Auto Parts,  Cars

Should I Get a New Car Stereo?

When you get a new car you may be getting the latest in technology with your stereo and not have any interest in changing it. Some cars come with only a standard stereo with no special features. 

You should get a new stereo receiver, and possibly new speakers, if you want an upgrade in technology and functionality. A new stereo can help you do things you couldn't do before and may impact resale value. If you love to listen to music and want phone connectivity, a new stereo will help. 

I bought a new stereo for my truck several years ago and now I can connect to my stereo via Bluetooth to stream music and make phone calls. It's been really helpful and I'm glad I made the choice to do it.

New Car Stereos for New Cars

When you have a new car you will likely either enjoy your new car stereo or wish it was different. If you don't like it you might want replace the stereo for a better one. Their's so much variety out there and it doesn't take much time to see what type of options are preferred over others. 

Some of the Variety Available

If you are getting the dealership to install an upgraded stereo, you might be able to negotiate it into the contract without paying extra on your new car. 

Usually an upgrade will cost you a bit more to a lot more than it would cost for you to do it yourself. You can also take your car to a stereo installation store and usually save money.

What's really important is to know exactly what you want, so you don't get something that your not disappointed with. Make sure you know exactly what the options mean if you are unclear about how they function. You might end up paying a lot more for options you'll never use and don't need. 

Once you've decided, you can price out the stereo type you want, ask the dealership and stereo store about prices to install, and consider if it's viable to install yourself. Then you'll know which path is likely the best for you.

Some people would rather just add a few dollars each month to their car payment for a stereo upgrade, while other want to save money on the overall price of the car. But remember not to get something your not sure about yet, and be sure to try it out either in a new car or the car stereo store to really get a feel if it's right. 

New Car Stereos for Older Cars

If you've had your car for a while, it might be time to upgrade to a new car stereo and speakers. A new stereo can have many options that will help you enjoy your drive, and keep you a bit safer as you travel. It will benefit your car resale value, especially if you have an old stereo, where the buttons are missing and there's a problem with the dial that involves tuning and volume. 

A new stereo is fairly cheap to purchase, and some are not too complicated to install, yet others will take a professional installer to match all the wiring correctly when things don't match up the way you expected it to, if you are trying to install it yourself.

For between $50 - $100 you can get a new stereo that will have most everything you could want. Many of them are great quality and will provide a good user experience. That's when you need to set a price range and know exactly what you want, so you don't get confused with all the options and different types of stereos out there.

If you car is over 10 years old, it's also a good idea to replace the speakers. Speakers start to respond less effectively as wear and tear occurs over time. New speakers with the correct stereo, and amplifier if needed, can make a big difference in the sound quality of the music you listen to.

If your speakers sound fine to you, you might not feel the need to replace them and it might not be necessary. Your speakers may not be as responsive as they once were, but they can continue to function well much monger, maybe for the life of the car. 

If you have been turning up the volume and bass on your car stereo often, then it's a good idea to replace them if you've had the car for 5 -10 years. High quality speakers will last longer and cheaper speakers will loose sound quality and get damaged much quicker.  

Choose the best quality speakers for the type of system you have to insure longevity. 

Reasons not to Get a New Car Stereo

When you are deciding to get a new car stereo, think about your budget, time, and needs. Some people just want to upgrade because it will give them more enjoyment as they drive while other want certain features on a car stereo to meet their needs.

Don't get a new car stereo if... you're unsure about what your budget is. You may end up with a half installed stereo that doesn't operate because you can't afford to pay the cost to install. 

You may be stuck with a radio for a while if you only get some of the parts or if you try to install it yourself without a specific guide for your type of vehicle and stereo. So, don't get a new stereo to install yourself when... your unsure about your ability to get it done. (See video)

Another reason to wait on buying a new car stereo is when your speakers don't match your stereo wattage. It's best to find out if you have after market speakers and a amplifier. Standard factory car stereos and speaker will usually not have high wattage, so replacing the stereo with a new one should be fine in most instances. 

The more you can find out about your system and use a similar wattage or a bit higher for the stereo, the better likelihood that all will go smoother with replacements. 

Replacing the speakers can be easy, but don't get speakers unless... you've done your research, took out and measured your old speakers, and made sure things match with measurement and wiring requirements. In addition, check the ohms for the stereo and the speakers to see if there is a match. 

Don't buy a stereo before... making a plan of how you are going to install it and knowing what the return policy of the item is. You don't want a stereo sitting on a shelf somewhere for months or years that your stuck with.

Don't forget about the tools you'll need if you are going to install it yourself. It's a good idea to have a screw driver, pry tool, ratchet set possibly, wire stripper, soldering iron, and electrical tape. 

Wire Strippers

Electrical Tape

Pry Tools

Socket and Ratchet Set

Soldering Iron

Screw Drivers

Try to be as certain as possible when buying wiring connectors to make sure you by the correct kind so everything  will go smoothly. 

Does Your Budget Allow you to Get What you Need?

The stereo itself could cost under a $100 easy, but installation costs from a dealer or car stereo store could cost into the $100 - $200 range just for the car stereo head unit install itself. 

It depends how simple the install is with some costing less, while some stores my charge you more. 

Think about what you want, how much your willing to spend, and if your willing to do the install yourself. Then you can gauge how much to spend for everything in total. 

Don't forget tax and any extra supplies and tools needed for the job you might be doing. 

If your like me, you might buy a double din unit like this Pioneer unit. Then you could go to a car stereo shop for about $100 or more or use Amazon install service if they are cheaper.

It's a good idea to call the installer before you buy any car stereo unit and see what price they quote you.

If you go down to their store, they may have stereo that they can install for cheaper that meet all your requirement.  

Which Type of Car Stereo Should I Get?

A good car stereo will do everything your using it for now and can add more options that you usually use your phone for on a regular basis.

Each car stereo has a unique interface, so trying one out is the best way to see if you like it. Go to a Car Stereo Store and try some out or watch some videos. I like for information and video on specific stereo units.

Think about what that you will expect to use your car stereo for on a daily bases to get a good idea of what you'll need. I use my car stereo daily to listen to music and pod cast. 

I bought a car stereo that also has the ability to play DVDs, but I have never watch a video in my car. Those with children in the back seat might want to install a DVD player(s) in the headrest(s) to entertain them on longer trips. 

My stereo has Bluetooth which I use almost daily to connect to my phone, so I can stream music, answer phone calls, and listen to navigation from my phone.

My stereo has a USB connection to play music from a thumb drive, which I use once in a while. It also has a touch screen that is sometimes very helpful and other times inconvenient. 

A checklist of the most important features you want will be helpful when looking. If your using it for family, you may want to spend more on DVD player installation. If you're using it for personal use, you may want to install an stereo with more watts and new higher watt speakers.


When deciding on a new car stereo you can find a lot of options that will fit your needs and budget fairly well. After doing your research you should be able to find a way to get a new car stereo that meets your needs, within your price range.

Be sure to ask questions from several stores about prices and specifications that you are wondering about, and determine what you really want and need before you buy a unit. 

You'll be able to see if buying a new car stereo is right for you now or if it's something you can wait on. I hope you can have a good experience with replacing your car stereo if you choose to do so.

To learn more about single din unit read this article - Best Single Din Head Unit

To learn more about double din units read this article - How is Double Din Audio System Better Than Single Din?