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Our Advisors help a highschooler with a holiday upgrade

Installing a new stereo system in a Scion tC

How do our Advisors know so much about the gear we sell? Every Advisor goes through months of training before they help their first customer, and part of that training is getting hands-on with car audio installations of all kinds.

Our story starts with a Scion

I caught up with our latest training class of Luna, Bear, Ivy, and Ace as they tackled their very first installation project. And it was a cool one — a 2008 Scion tC owned by Haley, a very busy high school senior who’s also enrolled in community college courses, and works a job four days a week. Her mom, Angie, is a superstar coordinator in our distribution center who helps ensure our customers get their packages on time. She told us all about Haley’s schedule, and it was clear this hard-workin’ teen was the perfect candidate for an early holiday treat — an audio system upgrade.

Installing new speakers in the Scion

The Advisors gathered in our “famous” installation bay at Crutchfield HQ with a vehicle-specific MasterSheet and all the tools they would need for the day. Already a tight-knit group from their hours in the classroom with instructor, JR, the crew broke up the tasks for the day, touching base with each other as they encountered challenges.

Ace and Luna took on the installation of coaxial speakers in the backseat. While not too challenging, quite a bit of disassembly was required to access those speaker locations. When they removed the rear seat cushion and rear side panels, Luna noted, "It's a real peek behind the curtain." Bear had prepped the speakers with brackets and harnesses so that when the old factory speakers came out, installing the new ones went quickly.

installing JVC speakers

Bear tackles the tweeter wiring with the team's help.

Adding a new component speaker system up front required attention to detail, a little bit of power drilling, and some soldering fun. The team had to access a full-range audio signal for the new woofer and tweeter through the existing factory tweeter's wiring. As is often the case, installing new tweeters required a smidge of fabrication to mount them securely. With careful consideration of the front door panels, the Advisors managed to perfectly angle the new tweeters for excellent delivery of the high frequencies to the driver and front seat passenger.

Adding a backup camera

Knowing how you're going to mount your cam is an essential consideration when shopping for backup cameras. Audiovox secures their ACA800 camera on a bar-style mount that fits behind a license plate. For Haley's Scion hatchback, that was ideal.

When it came to wiring, the Advisors opted to extend the camera's power wire, run it with the video cable to the new receiver, and tap into the signal at the JVC's reverse trigger. Another way to do it would have been to access power at the vehicle's reverse lights, but in the case of this hatchback, that would have been a little extra work.

installing audiovox backup camera

JR secures Haley's new backup cam using her existing license plate screws.

Backup camera pro tip

An important lesson the Advisors learned was to always remember that, if a backup camera and the receiver acting as its monitor both have built-in parking lines, you need to turn off the indicators in one or the other device. In the case of this installation, it made more sense to defeat the camera's static parking lines (a task done during installation) because the JVC receiver displays adjustable lines.

Replacing the radio

The Advisors made snappy work of removing the Scion's old radio. To install the new JVC receiver, the crew added brackets and made connections with the iDatalink module, which streamlines integration of important factory features like steering wheel controls.

Before buttoning up the dash and door panels, the Advisors tested all the features, from great speaker performance to wireless Apple CarPlay capability. When they discovered a couple of installation hiccups, they called in a member of our Tech Support team to talk them through the fixes. In the end, they'd built a rockin' system.

installing radio receiver

JR assesses the Scion's factory wiring with Bear after removing the factory radio.

JR even snagged The Dark Knight on DVD from a home theater demo in the next-door training room and tested video capability. He was in for a big surprise when an action scene showed off some unexpected surround sound. He laughed, "Whoa! Did you just hear that?" 

Our Advisors reflect on their first installation

I asked Bear and Luna what they thought of their first car audio installation. Reflecting on the process, Bear told me, “Often, it’s a game of preparation and patience.” Luna added, “It can feel a little scary at first, but a blast when you get the hang of it.”

Haley's thoughts on her upgraded Scion

While the installation was fun, the crew's real excitement came when they got to hand the keys back to Haley and Angie. Daughter and mom were thrilled with the features and the sound as the Advisors walked them through the gear they added to the Scion.

Haley after the install

Haley and her upgraded Scion!

I checked in with Haley and Angie after they'd had a couple days to really enjoy the new system... 

Angie: “The first thing Haley said was, ‘Mom, my phone’s on the radio!’ Right away, she started using Siri® to send texts. I love it for the hands-free features. She loves it for the music.”

Haley: “I listen to rap, and it sounds sooo good now, especially the bass.”

Angie: “It does, and I’m not even fan of rap. Tell them about the backup cam though.”

Haley: “I parallel parked for the first time! Like a boss!”

Need recommendations?

Reach out to our team of Advisors to find the right gear for you and your vehicle. And when it comes time for the installation, our tech support team is just a phone call away. They can answer your questions and walk you through any problem you might encounter.

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