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How to Plug Your MP3 Player Into Your Car

written by: KennethSleight•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 10/28/2010

So you have a brand new MP3 player and it works great but you don’t want to look like one of those ridiculous fools that wears their earbuds in the car. There you are, wondering, “How do I plug my MP3 player into my car?"

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    Don’t fret, we here at Bright Hub have the answer. If you happen to have a newer car stereo there may be a built in port for just such a situation. It will be a small round interface marked AUX (auxiliary) on the face of the stereo. If you have this port all you will need is a male to male adapter cord. If you aren’t lucky enough to have one of these there are a couple of other relatively easy options — a cassette interface or an FM transmitter.

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    Cassette Adapter

    coby adapter Using a cassette adapter is probably the easiest method for hooking an mp3 player to a car stereo system. If you don’t have a cassette player or don’t know what one is this isn’t the option for you. If you have a cassette player then the steps for installing it are simple.

    Step 1 – plug the male adapter into the headphone jack of your mp3 player

    Step 2 – put the cassette in the cassette player

    Step 3 – make sure the cassette option on the stereo is on

    Step 4 – enjoy

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    FM Transmitter

    fm transmitter FM transmitters offer another way to plug your mp3 player into your car. An FM transmitter changes the digital audio from your mp3 player into an FM transmission that can be received by the stereo antenna. This is essentially a plug and play device for the car. Setting it up is a breeze.

    Step 1 – connect the mp3 player to the fm transmitter via male to male adapter cable.

    Step 2 – connect the transmitter to its power source

    Step 3 – tune the stereo to the FM frequency that the transmitter is broadcasting on

    Step 4 – select the music to transmit from the mp3 player

    Different transmitters use different FM frequencies. The most common ones is 88.1FM but it is advised that you check the manufacturer booklet for the best frequency to use with your particular transmitter.

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    More Advanced Alternatives

    There are, of course, some other methods to connect your mp3 player to a car stereo but these involve a bit more technical know how. If your car came equipped with CD player then there is a wiring harness that can be purchased that will install a direct line for the mp3 player to plug into. Another option is to hardwire a "direct connect" FM transmitter that plugs into the antenna input of the in-dash radio.

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    Best Choice

    The best choice depends on how skilled you are and what your optimal price point is. Take a bit of time researching a few different models of FM transmitter or cassette adapters before making a final decision. Don't take too long to decide though or you'll be that guy bouncing at the red light with the earbuds stuck in your ears.