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Car stereos nowadays can do much more than just play music.

Car stereos nowadays can do much more than just play music.

What non-musical functions do you want?

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay: As previously said, touchscreen stereos are the greatest at bringing your smartphone into the car. The CarPlay and Android Auto apps integrate your favorite phone services for driving (navigation, calling, news, audible and voice-texting, and podcasts).

Bluetooth: When used with a compatible phone, Bluetooth connection allows for hands-free calling and music streaming. Even if you don't believe you need it, you should probably make sure your new radio includes it.

GPS Navigation: Stereos with built-in navigation assist you avoid getting lost (or find your way back if you do). The navigation screen is significantly larger than that of your phone or other portable navigators. In addition, you get touchscreen controls for your radio.

In terms of touchscreen controls: big displays, a plethora of built-in capabilities, and simple viewing are just a few of the benefits of designing your audio system around a big touchscreen receiver. To understand more, see our article on the benefits of a touchscreen receiver.

A floating screen will update your dashboard.

What else should you look for in a vehicle stereo?

With their high-tech displays and cutting-edge layouts, aftermarket car stereos may improve the aesthetic of your vehicle's interior. Consider a multi-line display to show song, album, and artist information without having to scroll. They also make controlling and adjusting the stereo simpler.

For a better match with your dash illumination, full-color dynamic displays and adjustable color schemes are offered. If you want to increase your listening experience, look for a stereo with illumination that flashes in time with the music!

Today's popular trend in vehicle stereos is a floating screen, which is a screen that does not fit in the dash but "floats" in front of it, often measuring between 7 and 11 inches. These stereos provide even better "ease of use" functionality and significantly increase the stereo's "wow factor."

Backup camera display

The ability to employ a backup camera with a touchscreen receiver's display can save the day.

Driving assistance and backup cameras

More and more touchscreen stereos include at least one camera input, and some offer as many as four. Adding a backup camera, a dash cam, and/or side cameras can help keep the safety factor high. Some of our car stereo integration adapters can also help you integrate factory cameras, so you can keep their functionality even when you install a new car stereo.

Audio expandability

Auxiliary inputs, USB connections, and audio/video outputs let you expand your system by connecting portable music players, rear seat video screens, external amplifiers, and powered subwoofers to your new stereo.

If you're expanding your system with additional audio components, preamp outputs allow you to connect extra amplifiers to power your speakers or a subwoofer. The number of outputs might vary, but you should have at least one set. The output voltage normally varies from 2 to 5 volts. The greater the voltage rating, the cleaner the signal supplied to your amplifier. If you know you'll be adding a subwoofer, opt for a model with a separate subwoofer output - this will allow you to set the subwoofer level individually rather than using the bass control.


DIY Installation

If available, we offer free step-by-step instructions relevant to your vehicle. We also sell the installation parts and accessories you'll need for most vehicles, and you'll get them at a significant discount when you buy any receiver from us.

A panel removal tool will make installation easier in most vehicles and will help you avoid harming your dash.

Do you want to keep utilizing your steering wheel audio controls with your new stereo? A specific adaptor is required. We'll tell you which adaptor will work for you when you tell us about your car and select a radio.

We also demonstrate how to utilize common home equipment (such as a screwdriver) while installing your receiver. We also sell these tools if you don't have them.

Rodell in the automobile

What will be the next step?

Make a list of the characteristics you most want while keeping the points mentioned in this article in mind. Then, using our vehicle picker, get a selection of stereos that will fit your vehicle. Use our site's filters to narrow down the list and highlight your preferred features. Alternatively, disregard that and dive right into the in-dash receivers!

Check out our selection of the Best Car Stereos for 2023 for a head start.

If you want deeper dive into a specific type of receiver more before you start shopping, our expert guides can help:

Advantages of a touchscreen stereo

Digital media receivers buying guide

In-dash navigation buying guide

Marine stereos buying guide

And don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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  • Qiang Ling
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