If you want to turn your car into a radio on wheels but don’t want to break your budget, there are some easy things you can do to crank up the quality of car stereo systems.
Changing one part of an audio system can deliver a big change in sound quality, or you might opt to change more than one part, depending on your listening needs and how much you want to invest in your stereo system. A look at the basic details that are described by Popular Mechanics as being similar to all radios shows you the different audio components you can upgrade:
- Incoming Power Source – This detail is really just an “FYI” note. Most radios run on 12-volt power sources, and while this detail is important to know when hooking up the radio and getting fuses for your car, it isn’t a place where you can typically make a lot of upgrades.
- Outgoing Wiring – The outgoing wires are another less common place to look when upgrading your audio system, but wires are important in getting clear, static-free sound quality. Be aware of the wire harness if you want to change the head unit because choosing wires with the right plug-and-play adapters makes it easier to connect the new components.
- Head Unit – It’s important to look for the head unit features that deliver what you enjoy in a stereo system. You can choose a head unit with integrated features, or one that you’ll be able to upgrade via a USB port, an SD card reader, or one that has an auxiliary input connection so you can connect your MP3 player. Head units are available in a wide range of prices and it’s possible to find a high-quality one at a great price.
- Speakers – Many cars come from the factory with a basic speaker system that delivers nice sound quality, but not thumping sound or vibrant high tones. Changing out the standard OEM speakers for a set with higher-quality tweeters to deliver high notes—plus stronger woofers to deliver deeper bass tones and subwoofers to really bring the beat alive—gives your car audio system an instant upgrade.
Making Car Stereo Systems Fit in Your Car
One last thing to look at as you upgrade your stereo system is the way your new radio fits in the dashboard of your car. After all, you might as well make it look nice if you’re putting in the work to enhance your sound quality.
- Dimensions – Confirm the dimensions of your new radio’s face plate, and if it’s different from the existing radio in your car, adapter trim kits are available that make it easy to put the new radio in without messing up the appearance of your dashboard.
- Trim Kit – The Installer’s Institute noted that most radio installation trim kits are designed so you can fit the trim to either a single-DIN or double-DIN radio. This adaptability in size lets you choose the radio that fits your taste and your budget without worrying about whether the radio will fit in your car’s console area.
A car stereo system is an automotive feature that can have a huge impact on the time you spend in your car, and you can upgrade your system without a huge investment or a lot of effort by choosing plug-and-play wiring and components that meet your unique needs.