Home » These $15 Radio Removal Tools Completely Saved My Hands And They Could Save Yours Too

These $15 Radio Removal Tools Completely Saved My Hands And They Could Save Yours Too

Hit The Decks Ts
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We’ve all had to yank a radio, right? Whether a fuse gave up, a new one’s going in, or you’re retrofitting your factory stereo with modern bells and whistles, eventually you’ll probably have to wrestle with your dashboard. While modern cars cache their radio mounting hardware behind trim panels with fragile clips, it wasn’t so long ago that many radios were held into dashboards with tabs, requiring special radio removal tools to free them from their plastic cages.

The last-minute way of removing an older radio involves driving to the local auto parts store and spending $10 on some uncomfortable crap that might fit a handful of models, or, if you’re dealing with a Ford or certain Saabs, hacking up an old coat hanger. However, there is a better way, and innovation in laziness will deliver it right to your front door.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

For an extra $5, you can get a set of tools with fancy-ass plastic-dipped handles that fits damn near anything. Are you the weirdo working on a Skoda in America? First off, we applaud you. Secondly, this set of tools will probably fit that car’s factory radio. How do I know? Every pair of tools in the kit is labeled by manufacturer, a cheap and genius move that prevents any incidents involving sticking the wrong tool in the wrong hole.

DIN radio removal tools

Sure, my particular tool kit comes in a blue roll and this set comes in a red roll, but as far as I can work out, they’re otherwise identical — the same tools made in the same factory in the same country exported from the same port and mailed directly to your doorstep. And you know what? They’re rather nice to use. Sure, the tabs on the sides of each radio may require a little persuasion to release some of these tools, but the plastic-dipped handles on most of these tools completely redeem this set by saving your hands. They made installing an aux port in my 1999 Porsche Boxster nearly effortless and ultra-quick, something I can’t say of the tools you’d find at your local auto parts store.

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Oh, and even if you don’t own an older car, you might still need a set of radio keys. Weirdly, DIN radio tools didn’t go the way of the dodo once infotainment came in. Many late-aughts Audi MMI units still need radio keys for removal, including the units in Q5s and B8 A4s. Those are literally previous-generation cars that aren’t even that old!

DIN radio removal tools

It’s cliched to say that a good set of radio tools takes the pain out of a head unit swap, but in this case, it literally does. I can’t recommend picking this set up enough. Just remember: Use your radio removal tools for good, not evil.


(This post contains a few Amazon affiliate partner links. If you buy something by clicking on a link The Autopian may make a commission)

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(Photo credits: Thomas Hundal)

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Logan King
Logan King
7 months ago

I’ve always had great luck with nice butter knives. Got the radio out of my Mk I Cabriolet, my 996 and my Elise.

Detroit-Lightning
Detroit-Lightning
7 months ago

Aux port? Curious as to why you’re going that route, instead of USB or…anything else?

VanGuy
VanGuy
7 months ago

I didn’t have a removal tool when I upgraded the head unit in my ’97 Ford Econoline-150. Fortunately, all it took was 4 flathead screwdrivers placed in the holes and strategically, gently pried inward. Didn’t even leave a scratch.

Made the job in my 2012 Prius v look like a cakewalk, although on the other hand, the evolution of wiring harnesses made the rest of the Prius job a lot easier than I was expecting.

The World of Vee
The World of Vee
7 months ago

My FF has a normal Becker/Chrysler uconnect radio from the mid 2000s (literally the same thing in a caravan or sebring just with a ferrari logo on startup) so these keys came in handy for getting the radio out, but that was after FIVE HOURS of removing every dash trim piece starting at the passenger door. Something I’ll never do again.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
7 months ago

What is going on with Blaupunkt and Clarion?

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
7 months ago

Cool Tool was an early bicycle multi tool https://nsmb.com/articles/coolest-tool/
I do have some radio removal tools for various single DIN radios. I’m not sure if the ones that came with my old Pioneer head unit are a car manufacturer size or proprietary. Naturally I have Ford tools since our 95 Escort went through 3 head units in 15 years

Brooks Fancher
Brooks Fancher
7 months ago

Anything is better than having to remove half the dash starting at the on a Dodge Dakota to change out the radio. Start with unscrewing the dash fascia over on the drivers side and continue until you get to the center part of the console.

VanGuy
VanGuy
7 months ago
Reply to  Brooks Fancher

I think it’s like that on the Chevy Express, too.

Clark B
Clark B
7 months ago

Last time I needed a tool like this, I bought a bunch of hanging file folders and used the plastic hangers, cut in the right shape. Nice knowing that if (when) I need to pull the radio on my Sportwagen, there’s better options.

Vee
Vee
7 months ago
Reply to  Clark B

Just get some of those big purple Dunlop Tortex bass guitar picks. They’re useful for other things too, like scraping glue off of plastic without scratching it and unscrewing a screw where a screwdriver won’t fit because it’s too long.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
7 months ago

I bought a set over twenty years ago for my VW/Audi’s and could not be happier about it. I consider these and electrical connector pin removal tools to be absolutely essential tools for any modern vehicle.

Cool Tool posts are 100% okay by me, even if they have affiliate links. I hope they become a regular feature.

Also, feel free to ask David about Knipex Pliers Wrenches. 😀

Torque
Torque
7 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

You brought up “cool tools”
Kevin Kelley (most famous as the founder of Wired Mag.) has a subside of his dedicated to exactly that, people write in with “cool tools”…
Kk.org/cooltools
Very useful site

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
7 months ago
Reply to  Torque

Thanks. I will take a look.

But I’m still hoping this sight will pick up the cool tool mantle too. And more hopefully, cool uses for otherwise mundane tools (see Mercedes and Steak Knives).

Now perhaps Matt has experience that tells him such subjects didn’t get many clicks, but I totally devoured Mercedes’ tools articles at the old site.

Torque
Torque
7 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Ditto, That Is a good point, this site had a unique group of auto enthusiast writers and readers.

I’m confident the Autopian could have an interesting assortment of cool tools and I’m confident David and Jason would help to ensure (like Kevin Kelley) the cool tools featured here will be genuine; i.e. tools that either the writers or readers have personally used and found useful and novel.

Such a feature could also generate some revenue for the site of course important to help the site work towards being financially solvent.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
7 months ago

No Peugeot on there. Won’t work for me. Oh well haha

Sklooner
Sklooner
7 months ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

Or Borgward either

Flavien
Flavien
7 months ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

There is, written as PSA (Peugeot Société Anonyme)

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
7 months ago
Reply to  Flavien

You are correct. My bad. Thanks!

Turbeaux
Turbeaux
7 months ago

While I don’t mind this site embedding a few affiliate links to keep the lights on, I feel like it’s a slippery slope toward writing articles with the sole intent of selling us stuff. I don’t like to complain about a site I love, but I don’t want it to morph into the place most of us abandoned.

Automotiveflux
Automotiveflux
7 months ago
Reply to  Turbeaux

TheDrive is really bad for this, you have to sift through the ad articles to get to the real stuff

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
7 months ago
Reply to  Automotiveflux

This week in Home Depot deals is sooooo annoying there.

David Tracy
David Tracy
7 months ago
Reply to  Turbeaux

We’re trying a few things as we work on our Sustainability Objective.

We won’t write anything we don’t know a ton about and don’t feel passionate about.

Certainly, we don’t have AFA Tooling asking us to write this!

V10omous
V10omous
7 months ago
Reply to  David Tracy

An easy change to make might be putting the disclaimer at the top or in the article title so readers know up front what’s coming.

Angrycat Meowmeow
Angrycat Meowmeow
7 months ago

Many late-aughts Audi MMI units still need radio keys for removal, including the units in Q5s and B8 A4s. Those are literally previous-generation cars that aren’t even that old!

They also work for removing VAG button rows, like the ones to control the drive select, parking cams etc. I have a set for my B9 and 4M, I think the MMI unit in the glovebox needs these to come out.

If you do any wrenching on anything, I highly recommend one of those huge interior kits Amazon has. They usually have pinning/depinning tools, lots of spudgers and pry tools, clip removal pliers, felt lint spreaders for tint, radio tools, nearly everything you could need to disassemble an interior. Mine even came with an assortment of typical plastic interior hardware.

Rapgomi
Rapgomi
7 months ago

After reading your comment – I went and bought one of those huge amazon kits!

Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
7 months ago

“a cheap and genius move that prevents any incidents involving sticking the wrong tool in the wrong hole.”

I feel like there’s a joke there somewhere…

Anyway, I strongly agree with your premise. I bought a set for my 2012 Volvo C30 and I couldn’t have done the job without them. Similarly, trim removal tools are awesome to have on hand.

Last edited 7 months ago by Dar Khorse
Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
7 months ago
Reply to  Dar Khorse

Trim removal tools are some of the most useful items for almost anything. Just last week I was using my trusty 15 year old Sirius Radio trim tool for caulk trimming on my basement windows. When the Sirius rep dropped off 3 at the shop and was leaving, one of our mobile installers ran after him and got a handful more, because they are an indispensable tool.

UnseenCat
UnseenCat
7 months ago
Reply to  Dar Khorse

Yes, this is why I read the Autopian.

Because even something that’s veering perilously close to affiliate advertising territory still manages to redeem itself by containing an irreverent or vaguely inappropriate reference.

Anonymous Person
Anonymous Person
7 months ago
Reply to  Dar Khorse

I feel like there’s a joke there somewhere…
How about the addition of a single word?
“a cheap and genius move that prevents any EMBARASSING incidents involving sticking the wrong tool in the wrong hole.”

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
7 months ago

I needed the tools to get the factory radio out of my 2000 Ford Ranger, the aftermarket mount kit for the radio I replaced it with just attaches to the bezel that pops with 2 screws. Actually think the tools are still stuck in the old radio somewhere, it’s those metal rod pins looking thing.

Darnon
Darnon
7 months ago
Reply to  Fuzzyweis

Mid-late-90s+ Ford radios are simple. You don’t even really need ‘special’ tools. Just take some sidecutters to a wire coathanger and snip about 3 inches off of each wing. Boom, instant Ford radio removal tools.

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