Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How to Buy a Good Quality Stereo

How to Buy a Good Quality Stereo


The term “car stereo” actually refers to the receiver – also known as the head unit or the deck – the receiver is the central processor for your vehicle audio system. Once you’ve chosen the receiver, you need to know that you’ve also locked in how upgradeable the system is and the general features at the same time, so it’s important to make all of these decisions upfront – including how much you will want to upgrade your system in the future.

Consider where your audio will be coming from: do you have a CD player? DVD player? MP3 input? Depending on which direction you want to go, you’ll need to choose an audio receiver that will handle all the various inputs that you want to utilize. You may want to go with a color A/V screen, or with a very basic receiver that only gives you the bare basics – which would include at least one USB port for MP3 files or a 3.5mm analog auxiliary input which will allow your connectivity to be universal.

Here are some useful tips regarding the purchase of a stereo:

  • Satellite radio: Keep in mind that you will need specialized options if you decide to go with satellite radio – not all base radios come with that functionality. This may require a Sirius Connect module as well, so be prepared for that additional purchase if you want to go the satellite route.

  • HD audio quality: A receiver with built-in HD Radio decoding dramatically improves overall audio quality, and is likely a good purchase.

  • Built in navigation: In-dash navigation is also a great option to consider, but you may want to remember that the GPS in your smartphone likely provides all the free navigation you will ever need – and most in-dash navigation units require some sort of (paid) ongoing subscription to get map updates.

  • Available space: While it may not seem like the most important or sexiest consideration, your interface must physically fit in the area that you have available for it in your dash. Don’t get carried away on a 6” color touchscreen when you only have room for a small interface and no screen.

  • Peak power: Power is another important consideration. The peak power, in terms of RMS, is what you want to pay attention to. In general, more RMS is better – meaning you’ll get more output which is important if you’re listening to the radio loud at high speeds.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


More related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Flexible Clutch Hose
Common signs include difficulty shifting, low clutch fluid, and feeling no resistance at the clutch pedal.
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222...

Related questions

Q: What types of CDs are supported by the audio system?

There are lots of different CD types out there, and while your radio does support many types, it doesn’t support them all. Here’s what you should know about the supported CD types for your radio: CD-R and CD-RW for...

Q: How do I play an iPod in shuffle mode?

If your iPod is connected to the infotainment system via a USB cable, then you can use the system to shuffle the songs. Just follow these instructions: Rotate the Menu or Menu/Sel knob until it highlights Shuffle Songs, then...

Q: How do you use the Category menu on the SIRIUS Radio?

While you can manually cycle through all the different channels available from SIRIUS Radio, that can be time consuming. Use the Category menu to find the type of entertainment you want. Here’s how to get to the menu and use...