Piston Slap: The Audio Accord for the Ancient Honda
I have a ’95 Accord with 200,000 miles. As it runs well, I hope to drive it for a while more, but the radio has nearly died. What is the best solution for low-cost replacement audio? The other quirk is that in warm weather the speakers fade in and out. Do I have to replace the speakers and the wiring too?
All of those problems normally stem from fried circuits in the head unit (the dashboard part of the stereo), so don’t worry about speakers. Wait ’til after the replacement stereo fails to fix that problem.
If you’d like better sound quality no matter what, replace the factory speakers: their cones are somewhat fossilized by now, anyway. And high (higher?) quality replacements are dirt cheap.
Back to the head unit: you have two options, both cost about the same: rebuild your current stereo through a variety of mom-and-pop types of shops on the Internet (or locally), or buy the following from an electronics store, WalMart (if you think they are good for America) or an online vendor like Crutchfield.
You will need:
– A universal single DIN head unit, your choice of brand and features. If you aren’t picky, there are plenty of good ones for less than $100.
– The wiring adapter that mates a universal head unit to your Honda’s dashboard wiring harness. Not only is the price right (under $20 for a basic model) but it prevents the associated risk of tapping and splicing the Honda wiring to install a non-Honda stereo.
– A hunk of black, vacuum-formed plastic to accept a universal head unit, and drop in exactly like the factory Honda stereo. This is another $20 well spent.
I am a big fan of high performance audio systems with a stealth bomber-like appeal. So I reckon the $100-140 you spend on aftermarket stereo parts is better off with a remanufactured head unit which looks good, does the job well enough for most people**, and easily spits out data to an aftermarket equalizer, amplifier and speakers, if so inclined.
**Assuming this car came with a factory CD player, cassette owners shall beg to differ.
[Send your technical queries to firstname.lastname@example.org]
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