohm non-JBL swap is pretty straightforward, but for the 2-ohm JBL speakers, it's important to note that replacing them with higher-impedance speakers will result in lower volume levels. A variety of 5-1/4" or 6-1/2" speakers will fit using an adapter bracket, as will select 6-3/4" speakers that, quite frankly, are more like 6-1/2" speakers, anyway.

Getting to the speakers requires removing the door panel, which is relatively simple. It also involves a bit of drilling, which can be challenging. Your Crutchfield MasterSheet™ (free with your purchase) contains detailed, illustrated instructions.

After everything's hooked up and the speakers are secured, give them a quick test. If everything's working, re-install the door panels. Before you hit the road, check that the speaker wires don't interfere with the windows or the door lock operation.

Note: This is an obvious point, but it's one worth making: Always, always be careful when drilling in a vehicle. Be very aware of things like wiring, windows, fuel lines, and safety devices. And, of course, check drilling depth and location to avoid damaging your vehicle. If you're not comfortable with the idea of drilling into your car, you might want to consult a car audio installation professional.

Tools needed: Panel tool, small flat blade screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, drill, 11/64" and 1/8" bits

Toyota Corolla front tweeter

The Corolla's non-JBL front door tweeter (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Front door tweeters

Corollas equipped with either the 6-speaker Toyota package or the JBL package feature tweeters mounted in the front door sail panels. If you're thinking about installing a set of component speakers, the convenient location of the factory tweeters might help you make your decision. You'll need to find a way to hold the tweeters in place, but our universal backstraps will make that a whole lot easier.

Accessing the tweeters is actually step one of getting to the woofers (above), which is another argument in favor of component speakers. As long as you're there, you might as well give yourself the gift of great sound. A quality component system will let you hear things in your music that the factory speakers only hinted at. That, by the way, is really the best reason to install component speakers.

In the non-JBL cars, the front tweeters and the door woofers are wired together at each tweeter location, so if you remove or replace the tweeters, you'll have to splice the input and output wires together to keep the woofers working. When replacing the JBL speakers, remember that replacing the 2-ohm JBL speaker with a higher-impedance speaker will often result in lower volume levels.

Tools needed: Panel tool, small flat blade screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, socket wrench and extension, 1/4" socket

Toyota Corolla rear deck speakers

Getting to the Corolla's rear deck speakers will take some work (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Rear speakers

All Corollas, JBL-equipped or not, have 6"x9" top-mounted speakers in the rear deck. Reaching, removing, and replacing them is somewhat labor-intensive, since you do have to remove the back seat and a fair amount of the surrounding trim before you can actually get to the speakers. Once you're there, you can replace them with a variety of 6"x9", 5-1/4", or 6-1/2" speakers. Getting there, while it might involve half an afternoon, is probably not half the fun.

As with the front speakers, if you have the 2-ohm JBL speakers, remember that replacing them with higher-impedance speakers will result in lower volume levels. Additionally, the factory amp sends bass and treble to these speakers through separate sets of wires, so getting full-range sound to your replacements means either splicing into the factory wiring to bypass the JBL amp (located under the right front seat) or replacing it altogether. You'll have to splice into the factory wiring anyway, because a wiring harness isn't available for this location.

None of this is hard, but it can be intimidating to beginners. Even for experienced installers, a project like this can take some time. And that's okay. Whether you're doing it yourself or hiring a pro, we heartily encourage patience and care during car audio installations. It's not about the speed, it's about the sound. Detailed instructions (and there are lots of details) for removing your Corolla's rear speakers can be found in your Crutchfield MasterSheet.

Read our Car Speakers Buying Guide for more information.

Shop for speakers that fit your Toyota Corolla

Bass in your Toyota Corolla

The Corolla's trunk offers a healthy amount of space for a compact car, but it isn't huge by any means. There's room for a 15" H x 42" W x 26"/28" D sub box in there, but you'll lose a lot of luggage space.

If you're looking for a compact sub that really brings the bass, a powered subwoofer is a great choice. A powered sub gives you outstanding performance without compromising your everyday cargo-carrying needs.

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

weathertech floor liners

Protect your car's carpeting with custom-fit WeatherTech floor liners

Other options for your Corolla

Here are some other great upgrade ideas for your Corolla:

Protect the carpets with WeatherTech floor liners

It's easier than you think to mess up your Corolla's interior while you're going about your daily business. Floor mats and liners from WeatherTech will help protect your car's carpeting from dirt and damage. And if they're already dirty and damaged, these mats will cover it up and make your car's interior a nicer place to be.

Add an amp (or two)

A new 4-channel amplifier will help you get the most out of your new speakers. You'll get cleaner power (and a lot more of it), which will result in much, much better sound. A mono amp can provide the juice you need for your new rear deck subwoofer, too. Learn more about adding amps to your system in our Car Amplifier Buying Guide.

iPod® and satellite radio adapters

If you don't want to replace the factory receiver, you can still add versatility and great sound to the system. We offer several adapters that will allow you to use an iPod, MP3 player, or satellite radio with the factory system.

Dynamat

The Dynamat Xtreme Door Kit is the perfect way to seal in sound. This heavy-duty insulating material is easy to install, and it really makes a difference. One kit will take care of your Corolla's front doors. If you install a big sub or a Stealthbox, you might want to line the trunk lid as well.

Security

Installing a security system in your Corolla 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 car 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

  • Tony from Suwanee

    Posted on 7/12/2022

    Where can I find the factory amplifier on my 2011 Corolla? My rear speakers aren't putting out sound anymore, and I think it may be my amplifier. I found a diagram on Toyota parts, but it's not very descriptive.

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 7/12/2022

    Tony, The factory amp can be found underneath the passenger's side front seat. 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.
  • Blaine Puckett from Raleigh NC

    Posted on 6/27/2021

    Used crutchfield to replace my OEM stereo with a.jensen car910x. Got the included, dash kit and wiring harness setup, got everything installed and the front door speakers aren't working properly. The tweeters and the rear speakers work great. I read online that on this model the tweeters get the signal first and then pass it on to the woofers in the doors. But I can't find any specifics on his to get this to work with my setup and the supplied products purchased from crutchfield.

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 6/28/2021

    Blaine, With questions like that, it's always better to have a conversation with a real live human. If you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system.
  • Commenter image

    Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/6/2017

    Connor, When in doubt, which I was, ask a smart person. So I asked one of our ace installers about this. Turns out that if that little plastic chip is a speaker connector or if the speaker wires have been damaged at that spot, the wires could be grounding out (touching metal) and causing the radio's amp to shut down ("protect mode"). We had that happen on on a project car last year, and once we re-positioned the speaker so that the wire leads weren't touching metal, the speakers fired right up. If that doesn't solve the problem, you might have a dead radio amp, which would necessitate a new receiver. Hopefully, it's the first thing, but if it's the second, give us a call and we'll help you choose a new receiver.

  • Connor T from Clarksville

    Posted on 1/5/2017

    All my speakers went out at once in my '13 Corrolla. Seems to be a broken off plastic chip on one of the trunk speakers with wires connected to it. The dealership wants me to replace all my speakers, but visually looks like it could be an easy fix. Thoughts?

  • Commenter image

    Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/3/2016

    Nelson, The first thing to check for is a loose connection(s), either at the receiver or at the various speaker locations. If it's not that, it's something else.

  • Nelson from Los Angeles

    Posted on 9/30/2016

    Hello! I have an 09 Corolla and there's no sound coming from my speakers at all. The radio turns on and everything is displayed but no sound. I start the car and there's a little 2 second, I'll hear sound and then it's completely silent ... help me, please. Everything is stock!

  • Commenter image

    Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/30/2016

    Pau, Maybe? We're not experts on OEM-for-OEM stereo swaps, but you might be able to find some knowledge on a Toyota owners' forum. If that doesn't work, we'll be happy to help you find an aftermarket stereo that'll fit your Corolla. Good luck!

  • Pau from Arcadia

    Posted on 9/30/2016

    I'm looking to replace my 2009 corolla oem radio with head in dash navi oem from a later corolla model... is this possible? will it fit?

  • Commenter image

    Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/5/2016

    Ken, 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.

  • ken from Garden Grove

    Posted on 4/5/2016

    My Corolla S 2011's rear speaker blown. Can I just replace rear speakers with JBL GT7-96 only ? I want to keep radio and front speaker stock.

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