What Is a 1.5 DIN Car Stereo?

One and a half DINs: What does it mean and how can you replace one?

1.5 din radio in a car
Stockbyte / Getty

Car stereo head units come in all shapes and sizes, which can make upgrading a tricky task to figure out. The only official aftermarket head unit standard is known as "single-DIN," which specifies a height of roughly 2 inches and a width of about 7 inches.

Most cars came with either a single or double DIN radio, with "double" meaning twice that of single DIN. But there are thousands of vehicles with head units that fall into a strange in-between category. These head units are typically referred to as 1.5 DIN or Din-and-a-half.

What Is DIN-and-a-Half?

"1.5 DIN" or "Din-and-a-half" refers to head units that are sized somewhere between single and double-DIN units. Put simply, they are half the height of double DIN units—or half again the height of single DIN.

While dozens of automakers have used the single and double DIN form factors, 1.5 DIN is far less common. It is most often found in GM vehicles, including Chevy, Cadillac, and GMC cars and trucks.

In some cases, it can be tough to tell whether or not a vehicle has a 1.5 DIN radio. For that reason, it's a good idea to measure your head unit or consult a compatibility guide before purchasing an upgrade or replacement.

Car Radio DIN Measurements

While not all car radios conform to a DIN standard, the ones that do are uniform in height and width. Depth may vary, and there's no standard depth for car radios. However, determining whether you're working with a 1.5 DIN radio, or one of the other two, is really as simple as measuring the height of the unit.

Type Height Width
Single DIN 2 inches 7 inches
Double DIN 4 inches 7 inches
1.5 DIN (Din-and-a-half) 3 inches 7 inches

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

In most cases, 1.5 DIN car radios need to be replaced by either 1.5 DIN or single DIN aftermarket units. However, there are a few situations where it may be possible to install a full double DIN unit.

The only way to tell for sure is to remove the bezel around the radio to see how much space is available. If the original radio came with a spacer plate or storage pocket above or below the unit, then there may be enough space to fit a double DIN head unit.

In cases where there is enough space to replace a 1.5 DIN radio with a double DIN unit, then there may be a bezel or dash trim piece available for the vehicle. In other cases, the only available option is to fabricate a custom bezel or trim piece.

Aftermarket brackets are available for many situations where there is enough space in the dash to upgrade to double DIN. However, you may not be able to find one that works with any given head unit.

In dealing with the bezel, you have 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 fit both your dash and your new radio. Depending on the car you drive, you 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. That said, you shouldn't assume that a newer bezel, or any dash component, will properly 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 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 many cases, the best option is to call the dealer. If an aftermarket or OEM replacement isn’t an option, then modifying your existing bezel is the next best thing. There are people and companies out there who specialize in exactly this type of work.

Single DIN vs. 1.5 DIN

In most cases, the best option for upgrading a 1.5 DIN head unit is to just install an aftermarket single DIN head unit. Since single DIN is about an inch thinner than 1.5 DIN, replacing the larger of the two with the smaller doesn't require much extra work.

Some aftermarket car radio retailers even offer install kits that come with the appropriate brackets, spacers, or storage pockets to fill the gaps formed by the smaller replacement unit. The last step in our car stereo install guide shows 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 have fold-out touchscreens that are just as big as the fixed displays you find on double DIN units, so stepping down from double or 1.5 DIN to single DIN may not be the downgrade some people see it as. The array of options available from aftermarket head units is large.

  • What year did manufacturers stop installing the 1.5 DIN radio?

    Car stereos with 1.5 DIN head units were installed from the 1980s to the early 2000s. With some searching, you might be able to find 1.5 DIN stereo options for newer vehicle models. As with any head unit replacement, ensure your new car radio will fit based on specific measurements and the installation kit.

  • How do I install a double DIN car stereo?

    Replacing a car stereo comes with challenges, but if you're ready to tackle them, the first thing to do is gather essential supplies, such as screwdrivers, a pry bar, and a soldering iron. The main steps include removing the trim, unbolting the stereo, installing a mounting collar if necessary, and wiring up the new radio.

Was this page helpful?