How to Upgrade Your Car Radio

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You can replace and upgrade your radio easily by hiring someone to do the dirty work, or by doing it all on your own, using these 4 tips.

Maybe your car radio suddenly died without explanation or saying goodbye. Or maybe you’re yearning for Bluetooth, a touch screen and video capabilities at your finger tips while you roll.

Whatever your reason, if you’re in the market for a new car radio, know that you have options.

You don’t necessarily have to visit your dealer, and fork over thousands of dollars to find a good replacement.

Here’s some advice on finding something that suits your price range and needs, in order to return all those great tunes and more, to your car:

1) Contact Your Local Dealer

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Some people hold the belief that you simply have to get a radio replaced through a dealer, because of security codes. Many, or just about all, factory installed car radios now come with a code that’s needed to activate the radio.

It’s a measure put in place to deter theft, so if a thief breaks in and steals your original radio, they can’t successfully install in their own car or someplace else- the radio won’t start without the access code, which only the manufacturer knows.

Surely there are wise thieves out there who have figured out how to skirt their way around this roadblock, but anyways, it’s there.

The truth is though, that you can replace your old radio with anything you want. And the dealer is going to be the most expensive place to turn to for a replacement.

If you want to go this route, by all means charge ahead. But if you’re looking for other options, read on.

2) Contact Your Local Garage

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Many mechanics are willing to install a new radio for $150-$200. This is the service fee, and the cost of a new radio is on top of that, which isn’t too bad an offer, all things considered.

This route does require you to track down your own new radio though, or buy a radio from the garage which is probably going to be marked up in price.

If you’re pressed for time and you don’t feel like fiddling with any wires yourself, this can be a good way to go- your mechanic can lend a hand.

3) Check Out Best Buy

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If you don’t have a garage to deal with though, another option is turning to a store like Best Buy- it sells all the parts you need to replace your radio, and also offers installation services. (Walmart also has a limited amount of radio replacement kits, fyi).

As long as there’s knowledgeable staff on hand to guide you through collecting all the right parts at Best Buy, if you’re not sure what you need, this can work.

Best Buy has some great choices for upgrading and provides installation by partnering with Geek Squad, so that you won’t have to lift a finger.

If you’re feeling excited about the idea of installing your own radio though- even with little knowledge of hardware and wires-you may want to try out #4.

4) Check Out Your Online Options

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When my radio needed upgrading, I found an online seller and went with that. I ordered, paid and had the new device shipped to me from the U.S.

The company I went with had solid reviews online, had been in business for a while, guaranteed to refund my money if I decided I didn’t like my purchase, and also offered eternal, lifetime tech support for any problems I might encounter with installation or future glitches. Two thumbs up!

The beauty of the product and services the company offered lay in its simplicity.

A well-designed website let me review all my options clearly before buying, and it led me to the parts I needed for my choice, without leaving the guessing all to me. There was also a toll free number on hand so I could immediately contact the company to chat about my choices.

I liked the huge variety of options I could find online. Buying a radio from a store in person allows you to hold and inspect the product before purchasing it. Buying one from a company online, however, allows you to choose from so many more radios than you’re likely to find in stock on the shelf down the street, which is a bonus.

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In my case, once I made my purchase, everything was mailed to me, complete with clear instructions on how to install the radio myself.(YouTube tutorials are also helpful resources, to guide you through the steps).

I installed the radio in an evening, and while I chose a refurbished one, it works like new and you’d never know the difference. I’ve now got Bluetooth, USB connectivity, a microphone, rear camera connectivity, Siri, and video options, all at my fingertips. All of this plus and more I got for around $450CAN.

Want to go this route? Companies like Crutchfield and Scosche can provide you with options if you like to do it yourself.

So, there you are: if your radio goes kaput, and leaves you in a silent lurch, know that you don’t have to panic! Affordable answers are out there.

With a bit of research and persistence, you can find the radio of your dreams and add value to your car while you’re at it. Happy listening!

 

 

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