How to Listen to CDs in a Car Without a CD Player

pile of loose cds

While the primary purpose of driving your car is to get from Point A to Point B, you might as well enjoy the process, especially if you have a lengthy commute. One way to enhance the experience is with background music of your choice. If your car, however, isn’t equipped with a CD player to pipe your favorite tunes through your speakers, there’s no need to despair or invest in a new stereo system. It is possible to play your CDs even when your car has no CD player using one of the following methods.

Method 1 of 2: Use a cassette tape adapter

Materials Needed

Step 1: Check the batteries in your CD player. Check the batteries in your portable CD player by powering the unit on.

If it does not come on, then replace the batteries as indicated in the instructions for your particular device.

Step 2: Turn the key of your ignition. It is not necessary to start your engine, but you at least need to turn your key over where your stereo comes on.

If your car is not running, however, bear in mind that the stereo and connected devices will gradually drain your battery if you plan on listening to CDs for an extended period of time.

car stereo adapter

Step 3: Insert the adapter. Insert the side of the adapter that resembles a cassette tape into the tape receptacle of your car’s stereo system.

Step 4: Plug in the other end of the adapter. Plug the other end of your adapter into the corresponding outlet of your portable CD player.

Step 5: Turn devices on. Turn both your stereo and portable CD player on, listening to your CDs according to your player’s instructions.

Method 2 of 2: Use a wireless FM modulator

Materials Needed

Step 1: Turn on the engine. Turn your ignition over to provide power to your car’s stereo and other dash systems.

FM modulator

Step 2: Plug in and turn on your modulator. Plug your wireless FM modulator into your car’s cigarette lighter, turning it on.

  • Tip: If the modulator does not power on, you may want to check that the fuse connected with the cigarette lighter in your car is still good.

Step 3: Turn on and press play on your CD player. Turn your portable CD player on, then insert the CD to which you wish to listen, pushing the play button.

Step 4: Dial into the FM radio station. Your wireless modulator will indicate a channel to dial into that will play your music.

Enjoy your CD’s sound through your car’s speakers, but be aware that this method does not provide the best sound quality and often is accompanied by static.

  • Tip: You can also listen to MP3 players using this same method.

Neither of the above methods is a particularly expensive way to listen to some of your most treasured songs. Either of the two methods are far cheaper than buying a new stereo system, although you may eventually want to invest in one if you are seeking truly superior sound quality and convenience. If you notice your battery having some issues and want it replaced or if you need to have a new fuse installed, have one of our certified mobile mechanics come to your home or business.

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

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

More related articles

P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance Related Trouble Codes: P2158: Vehicle Speed Sensor B P2160: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Circuit Low P2161:...

Related questions

Q: Upgrade stereo size dimensions - 2013 Infiniti FX37

Hello. The exact speaker sizes depend on whether or not your vehicle is equipped with a Bose system. If it not, then your vehicle uses 2 x 3.5" tweeters in the dash, 2 x 6.5" speakers in the doors, and...

Q: Radio/electrics died, worried about my car

It sounds like you are experiencing a few issues: radio, dashboard, and windows. The radio not working can be as simple as a blown fuse. Check your owner’s manual to find where the radio fuse is located, pull the fuse...

Q: Not knowing my audio negative and positive wire colors on rear left door

Try the yellow as positive and black as negative. This is what was used on the same vehicle but for the 2015 model. I do not have a 2016 diagram. If you want a second opinion on this, consider contacting...