Where in Northern Virginia should I go for a new car radio?
July 18, 2006 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Where in Northern Virginia should I go for a new, installed car radio?

My old one's broken. I don't want anything fancy, just something with either a tape deck or an aux in for my ipod. I assume that having the guys at Best Buy do it is a little risky, but I don't want to pay a ton of money, either. Ideas?
posted by callmejay to Technology (8 answers total)
I'm sure others will come along with better options, but I had a new radio/CD with an aux in installed by the guys at a Best Buy in NoVa, and it went fine.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 7:59 AM on July 18, 2006

I went to Circuit City in Fairfax. They did a great job. YMMV.
posted by TheRaven at 8:51 AM on July 18, 2006

I've had it done at Circuit City with no ill effects.
posted by clearlynuts at 9:03 AM on July 18, 2006

Crutchfield, if your southern orbit extends as far as Charlottesville.
posted by Rash at 10:09 AM on July 18, 2006

I bought a JVC MP3/CD player with installation from Circuit City in Tysons a few years ago and everything went fine.
posted by llamateur at 10:43 AM on July 18, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I was wary of the chains, but it sounds like it's okay.
posted by callmejay at 11:11 AM on July 18, 2006

Best answer: You seem to have gotten your answer but maybe you're interested in why it doesn't much matter...

The process for installing a car radio is pretty straightforward if nobody has gone in and fucked it all up prior. Any reputable place is going to use what's called a wiring harness. The car manufacturer, being an assembly line process user, has put together that car in a very modular way. Behind the radio the wires for power (2 - one constant, one that turns on and off with the ignition), ground, front and back speakers, etc all come into a single plug - the only exception is the antenna, which is a different cable but it also is a cable that's easily plugged and unplugged.

So Circuit City etc just takes that's called a pigtail off the shelf and makes the connections from the car stereo they're selling you to that pigtail, leaving them a plug that matches the socket behind your existing radio. If you went to a high-end place they might do a snazzy solder & shrink tubing job but most places will just use some crimper gadget to connect the wires. It's pretty brain-dead work and if you can follow a recipe and aren't color-blind it's easy as pie.

The biggest danger you have is if they're clowns about getting the bits off your dash and underneath in order to get to the radio. The process of getting the existing one loose and mounting the new one in is about the toughest part of the job. Odds are you have a car their guys have worked on before, though, so odds are they know how to get in and out without a big pain or scratching things up.

Beyond that the only worry you might have is if you're not the first owner of the car and the prior bozo didn't use a wiring harness and instead cut it off or otherwise mucked things up. Some places won't include the amount of triage they have to do for that kind of thing in their "free install" deals so you might want to scrutinize the fine print if you think this could be the case.

Several people I know have had stuff installed by the Sterling Best Buy if you're out that way.
posted by phearlez at 12:30 PM on July 18, 2006

Response by poster: Wow, thanks for the info phearlez. That's very helpful.
posted by callmejay at 12:42 PM on July 18, 2006

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