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2011-2018 Volkswagen Jetta sedan

How to upgrade the stereo system in your Jetta

Volkswagen Jetta sedan

In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your Jetta's stock stereo system and your aftermarket upgrade options. We'll tell you all about:

Then, use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your vehicle.

Overview of the Volkswagen Jetta

Reasonably sized, reasonably priced family sedans are the bread and butter of the car business. Pickups aside, nothing succeeds like a good sedan at a decent price. Smart, practical, and (yawn).... What were we talking about?

Right, sedans. Which can be really, serously boring. To be perfectly honest about it, the average family sedan sold in the United States is about as exciting as a new phone book. Thankfully, there are companies like Volkswagen that insist on baking a little sports car goodness into every sedan they make.

While it's not going to be confused with a GTI any time soon, the sixth-generation VW Jetta is proof that a family sedan can handle a curve as well as it handles a carpool. With a comfortable interior and smooth, refined road manners, the VW Jetta is a wonderful way to add some European flair to your everyday drive. If you like a little music while you're carving up a country road, add a new stereo and speakers to your Jetta.

VW Jetta radio

The Jetta's stock radio isn't bad, but you can do a lot better (Crutchfield Research Photo)

The factory stereo system

The Jetta's factory stereo systems aren't bad at all, as these things go. From the standard 4-speaker system to the optional 6-speaker system to the top-shelf 9-speaker Fender (yes, like the guitar) system, VW gave non-audiophile customers a nice set of options. There was also an 8-speaker "Premium 8" system (no subwoofer) in some early cars.

Depending on how your car is equipped, you'll lose factory features like the AUX input, satellite radio, and navigation when you replace the factory radio. Any or all can be replaced (and enhanced) when you install the right aftermarket stereo.

A variety of single-DIN (2" tall) and double-DIN (4" tall) receivers will fit in the dash, with the help of a mounting kit that's included at a very nice discount with your Crutchfield stereo purchase. We'll also include a discounted wiring harness and a free copy of our illustrated, detailed Crutchfield MasterSheet disassembly instructions for your Jetta.

VW Jetta nav receiver

The Jetta was also available with a factory nav receiver (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Replacing the factory radio

Removing and replacing the Jetta's factory radio is a reasonably simple project for the average do-it-yourselfer.

Start at the lower edge of the receiver trim panel and gently pull it out to release nine retaining clips. Under no circumstances do you want to disconnect the airbag harness, so spread a clean shop rag on the center console and place the panel there while you work on everything else. Remove the four Torx T-20 screws securing the receiver to the dash, then disconnect the harnesses and remove the receiver.

Detailed stereo and speaker removal instructions

MasterSheet image
With step-by-step disassembly instructions and plenty of up-close, detailed photos, our exclusive Crutchfield MasterSheet™ takes the guesswork out of removing the factory stereo and speakers. It's free with your Crutchfield order, or you can purchase one separately for just $9.99.

To install the new receiver, secure it to the mounting bracket following the included instructions, then make the necessary wiring connections following instructions supplied with the wiring adapter. Hold the receiver assembly near the dash; then connect the receiver wiring adapter to the vehicle harness and plug the antenna lead into the rear of the receiver. Slide the entire assembly into the dash and secure it with the screws you removed before. Test it out, and if everything's sounding good, put the dash back together by reversing the disassembly instructions.

Tools needed: Torx T-20 driver, shop rag

Read our Car Stereo Buying Guide for shopping tips and advice.

Shop for car stereos that fit your Volkswagen Jetta

Steering wheel audio controls

In most cases, it's reasonably easy to retain your Jetta'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 a compatible aftermarket receiver.

Replacing the factory speakers

Whether your car is equipped with a 4-, 6-, 8-, or 9-speaker factory system, the Jetta has speakers located in the front and rear doors. The tools and techniques used to replace the door speakers are the same for both. The Fender system adds a subwoofer mounted under the rear deck.

If you're replacing your Jetta's door speakers, be aware that there's no wiring harness available for the tweeter location in all models, and the woofer location in some models. We'll discuss that in further detail below.

VW Jetta front pillar tweeter

The Fender package includes A-pillar tweeters (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Front pillar tweeters

The premium systems include a set of 2-ohm tweeters located in the car's A-pillars. The pillar trim panel must be removed to access the tweeters, which is easy enough, but once you get to them, things get a bit more challenging. The 1.749" diameter tweeters are heat-fused to the grille, so you'll need to use caution when using a rotary tool to separate the two. A damaged grille is not a good look, so be very, very careful when you're doing this.

Neither a wiring harness nor a mounting bracket can be found for this installation, so you'll want to use a set of Posi-Products connectors to hook up the wires, and a pair of universal backstraps to mount your aftermarket tweeters. By the way, there's a reasonably good chance that the new tweeters (or any speakers, for that matter) don't come with mounting screws, so you may need to visit the hardware store before you get started.

Tools needed: Panel tool, rotary tool

VW Jetta front door speakers

An inside look at the Jetta's front door. This is the base system. (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Front door speakers

The stock front door speakers (woofers, in the case of upper-level models) are 6-3/4" units that can be replaced by a wide variety of 6-1/2" or 5-1/4" aftermarket models. Speaker mounting brackets and wireing harnesses are required, and they're included at a great discount when you buy your speakers at Crutchfield.

Removing and replacing the front speakers isn't hard, but there are multiple steps involved, and there's also some drilling to be done. The best way to manage the multiple steps is to work carefully and store all the various screws you're removing in a safe place. You'll need them later. When it comes to drilling, work carefully, know what's around the area you're drilling into, and always wear eye protection.

The 4" mid-range speakers found in the premium system are pretty easy to deal with once the door panels are removed. You'll need speaker mounting brackets (which we'll include in your order), plus some more Posi-Products connectors.

In both cases, remember to check the speaker packaging for mounting screws before you get started. You'll need them to install your new speakers. Complete instructions can be found in your Crutchfield MasterSheet.

Tools needed (woofers): Panel tool, Torx T-20 and T-30 drivers, drill with 11/64" bit

Tools needed (mids): Panel tool, Torx T-20 & T-30 drivers, 7/64" Allen wrench

VW Jetta rear door tweeter

The rear tweeters can be found in the door panels (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Rear door speakers

The process for the rear door woofers is essentially the same as the one undertaken up front. If you handled that, you can handle this. Here's an astonishingly quick review: remove the door panels, remove the screws, work carefully, stay organized, and be careful drilling out rivets while wearing eye protection.

On the other hand, if your Jetta has tweeters in the rear doors, replacing them is a bit of a challenge. Like the A-pillar tweeters, they're heat-fused to the grilles, so use a rotary tool to carefully separate the two. Work carefully to avoid damaging the grilles. Each tweeter has a 1.637" diameter, by the way.

Wiring harnesses and mounting brackets are not available, so you'll want to use a set of Posi-Products connectors to hook up the wires, and a pair of universal backstraps to mount your aftermarket tweeters. You might also need mounting screws.

Complete, illustrated disassembly instructions can be found in your Crutchfield MasterSheet, of course.

Tools needed: Panel tool, Torx T-20 and T-30 drivers, drill with 11/64" bit; rotary tool (for tweeters)

Read our Car Speakers Buying Guide for more information.

Shop for speakers that fit your Volkswagen Jetta

VW Jetta subwoofer

The Fender system includes this down-firing 8" sub (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Bass in your VW Jetta

The Fender system includes a down-firing 8" subwoofer, which is mounted in the Jetta's rear deck. This non-standard sub is only 2" deep, so while it takes up precious little cargo room; it doesn’t produce a whopping amount of bass. If you're serious about your stereo's bottom end performance, you'll want to upgrade.

A direct replacement isn't possible at this time, simply because there aren't any aftermarket subs shallow enough to fit in the space available. You can remove it using a Torx T-20 driver, or you can keep it around. Either way, you'll need to add an aftermarket subwoofer in an enclosure.

If you're going all-out and planning to install component subs in a sub enclosure, you'll have a 40" W x 20" H x 39"/35" D space to work with. It's not a huge trunk, but that's enough room to stuff in some decent-size subs. On the other end of the scale, you can pop in a compact powered sub and get the bass enhancement you want without losing the trunk space you need.

If you're looking for something that's more practical, but still packs plenty of punch, there's a JL Audio Stealthbox enclosed subwoofer that's designed specifically for the Gen 6 Jetta. The Stealthbox, which installs neatly in the driver's side corner of the trunk, contains a 4-ohm, 300-watt 10" W1v2 subwoofer, so it'll pump out plenty of sound.

Learn more about building a bass system in our Car Subwoofer Buying Guide.

Shop for vehicle-specific subwoofers for your Volkswagen Jetta

Other options for your Jetta

With a car like the Jetta, there are lots of ways to upgrade your in-car experience. Here are some of the ways Crutchfield can help:


If your Jetta has a Fender system, there's a factory amplifier located under the driver's seat. It's a nice touch, but an aftermarket amplifier (or two) will give you the power you need to really make your system sing.


The Jetta is a relatively quiet car for its size, but a Dynamat Xtreme Door Kit will really maximize the impact of your new system. This heavy-duty insulating material is easy to install, and it really makes a difference. One kit should be more than enough for a Jetta sedan. If you install an aftermarket subwoofer, you might want to line the trunk lid as well.


Installing a security system in your Jetta isn't easy (security systems rarely are), but it's less complicated than it could be. 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 security system installer.

Let's get started!

Ready to shop? Use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your car or truck. If you have questions of your own, give us a shout via phone, chat, or email.

  • Drake Zimmerman from Agoura

    Posted on 3/29/2021

    There is the two rear door pillars where speakers go but no speakers behind it (tweeters) can I buy tweeters and just hook them up to the rest of the system?

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 3/30/2021

    Drake, That could work, though it will take a bit of work on your part. Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.
  • Cullen P from Sterrett

    Posted on 3/2/2021

    I have a 2013 jetta tdi with the premium sound system. Both of my factory front door woofers are blown. What size and wattage should I get to make the upgrade actually an upgrade, not a replacement

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 3/2/2021

    Cullen, I've sent your question to our sales team, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.
  • Carson from Erda

    Posted on 12/1/2020

    Is there a way to use the wiring hooked up to the stock subwoofer and use that to connect to the upgraded amplifier and subwoofers? That would seem easier than having to run a wire to the stereo system, especially if it is unnecessary.

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 12/1/2020

    Carson, With questions like that, it's always better to have a conversation with a real live human. Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.
  • Joseph Utne from Salt Lake City

    Posted on 8/6/2020

    Hi! I have a 2013 Jetta SE model and it has the first photo (Of your article) of the basic stereo and it is a Bluetooth enabled car with Bluetooth and volume control on the steering wheel. I prefer the OEM style/look in the vehicle however... Is it possible to install the OEM Factory Nav stereo in the second stereo photo you included into the very same vehicle? (Are they even the same size?). If so/if not what might I have to do to make it work and will everything be functional? Do other parts on the car need modified for the nav to work etc? Thank you!

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 8/7/2020

    Joseph, Those sorts of OEM-OEM swaps aren't as easy as they look. You might want to check a Jetta owners' forum to see if anyone else has pulled it off, but in terms of performance and functionality, a new aftermarket receiver is still your best bet. Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.
  • Ken from San Jose

    Posted on 4/19/2020

    I don't see this mentioned anywhere but my 2012 Jetta TDI Sportwagen has 3 speakers in each door. Tweeter, Mid and Woofer. I don't see this mentioned in any documentation. Has stock non-nav head double DIN head unit with in dash 6 disc changer.

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 4/20/2020

    Ken, You're right and we've fixed that in the article. No idea what happened there, but it's better now. Thanks! All the details can be found in the our vehicle-specific instructions included free with your Crutchfield speaker order. You can also purchase them separately for just $10.
  • Deion L Prince from Red Lion

    Posted on 2/16/2019

    I am noticing that at high bass levels in my SEL GLI that I hear a high pitched noise when the bass hits, other than that everything else sounds great what can I do to remedy that?

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 2/18/2019

    Deion, Seems like you're running into some clipping issues at high volume. To really boost your bass, you'll need a bigger sub and a more powerful amp. Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.
  • los from austin

    Posted on 1/14/2019

    im trying to add the rca to add an amp. i dont know which wires are the speaker wires. do you know the color of the wires? its a 2014 vw jetta se

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 1/14/2019

    los, With questions like that, it's always better to have a conversation with a real live human. Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.
  • Commenter image

    Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/11/2018

    Jeff, That's a bummer. We haven't heard much about it here, honestly, so it's hard to recommend a fix. In terms of "fixing" OEM sound, our usual recommendation is to upgrade with aftermarket gear. If you're leaning in that direction, give us a call and talk to one of our expert advisors.

  • Jeff Wilson from Rhinebeck, NY

    Posted on 4/10/2018

    I have a 2012 Jetta, and I swear the audio is only coming from one channel of the stereo. It's mostly noticeable on music with very distinct stereo separation. I demonstrated it to the VW dealer, and their response was: "yeah, we hear it, but we don't have a service bulletin about that." I even called VW, and their response was "we'll take note of your complaint." But they won't do anything. I read something in an online forum somewhere about this same issue, and they said that some of the early Jettas with bluetooth were installed with the wrong wiring harness, and so have this problem. Have you heard about this, and is this fixable?

  • Commenter image

    Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/30/2018

    R.J., Replacing the speakers can definitely improve the sound in most cars. If your Jetta has the standard system, the job is easier. If you're replacing a Fender system, that looks like it might be a bit more complicated. Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.

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