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The car stereo is the centerpiece of any car audio system. When shopping for a new stereo, how do you pick the right one? These tips and our website can help you narrow the choices.
A good place to start is to filter out all the stereos that won't work with your car. That's just one of the reasons we ask you to tell us what you drive — it'll make your shopping easier.
A new stereo can add features that your current stereo lacks and provide much better sound quality. Below is some basic info about shopping for a new car stereo. For more detailed buying tips, be sure to read our car stereo buying guide.
If a larger stereo ("double-DIN") will fit in your car, then consider getting a touchscreen stereo. Touchscreen controls make it easy to adjust the stereo. They also tend to have more features than smaller car stereos and better smartphone integration via Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.
Smaller, "single-DIN" stereos are usually more affordable, and you can still get a lot of great features.
Make sure you get the options you want. Here are a few features to look for:
Adding GPS navigation requires that you get a touchscreen stereo, of course, and you have two options. First, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay let you use your favorite GPS app including Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Waze. If you want GPS navigation without tying up your phone, you'll have to get a new stereo with built-in navigation.
Yes, when connected via USB or Bluetooth, you can play music from your phone on the radio. And if you're using CarPlay or Android Auto, you can control most music apps from the stereo's touchscreen for a "true" car stereo feel.
Our vehicle database is unmatched. We've taken apart the dashes and door panels of more than thousands of vehicles and measured every space and bolt pattern. We'll also make sure you get the right installation gear when you order.
You'll need a special adapter to keep those handy buttons working with your new stereo. When you shop on our site, we'll show you all the options for installation hardware, including the right adapter for the steering wheel controls.
New stereos will often work with your existing backup camera. We'll let you know before you make your purchase. If your car doesn't already have a camera, you'll find compatible backup cameras under the stereo's "Accessories" tab on our site.
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