Where to Buy Used Car Audio Equipment

Whether you want to upgrade your car stereo or add new speakers, there are many ways to get top-notch sound at an affordable price. Here are some tips to help you save money on your next purchase.

Buying used audio equipment can be risky, especially when you buy it over the Internet from someone you’ve never met before. But there are also honest, reputable sellers.

Refurbished Audio Equipment at Drive-In Autosound

Upgrading your vehicle’s audio system is a great way to enjoy your music, podcasts and other entertainment on the road. From simple AM/FM radio receivers to the sophisticated infotainment systems found in some of today’s cars, the array of options can be overwhelming. To help you get a handle on the multifaceted “infotainment” systems that are available, read our five-part series “Understanding Car Audio.”

The basic components of any car audio system consist of three main parts: a radio or head unit that produces an audio signal; an amplifier that increases the strength of the signal; and speakers that reproduce the sound. The refurbished audio equipment at Drive-In Autosound is thoroughly tested, repaired and recertified to ensure you’re getting the best product for your money. Shop refurbished receivers, amplifiers and other accessories from brands like Pioneer, Rockford Fosgate and Kenwood eXcelon to save money on top-quality upgrades for your car.

Our technicians are experts in custom installation. We know how important it is for your technology to work not only for your communication and entertainment needs, but also for your car’s design and esthetic.

Find a Dealer Near You

Whether you want to upgrade your car audio system for better sound quality or simply for more power, there are a variety of used stereo equipment options available. The best place to start is by determining the components you need and what your budget is. Then, you can begin shopping for the equipment that meets your needs.

The head unit, or stereo receiver, is the brain and command center of a car’s audio system. It allows you to select which music source to play and sets the volume. It also provides the interface for interacting with data on CDs, MP3 players, smart phones, and other digital devices. A good stereo receiver offers built-in AM/FM radio, auxiliary and USB ports to connect your devices, and it has a wide variety of equalizer settings to fine-tune how the system sounds.

Speakers make the music you listen to come alive, but they require an amplifier to work. Think of an amplifier as a high-tech megaphone that turns the low-frequency signal from your stereo or MP3 player into something loud enough for your speakers to play.

An aftermarket stereo amplifier will give new life to your existing system, especially if you plan to add a subwoofer. Depending on the size of your speakers and your listening preferences, you can choose between coaxial or component amplifiers. Coaxial amplifiers are less expensive and easier to install, but component amplifiers offer superior sound quality.

If you’re not ready to make a big investment in your system, there are plenty of pre-packaged amplifier and speaker combo units that let you create a powerful sound on a tight budget. Look for these units to be compatible with your factory head unit and to have a power rating that matches the number of channels in your speaker configuration. Be wary of manufacturers that advertise a high wattage on their amplifiers; these numbers are often misleading and can cause damage to your speakers or even the vehicle’s wiring. Instead, choose an amplifier with a higher-quality circuitry that produces less heat and has greater efficiency.

Compare Prices

Whether you’re listening to classical jazz, catching up on current events on NPR or fantasizing about head-banging along with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a quality car audio system makes your ride more enjoyable. Depending on your budget, you can go all out with the latest high-performance equipment or simply improve the sound of the factory setup. It’s important to remember the old adage, though: You get what you pay for.

The heart of any car audio system is the stereo receiver, which enables all of the speakers to play music and other media. These units come in various sizes, from a single-DIN to double-DIN, and many feature multi-disc CD changers and digital media ports for iPods. Some even have satellite radio compatibility, allowing you to listen to Sirius XM.

If you’re looking to upgrade your existing system, you may need to add a subwoofer or amplifier to boost low frequencies. These are available in a variety of sizes and power ratings, so finding the right one for your vehicle should be relatively easy. However, be aware of manufacturers who exaggerate their amplifiers’ power output to attract consumers. These companies often take their peak wattage rating and multiply it by 2- or 3 to claim a higher figure. When shopping for an amplifier, it’s best to look for a unit that follows industry standards.

Adding more bass to your system can be as simple as installing a powered subwoofer, which contains its own amplifier and speaker in one convenient package. These units can be hooked up to any head unit and will help your car stereo reach new levels of sonic intensity.

Another popular upgrade is a rear seat DVD player, which can give everyone in the car something to do during long drives. Several companies make portable devices that mount in the back of a driver or passenger headrest and play a movie on the screen. These can also be paired with in-dash GPS systems for navigation assistance.

While a quality aftermarket car audio system offers the most flexibility and features, many drivers are satisfied with the sound systems that came from the factory. This is especially true of luxury vehicles, which usually include top-of-the-line stereo components. In these cases, a used car stereo may provide the best value.

Warranty Options

There is no doubt that buying used car audio equipment is a great way to save money. However, it is important to know the risks associated with this type of purchase. Many of these problems can be avoided if you shop at a reputable dealer. The most reliable place to buy used equipment is at a professional car audio store. These retailers can assist you in finding the right equipment for your vehicle and will let you test it out before purchasing.

Before you purchase any used equipment make sure to check the manufacturer’s warranty policy. A good dealer will offer a one-year warranty on their products. This means that if anything goes wrong with the equipment they will fix it or replace it for you. If you purchase the product directly from a consumer you may not get this guarantee.

In some cases it is possible to find a manufacturer that will honor their warranty even after the original purchaser has sold the equipment. This is a great option for consumers who are concerned about the quality of the equipment they are buying. It is also important to note that if you install any aftermarket equipment or modify the product in any way that will void the warranty.

If you are going to purchase used equipment online it is important to read the descriptions carefully and ask a lot of questions. You should be able to determine if the seller is being honest. If you can’t visit a dealer in person it is important to find out as much as you can about the history of the equipment and how it was treated.

A lot of the time when people purchase new car stereo equipment they will get a warranty with it. This is because they want to know that if something goes wrong they have a professional to help them with the problem. Buying a piece of used car audio equipment without a warranty is a risky proposition. There are a lot of scammers out there who will sell you equipment that doesn’t work and then not be around to help with the problem. Fortunately, there are also a lot of honest sellers who would never dream of misrepresenting their equipment or how it was treated.