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Upgrading the audio in a little Fiat

Installing new speakers and a radio in a 2013 Fiat 500 convertible

Nick and his 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 Fiat's factory radio and dash console

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.

Nick with a MasterSheet and disconnecting the battery.

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.

Nick removed the factory radio.

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 Posi connectors for the wiring and inserted the JVC receiver's metal DIN sleeve into the Scosche dash kit.

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 locked the receiver and kit assembly into place.

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 dash kit Crutchfield supplied.

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.

JVC CS-DR600C 6-1/2" Component System

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. 

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/21/2017

    Max, the Crutchfield Tech Support team is who we rely on for troubleshooting issues like this, so you've reached out to the right people. Have they been able to help you resolve this issue?

  • Max from Nashua, NH

    Posted on 7/18/2017

    I am having trouble getting the radio and Axxess components to work and play well with my Fiat. I have the 2012 500 Pop and ordered a Pioneer DEH-7800BHS with the ASWC and NAV control units. Is ther a specific order to connect everything? When I plugged everything in and turned the key to Acc. I was hoping that it would "just work" but sorry to has it didn't. I am working with Crutchfield support to try to figure this out but no luck so far. I am about to run through a series of steps with some intentional delays to allow the Axxess units but also the car's CAN system to talk to each other. Other than that, are there any hints or special steps that you can add to the process?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/17/2017

    Rick, the tweeters were installed in the factory tweeter locations in the a-pillars.

  • rick from sherman

    Posted on 3/16/2017

    were the tweeters from the JVC's CS-DR600C mounted? if yes, where?

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