How do I plug my mp3 Player Into my Car?

There are a number of ways you can plug your mp3 player into your car. All of them are fairly simple and are pretty different in pricing. Any of the ways you choose have their advantages and disadvantages of course so read on and find out which type of connection system is best for you.

FM Transmitter

This basically plugs into your car power outlet (cigarette lighter) and transmits the music coming from your mp3 player onto an empty radio station and to your speakers. The ones that plug into your car usually charge your iPod or other mp3 player at the same time which is nice.

There are similar versions that plug only into your mp3 player and use its battery to operate the fm transmitter. These types obviously use more power and can drain your mp3 player rather quickly. Either one usually delivers the same quality of sound though.

The downfall of this type of adapter is that if you live in the city, or at least a big city, it is pretty hard to find a clear station to tune to. In order to get clear transmission you need to have an empty radio frequency basically, like 92.9 or something that is just static. Then you tune your adapter to that station and it plays your music.

The upside to this type of adapter is that it is cheap, well cheaper than most other options at least. These types of adapters can run anywhere from $30 to over $150 for the top notch brands.

In Dash CD Player with mp3 Jack

This type of adaption system requires you to remove your factory radio and replace it with a stereo that has an mp3 jack on the face plate. This option is a little bit more of a pain in the rear but can increase your usability quite a bit if you live in a big city and have an older car.

The advantages are that you can plug directly into the front of the cd player, guaranteeing higher quality sound with no frequency interruptions. This option can also be fairly inexpensive if you opt for the cheaper brands of players. Some range in the $50 area brand new and if you are willing to buy used, then you can find them even cheaper on places like

The downside is that you have to replace your existing car stereo with a totally new one. This can be quite a hassle depending on which type of car you have and which stereo system you buy. There also might be other items like wire adapter kits and kits to fit the player into the existing hole that will cost extra.

In Dash Adapter Kits

In dash adapter kits for your mp3 player are really nice because you don't really need to do much to get them installed. I would leave it to the pros if it were my choice but you can make up your own mind. These types of adapters basically plug into the back of your existing cd player and are then controlled from the cd player interface.

The advantages of this system are that it is easy to install if you have the right car and stereo already, and it sounds great. The cool thing is that most of these allow your ipod to be controlled from either the cd player or the iPod itself which is nice. Also most work with the iPhone as well for hands free talking.

The downside is that they aren't available for many makes and models of vehicles. Also they are fairly expensive $169+.


Next time you ask "how do I plug my mp3 player into my car?" you will now know the answer. If you live in a more rural area or a smaller city, the fm transmitter is the way to go. If you want a new cd player anyways or want better quality than the fm transmitter then you should go with a new car stereo. If you have a newer vehicle and want the ultimate mp3 player to radio system, then you need to get the In dash adapter setup.