How to Add a USB Port to a Car Stereo

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How to Add a USB Port to a Car Stereo

Car owners who wish to add a USB port to their car stereo have a small project ahead of them. Luckily, the process of adding a USB port to the existing factory radio is not hard and takes a little time. The effort is worth it, since a new stereo with a USB port is expensive, especially when considering the extras vehicles owners would have to purchase.


USB Interface Car Kit

Vehicle owners have the option of buying a USB interface car kit. This kit includes a box-like device that has a USB port on it. To install it, the consumer must remove the factory stereo from the dash while keeping the wiring harness intact. He or she must then locate the port that connects the CD changer to the radio. Once the car owner disconnects the CD player, he or she can plug the USB car kit into this port.
After plugging in the device, the car owner can install the radio back into the dashboard with the adapter resting outside of it. After installation, the CD player is no longer connected. Instead, USB devices can play music in its place. The stereo controls access the music off the MP3 player or memory stick. Car owners should make sure the car kit adapter is compatible with their vehicle.

Installing a USB Socket

Some kits come with a USB socket, which the car owner can install into the dashboard. When installing the socket, the car owner has two choices. If the vehicle offers a place to add components to the area around the dash to install a new socket, the owner only has to cut a hole large enough for it to fit. However, if the car does not have space for a socket, the owner should look into the cavity where the stereo goes to see where there is sufficient space behind the dash to install the socket. He or she needs to mark the place to install the USB socket. The vehicle owner can now cut a hole large enough for installing the socket. Using the nuts included in the kit, the owner can secure the socket to the dash, plug the USB into the stereo, and replace the stereo the way it was.


FM Transmitters

Vehicle owners who just want a quick fix can purchase an FM transmitter to add a USB port to their stereo. This device plugs into the cigarette lighter port and uses the transmitter to broadcast music over the FM band of the radio. Though convenient, this method of adding a USB port has some drawbacks.

FM transmitters notoriously have issues with static and an underlying radio station coming through, drowning out the music. Unless the drive is in an area with little radio reception, this device does not work as well as a USB interface.


USB Interface vs. FM Transmitters

Car owners have a choice of two very different ways to add USB ports that work with the car stereo. Both have advantages, but the USB interface is a long-term solution, while FM transmitters are better suited for short-time use.



USB Interface

FM Transmitter

Plug and play

Yes (if compatible)


Quick set up



Clear audio playback



Dedicated controls for mass storage device




Some makes and models

All makes and models


Installing a USB interface is a better option for those who have mechanical knowledge. Those who cannot handle the installation will find using the FM transmitter easy. In addition, the transmitter costs much less than the interface.


How to Buy a USB Port for a Car Stereo on eBay

If you are tired of listening to the radio or playing the same old CDs, you can add variety to your music with a USB port for the car stereo. Finding a device that adds a USB port to your stereo is not hard with the wide range of options offered by the reliable sellers on eBay. Whether you want a USB interface kit or an FM transmitter, you can use the search function available to locate these devices and the tools to install them.

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