Tips to Buy the Right Car Stereo

tips on how to buy a car stereo

Did you know that the term “car stereo” refers to the receiver – also known as the deck or the head unit. Simply put, the receiver is the central processor of your car’s audio system. For music enthusiasts, the quality of the car stereo system matters. In addition to the factory set car stereo system, many prefer using other systems with additional features, better sound quality and playback. We have compiled a list of useful tips to help you buy a car stereo system for your vehicle. 

What Kind of Audio Sources Do You Prefer

Before going to buy a car stereo system, notice the kind of audio sources you play in your vehicle. Is it a CD, a USB, an MP3, a DVD or plain radio. After you’ve determined the audio source, buy a car stereo system that can handle all the inputs you want to utilise.

What are the Non-Audio Functions You Want

In addition to music, modern car stereos come equipped with many useful features enabling them to do much more than play your favourite song. These include:

CarPlay and Android Auto

You can plug in your smartphone to your car with touch screen stereos. The CarPlay and Android Auto apps host several useful car-centric phone services such as navigation, calling, and listening to music from the phone. For more information, here is everything you need to know about Apple CarPlay and Android Auto services. 


With Bluetooth connectivity, you can utilise the hands-free calling and audio streaming options given your phone is compatible with the Bluetooth setting. Here is all you need to know about Bluetooth in cars.

GPS Navigation

Of the many benefits of using GPS, stereos equipped with built-in navigation help prevent you from getting lost (or help find a way to your destination). The navigation screen helps navigate a new area without having to stop at every corner asking people for directions. 

Touchscreen Controls

Other useful non-audio features to look for when you buy a car stereo system include touchscreen controls, built-in features and easy viewability.

Useful Tips to Buy a Car Stereo System 

Here is a list of useful tips to help you buy a car stereo system:

Satellite Radio

If you prefer listening to satellite radio, you’ll need to buy a car stereo system with a Sirius Connect module. The car stereo must be “satellite radio-ready” – this means the system can control an optional hideaway satellite radio tuner. 

Besides, if you already listen to satellite radio on your phone or have a portable satellite radio, go for a car stereo system with an auxiliary input or Bluetooth option. 

HD audio quality

A car stereo with built-in HD Radio decoding massively improves the overall audio quality of music.

Better sound control

Those who prefer tweaking the sound according to their preferences can buy a car stereo system with precision sound controls including digital time correction, more RMS and parametric equalisation, among other features.

Built-in navigation

If you prefer driving with the navigation feature, buy a car stereo that has a large screen compatible with navigation.

Available Space

While this may not seem like a very useful tip, it’s necessary to buy a car stereo that physically fits the available area in the dash. For instance, buying a 6-inch colour touch screen isn’t ideal for a small interface with no screen.

Peak Power

Taking inputs from the audio source is one function and to output the audio to the car speaker via the internal amplifier is another. This amplifier of a car stereo has two power ratings – peak power and RMS. 

Peak power refers to the maximum amount of power the car amplifier is capable of producing and RMS is the amount of power the amplifier produces consistently with regular usage. Generally, the more the RMS power the better the volume. 

That said, these parameters aren’t set in stone. For example, the “Bass Boost” feature in a car stereo sharpens the lowest sound frequencies, the “Band-equaliser” controls the overall soundstage, and the “Time Alignment” feature can be used for course correction if the music goes out of sync.

Those were some useful tips to help you buy a car stereo system. Furthermore, if you plan to upgrade your car’s sound system with subwoofers, or extra amplifiers choose a car stereo system that has the option for upgradation. 

If you want to buy a car stereo, go through this list of car electronics for sale in the UAE including stereos and have your pick. Those living in Dubai can go through this list of car audio shops in Dubai, whereas, here is a list of car stereo shops in Abu Dhabi for those in the capital.  

Stay tuned to UAE’s top auto blog for more car tips, useful car features and more. 


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