I have an '03 Chevy Impala, and I wanted to upgrade its OEM radio (head unit) with an aftermarket one. I just have one concern.

I recently realized (after reading the manual!) that the car has a "secret" settings menu. If the key is at "ON" (or "ACC"), you turn the radio off, and hold down "DISP" for 10 sec, the radio says "settings".

This menu has things like "reset oil life", whether the doors auto (un-)lock when shifting, whether the lights stay on after leaving the car, etc. I think it even has a option to sync remotes.

I was wondering if it would be possible to access those settings with an aftermarket radio. My Googling has turned up almost no info. The best I can find is this: http://www.crutchfield.com/p_120GMRC01/Metra-VT-GMRC-01-Factory-Integration-Adapter.html

It keeps the chirp sounds, when you open the door, for example. That's great, but is there an adapter to change my car's "secret" settings?

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    I would think the answer is "almost certainly not". This settings menu is likely to use some kind of proprietary interface that it wouldn't make sense for a stereo manufacturer to bother supporting.
    – mac
    Sep 6, 2013 at 18:35
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    @mac: That's what I was afraid of! Guess I should just set them the way I want now and leave them that way :)
    – gen_Eric
    Sep 6, 2013 at 18:36
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    Maybe there is a way of keeping part of the factory unit connected while routing the audio to the new stereo, or maybe there is a secondary way of accessing the cars computer.
    – Seminecis
    Sep 6, 2013 at 21:50
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    @Seminecis: That's what I was curious about. Like is there a external controller I can use, or something?
    – gen_Eric
    Sep 6, 2013 at 22:26
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    I think, in this case, it would help to call a Chevy dealership to see what they recommend. I imagine they would have dealt with this before. I can't find anything online, as of yet, that mentions anything helpful.
    – Seminecis
    Sep 6, 2013 at 22:29

5 Answers 5


I called a local Chevy dealership's service department out of curiosity. The technician I spoke to said that there is no way to access the car settings, that are available through the stock stereo, if the unit is replaced.

He mentioned the factory integration adapter that you linked to. He said that it doesn't do anything to access those settings and that he has never seen or heard of a way to retain access to those settings if a new stereo is put in.

That is just one service department's experience but, it sounds like hacking your own solution is going to be your only bet.


I doubt you will find an aftermarket radio with the functionality of the stock unit.

The functionality you are describing is actually the responsibility of the Body Control Module. The radio is just communicating with it over a CAN (Controller Area Network) Bus. With the proper aftermarket tools, you could probably rig something up to access/change the settings, but it would be a project. A sufficiently advanced scan tool might be able to do it, too, but the only one I can think of off the top of my head would be a GM Tech 2. They're not cheap.

You can probably reset the oil life with the gas pedal. Turn the key to the accessory position and push the gas pedal three times. The change oil light should blink twice.


Find an extension or 'relocation' T-harness, it both extends radio wiring to the trunk, fishing it through the cabin, and leaves you the necessary connectors behind the dash. Bolt the radio into the trunk under the package shelf. These exist, search for '2000 impala t-harness', they are the same from 2000-2005.


If the stock head unit houses functionality as you describe, you can either live without that functionality or architect your audio upgrade to be of the OEM integration type. Audio Control makes some good devices for this, as do other manufacturers. It is basically going to take the high-level outs from the stock headunit and convert to a level appropriate for feeding amplifiers.

This works well if the stock head stereo has all the features you need, such as ipod interface, etc. But if not you have to get creative. It isn't too hard to add an aux input to an OEM integration job.

You might find someone builds a kit for this. But a quick hop into a chevy impala forum, it looks like most people just install an aftermarket head unit and live with not having the oil change indicator accurate or resettable. You'd be best to research this in a form specific to chevy impala's.



Found this for my daughters car


  • Please elaborate on what this product is in case the link goes bad someday. Jul 14, 2017 at 22:54

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