How To Install A HUD (8-Step Guide)

Have you ever wondered what a HUD is and how you could install one yourself? Don't worry, we've got you covered!

In this guide, you'll learn:

  • Should you have a HUD professionally installed or DIY?
  • Cost of installing a HUD
  • How to install a HUD device

And much more!

How to Install A HUD

With every passing year, automotive technology continues to advance, revolutionizing the way we commute and how we think about driving in general. 

If you were to look at two similar vehicles, with ten years separating their production, their differences would be vast. 

One particular advancement that has come of age in the past decade is that of factory-installed HUD units. HUD stands for Heads-Up Display. 

Heads-Up Display unit projects specific vehicle operating data, such as that from the speedometer, onto a car or truck’s windshield. In doing so, an individual can monitor vital data, without ever taking their eyes off the road. This report tells more in-depth information about Heads-Up Displays.

So, if you're ready to learn more about installing your HUD, keep reading below for my step-by-step guide!

Should You Have A HUD Installed Or DIY Install A HUD?

In the last few years, several manufacturers have begun producing aftermarket HUD units. These units can be installed in virtually any vehicle, creating a seamless look and modern conveniences for all to appreciate. 

Though most would think that installing an aftermarket HUD unit would be rather involved and quite difficult, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, installation is often so easy, that even the most novice of at-home mechanics can install a car HUD unit in only minutes. 

For more information about HUD units, read this study on HUD devices.

Because of this ease of installation, there is virtually no reason to have a unit of this nature professionally installed. Doing so would equate to an unnecessary expenditure of time and money.

What Are The Price Ranges For DIY HUD Installation?

The expenditure associated with DIY HUD display installation is relatively minimal, and seldom includes any additional costs beyond that of the HUD unit itself. HUD units come in a wide range of prices.

However, most are still far more affordable than many consumers would think. 

The following are average figures for costs associated with DIY HUD installation.

Low-End Cost: $20-$30

Average Cost: $40-$50

High-End Cost: $60-$70

Did You Know? Heads-up display facts

Tools/Equipment Needed For Installing A HUD Unit

The list of required tools and materials for HUD installation is relatively limited. Most individuals will already have everything at home or in their garage that is needed to complete the process.

In the event that you do not already own these items, they can be purchased from any hardware store for a minimal cost.

  • Alcohol Wipes 
  • Glass Cleaner
  • Paper Towel
  • Zip-Ties
  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • ¼” Drive Ratchet
  • ¼” Drive Metric Socket Set

Read More >> How to Install a GPS Tracker

What Are The Price Ranges For Professional HUD Install?

Much of the difference in price between DIY HUD installation and having a job of this nature completed by a professional installer, stems from the shop labor expenses that are incurred during the latter.

Professional shops and service centers must account for their overhead. This overhead includes utility costs, expenditure on standard shop supplies, insurance, and payroll obligations.

The bulk of these costs are passed down to the service center’s customers.

Labor costs typically range from $85-$110 per hour. The installation of and HUD unit takes only a minimal amount of time to complete. However, you will still likely be responsible for at least 1-hour of labor costs, plus the cost of your HUD unit. 

The following are average costs associated with professional HUD installation.

Low-End Cost: $105-$115

Average Cost: $135-$150

High-End Cost: $175-$190

How To Install A HUD (Easy 8-Step Guide)

  1. Locate OBD2 Port
  2. Plug Cable Into OBD2 Port
  3. Choose Location For Display
  4. Remove Trim/Route Wiring
  5. Position HUD
  6. Test For Functionality
  7. Install Reflective Film
  8. Tie Up Wires/Reinstall Trim

While not all aftermarket HUD units are identical, the following steps describe the basics of the installation process, which are generally universal across the board.

Always consult any instructions that come with your head-up display unit of choice, before installation.

Step 1 - Locate OBD2 Port

Most aftermarket HUD units rely upon a vehicle’s OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) port for data delivery. OBD2 ports can be found on virtually all vehicles produced since 1996. To locate this port, look underneath the driver's side of the dash. This port will be located in the dead-center position on some vehicles, and offset to one side on others.

Step 2 - Plug Cable Into OBD2 Port

You will now take your data cable from the HUD kit, and plug the corresponding end into your vehicle’s OBD2 port. Ensure that a solid connection has been made.

Step 3 - Choose Location For Display

At this point, you will need to decide as to where you would like the data to be projected on your windshield. The location of this display will directly influence how you proceed when routing the unit's wiring. Some drivers prefer data to be displayed directly above the steering wheel, while others choose a location that is more toward the center of the windshield.

Step 4 - Remove Trim/Route Wiring

With the location of your data display determined, you will now remove all necessary trim to route all wiring in a discreet manner. This routing is best accomplished by removing the driver side kick paneling and pillar trim.

This allows you access to run the unit’s wiring harness from the under dash area to the unit’s final location on top of the dash, without leaving wires exposed.

On the majority of vehicles, this trim is fixed in place by retaining clips, push-tab fasteners, screws, or bolts.

Step 5 - Position HUD

With the unit’s wires routed as desired, use an alcohol wipe to clean the portion of the dash where the HUD is to be placed. Once this has been completed, you will place the unit’s adhesive sticky pad into place, then mount the HUD head on top of it.

Step 6 - Test For Functionality

You will now start your vehicle to ensure that your newly installed HUD functions as anticipated. If the proper function is noted, proceed to step #7. If your HUD is not working properly, double-check your connection at the OBD2 port.

Step 7 - Install Reflective Film

Most HUD kits come with a reflective film that can be placed on the windshield that increases the visibility of the unit’s readings. This film can be installed by spraying a light coat of Windex on the windshield where the film is to be placed, followed by lightly pressing the film onto the windshield while eliminating all air pockets.

Step 8 - Tie Up Wires/Reinstall Trim

You will now zip-tie up extra lengths of wiring to minimize excessive slack. Reattach all previously removed trim paneling, ensuring that they are tight and secure.

HUD Installation Made Easy

As high-tech as a HUD might seem, the installation of such a unit seldom requires much expenditure of time or money. With a couple of hours of labor and a few basic hand tools, you too can experience the HUD advantage. Above all else, you will also be able to take pride in a job well done.

Read More >> How to Restore Headlights

About Your Mechanic

About Josh Boyd

I’ve been an ASE Certified automotive/heavy equipment technician since 2010. I began my career performing basic automotive maintenance at a service center before working as a Toyota technician at my local dealership.

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