How to Hook Up MP3 Player to Car Stereo

How to Hook Up MP3 Player to Car Stereo

Listening to music these days is done with an iPod or MP3 player. It is the usual way for every individual, so it’s not surprising that it is also made as a car’s part.

The sad truth is that it’s not easy to connect it to a car. But the high demand prompts manufacturers to make it possible for car owners to add MP3 to their vehicle.

Adapter and Connection for MP3 Player

1. USB Connector

It’s a good thing that most MP3 players can work with USB. Aftermarket car stereos nowadays feature a USB port.

You have to connect the USB cable with your car stereo and MP3 so you can play the tracks. You will also be able to charge the player and control the music being played. 

2. Wireless Adapter

It’s the easiest way you can connect the MP3 player to the stereo of the car. It works on any kind of stereo including aftermarket and stock stereos.

A wireless adapter is called in another term, which is ‘FM transmitter.’ A regular kind of headphone jack is used for things to work out. It works, starting with the digital music being sent to the wireless adapter. The music is converted into FM radio waves so it can be accepted by a car stereo. 

It’s possible to set the adapter to FM channels for transmission. They are the channels that are not usually put to use. The power of the transmitter is sustained by a DC plug or batteries. Your stereo should be capable of reaching FM radio stations so you can get your MP3 player to work.

New models are not only designed for transmitting an FM signal, but it charges the MP3 player.

3. Cassette Adapter 

It’s a perfect way to play MP3 songs on your car stereo. First, the stereo of your car should have a cassette player to activate the cassette adapter. The classic cars usually have this feature while the new model of vehicles has a CD player and a radio.

Cassette adapter appears like a cassette with some wires that come out. It has a 3.5 jack that makes it possible to connect the plug to the player. When you push in the cassette into the deck, the music’s electrical signal is forwarded to the tape head. The playing of music begins instead of having a magnetized tape.

4. Wired Adapter

Car companies and manufacturers realize that a lot of customers want MP3 inside their vehicle, so they developed a wired adapter. This adapter has a permanent connection to the car stereo, and it is even in a direct state.

So, you can connect it in a direct way. It also has a charging area for you to power the MP3 player or iPod. It needs installation with the help of a professional, so it’s more expensive.

But it guarantees its listeners with the easiest way of playing the tracks, and it also gives the best experience. The advantage of using this adapter is the control of MP3 and iPod over the car stereo as well as vehicle control, which is in the steering wheel control. 

The title of the tracks is shown on the stereo’s screen. 

Hooking Up MP3 Player to the Car Stereo

There are four possible ways to play MP3 songs on your stereo, but the good news is that you can install the player by yourself. You can successfully finish the whole thing with the right tools and materials.

You can save some money too. The inside of your car doesn’t need to accommodate the clutter, which happens when you opt to use adapters. 

This process would only take an hour of your precious time. But you have to start with the collection of the materials and tools.

Necessary Tools and Materials



Pliers, needle-nose

Screwdriver, 4-in-1

Socket or ratchet set

Wire stripper or cutter

Wrench, adjustable


MP3 player

Installation kit

Wiring harness

Red connectors, butt-splice

Guide on Hooking Up MP3 Player to Car Stereo

1. You have to start with building the faceplate. Properly assemble the adapter kit so you can get it to hook with the MP3 player. To secure the connection of the whole device, tighten the provided screws.

2. Once you’re done with the connection, you can put the device on the top of your workbench. The wiring harness adapter can be spliced onto the player. To check the speaker’s function, turn on the unit.

3. To ensure that the wiring connection is made properly, you can switch on the unit from front to back and left to right. You also have to test player functions such as CD player, radio, USB ports, and iPod connection. 

4. When all the functions are fine, you can proceed with the installation of the dash. Then you have to refasten the panels of the trim.

So you can start rocking on with your favorite tunes.

Tips When Buying MP3 Player

You can buy the MP3 player for your car at any electronic or car audio store. There are different brands and models you can find online.

You will be able to find a model that agrees with your budget and the one that fits your car. Reading reviews or comments also contribute to your decision. 

Your decision should be made out of the consideration that the model and the brand of installation kit and adapter with wiring harness. They should be compatible with your vehicle.


There are several ways you can get an MP3 player working in your car. But it can be inconvenient and a bit messy at times.

If you install an MP3 player on your stereo, it’s a permanent addition so it won’t bother you before you can play some songs. It is completed in a few steps as long as you have the installation kit. It can save you some money as it’s not too expensive and you don’t have to pay for a professional fee.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *