Make Your Next Family Road Trip Enjoyable With a Navigation System and Car DVD Player


Family road trips are part of the American dream, but they come with four nagging words that we all know very well: are we there yet? These four words have been the bane of parents trying to take their family someplace entertaining, enlightening, or just relaxing for years. The result is that by the time most parents arrive at their destination, they are not exactly in the most relaxed state of mind. There is a solution, and one that can be surprisingly affordable: car navigation systems with DVD players.
At first this might seem like a very expensive option, but it may not be nearly as bad as it seems at first glance. Affordable DVD/navigation combo systems from name brand companies start at around $300 at the time of this writing, and they keep getting more affordable. It is possible to spend more on a navigation system with DVD functionality and get more out of it, but it is also important to consider the installation costs.

Installation costs will vary from one city to the next, but an hour or two of labor at anywhere from $50 to just over $120 can significantly alter the value of any DVD entertainment and navigation system. There is an alternative to paying high installation fees: do it yourself. Note that installing a DVD navigation combo system might sound like a complex task, but it is actually not that difficult.
The first step is to ensure that a compatible head unit is selected. Some head units will require additional adapters or harness adapters to work with some makes and models. Size is also an important factor to consider, so be sure to measure the actual dimensions available before making a purchase.
Also be sure to consider future upgrades and current needs when evaluating potential navigation systems. If BlueTooth functionality, USB/iPod/MP3 support, and/or satellite radio capabilities are desired, they will need to be supported via alternate inputs. Additionally, these add-ons need to be controlled from the head unit, so make sure that the head unit does indeed support add-ons if they are going to be required down the road or an expensive replacement might be in order.
Once the navigation system DVD player combo has been purchased, it is time to install it. Before any installation can begin, the dashboard face usually needs to be removed. Each vehicle is unique in their approach to removing and replacing dashboard components, so be sure to consult the repair manual or look online for further details. Be very careful when removing the dashboard face for the first time as it is likely that many controls will still be wired into it. Remove these wires carefully and keep them separate from the audio controls.
Remove the existing head unit and unfasten its harness. Be sure that the harnesses are identical to those used by the new navigation system and car DVD player. If the wires or harness do not seem to mesh then stop and consult a professional. Be sure to use wire caps and crimp wires firmly. Wires will come loose over time if they are not crimped tightly and some people go the extra mile by using superglue to firmly seal their caps.
Connect the new head unit and screw it in. If there are any included antennae, be sure to find an appropriate place to mount them. If there are any other installation steps, such as the installation of a back up camera, be sure to finish these before proceeding to the next step.
Re-attach the wires to the back of the dashboard faceplate but do not replace the faceplate just yet. First, turn the vehicle on to ensure that everything works properly. If something is not working at this stage, seek troubleshooting advice from the included manual.
Finally, replace the faceplate and screw or otherwise attach everything the way that it was before the installation process began. It is now time to test all features one more time just to be sure that everything is indeed working as promised. If all is working then give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back as you just saved a hundred or more dollars while simultaneously finding a way to make the American road trip a far less stressful event for all parties involved.

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