DIN is a standard developed by the German standardization body Deutsches Institut für Normung («DIN»). The standard defines the height and width head parts car . When a unit is called a single DIN car stereo or single DIN car radio, it means that it is the height and width specified in the DIN standard.

Automakers and car stereo manufacturers around the world use this standard, so most head units are interchangeable. Even though the wiring is not standardized, the DIN standard is the reason why you can replace OEM car stereos with additional units.

Although the DIN standard only specifies one height and width, head unit manufacturers also produce units that are twice as tall. These double devices are called double DINs because they are twice the size of standard DINs. A small number of head units are 1.5 times the height of the DIN standard, which technically makes them 1.5 DIN .

How do you tell if your car radio is one DIN?

The easiest way to tell if a car radio is a single DIN is to measure it. If the radio is about two inches, it’s probably one DIN. If it’s about four inches, then it’s a double DIN. The 1.5 DIN radio, which is quite rare, falls between these measurements. There are no other standardized DIN measurements.

Some machines are smarter than others. For example, if the dashboard has three vertical slots about two inches high, and the OEM radio only uses one, then it’s probably a regular single DIN head unit. In such cases, it is difficult to say whether a larger headunit can be accommodated.

In most cases, consoles with clearances above or below one DIN head unit were originally intended to accommodate a CD player or other audio equipment. Some car dealers may have original factory equipment that can be installed in this situation.

Replacing Single DIN Car Radio

When you’re ready to replace your single beep car radio, the easiest option is to buy an aftermarket DIN unit. Although there are sometimes slight differences in fit and finish, most single DIN secondary assemblies are designed to fit into an adjustable sleeve that makes it easy to install in almost any single DIN slot.

Replacing one DIN radio with a double DIN

Because the heads With double DIN head are twice the height of single DIN heads, you can always go from double to single, but the reverse can be a problem.

Before attempting such an upgrade, it is important to first measure the «slots» and make sure that they can be accessed. The extension slot must be two inches high. Some cars have «dummy» slots that look like they’re designed for a CD player type device, but are designed for storage. Such a hole may correspond to a 1.5 DIN unit, or it may be too small. You may also find that there is no removable cover, and even if you have removed the case, there may be a mess of wires or ducting that interferes with the installation of the double DIN head unit.

Space trait and other difficulties

Assuming you have enough space on your console, the next issue you’ll run into is wiring. Even if you are trying to replace a single DIN head unit with a dual DIN head unit, you will generally find that the wiring harness connectors do not match. This means that you will either have to find an adapter or use a wiring diagram to connect the new connector to the existing wiring harness.

The next problem you may have is that even if your console has an empty slot under the head unit, it can still be inserted into the dash. Even if it’s removable, it’s unlikely to fit in anything more than a single DIN device like a CD player. If you want to replace a single DIN head unit with a dual DIN head unit, you may need to cut out the part that separates the two slots.

If your car has a double DIN head option, you can replace your existing bezel or center console bezel with one designed for a double DIN head.

Why double DIN?

Before you go through all the work of replacing a single DIN radio with a dual DIN head, ask yourself if it’s worth it. While dual DIN head units have much more room for features like touch screens and interior space for features like more powerful amplifiers and built-in CD changers these costs are rising rapidly.

If you are looking for a large touch screen, you can find single DIN head units with retractable screens. You can also add components such as an external amplifier or CD changer without plugging them into the front panel, and you can even use this extra single DIN slot for a graphic equalizer or other useful audio component.

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