You will notice that most car stereos come in either single-DIN or double-DIN measurements. But you will rarely see a 1.5 DIN radio out there.
It’s not a surprise. This is an obsolete type of radio that very few vehicles still use. As a consequence, you are unlikely to find cars nowadays using one of these.
Does that mean they’re useless? NO!
Actually, they’re VINTAGE in the best sense of the word. A 1.5 DIN radio means you’ve preserved one of the few vehicles that work with one of these.
And most importantly, it tells you how much the person owning the 1.5 DIN radio cares about quality.
These radios were incredibly resilient.
But there’s a lot more to 1.5 DIN radios than that. Check below to learn!
- What is a 1.5 Din Radio?
- How to Install a 1.5 DIN Stereo – Step-by-Step
- Frequently Asked Questions of 1.5 DIN Car Radio
What Does DIN Mean in Car Stereos?
The word DIN refers to “Deutsches Institut für Normung.” It is the German Institute of Standardization, which is where the DIN measurements were created.
As a general rule, a single-DIN means 2 inches in height.
That is the standard measurement for things that feature this unit, including vehicles, oil and gas industries, and many types of construction tools and equipment.
The world adopted this measurement because the first few German cars that added a radio (Volkswagen, Mercedes, Audi, BMW, etc.) started with this measurement.
As such, it became the most popular way to measure car stereos and receivers.
What is a 1.5 Din Radio?
As you can guess, it refers to a “DIN and a half,” to put it in easy words.
It’s pretty much the same as a single DIN but with an extra half. That is, instead of 2 inches, you get 3 inches.
To put it in other words, a 1.5 DIN radio measures 3 inches in height. It is the standard type of radio many vehicles used back in the last 50 years.
Among the many brands that used 1.5 DIN radio, you will find General Motors, GMC trucks, Cadillac, and Chevy (as well as many German ones).
Most people who used 1.5 DIN radios nowadays do it to relive times that are not here anymore.
OR, more commonly, because they still have vehicles that use this DIN, and they want to honor them.
Why Get A 1.5 Din Radio?
The reality is – a 1.5 DIN radio is hard to find. But if you find one, you will enjoy many different advantages.
Here are some to consider:
- Good Looks – They are thoroughly different from any other type of radio out there and boast a vintage-like appearance that’s hard to dismiss.
- Old Functions – Because these radios were used several decades ago at first, they still hold some antique yet cool features to use.
- Unique Fit – You should be well aware that 1.5-DIN stereos don’t fit in every car. Those with single or double DIN ports won’t match, adding an extra touch of uniqueness.
- Surprisingly Durable – Believe it or not, these stereos are much sturdier and resilient than the typical car radio, especially with their metallic and hard-plastic constructions.
They offer little to no drawback, apart from their inability to fit into newer vehicles. But that shouldn’t be much of a problem with a suitable adapter.
Types of Stereos
Let’s give you a heads-up of the different stereos and how they differ.
Double-DIN refers to 4 inches in height and 7 inches wide.
As you can guess, it is double-DIN because it is twice the amount of a single-DIN (2 inches high).
These are pretty common nowadays. Vehicles with double-DIN stereos tend to also have an LCD screen.
This helps visualize and control the media much more quickly when they have touchscreens.
Apart from that, double-DIN radios are more costly and take a lot more space in the vehicle.
That’s why they’re more common in SUVs and trucks than in Sedans or other small cars. But you will still find them everywhere.
As the name says, it is a single-DIN in height (2 inches).
It is a small and space-saving alternative, making it a go-to stereo size for many car manufacturers.
In fact, it was the most common type of stereo until no long ago.
People liked it because they saved a lot of space in the dashboard.
While most vehicles don’t come with one of these, they are still available out there.
People who still drive cars from 10 years ago or older can still enjoy one of these without problems.
These are super cheap, easy to install, and often require little to no effort to use.
While they may lack a few features like a touchscreen, they’re still fully functional in most situations.
While double-DIN refers to 4 inches and single-DIN refers to 2 inches, the DIN-and-a-half stereo is 3 inches in height.
It is the rarest and oldest type on the list – but still a worthwhile alternative to consider.
The main benefit of 1.5 DIN stereos was their ability to host many buttons and functions in a decently compact space in the dashboard.
They were eventually replaced by the smaller single-DIN receivers.
Because they’re rare, they’re a bit harder to install (mainly because they’re only available in old vehicles).
On top of that, they’re somewhat expensive and don’t often come with many modern features (like Bluetooth or cable inputs).
What Cars Supports DIN and a Half Radio?
The reality is, VERY FEW CARS ever used 1.5 DIN radios.
Among them, you will find General Motors and Chrysler trucks. These two makers installed 1.5 DIN radios from the factory.
Their logic was to push this standard into the market and gain a considerable share.
Most of these radios were installed from the early 80s to the early 2000s.
Either way, the market slowly faded off, and neither GM nor Chrysler kept making them.
You may also find many Ford, ISUZU, GMC, Buick, Cadillac, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Jeep vehicles using 1.5 DIN radios as OEM.
They’re rarer, as these two brands didn’t try to make them more prevalent, but you will find them nonetheless.
Regardless of what car it is, you will mostly find it to be slightly old. That means at least 15 years old and up to 40 years old in some cases.
Can you Replace Double-Din With a 1.5 DIN Size Aftermarket Stereo?
Yes. You can install a 1.5 DIN radio on a double-DIN space without problems. You will need an adapter or also known as a bezel.
These are hard to find given the low market share of 1.5 DIN radios – but you will still find one if you look hard enough.
Can you Replace Single-Din with a 1.5 DIN Size Radio?
Also, yes. You can set up a 1.5 DIN radio on a single-DIN port as long as you use the correct bezel and a few other modifications.
This will probably require you to modify the dashboard. It may be a little problematic if you don’t have much experience, but it’s nothing impossible. Hire a professional if needed.
Best 1.5 DIN Head Unit You Can Get in 2021
RetroSound New York
It wasn’t easy to find a 1.5 DIN car stereo – but it was well worth it!
This magnificent piece fits Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac cars. You get the enjoy a superb style regardless of where it’s mounted.
The name New York tells you what you need to know: it’s stylish in every way and ready to tackle the road without drawbacks.
You get Bluetooth, a USB port, and even auxiliary inputs – pretty much the whole package so you can listen to music from any device.
Did we mention it plays any file you throw at it? This could be anything from MP3 to WAV and even FLAC files – so you’re never disappointed.
This pairs up with the 32,000 color display. It won’t show you graphics or complex imagery, but it will tell you everything you need to know about the files and music you’re listening to.
You still get a radio tuner with AM/FM, several front buttons, and a pair of dials, plus undoubtedly several rear connectors, including RCA, auxiliary, MIC, and even one for antennas.
And if all that wasn’t enough, you can still enjoy a built-in 25-watts amplifier that works with 4-channel speakers.
That’s enough to handle sufficiently loud and clear music on any vehicle.
- Superb appearance to boost your car’s style
- Practical set of modern inputs and features
- Plays pretty much any file you throw at it
- Highly durable and resilient construction
How to Install a 1.5 DIN Stereo – Step-by-Step
Don’t rush and buy that 1.5 DIN stereo yet…
Before you get to that, make sure you understand HOW to install that stereo.
Once you have a better idea, you can decide whether it’s worth the effort and time.
Here’s what to take into account:
- Screwdrivers (Phillips and flat-head)
- The bezel or dash kit to adapt
If you have the tools ready, this shouldn’t cost you more than $20 to $40, depending on what type of adapter you buy.
This often takes anywhere from 30 minutes up to 3 hours. If you have little to no experience installing this device on cars, you may take a bit longer.
If you’re placing a single-DIN or double-DIN unit, you will need the adapter. Once you have that, then you can proceed with the following:
- Get the bezel or adapter. Check the installation instructions and follow them to the letter. Most likely, you will have to make a few simple modifications to your dashboard.
- Once you’ve set up the bezel, insert the 1.5 DIN radio in place. Make sure it fits perfectly, so it doesn’t jump around as you drive. Use the screwdriver to tighten up the piece to the adapter.
- You will likely need to connect RCA and other outputs in the rear. Find the opening to insert your hand and connect everything as required. In some cases, connecting the speakers is enough.
- Finish by securing the piece. Check that it fits tightly, turns on and off without problems, and the sound is ideal.
All these steps will help you install a 1.5 DIN radio with little to no issue. Having said that, it’s always easier to hire a professional.
Car dealers and make-specific mechanics are often the best alternatives.
They will help you install that 1.5 DIN radio on your car without any problem.
Frequently Asked Questions of 1.5 DIN Car Radio
Are 1.5 DIN radios expensive?
Yes. Because these head units are already obsolete, the few models out there tend to be surprisingly expensive.
They’re also larger than single-DIN units, and that increases their cost a little.
You will likely need at least $100 to buy one of these units. Modern units may cost twice or even thrice as much.
Can you install a 1.5 DIN radio on modern vehicles?
If you find the dash kit or adapter, it’s entirely possible.
However, this is difficult as most vehicles already have a quality radio from the manufacturer, rarely replaceable.
But if you’re willing to put in the effort and time, it shouldn’t be too much work.
How many years does a 1.5 DIN radio last?
They may last a lifetime. These radios were made initially in the 80s with long-lasting technology.
A newer 1.5 DIN radio like the RetroSound New York above can last several decades.
These radios were and still are made following the highest quality standards.
So, are you ready to boast a new 1.5 DIN radio? With our guide above, installing one shouldn’t be much of a problem.
You won’t find this the most pleasant of experiences if you have a new car. But if you’re willing to go the extra mile to install it, there shouldn’t be much taking you back.
What are you waiting for then? That updated 1.5 DIN radio is waiting for you…