Written by Kyle Duffy – Product Specialist
Progress is slow, but more and more vehicles are coming from the factory with built-in 3.5mm headphone jack inputs or iPod specific connections. However, most of us don’t have new vehicles shiny from the factory, with that new car smell. So how then do you play your iPod through your car instead of having tons of pesky CDs? There is always the route of buying a new aftermarket car stereo with an iPod car adapter, but that isn’t the solution for all of us. Here are some other methods on how you can get iPod playback in your car.
Method 1: Cassette Adapter
Most vehicles in the world have the dreaded cassette player which sits there doing nothing. Unfortunately, most of us do not have cassettes we care to dust off. No worries, let’s put it to use! With a cassette adapter, you can plug in any portable electronic device with a headphone jack into the adapter, which goes into your cassette player, giving you tunes from your iPod or MP3 player.
Method 2: Wireless FM Transmitter
If your car has a working cigarette lighter power adapter and a working FM radio, you can get those tunes from your iPod to your car speakers. They broadcast a radio station only strong enough to be picked up by your car radio, so just tune your FM radio to the transmitters selected frequency and there you have it! No messy wires, plug and play installation, thousands of songs at your fingertips. The biggest issue however with this method is that sometimes you will pickup radio stations from actual broadcasting towers, just change the frequency and your good!
Method 3: Stock Radio with 3.5mm Auxiliary Input
If you’re lucky, your vehicle will have a 3.5mm (Headphone jack) port on the face of the radio or somewhere in your center consol. The radio will also have an AUX button to activate the port. This is ideal because all you have to do is by a 3.5mm Male-to-3.5mm Male auxiliary cable and you can rock out all day or night long with your iPod, Zune, or MP3 player. This is becoming more popular in newer vehicles, so be on the lookout!
Method 4: RCA Input Jack
Very few stock car stereos will come with a feature like this. The radio will have either on the back, front, or in the center console a red RCA input and a white RCA input. Get a 3.5mm Male to RCA Male cable and you can enjoy tunes from this input type. Some 6-disk CD changers use this, so if you’re willing to give up the CD changer for your vast iPod music collection, just hijack those RCA lines! And Poof!
Method 5: Wired FM Modulator
This method is not as popular as the other connections, but it should still be considered if you can’t jump the gun for an aftermarket radio. The wired FM Modulator hooks up to your radios antenna cable and inserts your iPod signal right into the line. This method does require a bit of installation but it is not incredibly difficult, the quality is better than a wireless FM transmitter.