Car Stereo Stock Radio Fake-out




Use the face of your old car's stock car stereo to make a fake-out faceplate hiding your new stereo.

This Instructable was inspired by the "Fake-out Stolen Car Stereo" by sfgabe.

I drove my Chevrolet S-10 for almost ten years before finally replacing the stereo. In 1999 it seemed perfectly acceptable to have a cassette tape player. Today it's practically an obsolete piece of car audio. I had used a cassette tape adapter for my MP3 players, but when the cassette tape player broke, I had no way to enjoy my Zune in my truck. FM modulators never worked well for me.

Finally I took the plunge and got an HD Radio/CD/CD-ROM MP3 player with a auxiliary line-in port for direct connect for my Zune. The new stereo has a removable faceplate, and while the stereo itself isn't particularly expensive, I don't want someone breaking into truck and stealing the stereo just because it's not a stock radio.

I saw sfgabe's cool "Fake-out Stolen Car Stereo" Instructable and it gave me the idea to make a fake faceplate for my truck's new stereo. This faceplate is made using the original Delco radio/cassette tape player that came with the truck, some Velcro, and a lot of epoxy glue. I left half of a cassette sticking out of the tape player for added effect.

Follow along with this Instructable to see how I made my own fake-out face plate. Every car stereo will be different, but this Instructable will give you the general idea.

Please leave your comments and feedback, and be sure to share any pictures of similar projects.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Supplies

I used the following tools and supplies:

Stock Delco car stereo
your coolest cassette tape (Christmas with the Brady Bunch)
Velcro (or other brand) hook and loop fastener. I used the kind made for sewing onto fabric.
wire cutters
hack saw
socket wrench set
epoxy glue

Step 2: Remove the Faceplate From the Stock Stereo

Using a nut driver and wire cutters, remove any screws, nuts or wires holding the faceplate to the radio body. Be careful not to crack or break the plate.

Step 3: Remove the LED Display

Use a nutdriver and wire cutters to remove the LED display. The LED display behind the faceplate will add touch of realism to the finished product.

Be careful around the LED display. Mine was sandwiched between to tiny sheets of glass. I broke it in a couple of places, but was able to repair it using a little epoxy.

Step 4: Glue the Knobs and LED Back on to the Faceplate

Use epoxy glue to reattach the knobs to the front of the faceplace. Glue the LED display on the back of the faceplate, behind the lens.

Step 5: Trim the Back of the Faceplate to Reduce Its Profile

Using wire cutters or a knife, trim any protruding tabs from the back of the faceplate to reduce its profile.

Step 6: Determine How the Faceplate Will Fit Over the Stereo

My first idea was to try to trim the edges and round off the corners of the old faceplate to achieve a custom fit. I took the lazy approach and decided to leave the edges square and let it fit on the outside of the opening.

Someone experienced with car stereo installations will notice that the faceplate is on the outside of the dash opening, rather than behind it. However, the cassette hanging out of the tape deck adds to the illusion that a undesirable stock radio is in the dash.

Step 7: Add a Cassette Tape to the Deck

Using a hacksaw, cut a third of the cassette tape off. Glue the tape into the deck using a liberal amount of epoxy. After the glue sets, apply even more epoxy to make a strong bond between the tape and the deck opening.

Step 8: Apply Velcro to the Dash

I am not a fan of exposed Velcro, but I was able to slip the Velcro underneath the dash opening and make it look neat. I ran the Velcro (hook side) along the entire top of the new stereo. It turned out looking much better than I had expected.

Running the Velcro along the entire top of the stereo looks better than just putting a couple of patches.

Dry fit the Velcro to make sure it fits where you want it.

Apply a film of epoxy on the top of the stereo and slip in the Velcro, applying pressure to the Velcro to ensure a good bond.

Step 9: Apply Velcro to the Fake-out Faceplate

Cut a couple of patches of the loop side of the Velcro and glue it to the back of the faceplate. I had to build out the patches a bit to get a good fit against the hook side of the Velcro on the stereo.

Step 10: Attach the Fake-out Faceplate Over Your Car Stereo

Remove the real faceplate and attach fake-out faceplate over the car stereo.



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    92 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    very cool idea; I did a similar thing once. I ended up replacing the velcro (like how you did it) with magnets because in the heat of summer, the velcro's glue became gummy, and it kept falling off.

    2 replies

    7 years ago on Introduction

    One thing i've always wanted to do was to hide a fire extinguisher with an electrovalve and a hose pointing to the driver's seat with an alarm to trigger it. So when someone breaks into the car he/se gets a bath of extinguisher poo-poo.
    In fact I think sometime I'll actually do it.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    A would-be thief is likely to trash the car out of spite for this. Just sayin'.


    6 years ago on Step 4

    Nicely done. The display on the delco radio is a vacuum florescent, not led. They are glass so be careful removing it. GM still uses those displays on many of their car radios.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Years ago I owned an auto repair shop, one of our regular customers drove a small honda from New York City to our area for work on the bottom of both front windows was a sign that said, "Doors are unlocked, no radio or change in car, PLEASE do not break my windows" at that time the portable audio system of choice was a walkman...sorry for your loss... = (


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Ah, if only I had followed my own advice.  I haven't been using my fake faceplate.  I went to my truck yesterday only to find the side vent window smashed and a gaping hole in the dash.

    So for maybe $5 worth of meth for some toothless junkie, I get a $500 bill to replace the window.  All this trouble for a very low end replacement radio.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    When I drove my little red convertible sports car, I never locked the doors, and never left anything inside that appeared to be valuable.
    The reason being, the cheap radio costs about $99 buck US, the inexpensive fabric top costs $300 US plus labor to install. So, let the thief open the unlocked door to steal the $99 radio, and not have to smash glass, or cut the cloth top to get in, so he / she can also steal the $99 radio.


    9 years ago on Step 8

    I liked this article. I work in the car audio industry and I've done a few similar jobs for customers, but it usually just involved blacking out the radio... not using the original face. I like this idea a lot. One thing you could try, instead of the velcro is to use magnets behind the dash kit... they will need to be pretty strong magnets. Just hot-glue or superglue them behind the dash kit and put some magnets on the back of your stock face plate. That way when you've got the faceplate removed you're not stuck looking at that ugly hook and loom. :-)

    3 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    If you ever have worked near audio you would know the last thing you ever put near a cd player or cassette deck is a magnet.....


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Cassette decks? yes... CD players? No. If that were the case then we'd still be using mu metal foil in the car audio world. But I have NEVER had to wrap a CD player in mu foil. CD players operate off of optics, not magnetic heads.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    This could've saved me 3 years ago. I just put in a new Sony Xplode deck and moved to the city. My first night I didn't unpack anything. When I was leaving for work the next morning, my window was broken and my Stereo, amp, speakers, movies, and games were gone. I know what you're gonna say and yes, the stuff was on the floor and covered. The flashy stereo attracted the thief. As an added bonus, they left the doors and the glove box open and killed my battery so I was late for work.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    shortly after i had moved to a new apartment in the city around 98 or so, i left my jetta unlocked on accident one night, only to find out the next morning that my stereo and cd's had been stolen. the worst part about the cds was, i am a musician and some of the music was irreplacable, old band demos & self recorded stuff. 5-10 years of music gone. I still had a woofer and amp in the trunk that they didnt take or didnt realize was there, but I would have traded that for my cds back in a SECOND!!! I felt like crying when I found out they stole my music. After that I started using audiograbber to rip every CD anally.