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What Should I Consider When Buying a Car Stereo?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2016
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When it comes to buying a car stereo, there are several factors that you should keep in mind. Making this purchase requires that you know what you want as well as what you can afford.

One of the first things you should decide is what type of features you want with your new unit. Of course, the option of car radios as part of the car stereo system is a given. You will want the ability to at least access AM and FM radio bands with your card radio. But what about access to other bands and frequencies? There are car stereo systems that will pick up such other frequencies as weather bands, and other limited broadcasts. While you may not use them every day, access to these other bands may come in handy at some point.

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Once you have determined what you need as far as the radio in your car stereo, there is the matter of what type of additional audio media you would like to be able to play. If a CD player is desirable, perhaps a unit that allows for loading several CDs at once would be a great option. Think about whether or not you want a jack so that you can play your MP3 player through the stereo. For persons who still have their old cassettes, it is still possible to get a cassette deck when buying a car stereo, although the number of manufacturers of those car stereo units is dwindling with each passing year.

Once you know how you want to connect with your music, there is the matter of equipment. Part of buying a car stereo is deciding what components will provide the sound production that you crave for your vehicle. Determining what type of speakers you want for the system, as well as how many you would like, will depend a lot on the construction of your vehicle. Check the current system and see where the speakers are located. This will give you an idea of where and how many speaker units can be easily accommodated. But don’t think you are locked in to a particular number of speakers. As an example, if you have speakers in both front doors on the car, but none in the back, that does not mean you are stuck forever with just two speakers in the doors. Adding speakers to the rear may require some work, but a professional will know how to accomplish this without damaging the look of your interior.

Budget is another factor to take into consideration when buying a car stereo system. Determining exactly what you want in a car stereo will help you identify systems that have all the features you want. As you learn more about the various stereo systems that will provide you with your heart’s desire, you will also have the chance to compare prices. Don’t think that just because the first couple of stereos you look at are out of your price range that all the available models will be beyond your means. Buying one for a good price requires careful investigation of all models, watching for sales of models you like, and being able to keep looking when it seems as if your wallet and your dreams are not going to match up. By exercising some patience as you go through the steps, you will eventually find the right deal and have exactly what you want.

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anon952220
Post 4

You should also consider the impact it would have on your car insurance. Some insurance providers don't like insuring modified cars. It would be worth checking with a specialist car insurance broker to ensure you get the best deal.

Glasshouse
Post 3

@ Mitto- Is your car stereo double din or single din? If you are looking for just a head unit, there are some really nice pieces on the market that will look good and sound good for under $400. I dropped a Pioneer AVH-P3200 DVD receiver in my truck for less than four hundred. It is a double-din receiver though, so it won't fit in every ride. A top of the line single din CD receiver won't cost you more than $300 with all of the features you want. Anything over $300 will likely be a digital audio receiver, but those won't play CDs. Shop around...this time of year there are all kinds of deals, especially right after Christmas.

GenevaMech
Post 2

@ Mitto- You probably will not find a new system that has everything you are looking for under $400. The cheapest head units that feature built-in Bluetooth run about $250, you probably will not find the rest of the components for $150. You will also need someone to install all of the components unless you know what you are doing. To be able to determine what systems sounds the best; one would also need to know what you are installing it in.

If you just want a basic set-up, you should go to your local stereo shop or check car audio websites to see if the components you are looking for will fit. These places will also be able to tell you what you need, and how much you can expect to spend. They often run good car stereo deals if you buy components together.

mitto
Post 1

Hi!! I would like to buy a car audio system which should cater me to have 6 speakers + 1 woofer + 1 amplifier. Could you please let me know which model suits me the best. Budget within 400 US $. The headset should support, MP3, WMA, Bluetooth, CD TEXT.

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