2007-2013 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Crew Cab
How to upgrade the stereo system in your Silverado or Sierra
In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your truck'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 Silverado or Sierra
Then, use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your pickup.
Overview of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra
Pickups aren’t just about hauling what’s in the bed or on the hitch anymore. They now feature interior touches that rival some luxury cars. The audio/video equipment in this new breed of pickup truck is no exception, and Chevrolet made sure to equip the new-for-2007 Silverado/Sierra Crew Cab 1500/2500 with some top notch features.
If you didn’t get the premium stereo on your truck, or you just want to improve on what’s already there, you can add anything from a simple speaker upgrade to a complete mobile theater makeover.
The chassis discussed here, known inside GM as the GMT900 and to the rest of the world as the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, was introduced in 2007 (it's sometimes referred to as the "2007.5 Chevy Silverado").
The GMT800 generation has a rather distinct face (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The previous generation, the GMT800, hung around for another year as the "Classic" model. If you're not sure which '07 version you have, compare your truck to the photos above. The more aggressive-looking "Classic" features distinct "eyebrows" above the headlamps, plus a slight dip in the front bumper to accommodate the grille.
The Chevy Silverado offered several dfferent factory radios, any of which can be replaced when you have the right kit and harness. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The factory stereo system
These trucks came equipped with several stereo systems, including a 6-CD (in-dash) Bose® system and options to add navigation, rear seat audio, DVD systems, or satellite radio. It’s possible to add to or completely replace any of these stereo systems fairly easily, though getting to the amplifier and 6-1/2" subwoofer of the Bose system requires some extensive tear down of the interior. And it’s not hard to replace any of the features you may lose by taking out the factory stereo, because there are adapters that let you keep OnStar®, steering wheel controls, Bluetooth® and more.
You'll need a mounting kit to trim out the new radio, along with an antenna adapter that allows you to connect the Chevy antenna plug to your new radio. You'll get these parts at a deep discount with your receiver order, along with free step-by-step instructions for your Silverado. We also offer a big discount on the special adapters (see below) that you'll need for this installation.
The Silverado's rather spacious dash opening (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the factory radio
These are reasonably easy systems to work with, but there are some differences between the regular and Bose systems. We want to give you a heads up now, but don't stress too much about the details. When the time comes for a new one, our Crutchfield MasterSheet instructions will tell you exactly how to install an aftermarket stereo in your Silverado or Sierra, no matter which version you have.
If you’re replacing your standard GM radio, you’ll need to purchase an adapter that allows you to install a new stereo and still retain your warning chimes (along with OnStar functionality if you have it). You’ll also need a relay to keep your audible turn signals working with your new car stereo.
If you’re replacing your GM Bose radio, you’ll need to buy an adapter to install your new stereo, allowing you to retain your warning chimes, the use of the Bose amplifier, and your OnStar functionality (if you have it). Another note: if you have the GM Rear Seat Entertainment (RSE) system, you also need a separate adapter to keep that system working and connect it to the audio/video output on your new receiver.
The Crutchfield website will make sure you get what you need for a proper installation. And if you have any questions about this stuff, our Advisors are just a phone call or chat session away.
Note: Some double-DIN radios may not fit because of irregularities in the dash substructure. It’s best to pick a double-DIN radio with wire harnesses or RCA connectors located on the bottom half of the back of the radio. Your other option is to pick a new radio with a depth that’s less than 6-1/2 inches.
Tools needed: Panel tool, 7mm socket and ratchet.
Detailed stereo and speaker removal instructions
Read our Car Stereo Buying Guide for shopping tips and advice.
Steering wheel audio controls
It's relatively easy to retain your truck's steering wheel audio controls when you install a new stereo. When you enter your vehicle information, our database will choose the adapter you need to make your factory steering wheel controls work with your aftermarket receiver.
The front doors will hold a variety of aftermarket speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the factory speakers
Replacing the speakers in your Silverado or Sierra is a reasonably straightforward process. Our expert Advisors can help you choose your speakers, and when your buy from Crutchfield, you also get free tech support for the life of your gear.
A speaker upgrade will really boost your truck's audio performance (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the front and rear door speakers
The factory speakers in the front doors are closest in size to an aftermarket 6-3/4" speaker, but you’ll need an adapter plate to install any speaker in there. The front doors will accept several very common speaker sizes, including 6-3/4", 6-1/2", 5-1/4", and the adapter plates make for an easy installation. GM uses a 4-ohm speaker in the front doors, so you have lots of great choices.
In the Bose system, the speakes are low-impedance models, so you should replace them with low-impedance aftermarket speakers. A standard 4-ohm speaker will result in reduced volume.
You'll need speaker harnesses to attach your new speakers to the plugs that connect to the GM factory speakers. The speaker harnesses and speaker mounting brackets are included at a deep discount with every Crutchfield speaker order.
You can use the same size speakers in the rear doors. If you rarely have passengers in the rear seats, you might consider using these locations for midrange speakers that will really fill out your music’s sound. On the other hand, if you do a lot of people-hauling, you should consider replacing the rear door speakers with full-range units, which will maintain some high notes for back-seat passengers.
The Bose system includes A-pillar tweeters. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the front pillar speakers
The A-pillar tweeters found in some trucks are easy to remove, but you’ll need to do a bit of work to install the replacements. There's no wiring harness adapter made for this location, either, so you'll need a set of Posi-Products speaker connectors to hook everything up. You'll also need a mounting bracket, and using our universal backstraps will be a much easier solution than making one of your own. You can also use hot glue or silicone to secure your new tweeters.
Tools needed: small flat blade screwdriver
Read our Car Speakers Buying Guide for more information
This Bose subwoofer is mounted in the center console (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Bass in your Silverado or Sierra
If your Silverado or Sierra came equipped with the Bose® system, there is a small woofer mounted in the center console, along with the amplifier that powers all your factory Bose speakers. If you want more bass, it’s a good idea to simply eliminate or bypass this woofer and add a new, larger sub with a more powerful amp.
Thanks to a variety of custom enclosures that fit in the center console or under the rear seats, you’ll be able to keep valuable interior room and add more kick to your music and movies. To see the complete list of what's available, enter your truck's information in our Outfit My Car page.
Learn more about building a bass system in our Car Subwoofer Buying Guide.
A well-appointed truck deserves well-chosen audio and electronic gear. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Other options for your Silverado or Sierra
There are plenty of other ways to improve your pickup. Here are a few suggestions:
Rear seat video
The optional DVD system features a flip-down screen in a roof console and two pairs of wireless headphones. A secondary set of controls for the radio and DVD system are housed in the rear of center console, and some models include an A/V input for adding more gear, like a gaming console. If you’re replacing the factory stereo, you’ll need an adapter to keep that system working and connect it to the audio/video output on your new receiver.
Adding an aftermarket DVD player and screens to a Silverado is pretty easy, thanks to products like flip-down overhead monitors with DVD players or replacement headrest screens that match the truck’s interior.
SiriusXM satellite radio
GM made satellite radio available as an option on most models. If you have a current subscription, you’ll want to add a new satellite radio tuner to your new head unit. You can call SiriusXM to move service over to the new stereo. If you have multiple vehicles, consider getting a plug-and-play tuner to take your satellite radio along, no matter which vehicle you’re driving.
Add a new amplifier for even better sound
The factory Bose system includes amps, but they aren’t ideal for use with aftermarket head units or speakers. It’s best to bypass or eliminate these amps in favor of newer gear if you want the best possible sound. You’ll find room for a new 4-channel amp in the spaces under and behind the seats or in the center console. Learn more about adding amps to your system in our Car Amplifier Buying Guide.
Remote start and security systems
Adding remote start capability to your vehicle lets you warm it up in the winter or cool it down in the summer. The iDatastart system is incredibly convenient and makes it easier than ever to install a remote start system, so we highly recommend it. The module requires a vehicle-specific T-harness (sold separately) to connect with your vehicle's computer, security, and ignition systems, so we ask that you call to order so that we can make sure you get the right harness for your ride.
You can also talk to your Crutchfield Advisor about a security system. They’re not as easy to install (we usually suggest letting a professional do the job), but we can help you choose a system that’ll work in your vehicle.