What Are the Steps to Replace and Upgrade the Head Unit in a Honda CR-V for Improved Connectivity?

As more and more car owners are embracing modern technology, the desire to upgrade the head unit in vehicles has seen a significant rise. For Honda CR-V owners, upgrading the head unit not only improves the overall look of the car interior, but it also enhances the connectivity features of the car, making every drive more enjoyable. A carefully selected and properly installed head unit can provide smooth access to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, ensuring a seamless connection between your phone and your vehicle. In addition, it can also upgrade the audio system of your car, significantly improving the sound quality.

This article will guide you through the process of replacing and upgrading the head unit in a Honda CR-V, whether it’s a standard model or a hybrid. Remember, you don’t need to be an expert mechanic to do this. With the right tools and some basic understanding, you can install a new head unit in your Honda with ease.

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Understanding the Existing System

Before you start the process of replacing the head unit, it is important to understand the existing system. Honda CR-V, a popular compact SUV, comes with an impressive audio system. The standard model comes with a 5-inch color LCD screen and a four-speaker system, while the touring model features a 7-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and a nine-speaker premium audio system.

The head unit is typically located in the center of the car’s front console and serves as the main control unit for the audio system. It is connected to the speakers, amplifiers, and antenna of your vehicle, and in many cases, to the car’s wheel controls as well.

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Selecting the New Head Unit

Choosing the right head unit for your Honda CR-V is critical as it should be compatible with the car’s system and should meet all your connectivity needs. It should ideally support both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing you to connect your phone easily with the car and access all your apps directly from the car’s display.

Moreover, if your Honda CR-V is a hybrid model, you need to select a head unit that is compatible with the car’s hybrid system. Another important thing to consider is the compatibility of the new head unit with the wheel controls of your car. The new unit should be able to work seamlessly with the existing controls, ensuring that you can operate the audio system comfortably while driving.

Removing the Old Head Unit

The first step in the process of installing the new head unit is to remove the old unit. Start by disconnecting the car battery to prevent any electrical issues. Then, using a flathead screwdriver, carefully pry off the trim panel surrounding the head unit.

Once you have removed the panel, you should see a few screws securing the head unit to the dashboard. Unscrew these using a Phillips screwdriver and gently pull out the head unit. Disconnect the wiring harness and the antenna cable from the back of the unit.

Installing the New Head Unit

After you have successfully removed the old head unit, you can begin installing the new one. Start by connecting the wiring harness of the new unit to the car’s system.

If your new head unit supports Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, connect your phone to the unit using the appropriate cable (Lightning for Apple, USB-C or micro-USB for Android) to set up the system. Once you have established the connection, follow the prompts on the unit’s screen to complete the setup.

Next, slide the head unit into the dash, ensuring it fits securely. Screw it in place and replace the trim panel. Finally, reconnect the car battery and start your Honda CR-V. The new head unit should light up, and you should be able to control it from the wheel controls.

Testing the New System

Once you’ve installed the new head unit, it’s time to test it. First, check whether the unit is working properly. Turn it on and off a few times to make sure it responds correctly. Connect your phone to the unit via Bluetooth or cable and check if the connectivity features such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are working fine.

Next, play some music or a podcast to verify the sound quality. Adjust the volume and the equalizer settings to ensure that the audio system is working well with the new head unit. Lastly, try out all the other features of the unit, such as the radio, navigation, and phone calls, to confirm that everything is functioning as it should.

By successfully installing a new head unit, you’ve not just improved the visual aesthetics of your Honda CR-V’s interior, but you’ve also significantly upgraded its connectivity and audio features. Now, you can enjoy a seamless interface between your car and your phone, and experience superior sound quality during your drives.

Additional Features to Consider

When you’re upgrading the head unit of your Honda CR-V, there’s more to consider than just the unit’s compatibility with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Many modern head units come packed with advanced features that can significantly enhance your driving experience.

For instance, a head unit with an in-built GPS navigation system can make your journeys more efficient by providing accurate route directions. This is especially beneficial if you’re driving in unfamiliar territories. Also, look for a head unit that offers Bluetooth connectivity, which lets you wirelessly connect your phone to the unit. This feature allows you to make hands-free calls and stream music, adding more convenience and safety to your drives.

Another important feature to consider is the compatibility of the head unit with the hybrid powertrain of your Honda CR-V, especially if you own a hybrid model. The head unit should be able to display the vital statistics of the hybrid system, such as current battery charge level and fuel economy.

Remember, the head unit is the heart of your car’s audio system. Therefore, it should not only improve the connectivity features but should also enhance the sound quality. Look for a unit that comes with a powerful built-in amplifier and provides an option for sound customization.

Lastly, the head unit’s compatibility with the steering wheel controls is also crucial. It should allow you to control the audio system and the connected phone’s basic functions from the steering wheel itself, ensuring you don’t get distracted while driving.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with a carefully selected head unit and correct installation process, you might run into some issues. Knowing how to troubleshoot these problems can save you from unnecessary panic and help maintain the performance of your new head unit.

If the head unit doesn’t turn on after installation, ensure that the car’s battery is connected and there is no loose wiring. If Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is not working, check if your phone’s software is up to date and that you’re using an original cable for connection.

In case the audio quality is poor or there is no sound at all, ensure that the speakers are correctly connected to the head unit. Also, check the sound settings on your unit and your connected phone.

Remember, regular updates to your head unit software can prevent many common problems. Always keep your unit updated with the latest software to ensure the best performance and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.


Upgrading the head unit in your Honda CR-V is an excellent way to enhance your car’s connectivity and audio features. From selecting the right replacement head unit to understanding the existing system, removing the old unit, installing, testing, and troubleshooting the new one, this comprehensive guide has got you covered.

Not only does a modern head unit provide a seamless interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but it also delivers superior sound quality, making your drives more enjoyable. Moreover, it revamps the interior of your car and adds to your Honda CR-V’s overall appeal. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily upgrade the head unit in your car, without needing expert mechanical skills. Enjoy the upgraded features and enhanced connectivity of your Honda CR-V!