Ask LH: What’s The Best Way To Get Music In My Old Car?

Dear Lifehacker, I recently bought a used car which unfortunately only came with a CD player and radio for entertainment. I was wondering if it was worth buying a new car radio with bluetooth or aux cable capabilities, or if I should just buy a portable speaker and mount that to my car? Thanks, Missing My Tunes

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Dear MMT,

Personally, we’d go with the radio replacement option. A portable speaker will get the job done, but it’s yet another gadget you need to mount to your car and remember to keep charged. You’d be better off utilising your car’s existing audio setup instead.

If your car has working speakers that aren’t positively ancient, installing a new radio head unit shouldn’t present much of a problem. You can pick up entry-level models with inbuilt Bluetooth for well under $100. Another option worth considering is a Bluetooth dongle/adapator that integrates with the existing car stereo.

Naturally, you’ll also need a controlling device to select and play tunes on. We’d advise against using your smartphone as it’s a needless waste of the battery and can be annoying if you want to use your phone for something else. Instead, pick up a MP3 player with inbuilt Bluetooth. You can find some car-friendly recommendations here.

If you feel like embarking on a weekend project, you could also try hacking Bluetooth support into your car stereo using a few spare parts. This article explains how it’s done. Good luck!


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