How to Install an Aftermarket Android Auto System in a Volkswagen Beetle?

In the age of smartphones and wireless connectivity, the need for seamless integration of your vehicle with your digital life is becoming increasingly essential. The Android Auto platform offers a robust solution for connecting your Android device with your vehicle, allowing you to access and control various apps right from your car’s dashboard. Although many newer vehicles come with a built-in Android Auto compatible system, many older models like the iconic Volkswagen Beetle may require an aftermarket upgrade to enjoy this feature. This article will guide you through the steps to install an aftermarket Android Auto system in a Volkswagen Beetle.

1. Choosing the Right Aftermarket Android Auto System

Before you roll up your sleeves and start the installation, it’s crucial to find the right aftermarket Android Auto system that is compatible with your Volkswagen Beetle.

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Different aftermarket systems offer varying features and compatibility. Some systems offer Bluetooth functionality, while others rely on a USB connection. Many modern systems also support wireless Android Auto, which connects your phone to your car via WiFi.

When choosing an aftermarket system, consider the size of the screen you want. Systems typically come in 7-inch or 10-inch screen sizes. The larger the screen, the easier it will be to see your navigation and audio controls.

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Look for a system that also includes GPS navigation. This feature will allow you to use apps like Google Maps or Waze directly from the system, without needing your phone. Some systems even provide rear-view camera compatibility, providing an additional layer of safety when reversing or parking.

2. Removing the Old Radio System

Once you’ve chosen your aftermarket Android Auto system, the next step is to safely remove the existing radio system from your Beetle.

Start by disconnecting the battery to prevent any electrical accidents. Then, using a radio removal tool, carefully remove the old radio from the dashboard. Be sure to keep track of any screws or clips that hold the radio in place, as you may need them when installing the new system.

After the radio is removed, disconnect the wiring harness and the antenna. It’s important to be careful during this stage to avoid damaging any of the wires, which can impede the installation of your new system.

3. Installing the Aftermarket System

With the old radio out of the way, you can now proceed to install your new Android Auto system.

First, connect the new system’s wiring harness to the car’s wiring harness. This is usually a simple plug-and-play operation, but if the connectors don’t match, you may need an adapter.

Next, connect the system’s GPS antenna and, if applicable, the USB and WiFi antennas. These should be placed in a location that allows for clear reception.

Once the wiring is connected, you can mount the system in the dashboard. The system should come with its own mounting brackets. If it doesn’t, or if the brackets don’t fit your Beetle’s dashboard, you may need to buy a separate mounting kit.

4. Testing the System

After successfully installing the Android Auto system in your Volkswagen Beetle, it’s time to test it out.

Reconnect the car battery and turn on the system. Pair your Android device via Bluetooth or connect it using a USB cable. If your system supports wireless Android Auto, you can also connect your device via WiFi.

Once connected, you should be able to access your phone’s apps on the system’s screen. Test out various features, including the audio, GPS navigation, and any other features your system might have.

5. Troubleshooting Common Issues

Despite your best efforts, you may encounter a few hitches when installing an aftermarket Android Auto system.

If the system doesn’t power on, check your wiring connections. A loose or incorrect connection could be the cause. If the system isn’t detecting your Android device, ensure that your device is compatible with Android Auto and that it’s running the latest software version.

Should you experience poor audio quality, it could be due to a faulty audio connection or a problem with the speakers. In case of poor GPS reception, try adjusting the positioning of the GPS antenna for a better signal.

By following these steps, you should be able to install an aftermarket Android Auto system in your Volkswagen Beetle, bringing modern connectivity to your classic ride.

6. Additional Features for Enhanced Driving Experience

Beyond the standard Android Auto features, there are many add-ons that can further enhance your driving experience.

For instance, steering wheel controls can be integrated into your Android Auto system. This feature allows you to control your audio, answer or end calls, and even navigate through your apps without taking your hands off the wheel. Keep in mind that not all aftermarket systems support this feature, so check the specifications before purchasing.

Another beneficial feature to consider is the reverse camera or backup camera. If your chosen Android Auto system supports this feature, you can install an AHD backup camera that sends high-definition video to your system’s screen when reversing. This can be especially helpful for parking in tight spaces or for avoiding unseen obstacles.

A touch screen is another feature to consider. This technology makes the system easier to use and more intuitive. Touch your way through your music library, navigation apps, and phone contacts with ease.

Lastly, you may want to look for a system that supports Apple CarPlay. If you switch between Android and iOS devices or if other drivers in your household use iPhones, this feature ensures broad compatibility.

7. Maintaining Your Android Auto System

Once you’ve successfully installed the Android Auto system in your Volkswagen Beetle, it’s essential to maintain it to ensure it continues to function correctly.

Firstly, keep your system’s software up-to-date. Updates often include new features, performance improvements, and bug fixes that can enhance your user experience.

Regularly clean the touch screen gently to remove fingerprints, dust, and other dirt that could affect visibility and sensitivity. Use a microfiber cloth and avoid harsh cleaning agents to prevent damage to the screen.

If your system includes a GPS navigation feature, updating your maps is crucial for accurate navigation. Most systems will prompt you when an update is available, but it’s a good idea to check manually every so often.

Lastly, if you’re experiencing any issues with your Android Auto system that you can’t solve, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. The manufacturer or retailer where you bought the system can often provide technical assistance.


Installing an aftermarket Android Auto system in your Volkswagen Beetle is no small task, but with the right preparation and guidance, it’s certainly possible. The process involves choosing a compatible system, removing the old car radio, installing the new head unit, testing it, and possibly troubleshooting some common issues.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you can enjoy the convenience and connectivity of Android Auto, even in an older model like the Volkswagen Beetle. Whether it’s accessing your favorite Play Store apps, using GPS navigation, enjoying wireless CarPlay, or utilizing a backup camera, this modern upgrade can significantly enhance your driving experience.

Remember, the key to a successful installation lies in careful planning, patience, and attention to detail. With these traits, you’re well on your way to bringing your classic Beetle into the modern age of digital connectivity.