Are you in need of a great new radio for your semi truck or farm tractor? There are many options and many features available. A new radio can be as simple as AM/FM with clock display, or it can include features such as Bluetooth for hands-free cellular communication, SiriusXM satellite radio, and even weather-band for those who’s work day is affected by the weather.
When it’s time to replace a semi truck radio many people often worry about the wiring. This is an important first step of course. The critical part however is you do not cut the wires. There is no need to cut into factory wiring in any big rig just to replace the radio. What most drivers and or maintenance personnel will quickly realize is that unlike a car stereo, all of the wiring behind the radio in a semi truck are white or gray, or a combination of both colors. This type of wiring is not very intuitive, meaning that it is impossible to identify which wires are speaker wires and which are power wires without using a special tool called a multimeter. Even with this tool it is still not recommended to cut and splice wires.
The next and maybe most important aspect to consider is quality. What’s the point in replacing the radio with an aftermarket radio which performs poorly and is most likely sure to fail in a short period of time? Conditions in a semi truck are not the same as those in cars and other passenger vehicles so using an off the shelf super store aftermarket radio is absolutely not recommended. We’ve all learned that doing a job right the first time means you won’t have to do it a second time.
The best radios for semi trucks are of the heavy-duty variety manufactured by Delphi and Panasonic. Many times these stereos will accept the wiring connector placed in model year 2005 and newer semis by the manufacturer whether it be Freightliner, International, Kenworth, Mack, Peterbilt, Volvo or Western Star. Trucks and tractors who’s model year is 2004 and earlier will likely require a wiring adapter, but still no cutting and splicing will be required. Simply connect the adapter to the truck wire connector and plug the adapter into the new radio. When you purchase one of these heavy-duty Delphi or Panasonic radios it will include a tool to easily remove the existing radio. This tool should be kept in a safe place for future use.
When purchasing one of these Delphi or Panasonic radios from your dealership the cost will be significant. While shopping online means that you won’t have the new radio in your hands today, it also means huge savings on the exact same equipment. There are a few online shops that do a lot with Delphi and Panasonic truck radios so they can save you a pile of cash and can guarantee a proper fit, as well as retention of steering wheel and sleeper controls.