The following guide describes how to disassemble the dashboard of the 2004 Toyota Prius in order to remove the stereo to install aftermarket accessories. It is geared towards installing a Neo CD-changer to RCA (aka line-in) adapter, although what you install after disassembling the dash is up to you (see
pg 11 for a discussion of various options). It was based on disassembling a Prius without a factory CD
changer or tape deck, though I would guess that the process wouldn’t change much if either of those
components were installed. It was written by an average Prius owner who has no formal electrical or
automotive maintenance training, so use at your own risk.
With those warnings in mind, I have disassembled my dash twice without damage to my vehicle, and I
have done my best to make this guide as clear and easy to follow as possible. I would normally
recommend disconnecting a car’s battery before exposing its internal workings, but I do not know if it
is possible to disconnect the Prius’s huge battery array, or if trying to do so could cause damage to the
car. My battery remained connected during my two dashboard disassemblies.
Tools you will need:
· 10mm socket wrench (an adjustable wrench will not fit, as the bolts are inset)
· A large Phillips head screwdriver.
· A small flathead screwdriver used for pressing small latches.
· A pair of medium plyers, with wide, flat ends (not needle
· A flat piece of wood or plastic 2 or 3mm thick and at least an
inch wide. This will be used for prying out plastic panels, so it
must be wood or plastic so it won’t scratch the finish. I
personally used a wooden paint stirrer broken in h alf (circled in
green to the right).
Surprisingly, the Prius is mostly held together by neon -yellow snaps
(shown to the left). These are not the kind of snaps that require you to
pinch them to release them. You merely pull against them until they
come loose. Throughout this guide I will highlight these snaps with
Unfortunately, to get the stereo out, you must remove eight
other parts first, including two panels behind the steering
wheel. Most parts have edges that are held down by other
parts, so they must be removed in a specific order without
too much deviation.
The first piece to remove is the silver vent to the left of the
steering wheel (outlined in blue to the right). It has two
catches on the top (circled in blue) that wi ll release when
you push down on the top of the vent and pull back. They
are not the same as the other neon yellow snaps (circled in
yellow) which release just by pulling straight back. The
thin wooden tool (upper left of the picture) can be useful
here for pushing the top tabs down and pulling back,
although just pushing with your fingers should be enough.
Once the top is unsnapped, try to use the friction of your fingers to pull back on the very bottom of the vent (you’ll also be pulling up a little because of the way the surface is
angled) until it snaps out. Trying to get the bottom to snap
out by pulling at the top did not work for me. You can
more clearly see the location of each tab once the vent
piece is removed (shown below).