Car Audio Guide

So you’re sick of only having a tape player? Or maybe you want to stream music from your phone directly into your car speakers? This guide will give you all the info you need to improve your I.C.E. experience! (In Car Entertainment, not actual ice, for those who don’t know)

Firstly your head unit –

Do you need a CD player? MP3 connectivity? DVD Player? Bluetooth streaming? Sat Nav? Handsfree kit for your phone?Make a list of what you need and research online. Prices can vary hugely, and if a cheap stereo does everything you want and sound quality isn’t a huge priority there’s no point in paying extra for something you don’t really need.

Car Audio Guide

Double Din Stereo

Another consideration is whether you want single din or if you’ve got space for double din? (See photo) Will you need additional external screens for a DVD player? Will you need to buy external accessories for bluetooth or ipod connectivity or is everything included?

Make a list of requirements before you go shopping and make sure you get a price for everything you will need so you can make a true comparison between the different options.

Car Audio Guide

Single Din Stereo


Now you’ve picked out your shiny new head unit, will you need a faceplate/trim panel? (to make the shape of the new stereo fit the hole in your dashboard) or a wiring harness – to connect your cars wiring to the stereo wires? or an aerial adaptor?
Does your car have steering wheel controls? If so make sure you can get a wiring adapter to fit your new head unit.

Speakers –

You don’t have to wait until your speakers are blown to buy new ones – there’s no point in having an amazingly powerful head unit if your speakers can’t produce the same quality. They will need to be matched to your head unit for optimum sound – for example, if you’ve got a powerful stereo, you need speakers with low sensitivity and a high power output. However if you’re just replacing blown speakers and sound quality isn’t your priority high sensitivity, low powered speakers will be more budget friendly.

For a quick fix, look at buying full-range speakers, which will directly replace the factory set-up and usually connect straight to the existing wiring.  You can also look at component systems which come with separate woofers, tweeters (sounds like a pet shop doesn’t it?), external crossovers and provide much better sound quality.

Car Audio Guide

If you’re a fan of bass (like me) you should consider getting a subwoofer. Not only will you need to get a subwoofer, but a box, amplifier and wiring kit – sometimes you can buy these as a complete kit.

If you’re not confident with wiring, get a professional to fit this as it will need tuning once it’s all connected!  Also make sure the box you get will fit into the boot of your car, and that you can still access the spare wheel!

Now all you need are some new tracks to test out your I.C.E.!


Car Audio Guide

Author: Suzanne Keane

A confirmed petrol head with a penchant for Retro VW’s, Suzanne has been taking apart (and sometimes putting back together) her own cars for years! You can follow Suzanne on Twitter at @_suzannekeane

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