Double-DIN Head Units: What You Need to Know




As an affiliate, ImproveCarAudio get small commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

Car radios have come a long way in recent years. From the simple AM/FM units of yesteryear to the touchscreen, internet-connected head units of today, there are a wide variety of options available to choose from.

One of the most popular types of car radios is the double DIN head unit, but what makes it so special? Let’s find out below.

Key Takeaways
Double-DIN head units are larger than single-DIN units, allowing for advanced features like a larger touchscreen, more advanced features, better sound quality, GPS, and smartphone integration.
Determining if your car has a Double-DIN slot can be done by measuring the space or referring to the car’s specifications.
The benefits of a Double-DIN head unit include improved visibility, advanced features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and superior audio quality due to built-in amplifiers and pre-amp outputs.
Features to consider when choosing a Double-DIN head unit include navigation and Bluetooth capabilities, compatibility with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, and voice control functionality.
Installing a Double-DIN head unit requires specific tools and a dash kit; while it can be a DIY project, professional help may be necessary for some car owners.

Upgrade your car’s audio system with confidence by understanding car stereo features. Our guide will walk you through everything you need to know.

Introduction to Double-DIN Head Units

Let’s introduce the Double-DIN head unit. I know the term ‘Double-DIN’ sounds technical, but it’s just a globally recognized standard size for car head units originating from Germany. “DIN” stands for “Deutsche Industrie Normen,” which translates to “German Industrial Standard.”

So, when we say “Double-DIN,” we’re referring to a head unit that’s twice the height of the standard Single-DIN.

double din head unit in car

With their larger size, double-DIN head units often pack in more features and a larger touchscreen than their Single-DIN counterparts. If you’ve ever seen a car stereo with a touchscreen that supports navigation, or perhaps one that seamlessly integrates with your smartphone through Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, chances are you were looking at a Double-DIN unit.

The world of Double-DIN head units is vast and varied, with numerous brands, models, and features to choose from.

Understanding Double-DIN radio

Delving deeper into the world of car audio systems, it’s time we explore and thoroughly understand Double-DIN head units.

What is a Double-DIN Head Unit?

As I briefly introduced earlier, ‘Double-DIN’ or ‘2-DIN’ as some may call it, is a standard size for car head units. A Single-DIN head unit measures 7 x 2 inches, while a Double-DIN is 7 x 4 inches.

To break it down further, DIN refers to a height of 2 inches. As you may guess, a Double-DIN head unit measures twice that, resulting in a height of 4 inches.

One thing that’s so fascinating about the Double-DIN head unit is the plethora of features it can house. With such a spacious front panel, it typically (although not always) includes a larger touchscreen, making it more visually appealing and easier to use.

It often includes Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, and smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. It’s like having a mini-computer right on your dashboard.

Difference Between Single-DIN and Double-DIN

Size isn’t the only differentiator, though. The additional space in a Double-DIN allows for a larger display, often a touchscreen. This means a more intuitive user interface, high-res video playback, and in many cases, an integrated navigation system.

Double-DIN head units can also provide a more integrated look in the dashboard compared to Single-DIN units, which often require an additional pocket or storage compartment below the unit.

How Do I Know If My Car Has a Double-DIN Slot?

Ever wondered if your car could accommodate a Double-DIN head unit? You’re not alone. The simplest way to find out is to measure the size of your current head unit.

If it measures approximately 7×4 inches, then you have a Double-DIN slot. If it’s 7×2 inches, then it’s a Single-DIN. Just remember to turn off your car and ensure it’s safe before you start exploring the dashboard!

Manufacturer Specifications: Another Way to Confirm Your Car’s DIN Size

Alternatively, if you’re like me and prefer a surefire method, you can check your car’s manual or the manufacturer’s specifications online. Most car manufacturers provide this information in the stereo system specifications section.

It’s a straightforward way to know whether your car’s dashboard has a Single or Double-DIN slot without measuring tape. In addition, in the factory specification, you will find information about mounting depth for the stereo, which is important as some cars have less room in the dashboard.

Smaller pocket depth requires shallow-mount stereos to be installed.

Knowing whether you have a Double-DIN slot is the first step towards enhancing your in-car entertainment experience. And trust me, once you’ve experienced the benefits and features a Double-DIN head unit can offer, there’s no turning back.

The Benefits of a Double-DIN Head Unit

Let’s go back to the basics. Why should you consider installing a Double-DIN head unit in your car? What are the benefits that come with it?

Advantages of a Larger Display: Touchscreen Capabilities

#1. The Benefit of Enhanced Visibility

With a Double-DIN head unit, one of the most significant advantages is the larger display, most of which comes with touchscreen capabilities. 

Have you ever tried to tap a small icon on a tiny screen while keeping your eyes on the road? Trust me, it’s not an easy task.

With double the size of a Single-DIN, a Double-DIN head unit offers improved visibility, making it easier to see who’s calling, what song is playing, or where you need to make the next turn on your GPS. It’s all about making your drive smoother and safer.

#2. Easy Interaction with the System

But it’s not just about visibility. With a touchscreen, interacting with your head unit becomes intuitive, like using your smartphone.

Whether switching between radio stations, navigating menus, or setting up your Bluetooth connectivity, it’s a simple touch away. Gone are the days of fiddling with knobs and tiny buttons!

Advanced Features Made Possible: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

For most of us, our smartphone is an extension of ourselves. So why should that stop when we’re driving?

Enter Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, features often found in Double-DIN head units. These systems integrate your smartphone with your head unit, allowing you to access your phone’s features on the larger screen.

How These Systems Enhance Your Driving Experience

Imagine accessing your favorite music apps, responding to messages, making calls, and navigating with your preferred map app, all through the head unit.

You can even use voice control for hands-free operation, increasing your driving safety. It’s like having your personal assistant in your car. Now, isn’t that a game-changer?

Improved Audio Quality: Amplifier and Pre-amp Outputs

There’s more to a Double-DIN head unit than just the fancy features and large display. Another significant benefit is improved audio quality. 

Remember when you turned up the volume on your old stereo only to have the music sound distorted?

That’s where an amplifier comes into play. It increases the power of the signal from your stereo, delivering a louder and clearer sound. And the good news is most Double-DIN head units have a built-in amplifier, which in most cases is more powerful than in single-DIN units.

The Importance of Pre-amp Outputs in Double-DIN Head Units

But that’s not all. Most (if not all) Double-DIN head units also offer pre-amp outputs. Pre-amp what, you may ask? Simply put, pre-amp outputs allow you to connect external amplifiers or subwoofers to your head unit. 

This means you can customize your car audio system to your heart’s content, achieving the perfect sound for your taste. So, if you’re an audiophile like me, I am sure you’ll appreciate the audio flexibility a Double-DIN head unit can provide.

Essential Features to Consider in a Double-DIN Head Unit

Alright, so we’ve gone over the basics and the benefits of Double-DIN head units. Now, let’s dive into some of the key features you should consider when you’re looking to buy one.

These features can significantly enhance your driving experience, and it’s worth taking the time to understand each one.

Double-DIN Car Stereo with Navigation and Bluetooth

The Utility of Built-in Navigation Systems

As someone notorious for getting lost, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of a built-in navigation system. Many Double-DIN head units come with integrated GPS navigation, which is a huge step up from fumbling with your phone while driving.

With a dedicated system, you get real-time traffic updates, clear directions, and large, easy-to-read maps right on your head unit’s screen. The days of missed turns and late arrivals are over.

The Convenience of Bluetooth Connectivity

Then there’s Bluetooth, a feature that’s become indispensable in our daily lives.

With Bluetooth in your Double-DIN head unit, you can wirelessly connect your smartphone for hands-free calling and music streaming. Imagine driving home after a long day, effortlessly listening to your favorite relaxing playlist, all without taking your hands off the steering wheel.

And when it comes to safety, hands-free calling is a must, reducing distractions and allowing you to focus on the road.

Double-DIN Car Stereo with Android Auto

What Android Auto Brings to the Table

Now, if you’re an Android user like me, you’ll want to look for a Double-DIN head unit with Android Auto. This feature takes smartphone integration to a whole new level.

With Android Auto, you can access your favorite apps, respond to messages, navigate with Google Maps, and much more right from your head unit’s screen.

Compatibility with Various Android Devices

The best part about Android Auto? It’s compatible with most Android devices running Android 5.0 or later. So whether you’re rocking the latest flagship or holding on to your trusty old phone, chances are, you can enjoy the benefits of Android Auto in your vehicle.

Voice Control: An Essential for Modern Driving

Next, let’s talk about voice control. In an age where digital assistants are becoming more prevalent, having voice control in your head unit is a game-changer.

It allows you to operate your system hands-free, significantly increasing driving safety. Want to change the song, make a call, or set up navigation? Just say the word.

Supported Voice Control Platforms: Google Assistant, Siri, and More

Many Double-DIN head units support voice control platforms like Google Assistant and Siri. This means regardless of whether you’re Team Android or Team iPhone, you can enjoy this amazing feature. 

Remember, safety should always come first when you’re on the road, and voice control is one of the ways you can achieve this.

Frankly, there should be a mandatory requirement for cars to be equipped with voice-controlled systems and a strict ban on handheld phone usage while driving. Such regulations are already in place in many countries and have contributed significantly to reducing the number of accidents.

The Installation Process of a Double-DIN Head Unit

Having picked out the perfect Double-DIN head unit for your car, you’re probably itching to get it installed and running. I know I would be.

But before you start, it’s crucial to understand the installation process and the necessary tools.

Necessary Tools for Installation

As you can expect, every installation job requires a specific set of tools. For a Double-DIN head unit installation, you’ll need:

  • Panel removal tools: These come in handy for safely removing the dashboard panel without damaging it.
  • Screwdrivers: You’ll use these to unscrew and secure various components.
  • Wire strippers/cutters: These are vital for correctly handling the wiring.
  • Soldering iron or crimping tool: These tools are for connecting wires. Soldering provides a stronger connection, but crimping is faster and easier for beginners.
  • Electrical tape: This will help secure your wire connections.
  • Heat shrink tubing: This provides a professional, secure finish to your wiring. It’s not strictly necessary, but I recommend it if you want your work to look neat and tidy.

Remember that this list can vary depending on your specific head unit and car model.

The Role of a Double-DIN Dash Kit in Installation

A Double-DIN dash kit might sound like an unnecessary expense which may be the case in some cars but for many, it is not.

The dash kit ensures that your new head unit fits seamlessly into your car’s dashboard. It’s like buying a tailored suit; the fit just elevates the entire look.

How to Choose the Right Dash Kit for Your Car

Choosing the suitable dash kit for your car involves knowing your vehicle’s make, model, and year. Most dash kits are designed to fit specific vehicles, so be sure to do your research and pick the one that matches your car’s specs.

I recommend checking out Metra dash kits. They are solid pieces of dashboards with great-quality wiring.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Install a Double-DIN Head Unit

Now, let’s get to the actual installation process. Here’s a simplified step-by-step guide:

#1. Disconnect the car battery: Safety first! Always disconnect your car’s battery before starting any electrical work.

#2. Remove the old head unit: Use the panel removal tools and screwdrivers to remove your dashboard panel and then the existing head unit.

#3. Prepare the new radio: Unpack your new Double-DIN head unit. Connect the wiring harness that came with it to the one in your car. If there are no matching harnesses, make sure to connect matching color wires using the wire strippers/cutters, and then secure them with the soldering iron or crimping tool and electrical tape.

#4. Install the new head unit: Fit the new head unit into the dash kit, then install the entire unit into the dash. Use the screwdrivers to secure everything in place.

#5. Reconnect the battery and test: Finally, reconnect your car battery and test the head unit to ensure everything works as it should.

Remember, if you’re not comfortable doing the installation yourself, ask for professional help. It is better to pay a little and make sure the job is done right, than mess car’s electrical system.

Further Reading About Car Radios

If you like this post, there are a few more related to this topic that you may find interesting. If you do, click the link below and enjoy another article.

10 Pros of Having an LCD Screen in the Car

Incorporating an LCD Screen into your vehicle can revolutionize your driving experience, enhancing both convenience and entertainment. This upgrade boasts many benefits, from improved audio and video capabilities to superior navigation assistance and a sleek, modern aesthetic.

Touchscreen Head Units: Features and Benefits

Touch screen head units offer various features and benefits that traditional controls simply cannot compete with.

With intuitive interfaces and expansive customization options, touchscreen head units deliver an unrivaled user experience. Dive into the comprehensive features and benefits of these advanced systems.


Navigating through the world of car audio can be a daunting task, especially when dealing with components as important as the Double-DIN head unit.

Double-DIN head units are literally at the center of your car’s infotainment system. Their larger size offers enhanced visibility and ease of interaction, and they pack advanced features such as touchscreen controls, Bluetooth connectivity, voice control, and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

All these perks converge to enhance not only your driving experience but your overall journey.

Choosing a Double-DIN head unit isn’t merely about selecting the one with the most features or the latest model from a famous brand. Rather, it’s about finding a unit that complements your car and caters to your specific needs – from navigation to hands-free communication and even entertainment.