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Top 5 Ways to Enjoy a MP3 Player through a Car Stereo

by Paul Sanders

Woman driving in a car

Now that you have your music collection on your MP3 player, you may also want to enjoy it on your car stereo. Wearing headphones in the car can be dangerous and is illegal in a number of states. Luckily, it isn't difficult to connect your portable MP3 Player to your car audio system. Everyone riding in your vehicle can enjoy your music through your car stereo easily and safely. This article describes the top five methods which allow you to enjoy your portable MP3 player through your car stereo.

Playing Your MP3 in Your Car:

  1. Cassette player adapter. If your car stereo system plays cassette tapes, you can use a cassette adapter. The cassette adapter is shaped like a cassette connected to a wire and a mini earphone jack. Take the earphone jack and plug it into your portable MP3 player. Then insert the adapter into your cassette deck, and the music from your portable MP3 player will play through the cassette deck on your car stereo.

  2. FM transmitter. You can send the signal from your portable MP3 player to your car stereo by using a small FM transmitter. The transmitter will send the signal from your portable player to the car stereo over a frequency that is not being used by nearby radio stations. Some transmitters only allow you to use preset frequencies, although others allow you the flexibility to choose one. Some transmitters also double as portable car chargers for your portable MP3 player.

  3. Headphone to RCA cable. Use a stereo-to-RCA cable to connect your portable MP3 player directly into the audio input jacks on the back of your car stereo. Read through the car audio section of your vehicle user manual to make sure the car stereo is capable of RCA connection. If your current stereo was not installed by the vehicle manufacturer, you may need to locate the user manual for the stereo itself.

  4. Line-in jack. Some car stereos have a line-in jack that will accept a 3.5-mm headphone jack for data input. You can buy a 3.5-mm "male-to-male" cable that will connect the headphone jack on your portable MP3 player to the line-in jack on your car stereo.

  5. Built-in music player jack. Newer cars have an option built into the car audio system that allows you to plug your portable MP3 player directly into an audio jack for the stereo system. The audio jack might be on the car's stereo itself, on the dash or in a glove or storage compartment. This audio jack may use a USB cable, an RCA/audio cable or both. Consult your vehicle user manual to see if your vehicle has this feature. You may even be able to sort through songs, playlists and volume control using buttons on your vehicle console instead of your portable MP3 player control.


  1. Electricity can be dangerous. When working on any car audio system, be sure to disconnect the item you are working on from any battery or other power source. Read all instruction and safety materials that come with the components and tools you are using.

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