Are General Motors radios interchangable?

I drive a 2001 Saturn SC2, and for the most part it’s been good to me, but it has one major shortcoming: the radio does not have an auxiliary input for my mp3 player. I don’t want to install an aftermarket radio. Not only are they beacons for thieves, but they have way too many buttons and generally sacrifice ease of use for style. A few years ago I had an FM modulator installed, and that worked for a while, but lately a radio station has been crowding out the modulator’s signal. Now I’m looking at my options again.

Many (most?) newer cars have radios that include an auxiliary jack. Would it be possible for me to get a radio for a newer GM car and swap it in for my current radio? Has anyone ever done something like this?

As always, the best resource for all things car stereo is Look up your car and look up a hypothetical newer car and see what radios are listed as exact-fit options.

If the selections are essentially the same, chances are good that the factory radio from the newer car will work in yours.

The radio that came with your car was probably made by Delco Electronics. I assume you’d like another Delco radio just an updated version with the input jack.
Your best bet would be to contact a Saturn dealer and ask what radio options they have to replace what’s in there. I’m sure they can tell you what upgrades or replacements are available.
If there is no comparable replacement you may have to go to an aftermarket deck (Pioneer, Sony, etc.). Any carfi dealer can get you a decent replacement and install it to fit like a glove. Not all of them are elaborate and difficult to use and basic units aren’t really sought after by thieves. They’re more apt to go after high-end stuff.

Try an auto salvage yard. The biggest problem is going to be ensuring the wiring harnesses are the same. I’ve installed several after-market decks from Crutchfield, and they have all included (some for a fee) a harness that plugs into the cars wiring. It’s a really simple operation, and one can be had for as little as $50, depending on what you want.

If, on the other hand, you are insistent on sticking with a factory model, you may want to try an auto salvage yard. I was at a few this weekend, and about half tended to still have the factory radio intact. I would guess all GMs would use the same screw pattern, and the same factory harness. I do know that GM uses a different factory FM antenna connector, that you’d have to buy ($15, max, or Crutchfield may offer free) if you do opt for an after-market.

In either case, you can contact me if you’d like any advice or run into any trouble with the installs, I’ve done plenty. The hardest part is taking off the dash, because it’s a little scary, but it just pops off without any tools.

ETA: Worst case, you can buy a FM modulator that runs in line with your antenna, and will always be stronger than the signals in the air. In this case, however, you’d need two adaptors, one for each end. I’m with the others with saying you should go for an inexpensive after-market deck.

I don’t know much about this issue except to say that I believe a lot of Delco/GM radios from 2003 on use some kind of bus system to turn them on and off (i.e. a signal from the vehicles computer) and that a lot of functions like door chimes, seat belt chimes are handled by the radio.

I have a 2001 Suburban and was told that I can’t use a radio from a 2004 because of this.

Right. Crutchfield will let you know, it seems the OP’s doesn’t use a BUS system (no clue what the acronym means), since this is listed on the website, after you add a random radio to the cart and see what harness you need:

On my Charger, I simply left the BUS wires intact on the factory harness, with no problems. When I installed the adapter to allow the steering wheel controls to work with the after-market deck, I spliced it directly to those wires, with no problems. On my Dakota, I have no idea if it has BUS wires or not.

Good point, something to look into.