How to Connect My MP3 Player to a Car Stereo

Updated February 21, 2017

One of the benefits of having an MP3 player is the ability to take your music with you wherever you go, including your car. Many cars and car stereos made after 2000 include a built-in jack for an audio cable which allows you to connect your MP3 player directly to the stereo system. If you have an older vehicle, however, it does not mean you are out of luck. There are still a few options for connecting your MP3 player to your stereo; if you have a cassette player in your stereo system, you can use a cassette adaptor. If not, you can use an FM transmitter.

Turn your car stereo on and turn the volume to low.

Insert the cassette tape adaptor into your cassette player on your car stereo.

Insert the audio jack end of the cassette adaptor audio wire into the headphone jack port on your MP3 player.

Turn on your MP3 player and enjoy.

Put fresh batteries in the FM transmitter if it is battery-operated. Otherwise, insert the power end into the cigarette lighter or car power socket.

Plug the audio cable end into the headphone jack port on your MP3 player.

Turn on the FM transmitter, and then turn on your MP3 player.

Turn on the car stereo, and search for an unused radio frequency, which can usually be found at the lower end of your radio dial. One way to do this is to simply press "Seek" on your radio tuner. Take note of the song that is playing on your MP3 player, and when you hear it broadcasting over the radio it may be the frequency to use for your MP3 player. Test it by skipping to another song on the MP3 player.


When you find the correct frequency for your MP3 player on your car stereo, you may want to preset it for easy access next time you use your MP3 player in the car. These instructions also will work for an iPod.


If the batteries in your FM transmitter are low, it will not broadcast effectively.

Things You'll Need

  • Cassette adaptor or
  • FM transmitter
  • Fresh batteries
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About the Author

A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."