Any stereo system for a vehicle that has something to do with audio requires that you install a source unit, also known as a head unit. And if youíre going to install a head unit into a caróand letís face it, if you want video or more from your music, you willóthereís a pretty good chance that your aftermarket radio will be a different size than the factory radio. In fact, very few car manufacturers install a single-DIN head unit directly from the factory. What is a DIN? A DIN is a unit of measurement for the opening in a dash for a source unit. The three standard DIN sizes are DIN, DIN and a half, and Double DIN. The most common factory dash opening is a DIN and a half, but most people only install a single DIN aftermarket source unit.By national standards, when you remove a factory source unit that is larger than the size source unit you are about to install, you go and buy an aftermarket installation kit for about thirty dollars. The purpose of the installation kit is: 1) To give you something to mount the source unit onto, and it is usually mounted to some kind of factory bolt location in the dash; 2) To trim out the larger head unit opening and fill any gaps. One of the problems with these installation kits is that they are usually constructed out of thin, flexible plastic which does not provide a solid mount for your source unit. Also, the section of the kit that trims out the gap is usually a different texture and color than your factory dash plastic. In this article, we are going to explore a different source unit installation method which will provide a rock solid mounting point that is theft proof. It will also show the build of a custom trim panel that will integrate the head unit into the dash as if it came from the factory. When you build your own custom trim panels, they will cosmetically blend into your dash more naturally and they will be more secure and theft deterrent. They can also cost less (about $20.00 or less in materials). Custom trim panels take a little more time to make, but the result is well worth the effort in the long run. The materials that I will highlight throughout this article are readily available at most hardware stores. I highly recommend that you purchase a table router set up, which you can utilize for all of your car audio installation projects. The best router station to buy is sold through Mobile Solutions and can be purchased for around $600.00 (including the router). Another table router purchasing solution is buying one from Sears, typically labeled Craftsman Inverted Table Top Router. It is a good inverted router to learn on for around $200.00. This particular router needs to be clamped or bolted down to a solid table top before you turn it on. Be sure to always use the safety guide. Also, always wear goggles when you are routing.Finally, before you fabricate your trim ring, itís a good idea to remove a piece of interior dash, the plastic that is near the location of the radio and is a color that you would like your radio trim ring to match. Take this to your local auto parts store and purchase spray paint that matches the shade of the interior plastic.This particular custom trim ring that I built was done on a 2004 Honda Civic, but you can adapt these techniques to work on any make of car. See the gallery below for the step by step with captions.By Jason Syner



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