2006-2009 Saab 9-5
How to upgrade the stereo system in your 9-5
In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your 9-5's stock stereo system and your aftermarket upgrade options. We'll tell you all about:
- The factory stereo system
- Removing the factory radio
- Removing the factory speakers
- Adding more bass
- Other options for your 9-5
Then, use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your Saab.
Overview of the Saab 9-5
The automotive landscape is a little less interesting without new Saabs running around in it, but there are still plenty of older models cruising around. And those cars are, like most modern Saabs, comfortable, slick, and quirky enough to please loyalists and amuse newcomers.
This iteration of the venerable 9-5 took a solid (if aging) platform and added more refinement to the mix. The result was a smooth and silent car that's still practical enough for around-town driving and powerful enough to devour those highway miles.
Replacing the stock receiver is not a great idea, but adding new speakers and other audio enhancements will make your Saab's interior an even nicer place to spend time.
With the exception of the rear speakers, this information also applies to the very cool Saab 9-5 wagon. If you have any experience with the speakers in that wagon, feel free to share it in the Comments section below.
The 9-5's receiver ia best left where it is, but there are other ways to improve your audio (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The factory stereo system
The 9-5's regular and optional premium stereo systems aren't bad as these things go, but upgrading the speakers and adding amps will make a big difference in your car's audio performance.
Replacing the stock radio, whether it's the standard model or the navigation receiver, is not advised (see below), but you do have some good options if you want better sound.
Detailed stereo and speaker removal instructions
Rmoving the factory radio
Replacing the 9-5's stock receivers is possible, it's just not recommended. At least not by us, anyway.
There are other companies that offer installation kits and harnesses for this car, but none of those adapters retain the Saab's factory warning chimes, and the installer will still have to run an accessory power wire to the fuse box. For those reasons, we're just not comfortable offering those harnesses, so we choose to err on the side of safety.
Besides, there are a lot of other ways to improve the sound and functionality in your 9-5. A well-chosen set of speakers and a subwoofer will make a big difference, and you can also add a sound processor, a portable GPS, and even cameras. We'll tell you all about it below.
Tools Required: Saab DIN tools (two pair required for navigation receiver), Torx T-25 driver
You'll need to remove the panels to replace the 9-5's door speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the factory speakers
Depending on how your 9-5 is equipped, you'll find speakers in the center and corners of the dash, the front and rear doors, and the rear deck. None of them are terribly difficult to work with, and you'll be amazed at how much better that stock receiver can sound when it's playing through quality speakers.
The center dash speaker is very easy to get to (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Center dash speaker
To remove the center dash speaker, you'll start by using a panel tool to pry up on the grille and release the retaining clips. With the grille out of the way, you'll then remove the two Torx T-25 screws securing the speaker to the dash, disconnect the harness, and remove the speaker.
This speaker is smaller than a standard 3-1/2" speaker, so mounting a replacement is not a "plug and play" deal. There's no mounting bracket available, so you'll need to secure the new speaker with a universal backstrap. There's no wiring harness, either, so you'll need to use Posi-Products speaker connectors to connect the speaker to the factory wiring.
Tools needed: Panel tool, Torx T-25 driver
The dash corner speakers are 3-1/2" models that are reasonably easy to replace (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Corner dash speakers
The corner dash speakers are 3-1/2" models, and they're also pretty easy to remove. You'll use your panel tool to pry up on the grilles and release the retaining clips. With the grille out of the way, you'll need to remove the two Torx T-25 screws securing the speaker to the dash. Disconnect the harness, and remove the speaker.
There's no wiring harness for this location, either, so you'll need another set of Posi-Products speaker connectors to connect the speaker to the factory wiring.
Tools needed: Panel tool, right-angle Torx T-25 driver
Replacing the front door speakers will really improve your car's sound (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Front door speakers
Replacing the 6-1/2" front door speakers with same-size replacements involves a bit of work, but it's nothing a reasonably skilled DIY-er can't handle.
Starting at the lower front corner of the window, pull out on the upper door window trim to release the retaining clips. Disconnect the harness (found on the driver's side only) and remove it.
Pry out the screw cover behind the door release handle and remove one exposed Torx T-30 screw. Pull the handle assembly outwards, then towards the front of the car to remove it. Next, pry off the door pull handle's outer cover and remove it, then remove the two exposed Torx T-30 screws.
Now you're ready to remove the door panels. Pry around the sides and bottom of the panel to release the retaining clips, then lift the panel up. Push the courtesy light out and disconnect the harnesses to remove the panel.
Now that the speakers are exposed, you can remove the three Phillips screws securing the speaker to the factory bracket, disconnect the harness, and remove the speaker. You may need to trim off the factory bracket edges if you need extra width for the new speakers.
There's no wiring harness for the front doors speakers, so you'll need another set of Posi-Products speaker connectors to connect the speaker to the factory wiring.
Tools needed: Panel tool, pick tool, Torx T-30 driver, Phillips screwdriver
You'll need to drill new mounting screw holes for the rear speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Rear door speakers
The rear door speakers are also 6-1/2" models, and same-size replacements are available. The removal and replacement process is generally similar to what you did on the front doors, but there are some things to pay attention to.
Starting at the lower front corner of the window, pull out on the upper door window trim, release the clips, and remove the trim. Pry out the screw cover behind the door release handle, remove the exposed Torx T-30 screw, then pull the handle assembly out and towards the front of the car to remove it. Pry off the door pull handle's outer cover, then remove two exposed Torx T-30 screws.
Next, pry around the sides and bottom of the door panel to release the retaining clips, then disconnect the harness, lift the panel up, and remove it. Be sure to store all door panels in a safe, clean place while you work.
Remove the two Phillips screws securing the speaker to the factory bracket, then disconnect the harness and remove the speaker. To remove the bracket, remove three 10mm screws.
You'll need to drill new mounting screw holes to install new speakers. This is not incredibly hard, since you're just drilling a hole – but you are drilling a hole into your car, so work carefully, know what's around and behind where you're drilling, and always wear eye protection.
Stop us if you've heard this before, but there's no wiring harness for the rear door speakers, so you'll need a set of Posi-Products speaker connectors to connect the speaker to the factory wiring.
Tools needed: Panel tool, pick tool, Torx T-30 driver, Phillips screwdriver, 10mm socket, ratchet and extension
The rear deck speakers are 6"x9" subwoofers (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Rear deck speakers
The rear deck speakers are 6"x9" subwoofers, and while they can be replaced by same-size, 6-1/2", or 5-1/4" speakers, anything you put there will only receive bass frequencies from the amp. The good news is that there are plenty of good replacement candidates out there.
The better news is that, for rear deck speakers, these are pretty easy to deal with. In many cases, rear deck speaker replacement involves a ton of work just to get to the speakers. With the 9-5, once you fold down the rear seat backs, you're ready to get to work.
Remove one pushpin clip on the front edge of the grille, then pry up on the outer edge of the grille to release the retaining clips. Pull the grille towards the front of the vehicle to remove it, then remove the four Torx T-20 screws securing the speaker. Pry up the speaker, disconnect it, and set it aside.
You may need mounting brackets to install smaller speakers in the deck, and if so, they're included with your Crutchfield speaker purchase.
And yes, you'll need a set of Posi-Products speaker connectors to connect the speaker to the factory wiring. We'll prompt you to add these to your shopping cart before you order.
Tools Required: Panel tool, right-angle Torx T-20 driver
Read our Car Speakers Buying Guide for more information.
If you want big bass, there's room to work with in the 9-5's trunk (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Bass in your 9-5
If you have the stock deck subwoofers, you're in pretty good shape, bass-wise. But you can always add more. You'll have a 38" W x 19" H x 36"/38" D space to work with in the trunk, which plenty of room for a subwoofer box.
If you want a bit more bass, but don't want to devote the entire cargo area to subwoofer enclosures, you can also go with a more compact powered subwoofer.
Learn more about building a bass system in our Car Subwoofer Buying Guide.
The Garmin Drive 61 LMT-S has a 6" screen that gives you a great view of the road
Other options for your Saab
There are plenty of other ways to improve your Saab 9-5. Here are some of the ways Crutchfield can help.
Add GPS navigation
You can still get aftermarket nav functionality without installing a touchscreen nav receiver in your car's dash. Mount a portable GPS navigator and enjoy up-to-date directions, traffic updates, and everything you need to make your road trip go smoothly. Plus, when you get where you're going, you can put your GPS in your pocket and use it to find points of interest around town.
Add an amp (or two) for better sound
A new 4-channel amplifier will help you get the most out of your new speakers. You'll get cleaner power (and a lot more of it), which will result in much, much better sound. A mono amp can provide the juice you need for your new subwoofer, too. Learn more about adding amps to your system in our Car Amplifier Buying Guide.
Decrease road noise with sound deadening
One good way to get the most out of your Saab's sound system is to keep more of the sound in your Saab. The Dynamat Xtreme Door Kit is the perfect way to seal out road noise and seal in the sound. This heavy-duty insulating material is easy to install, and it really makes a difference. This is a great thing to do while you’re installing new speakers, because why take the doors apart twice if you don’t have to? If you're going bigger on bass, consider adding Dynamat to the rear deck and trunk lid, too.
Protect your car with a security system
Installing a security system in your Saab isn't easy (security systems rarely are), but it's definitely a good idea. Our Crutchfield Advisors can help figure out what you need to get the job done, but we usually recommend taking your car and new gear to a professional installer.