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Car stereo help

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Geren, Oct 24, 2020.

  1. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    This might be a bit of a long shot but I need a forum which my husband doesn't frequent so that I can gather some intel! He has a December birthday and is a nightmare to buy for, but I am hoping that between me and the three kids we might be able to rustle up enough cash to buy him a new car stereo as a Xmas/Birthday gift from us all - one with a CD changer and an AUX input so that he can plug his phone and listen to his own playlist when driving. (The one we have at the moment only has room for one CD and won't let him plug in a phone or ipod etc). I dno't know where to start - how to know which model would fit in our dashboard, which makes are any good, who would fit it or anything. Seemed like a nice idea when I first thought of it adn now my head is spinning.

    Could anyone point me in the right direction? I don't even really know what questions to ask!
  2. Derek W

    Derek W Well-Known Member

    Make, model and year of car would be a good start.
  3. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Ah! I wasn't sure if that was pertinent. It's a 2006 VW Polo - two door.
  4. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Can you get the old unit out? Look to see if there's two lots of 2 holes approx 10cm apart - I think there's a "key" which goes in the holes and does the unlocking. Probably worth looking at your car's manual, or using the make/model/version (from the registration number and a web search) before spending any money. Good luck.
    Geren likes this.
  5. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    I will see if I can get a look at it when Mr Kath is otherwise occupied!
  6. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    I trust you will take a photo or two, so that the armchair experts here can help. My partner's grandson works in a garage, so the better the snap, the more help I might be able to get for you - sadly, he's a bit out of your area for personal help, being locked down in mid-Wales at the moment!
  7. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    From what I remember from my son's 2006 Polo, it's a non-standard head unit (like most modern cars) so you'll need an adapter to fit a 3rd party radio. I would imagine most car stereos have an aux socket and quite often Bluetooth connectivity. CD changers are a bit more complex as the changer unit needs separate installation, usually in the boot.
  8. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    I had one fitted to my car and it just needed a blanking plate. It looks fine. As most stereos now have USB sockets, perhaps ditching the idea of a CD player is worth considering. He can burn a lot of CD's onto a pen driven the titles will appear on the head unit for him to choose his tunes, or use bluetooth to steam from his phone. Bear in mind the aerial on his car might not be suitable for DAB radio. I know mine on my 2008 BMW wasn't compatible.
  9. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    Have a visit to Halfords if you have one nearby. They will talk you through the options, how they will fit your car and will even fit it. ( I have no connection with them).

    Units with CD players are becoming a thing of the past. Streaming, wired connection to a phone, pen drives and memory cards are more common.
  10. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    The car I bought in 2008 had a 6 disc changer, the 2011 I have now has a single CD player and a 20GB hard disk. CD changers are out of favour streaming from a phone is in.
  11. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    As well as a facia adaptor a conversion wiring harness will probably be required. I have fitted different head units to a number of vehicles over the years, some are easier than others as might be expected. I changed the set in the Fiat Punto I use as a runabout for a Blaupunkt bluetooth unit I have owned for many years (much better than the standard radio), quite easy, one of the hardest was a 2005 VW Touran as I added rear speakers at the same time (they were not part of original equipment). I left the set in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta I also own as the standard unit has good sound quality, bluetooth and sat-nav anyway.
  12. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Yes, the Volvo we used to own moons ago had the same as well as an Aux input so that we could plug in a phone and play whatever we had from itunes in the car. I think he'd like the same sort of arrangement but a quick look through Halford's website (thanks for the tip Steve) suggests they're not the done thing these days.

    I have however decided that trying to do this as a surprise is not feasible so I've alerted him to my plan and no surprise here, he has already done a lot of the necessary research and knows what he wants. Problem solved!
    EightBitTony likes this.
  13. John King

    John King Well-Known Member

    A word of caution. Some manufacturers have designed their cars so that the audio system has to be compatible with the cars ECU. It is all to do with security of the equipment. This has been around for quite a while at least since 2004. Whatever you decide make sure that it can be retro fitted. Even the ancient Rover 214 I owned in 2004 had this so there may even be something more sophisticated now
  14. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    I had changed my own sets when I was a young lad, other than that I had stuck with hose that car with the car, up until I bought the Z4. For compatibility reasons, neatness of fitting, running and hiding wire for a new aerial I took it to an independent car stereo retailer fitter. It didn't actually cost to much to buy one including the fitting and of course the warranty.
  15. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    With my background it would be rather perverse for me to take my car elsewhere to replace the radio. The entertainment system on my current car is so heavily integrated with the other systems that changing anything requires a degree in computer science or a 10 year-old to reprogramme everything. I did see a series of videos detailing the fitting of an android head unit but this deactivated almost the entire control panel. I don't remember whether the vehicle configuration menus were still available.

    This deep integration may well serve the desired purpose, to deter theft, but does make upgrading nearly impossible, which may well be what the vehicle manufacturers want.
  16. John King

    John King Well-Known Member

    Cars wen you were a young lad (as well as me) were radically different to those now and for the past 20 years or so. You just have to look at the modern wiring diagrams and the sheer complexity, but they are to a large extent all connected to to the central processor. Or in the case of some German models (BMW Come to mind) they have a much simpler wiring loom based on the 'Canbus' system which requires even the light bulbs to be compatible and even plugging in a slow trickle charger through the accessory socket will not work - unless it is designed for that model.

    I only posted this as a possible warning of buying a piece of equipment that will not work.
  17. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Light bulbs? Where did you come across those? The vast majority of lights in more recent cars are LEDs.
  18. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    I have fitted alternative head units in cars with Canbus systems, a conversion harness is required and in some cases a live has to be obtained from somewhere else in the car's wiring.

    I do wonder whether it is really worth the effort and expense in this case, the car is fourteen years old, that however is not my decision.
  19. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

  20. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

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