Paul is a nice kid, he gets decent grades and he's now a Junior in High School, he works at Boston Market and has graduated from his skateboard to his brother's hand-me-down Honda Car from College. He likes having his own wheels and brags about initiating his manhood in the back seat, although somehow I doubt it by his teenage demeanor, but he has a somewhat convincing story. Anyway, he was upset the other day when he turned up the volume on the car radio
and it crackled, and he blew out a speaker, which really looked like it was made in the late 70s.
Indeed, I explained that he could buy a stereo and install it himself to save money, as the average car stereo
installment is well over two-hours of work and at a labor rate of $60 plus per hour, some charge much more. Indeed, it is worthy of consideration put it in yourself, but be forewarned aftermarket auto electronic accessory installers do earn their money and they are worth every dime. Here are the tips I gave to Paul for self installation;
1. First, make sure you buy the right kit for your make and model of car. These kits are great because they already know exactly what you'll need. If you wish to install your car stereo or speakers in slightly different places, then it's still nice to have the kit as a starting point.
2. Take a piece of paper and make a schematic. Draw the inside of your car, and label where everything will go.
3. Disconnect the battery.
4. Look to make sure where the main wires run, and that they are there where you need them under the carpet or behind panels. Look at the owner's manual and don't assume for this step.
5. The wires you'll be adding - lay out on the ground inside the car along the seats and floorboards. Always leave yourself 1/3 extra length for the wires. You can always wrap them up with a zip-tie or cut them to fit as the last step before connecting to the various components you've installed.
6. Take your time, measure twice, cut once. If you become frustrated, and you will, take a break, have an iced tea, take a walk, come back later to finish.
7. Two minds are not always better than one in this case, and you shouldn't let someone else second guess your drawn out diagram or plan; unless your friend assisting you has experience and has done it before.
8. Reconnect the battery and make sure everything is off. If you smell wires burning, disconnect the battery again, until you find out where you messed up.
It is rewarding to install your own auto electronics and once you've successfully accomplished this, you will most likely find yourself installing something else in the future, thus, saving even more money. Please consider all this.
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