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Two reasons: features and sound quality. New car stereos offer a range of features usually not included in factory radios: more audio sources (USB, SD card, high-res music files), better smartphone integration, Bluetooth, nicer screens, satellite radio compatibility, and so on. Even a basic car stereo will give you better sound quality, thanks to superior electronics and extensive sound adjustment.
First, identify your vehicle on our site so you can see which new stereos will fit. Second, use the filters to select the radios with the features you want, like Bluetooth, navigation, etc. Third, enter the price range and look for car stereos with 4- and 5-star ratings. That should narrow down the list to a few candidates. Or you can let our Advisors help you.
You can probably do it yourself, especially if you've got some basic tools, and a willingness to give it a try. For most vehicles, it's a pretty straightforward operation, and we'll warn you if your vehicle is especially difficult. With your Crutchfield order, you'll get an instruction sheet on how to take your dash apart. We can even do most of the wiring for you with our ReadyHarness service.
Most receivers will allow you to stream music from your phone and make hands-free calls. Most will allow you to connect your phone to the USB port for more extensive integration. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are the coolest and safest ways to integrate your phone with your car, since you can access most phone features with your voice.
They break down into five different types: 1) Navigation receivers: radios with built-in maps. Some play discs and some don't. 2) Digital multimedia receivers: these radios have big screens, but don't play discs. 3) DVD receivers: radios that play DVDs and CDs. 4) Digital media receivers: play music through Bluetooth, USB, or SD, but don't play CDs. 5) CD receivers: old school rock'n'roll radios