Honda Civic 2003 Car Radio

Hi guys!

Couple months ago I purchased a new car radio, a BOSS BV3950T, and in hindsight it turned out to be a really big mistake. I didn’t realize that it didn’t even have a built in amplifier. So I had to go out and buy one. I happened to buy a BOSS GT880 amp aswell from newegg. I have to say, that the amp is really top notch. It gives really nice sound, has a lot of nice filtering features (hi/lo/band pass), also can give 15dB of gain to the lower frequencies. All in all, I’m really happy with the amp, even though it turned out to be a lot larger than I expected it to be (little less than 2 feet long, 8″ wide). I don’t know if my head unit was defective or not (the manufacturer wasn’t very friendly with RMAs), but it was a piece of junk. Audio CDs worked, somewhat, mp3 CDs worked after spinning the CD around for a good 5 minutes, and mp3 DVDs never worked. I got so fed up with it that I just threw it out.

I eventually ended up getting a Power Acoustik PTID-4007. Really nice RAZR-like control keys, good LCD display. Once I hooked it up with the amp, everything seemed fine, however sometimes the amp wouldn’t turn on. I called up tech support, which was really friendly and within 5 minutes, I had my answer, which was I needed to hook up a relay on the Remote line for the amp because the head unit wasn’t feeding it enough current. Another issue I recently figured out was that whenever I accelerated, if the volume was turned down, there’d be a faint high pitch alternator whine. It turned out to be that there was a ground loop between the ground of the amp and the head unit. Lesson learned: Don’t use Honda’s ground wire for the car radio, bolt the ground lead to the frame. Besides that, the system works like a champ. Can blast SOAD like nobody’s business, but also hear all the melodies in any techno you play.

So now to explain how to install a car audio in your Honda without having to go at it with a saw. I had previously owned a ’95 Civic, and replacing the radio in that was much simpler. But Honda has made it impossibly hard for a DIY-er to do it in a short amount of time. I will try to explain that it’s not terribly difficult, and you can have a radio replaced in under 1 hour. So here it goes:

First remove the shift knob by unscrewing it counter-clockwise.
CarRadio1
Then you can pop off the surrounding plastic by pushing up with a flathead screwdriver in the places shown by red circles.
CarRadio2
Next take out the two screws shown in the green circles. Then push down and out in the places with the red circles.
CarRadio4
Then you just take those two sides that have been freed, and pull on them. The cigarette plug and everything should come out rather easily.
CarRadio5
If you look at the top of that picture, you will see two screws holding the radio assembly in place. You will need to remove them. You can use a phillips screwdriver or a socket wrench. Mine were pretty tight, so I used a socket wrench.
CarRadio7
To remove the radio, start from the top right, and with a flathead push out the plastic towards you. Be gentle though, because the plastic bends easily.
CarRadio8
Then here’s a shot of the back of the radio and other connectors.
CarRadio9

Hope this ends up helping someone.
Fekete András

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23 thoughts on “Honda Civic 2003 Car Radio

  1. I just bought a Boss Audio 745BA for my 03 civic. Will I have any problems using it, I mean will I need an amplifier and stuff like that?

  2. Looks to me like that unit has a built in amplifier. 4x80W, should be more than enough to drive the stock speakers.

  3. You are the only posting I have found for an 03 Civic. I looked everywhere so thanks to you my sister got her stereo in. I really appreciate you posting this. You helped me out a lot.

  4. You’re very welcome. I’m glad to be getting some feedback on my efforts of creating posts.

  5. Fabulous info. Is there a port to plug in an iPod playing device once the back of the stock radio is accessed?

  6. Unfortunately, as far as I know, there isn’t any place to plug in an ipod to the stock radio. That’s another reason why I went ahead and installed a third party radio.

  7. Thanks for the step by step! Do you know of any additional adapter parts necessary to install an FM adapter into the antena for satelite radio?

  8. hey on the step where u pop out the whole front, did u have to pry it out or did u just push it out from the back? my friend and i were having problems pushing it out (it seemed in there very good and we didnt want to break it. and we were scared to pry it because we didnt want to rip the vinyl.

  9. Brian,

    When pulling out the whole console, make sure you didn’t forget to unscrew the hex nuts from the bottom. Once you do that, you go around the edge popping each of the pins out. If you click on the 2nd image from the end of the post you’ll see that I’ve outlined the connections.
    Hope that helps.

  10. First, thanks for posting this. This is the only set of instructions I’ve been able to find that seem to (almost) match my car.

    Do you know if this is any different for an automatic transmission?

    I just skipped the “unscrew the gear shift nob” step, but I only got as far as popping out the front left corner of the plastic panel over the gear shifter. None of the others came easily, and I was afraid of scratching the panel. and then it got dark. I’m thinking of taking another shot before I give up…any advice?

  11. Yes that is correct. The blue plug goes into the stereo. There also is a black antenna cable that looks kinda like an RCA cable.

  12. Thanks, couldn’t have done it properly if I didn’t look this up, made the install very easy and did it in 1hr and 15 minutes!

  13. Your information and photos were very very helpful for me. No one here knew how to dismount the stock cd player, but now I did it. Thank you very much.

  14. Your blog guide to the 2003 Honda Civic LX radio was quite helpful. In fact, you made it pretty easy. Thanks.

  15. You saved my dash. Thank you so much! Much easier to uninstall the radio in my old car… a civic ’94.

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