How to Convert a Car Radio to Use an MP3 Player

Written by stephen lilley
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Not many people realise that they can take their existing car radios and convert them for use with an MP3 player. Your car's radio doesn't have to come with an iPod dock or anything of that nature. By buying one of two simple pieces of equipment (depending on the type of car radio you actually have), you can be rocking out to your favourite songs from your MP3 player in no time at all.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Auxiliary cable
  • FM transmitter

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    Auxiliary Cable

  1. 1

    Look around the front of your car radio for a tiny, circular hole labelled "AUX." This is an auxiliary jack. If you aren't sure you have one, consult your car radio's user's manual.

  2. 2

    Plug one end of the auxiliary cable into your MP3 player's headphone jack.

  3. 3

    Plug the other end of the auxiliary cable into the hole labelled "AUX" on your car radio.

  4. 4

    Tune your car radio to the "AUX" input. This usually involves pressing a button either labelled "AUX" or "SOURCE." Once you've done this you can begin to select songs on your MP3 player and they will play via your car's speakers.

    FM Transmitter

  1. 1

    Tune your car radio to a station that is free from programming. A general rule of thumb in this situation is--the more static, the better.

  2. 2

    Plug your FM transmitter into your MP3 player via the MP3 player's headphone jack.

  3. 3

    Tune your FM transmitter to the same station that your car radio is currently dialled into.

  4. 4

    Select a song on your MP3 player. The audio from your MP3 player will now play through your car's speakers.

Tips and warnings

  • You can purchase a standard auxiliary cable online or at any major electronics retailer.
  • An FM transmitter is a device that broadcasts the audio signals coming from your MP3 player over the air so that it can be picked up by your car's radio. You can find FM transmitters at any major electronics retailer.
  • If both options are available to you, connect your MP3 player to your car radio using an auxiliary cable. It will ultimately be the cheaper route and there will be no loss in audio quality. An FM transmitter will never perfectly be able to broadcast a signal with enough strength to completely utilise your car radio.

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