Choosing a new radio for your truck

Need a great new radio for your farm truck or tractor? There are many options and functions available. A new radio can be as simple as AM / FM with a clock display, or it can include features like Bluetooth for hands-free cellular communication, SiriusXM satellite radio, and even weather band for those whose work day is affected by the weather.

When it comes time to replace a semi truck radio, many people often worry about the wiring. Of course, this is an important first step. However, the critical part is that you don’t cut the wires. No need to cut the factory wiring on any large equipment just to replace the radio. What most drivers or maintenance personnel will quickly realize is that, unlike a car stereo, all the wiring behind the radio on a truck is either white or gray, or a combination of both. This type of wiring is not very intuitive, which means 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, cutting and splicing cables is still not recommended.

The next and perhaps the most important aspect to consider is quality. What’s the point in replacing the radio with a malfunctioning aftermarket radio that is very likely to fail in a short amount of time? The conditions in a semi-trailer truck are not the same as those in cars and other passenger vehicles, so the use of an aftermarket radio from a superstore is not recommended at all. We’ve all learned that getting a job done right the first time means you won’t have to do it a second time.

The best radios for semi trailers are heavy duty radios made by Delphi and Panasonic. Many times these stereos will accept the wiring connector placed on the 2005 and newer model year semis by the manufacturer, be it Freightliner, International, Kenworth, Mack, Peterbilt, Volvo, or Western Star. 2004 and earlier require a wiring adapter, but no cutting or splicing will be required. Just plug the adapter into the truck’s cable connector and plug the adapter into the new radio. When you buy 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 dealer, the cost will be significant. While buying online means you won’t have the new radio in your hands today, it also means big savings on the exact same equipment. There are some online stores that do a lot with Delphi and Panasonic truck radios so they can save you a lot of money and ensure proper fit as well as retention of the steering wheel and bedroom controls.