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Top 5 Chevy Silverado & GMC Sierra Radio Upgrade/ Replacement For High Performance

With a near-identical design and performance as its sibling GMC Sierra, the Chevrolet Silverado is a crowd favorite since its production.

There is a lot to love about the vehicle, but a Chevy Silverado radio upgrade is a great investment to boost your interior’s appearance and get a smoother experience with your pickup’s infotainment system.

The Chevy Silverado infotainment system lacks the visual appeal and wide-screen display to add to an otherwise busy dashboard.

The sound amplifier is midrange at best, pushing out tinny highs and boosted bass.

Consequently, owners go out of their way to upgrade the factory system with better-performing and visually pleasing stereo units.

Upgrading your Chevy Silverado/GM Sierra stereo gives a significant boost to your infotainment experience.

With an all-new radio, you get a sleeker appearance, media functions, and better audio quality.

Features of Chevrolet Silverado

  • efficient engine range
  • diverse cab and bed choices
  • updated technology and safety features
  • simple, leather interior
  • durable exterior for all terrains

Why is Chevrolet Silverado popular?

The Chevrolet Silverado is among the best-selling vehicles in the United States. It is a popular choice among light-duty pickup truck owners.

Modeled after the upscale GM Sierra, the Chevy Silverado line is an affordable yet equally competent alternative.

The Chevrolet Silverado lives up to a practical owner’s dreams. A fair balance across power, comfort, speed, and style, the Chevy Silverado radiates casual street style with preparedness for off-road adventures.

Table of Silverado Radio Upgrade

Brand NameDetails
Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX
STINGER B08BNB1QJ9
Alpine iLX-W650
Sony XAV-AX5000
Pioneer AVH-210EX
Stinger HEIGH10
Pioneer AVH-W4400NEX
Metra 95-3305

When do you need to upgrade your Chevy Silverado radio?

It differs for every car owner. Generally, you upgrade when you need more features than your factory system can offer.

Take your time to browse for aftermarket sales that meet your needs.

As technology improves, car owners may need more connectivity features than just AM/FM. GPS, Bluetooth access, and audio streaming platforms are everyday essentials now for car owners.

The limits on display screen size and response time can also spell trouble. Upgrading your car radio unit is the next best thing to a convenient and modern drive out on the road.

How much does it cost to upgrade Silverado/GMC Sierra radio?

A Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra radio upgrade ranges from $300 to $1000. This estimate includes the price of the aftermarket head unit and labor costs for installation.

The price of a Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra stereo upgrade unit typically starts at $300.

You can also save money and install the stereo by yourself if you are confident to do so. Just be careful not to damage any wiring in your car and stereo!

Time

Installing a new car radio upgrade should not take too long. As long as you read the manual first, you will be familiar with your head unit and the necessary connections to make.

Car stereos differ in size and installation type. Bigger units may take more time to install, while others are designed with an easy plug-and-play setup.

Aside from mounting the radio, wiring also takes some time and patience. The typical installation time for a Chevy Silverado stereo upgrade is around 1 to 3 hours.

Tools

  • Phillips-head and flat blade screwdrivers
  • Pry bar
  • Torx drivers
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder or crimping tool

9 Steps of Chevy Silverado Radio Upgrade or Replacement – A Quick DIY Guide

Step 1: Unfasten the trim

Before starting to disassemble your dashboard, feel around and look for hidden clasps or fasteners.

Dashboards differ for every car model, and some may have more screws than others. Carefully unscrew the trim piece screws.

With a flat blade screwdriver, detach the trim piece. Other dashboards may require a dedicated prying tool exclusively for the car’s brand model.

Step 2: Disconnect switches and wires

Slowly take off the trim piece. Don’t pull any wiring you might see! Unplug them gently to avoid damage.

Some cars have other connections hidden within the dashboard, such as air conditioning and ventilation.

Step 3: Remove the old stereo unit

After removing and disconnecting the trim panel and wirings, you can access the stereo unit’s screws.

Unfasten the car stereo with a screwdriver or Torx driver. Slide-out the old stereo unit from where it is slotted.

Step 4: Remove the bracket and/or mounting collar, if necessary

Most aftermarket car stereos come with their brackets, but it will still depend on the size of your car’s dash panel.

This is why it is important to know whether your desired car stereo fits your dashboard.

Do a fit test and check whether you will be keeping the old bracket intact, or replace it with the aftermarket bracket and mounting collar.

Step 5: Connect an adapter harness, if necessary

If your new radio is not compatible with the existing wiring harness, you can opt to buy an adapter harness.

The adapter harness must be compatible with your new car stereo and your car’s connectors.

Step 6: Solder, or crimp

If no adapter harness is available, you can always do a DIY connection. Cut off the wiring harness from your old radio unit and crimp it directly to your new radio’s wiring. Be extra cautious to connect the right pair of wires.

Step 7: Connect other input adapters

Don’t forget to plug in the Bluetooth microphone, audio/video input and output, radio tuners, navigation, and cameras (if available). Make sure you follow the manual and plug the adapters in the right places.

Step 8: Test the new stereo unit

After finishing the wiring, it’s time to test your new radio. Turn on your car ignition and see if the radio boots up successfully.

Check if it syncs to your car’s speakers, GPS, and other adapters. If not, you may have to redo some of the wirings.

Step 9: Reassemble dashboard

Congratulations, you successfully installed your new car stereo! Your new radio should be running smoothly.

You can finally put back the dashboard. Fasten and/or screw the radio unit, reconnect all other wirings, and reattach the trim piece snugly.

5 Best Chevy Silverado Stereo Upgrade Reviews

01. Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX

 

 

Highlighted Features

  • 7-inch screen
  • Bluetooth and HDMI connectivity
  • Compatible with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM

When it comes to wireless car play, this Pioneer radio may be the best choice yet. It supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Playing music from your Apple and Android devices is hassle-free with Pioneer’s wired and wireless compatibility feature.

Bluetooth device pairing is another main feature. It connects immediately to the nearest paired device.

We especially love how our hands-free calls sounded crisp and lag-free.

This radio unit has outstanding audio performance. It features an HD AM/FM radio and plays your music at CD audio quality.

With its wide range of media features and functions, this radio upgrade is worth every dollar it costs.

Pros

  • Adds a sleek and modern feel to your dashboard
  • Bright resistive touch screen
  • Rich sound quality
  • Camera input ready

Cons

  • Expensive
  • GPS antenna sold separately

02. STINGER HEIGH10

 

 

Highlighted Features

  • 10-inch screen
  • Bluetooth and HDMI connectivity
  • Supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Dash kit interface, dual USB ports, and four (4) camera inputs
  • GPS

The Stinger radio unit features a 10-inch floating screen. This stunning display instantly levels up your car’s interior.

This stellar radio is an easy plug-and-play unit despite its size. You can retain factory settings for the controls on your steering wheel without a fuss.

It also includes a custom-fit dash kit if you prefer to blend it in with the rest of your console.

Hands-free calling makes driving easier and safer. The Stinger radio is equipped with Bluetooth for lag-free calls and music.

It also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, letting you display messages and access other apps on your phone.

This Stinger stereo unit is versatile, from audio function to safety features.

It comes ready with four (4) camera inputs and has built-in GPS navigation to guide you on your journey. Overall, this is a unit worthy to enhance your pickup.

Pros

  • Big, capacitive touch screen
  • Easy installation
  • Retains factory steering wheel controls
  • Versatile device connectivity
  • Integrated GPS

Cons

  • Remote control sold separately

03. Alpine iLX-W650

 

 

Highlighted features

  • Shallow mount-chassis design
  • 7-inch screen
  • Supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Bluetooth and USB connectivity

The Alpine radio may be the smallest car radio featured in our list. It maximizes its 7-inch display with thin bezels and small buttons.

This sleek radio unit comes packed with great functionality and features.

Because of it’s small size, this particular radio unit is easy to install. It is equipped with Bluetooth and USB ports.

It also has a responsive microphone for voice command and hands-free calling.

Apple and Android devices can connect via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

It also supports audio streaming platforms like Spotify, Pandora, and SiriusXM.

And finally, the Alpine radio’s selling point: its screen swipe gestures. With its capacitive touch screen, you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.

Navigate through with just two-finger swipes up and down (volume control) and left and right (playlist/station control).

Pros

  • space-saving design
  • responsive touch screen
  • powerful sound quality
  • ready and compatible with newer devices

Cons

  • slow bootup

04. Sony XAV-AX5000

 

 

Highlighted features

  • 7-inch screen
  • Bluetooth and dual USB port connectivity
  • Supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM

For an upscale feeling, we suggest the premium-looking Sony radio.

This unit is a popular choice with its fingerprint resistance and customizable dimmer for nighttime driving.

Like most modern car stereos, the Sony stereo unit is equipped with Bluetooth and USB ports.

You can customize steering wheel controls and the accessibility of the radio’s on-screen buttons.

Sony advertises support for Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and SiriusXM. Unfortunately, Android users may experience connectivity issues.

The extensive dimmer control sets Sony apart from other radios. You can adjust the screen brightness and backlighting of the hard keys.

Your installed apps will also switch automatically to night mode during nighttime drives.

Pros

  • Elegant design
  • Impressive brightness and dimmer control

Cons

  • Slow screen response
  • Slow Android Auto connection

05. Pioneer AVH-210EX

 

 

Highlighted features

  • 6.2-inch screen
  • Multimedia DVD player
  • Equipped with Bluetooth, aux, and USB
  • Rear camera input ready

This classic Pioneer unit offers essential audio and video functions of a car stereo.

The DVD player and USB playback feature are perfect for keeping kids entertained during long drives.

Unfortunately, screen brightness may be too low during the daytime.

It comes with Bluetooth, auxiliary jack, and USB ports. Apple and Android devices can pair via Bluetooth for hands-free calls.

While it provides the bare essentials for a stereo unit, the Pioneer AVH-210EX does have input for a rear camera. It is a great added safety measure when out on the road.

Pros

  • responsive touch screen
  • 112 key colors
  • CD/DVD player

Cons

  • low brightness
  • audio feedback during hands-free calls
  • cannot play .mp4 files
  • incompatible with older Apple devices

Buying Considerations of Silverado/ GMC Sierra Radio Upgrade

Budget

In choosing a new car stereo, budget is your first concern. Many would argue that quality is more important, but the fast development of technology is making high-tech devices more affordable for the masses.

Now, the question is: how much are you willing to spend for a radio upgrade?

There are a variety of aftermarket stereos out there, so choose wisely and select a good, versatile unit within your budget.

Can you use the functions this radio has to offer? Is it worth spending your money on? If you have more to splurge, we still advise you to compare and contrast radio units carefully.

An expensive price tag does not always mean a high-quality product, after all.

Connectivity options

Connectivity like Bluetooth and hands-free calls come as built-in features in most modern-day stereos but varying degrees of compatibility.

Double-check to see if your desired unit connects properly with your devices. Test Bluetooth for pairing strength and audio feedback.

Make sure that the indicated inclusions like HDMI connectors and other input connections are included in the box and functional.

Expandability

Do you prefer to plug your phone via aux rather than phone mirroring? USB ports and auxiliary are great for wired connections.

Take a closer look at your unit’s offered inclusions if you want to increase your car stereo’s media sources.

It is best to have a car stereo that can offer both wired and wireless connections for optimal functionality. A great addition to your infotainment system is safety tech.

This includes rear cameras, side cameras, and parking assist guidelines. Navigation adapters and other radio tuners are also worthy investments for a smooth and hassle-free journey.

If you are considering adding the mentioned features in the future, double-check that your desired head unit supports such input.

Media and audio streaming options

Do you want to pull up messages and maps from your phone, without having to reach for it? Fret not, for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are here to save the day!

Recent stereo units today support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Some offer it either wired or wireless, and a handful has it ready for both wired and wireless connections.

These are great for eyes-free and hands-free control over your device’s apps. Check whether your desired stereo unit is compatible with your and your family’s devices before buying.

Build and appearance

Aftermarket radio upgrades come in all shapes and sizes. It all boils down to preference and compatibility.

Do you want your infotainment system to be the center of attention? Floating wide-screen displays are available.

Do you want to add a cleaner look to your loaded dash? Small, sleek radio units are also up for sale.

Choosing a new stereo also requires paying attention to how it fits in your dashboard.

A chunky screen may look lost in a very busy console, so you might want to look for a radio with thinner bezels and a minimalist finish.

Remember that your infotainment system is supposed to add a touch of finesse to your car’s interior.

Common FAQs of Chevy Silverado Radio Upgrade

What is the best aftermarket Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra radio?

The best radio offers essential features and functions car owners enjoy and use on an everyday basis.

As needs and styles differ for every car owner, the best radio optimally supports an extensive range of sources and connectivity and is compatible with Android and Apple devices.

The best radio can also mean adding a more elegant and premium feel to your pickup’s interior.

What do I need to replace a factory car stereo?

To replace your old stereo, you need your new stereo unit and all its inclusions, plus a set of screwdrivers, a soldering iron, or a crimping tool.

Some other car models may need Torx drivers, a dedicated prying tool, and an adapter harness.

What is an adapter harness?

An adapter harness connects an aftermarket radio unit to your vehicle. It comes in handy when the plug and connector do not match, and when you cannot crimp the wirings on your own.

Where can I buy an adapter harness?

You can buy an adapter harness off of online selling platforms and your trusted automotive dealers.

Make sure that the adapter harness you buy is compatible with your car and radio unit.

Why choose an aftermarket radio upgrade?

Factory upgrades are often expensive and do not provide much of a level-up from the old system.

Aftermarket radios come in different styles, are programmed with versatile functions.

Unlike factory system upgrades, you have a broader selection of aftermarket radios. Aftermarket radios also come at more reasonable prices.

Verdict

The Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra radio upgrade is among the easiest and affordable upgrades you can invest in to improve your vehicle’s interior appearance and audio performance.

A modern stereo not only boosts your sound system but also adds a wide range of connectivity and multimedia functions.

Upgrades are a long-time investment, so be mindful of the value you are paying for. Pay attention to the features and durability of the radio unit you are eyeing before completing a purchase.

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