Should I let my friend install an audio system in my car, or an auto shop?


Junior Member
Feb 12, 2016
One of my friends offered me to install an audio system in my car (adding&picking a sub, speakers, amp, wiring them all up to an existing head unit, or possibly researching a new head unit, and in the end, tucking the wires in nicely throughout the vehicle).

It is understood by me that he is willing to do any of the labor for free, and I will be only paying for any purchased components.  The total budget will likely be well below $1000, and that is "the main hook" of going that route for me.  In comparison, two or three audio shops in my area quoted me anywhere from $1500 to over $2000 to do a similar install.

There is also a local audio shop that I worked with before, that will likely charge me under $1200, but they have yet to give me a quote.

I was concerned about my friend's experience level, so I asked him about how many audio installs he had done.  He said about seven. 

Later, I went to the local audio shop and they didn't tell me how many audio installs they've done, but they showed me a list of customers, which was well over a thousand, suggesting that they've done this many installs.  I can't imagine them having done that many installs, since I can't imagine that every customer ended up purchasing an audio system/service from them, but I can likely assume that they've more than seven audio installations.

Question: Is there any reason for me to go with the option of letting my friend install an audio system in my car, versus having it installed at the audio shop?

I guess what I'm asking is, is it worth paying more money to the audio shop that likely has more experience with installations, compared to my friend, who may not have such experience, but he had done more than a few (7) audio installs, and can take his time, explain what he's doing, and so on.

Does anyone has experience to nudge me one way or another?


Popwarhomie Elite VIP
5,000+ posts
10+ year member
Jan 22, 2010
Do it yourself. Ask questions here.



Gunz That Turn on Nunz
5,000+ posts
Feb 5, 2013
South Coast Metro, CA
as long as your buddy doesnt cut the stock harness i'd say he'll be fine.



Nov 6, 2013
I've done 4 installs, and its not that difficult. Check out his system, and if you are satisfied, let him do it. As previously recommended, don't let him cut the existing harness.



Mar 5, 2014
Covina CA
I agree with the other posters. See his work and or learn to do it yourself. I have automotive experience and i learned to do it myself years ago.
And yes, Don't cut that main harness wires.

I asked questions and read info and learned for myself. I had a bad experience with a audio shop that did a butchers job and that was it for me.
What audio shop runs a main power wire right under the carpet of your passenger front floor board were your passenger puts there feet. Luck it did not fray or get cut open and short out everything. It was a worn wire when i did my own install and pulled out all the old wire and HU and amps. Old system was in there for close to 10 years before i did a major upgrade.

I would maybe go one step further if possible, get the details in writing if possible so if he does crew up and say car gets fried he will be responsible.
Maybe i watch to much Judge Judy or court stuff. Seen to many episodes where friends helped friends and stuff happens and now there in court. If you ask him to sign the papers to protect yourself he may get defensive and say no. But it is as they say, better to be safe then sorry. Have that back up plan and ask that shop to hurry up with that quote. Professional Audio shops have insurance for if anything happens.

Friend did ask me recently after her and i drove someplace and she heard my nice sound system. She said she had some older equipment and asked maybe i could install it for her in her Nissan Sentra . I did not want to and just doged the question. Because i did not want any problems to happen and i have to pay big money to fix her car. Oh did i say i am also a women who did many upgrades installs to my own vehicle. :)

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