Introduction: Installing an IPod Interface Cable Into a Toyota Corolla

If you want an IPod connection to your Corolla’s factory stereo you could pay your local electronics store $50 - $100 for installation; or you can install that cable yourself for free.  I want to show you how easy it is to install an iPod interface cable yourself.

There are several companies that offer a cable that will connect your IPod to a Corolla’s factory stereo.  Even though each company’s product may look different, they will all install essentially the same way.  For these instructions I will be using the Spec USA PA15-Toy.  The Spec USA PA15-Toy consists of 3 parts.  There is an interface box and two cables; one that goes from the interface box to your IPod and another from the interface box to the back of the radio. 

For this installation you will need a #2 Phillips screwdriver and a ratchet with a 10mm socket and extension arm to reach the back screws.  Depending on where you decide to locate the IPod you may also need a drill with a 5/8” bit.

Step 1: Remove Lower Trim

The screws that hold the radio in place are behind the lower trim piece that contains the climate controls knobs and storage compartments.  To remove this trim first pull the fan control knob out.  This will expose the screw which holds the trim on.  Using the phillips screwdriver, remove this screw. 

Next, remove the trim around the shifter.  To do this, lift from the back of the trim piece.  This will release the back and allow you to pull the front tabs out easily.

Now you can pull the lower trim piece off.  This is a bit tricky due to the lack of places to grab onto.  Begin pulling at the bottom of the trim piece below the storage compartments.  If you have problems getting this started you can open the storage compartments and use the inside surfaces as a surface to get a grip on.  You can also pull from the opening created when you removed the fan control knob.  Once you get the bottom released, you can work your way up each side of working your way to the top.  At the top there are two larger clips, one on each side.  To get these to release you must pull straight out.

Once the trim piece is fully released, you can let this hang by the wires, or you can remove it completely by pressing on the tabs of each wire housing and pulling them off.

Step 2: Removing the Radio

With the trim piece removed, you can now remove the radio.  The radio and side vents can be removed as one piece by removing the 4 screws located below the radio.  Use the ratchet with a 10mm socket to remove these screws.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO DROP THESE SCREWS.  They can fall and they are difficult to retrieve.  With these screws out you can now slide the radio straight out.  Do not pull from the plastic trim as it will just pull the vents and trim out without the radio.  Reach underneath the radio and pull from the metal casing of the radio.

Step 3: Install IPod Cable to Radio

With the radio out you can now connect the cable that goes from the radio to the interface box.  On one end of this cable there are two white plugs, one male end and one female.  Insert the male end into the back of the radio in the slot shown in the picture.  If you have a factory CD changer then you will need to unplug its cable and insert that into the female plug on the new cable.

Now you need to setup the interface box to work with your radio.  There are a series of four switches on the side of the interface box that will tell it how to communicate with your radio.  In a 2000-2006 Corolla these switches should all be indicating on.

Before you start putting the dash back together it is a good idea to test your installation.  To do this, connect the interface box to the opposite end of the cable connected to the radio.  Also, connect your iPod to the interface box my means of the cable provided.  Turn your ignition to Aux and check to make sure that the radio will recognize and play music from your IPod.  If this works, turn the car off and disconnect the cables from the interface box.  If not, recheck the connections that you have made and verify that you have the switches in the correct position.

Step 4: Connect Remaining Components

Now that you know that you have everything hooked up to the radio correctly it’s time to return the radio to its correct position.  Before you slide the radio to place pull the connected cable from behind the radio to a place that is easy to reach for later.  Then slide the radio into place and reinstall the screws.

The next step is to decide where you would like your IPod to be placed when you are done.  If you have a manual transmission, there is room for the interface box to be placed underneath the trim plate of the shifter.  You can then run the cables under the plastic trim around your armrest and you can keep your IPod in the cup holder area.  The advantage of this is that you will not have to drill any holes in your car.  Another option is to keep your IPod in the top storage compartment.  If you want to do this, you need to drill a 5/8” hole in the back of the storage compartment.  It is easiest to do this from the back of the compartment before you reinstall it.  In this case you will need to place the interface box behind the lower storage compartment as shown in the picture.   

Regardless of where you place the interface box, you will need to connect both cables to the box and pull all cables to where you want them kept.

Step 5: Replace Trim

Finally, return the trim pieces to their proper location going in reverse order of how they were removed.  Remember to re-install the remaining screws. 

Once everything is back together you are ready to enjoy the music!