What is a 1.5 DIN Car Stereo?

One and a Half DINs

1.5 din radio
If it's bigger than single and smaller than double, it might just be 1.5 DIN. Stockbyte / Getty

Question: Is there such a thing as a 1.5 DIN car stereo?

I recently received an ‘02 Chevy Blazer from my elderly grandfather who can’t drive anymore. The truck is in great shape, and since I got it for free, I thought I’d spend a little money fixing up the sound system. Unfortunately, the double DIN head unit I bought doesn’t seem to fit. The head unit in the truck seems to be somewhere in between a double and single DIN in height, so what gives?

Answer: Somewhere Between DIN and Double DIN

Single and double DIN are by and large the most common form factors for car head units, but there are a handful of exceptions. Unfortunately, you seem to have ran into one of them.

Although 1.5 DIN isn’t an official head unit standard, neither is the much more common double DIN. The only codified head unit form factor is single DIN, which specifies a width and a height. Double DIN head units are simply twice as tall.

In much the same way, some automakers have produced head units that fall roughly in between single and double DIN in height, which amounts to about 3 inches. Unfortunately for you, pre-2003 S-10s, which includes Blazers, did fall into that category.

There are a number of different ways to proceed when you find yourself trying to upgrade a 1.5 DIN radio, and one of them even involves keeping the double DIN head unit you already bought.

Fitting a Double DIN Head Unit into a 1.5 DIN Car Stereo Slot

If you’ve already removed your bezel, then you know what you’re working with. In the case of your Blazer, there should be enough vertical space to fit a double DIN head unit, although you’ll probably have to fashion some type of bracket to actually secure it in place.

Aftermarket brackets are available for many applications where there is enough space in the dash to upgrade from 1.5 DIN to double DIN, although you may or may not be able to find one that works with any given head unit. Either way, you'll want to actually measure instead of just taking it as a given.

Actually installing a double DIN head unit in place of a 1.5 DIN unit is the easy part. After that, you have to deal with the bezel, and you’re essentially looking at three options:

  1. Buy an aftermarket bezel or car stereo dash kit that’s designed to accept double DIN head units.
    • You need to make sure that the aftermarket component will both fit your dash and your new radio.
    • Depending on the car you drive, you may or may not be able to find this type of aftermarket component.
  2. Buy an OEM bezel for a newer version of your vehicle that’s designed for double DIN head units.
    • In a perfect world, this is the easiest and cleanest option.
    • We don't live in a perfect world, so you can't just assume that a newer bezel, or any dash component, will actually fit an older vehicle.
  3. ​Pay for someone to modify your bezel, or do it yourself.
    • Modifying your dash yourself can be messy, so it isn't for the faint of heart.
    • Hiring someone to do this type of work can also be hit or miss, so make sure that you find someone with a proven track record.
    • When done professionally, this type of modification can look just as clean as a factory install.

    In the specific case of a pre-2003 Blazer, the second option is probably going to be the easiest. I’m pretty sure that ‘02 was the cutoff for 1.5 DIN head units in the Blazer, and an ‘03 bezel should fit your vehicle. Just to be sure, you might want to call your dealer, or even visit and ask to look at their parts diagrams, or the actual parts, if they are on hand.

    If an aftermarket or OEM replacement isn’t an option, then modifying your existing bezel is. There are people out there who specialize in exactly this type of work, although you can do it yourself if you’re good at that sort of thing.

    Cutting out the bezel so that the double DIN head unit fits shouldn’t be that hard, although doing it so that the finished product looks good can be difficult.

    Single DIN vs. 1.5 DIN

    If you can return the head unit you bought, and you’re not averse to going with a single DIN unit, then that’s actually going to be the easiest course of action. Since single DIN is about an inch thinner than 1.5 DIN, you can replace the latter with the former without any extra work.

    You might even be able to find an install kit that comes with a new bracket, and a storage pocket that makes use of the extra inch of void space under your new head unit. Check out the last page of our car stereo install guide to see what a single DIN head unit with a storage pocket looks like.

    Although double DIN head units are great for video, navigation, and other functions, you can find single DIN head units that stack up pretty well. Some single DIN head units even have fold-out touchscreens that are just as big as the static screens you see on double DIN units, so stepping “down” from double or 1.5 DIN to single DIN might not be the downgrade that some people see it as.

    Whatever you decide to do, make sure to check out all your options before you make a final decision.

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