Getting on the road behind the wheel of your own car is a pretty fantastic experience, and making sure you’ve got some good music to accompany the experience makes it all the better. Unfortunately, a lot of cars have to make do with cheap stereos which leave a lot to be desired in the audio quality stakes; however, the good news is that you can update your car’s in-car entertainment (ICE) and it needn’t cost a bomb.
The first thing to replace is the head unit – that’s the box in the dashboard with all the buttons on it. You can get a decent head unit for around £100, which should come with things like DAB radio, aux-in, USB and Bluetooth inputs, allowing you to play back virtually any kind of external device through your car’s speakers.
Ah yes, speakers. There’s no use having a decent head unit if you’re connecting it to a tinny set of speakers. £50 – £100 gets you a decent set; however, you can spend pretty much anything you like, with some in-car entertainment kits running into the thousands.
If you’ve got a bigger budget, you can add amplifiers, component speakers and all sorts of add-ons such as filters and crossovers, subwoofers and gaming systems. However, this all adds weight, increases the chances of your car getting nicked or broken into. Drive around with the bass booming and you could be stopped and fined or even have your car seized for anti-social behaviour.
Even if you keep it simple, be wary before you start hacking about your car’s wiring because you could end up starting a fire or suffering from electrical glitches. If in doubt, choose your kit but get it installed by the professionals. Also, don’t forget to tell your insurer that you’ve been toying with your car; if it’s nicked and you’ve forgotten to tell them, they could refuse to pay out if it comes to light that you’d modified it.