Is removing a stereo so difficult?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

Occasionally, the drive belts in the tape deck of my '87 LeSabre come off. I think I could replace the belts if I could get the stereo out of the dash. The recommended repair shop charges $113.00 and keeps the car for two days. They won't let me watch, so I don't know if they are pulling the engine, the dash, or my leg. Is removing the stereo so difficult?

RAY: Getting the stereo out is a piece of cake, Bob. Any 15-year-old with out a crowbar can do it in about 35 seconds. Getting it out with tearing the dashboard apart, however, is a lot harder.

TOM: But not so hard that they should have to keep your car for two days. It sounds like they're running a rental car agency on the side; "Two-day special, $39.95, no radio." Even if it takes them two days to fix the stereo itself, they should at least be able to remove it, and give you back your car while they replace the belts.

RAY: So forget them, Bob. Next time this happens, go to a good car stereo shop and trade-in this stereo for a new one. For the price of two or three of these belt-enhancements, you could have a brand new tape deck that would probably be as good if not better.

TOM: If this were a one time repair, we'd let it slide. But this stereo is obviously a piece of junk. The majority of car stereos now last the life of the car without needing any repair. Buy a new one, and with any luck, it'll be the last dollar you spend on it.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One