Upgrading the audio in a little Fiat
Installing new speakers and a radio in a 2013 Fiat 500 convertible
New vehicle in need of a new sound system
Nick and his wife Angela recently bought a cute 2013 Fiat 500 convertible. After hearing the factory sound system in their new vehicle, Nick quickly realized that it needed some audio upgrades. He’d heard other systems that included aftermarket gear, and he definitely wanted that sound. The Fiat’s factory system just wasn’t getting it done. The sound was a little thin and puny, even for this diminutive coupe. So Nick checked in with Dave, one of our editors and Nick's brother-in-law, and they started talking new gear.
A new DIYer decides to give it a go
Nick had never installed car stereo gear before, but he was interested in giving it a try. Dave let him know that with Crutchfield’s help, it was a job he could handle. We recommended a new stereo and a pair of component speakers for his upgrade. We sent Nick the MasterSheet™ instructions that we normally include with any car stereo or speaker purchase, so he had a chance to do a little homework before the installation. He saw what was involved in installing a new radio and new component speakers. We email these instructions to customers while their gear is in transit, so like Nick, they can plan ahead and know what they need for the job.
The factory dash console has a distinctive look, and we were interested to see how an aftermarket radio would look once it was installed.
Getting the factory radio out of the dash
Staying in line with our instructions, we recommended that Nick begin with the car stereo. In his vehicle, it was a fairly straightforward — if unique — process. Successfully completing this step gave Nick some confidence.
With Crutchfield's MasterSheet instructions in hand, Nick tackled the first steps. He disconnected the Fiat's battery to protect the vehicle's electrical system while he worked.
With the blank buttons on the factory radio removed, Nick inserted the removal tools we'd provided to release the radio. He then unscrewed the metal factory sleeve and removed it to gain more room for the new stereo.
Installing the new stereo
Nick decided to install the JVC KD-R988BTS CD receiver, which offers a lot of features for the money, such as Bluetooth® connectivity, smartphone integration, and an option for SiriusXM. Its sleek look adds some pop to the dash — especially when used with Scosche’s matching pearl white dash kit (seen below). He also wanted to keep the factory steering wheel controls active with the new radio, so he went with the Axxess ASWC-1 steering wheel control interface.
Nick broke down the receiver installation into steps. He prepped the wiring, and ran the Bluetooth microphone wire. Then he mounted the radio in the installation kit, plugged the wiring harness into the stereo, and secured the kit in the dash.
Nick used PosiConnectors for the wiring and inserted the JVC receiver's metal DIN sleeve into the Scosche dash kit. This helped to secure the radio in the dash.
Nick, with some help from Angela, slid the JVC receiver inside the sleeve until it locked into place. He then plugged all the connections into the radio and snapped the receiver and kit assembly into place.
The JVC KD-R988BTS CD receiver looks great after being installed with the Scosche dash kit Crutchfield supplied.
Component speakers help complete the Fiat's soundstage
We let Nick know that a new component speaker system would make the sound from his new radio much more robust than it would be with the factory speakers. Nick jumped in with both feet, learning how to remove door panels, splice into factory wiring (since adapter harnesses were not available for the Fiat), and mount new speakers into the factory locations. JVC’s CS-DR600C component speakers provide a larger, more detailed sound to go along with the added receiver power in the Fiat.
Thoughts on the installation
With the radio and speakers installed, Nick cranked up the system and liked what he heard right away. He noticed a lot more detail from what had been a lifeless factory system. And he and Angela dug the features they had access to with the new JVC. “I thought this tech stuff was out of my league, but you guys really know your stuff. The sound is 100 times better.” - Nick
Here to help
When you're ready to upgrade your factory gear, feel free to contact us by phone, online chat, or email. You can also use our OutfitMyCar™ tool to sort the gear we carry for your vehicle. We'll be glad to draw upon our decades of car audio knowledge to find a sound solution for your needs.