How To Install Sirius XM Radio In Your Car, Truck, Or SUV

Some cars come with a SiriusXM tuner built in. Others don’t. If your vehicle is one of the unlucky ones, all is not lost. You can still enjoy your favorite SiriusXM channels. All you have to do is to add an aftermarket SiriusXM solution to your car, truck, or SUV.

Would Switching To An Aftermarket SiriusXM-Ready Car Stereo Do The Trick?

Radio ready

Swapping your factory stereo for a SiriusXM-ready stereo is one way to add satellite radio to your car. Yet, it’s a pretty impractical solution for many reasons:

  • Aftermarket car stereos that are SiriusXM-ready are fairly expensive.
  • Switching to an aftermarket stereo is a difficult and time-consuming process. Almost everyone hires a professional to do the job, and it will take them 2 to 4 hours.
  • You may not be able use your factory steering wheel controls with an aftermarket stereo.

If you ask us, switching to an aftermarket stereo is overkill when it comes to adding SiriusXM to your car. If your factory stereo still works well, there’s no reason to get rid of it. Some products will add SiriusXM to your car while letting you keep your factory stereo sound quality and controls.

Aftermarket SiriusXM solutions come in all shapes and sizes. Some solutions are integrated behind the dash. Other solutions are more obvious with stand-alone screens and visible wires. Let’s talk about the 3 most common aftermarket SiriusXM solutions:

1. Install A Stand-Alone Satellite Radio Unit To The Dash

This is probably the most straightforward solution. Stand-alone satellite radio units are tuners in the shape of a little box. They usually come with a mount to stick to the dash. Next, you run two wires:

  • One wire goes to the vehicle’s electrical system. This powers the satellite radio unit.
  • Another wire goes to an FM modulator. This is a mini FM radio station that broadcasts satellite radio over a short range. The actual FM radio picks up the signal and then plays the channel on your car’s factory stereo.

This is a good temporary solution. For example, it’s a good solution if you’re renting a car that doesn’t have SiriusXM built in. This setup isn’t ideal in the long term, though, for the following reasons:

  • Too much dash clutter
  • The mount may fall off eventually, especially on a hot day
  • It’s common for FM modulators to be buggy, meaning you won’t get the secure connection or sound quality you want
  • You can’t use your factory stereo controls to change satellite radio stations

2. Get An Aux Adapter Kit And Then Rig Up A Satellite Radio Receiver


This is a more convenient solution than the first option on this list. Does your factory stereo has an auxiliary input? You can buy a satellite receiver unit and then run a wire to the AUX input. You won’t need an FM modulator for this setup.

It comes with a few cons, though:

  • Too much dash clutter
  • The mount may fall off eventually, especially on a hot day
  • You can’t use your factory stereo controls to change satellite radio stations
  • Every time you want to listen to anything else through your factory stereo’s AUX input, you have to disconnect the satellite radio

3. Install A VAIS Satellite Radio Adapter Kit

Kit 2

This is the most streamlined solution on the list. A VAIS satellite radio adapter kit has everything you need to integrate satellite radio into your factory stereo. That means you can:

  • Enjoy factory-grade sound quality (no signal degradation)
  • Control satellite radio with your factory stereo controls (even those on the steering wheel)

There are two different types of VAIS kits available:

  1. One you can plug into the USB port in your armrest, dash, etc.
  2. One you can install behind the dash

With a VAIS satellite radio adapter kit installed in your car, you won’t have any dash clutter. Some auto dealers use VAIS satellite radio adapter kits to add satellite radio to their vehicles.

If you have any questions about adding SiriusXM to your car, contact us and we’ll be happy to answer them.

Categories: Satellite Radio