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The Five Most Common Mistakes When Buying a Car Audio System

Your factory installed car audio system probably sounded okay for a while, but you may find the sound to be quite thin especially when compared with your home stereo system. If you figure it is time to upgrade, try to avoid the five most common mistakes when buying a car audio system.

1. Not getting compatible playback equipment. If you have a collection of MP3s on CDs that you have burned yourself you probably want to listen to that music in your car. You must have a CD player (or DVD player) which can read CD-W or CD-RW. Not all players have this function so be sure to check the specs before you buy a unit.

You may also still have a sizable collection of cassettes or other formats like MiniDiscs. Be sure to get a player capable of handling most of your music collection. While you are doing a car audio upgrade, you might consider getting satellite radio and a DVD player for watching movies on the back seat.

2. Not getting enough power. Nothing is worse than car audio that starts to crackle and distort at high volumes. This can be avoided by getting a power amp with sufficient output wattage. Think about 50 W per channel as an absolute minimum, and if you have subwoofers and satellite speakers consider going up to 300 Watts.

3. Not considering your driving habits. If you are on the road a lot, you should consider getting satellite radio with auto tuning functions. This allows you to listen to hours of music without ever having to fiddle with the controls. CD changers are also good idea for people who spend a lot of time in their car. The CD caddy can be loaded up and you never have to search for a particular CD.

4. Not considering the type of music you listen to. If you are a classical music fan your sound system needs to have broad range speakers and an amplifier with sufficient power. Some people like the music bass heavy -- look for a system with outboard amplifiers and massive subwoofers.

5. Not bothering with theft prevention. A new car stereo system can be a sizable investment and thieves know how to remove them amazingly fast. A car security system can help protect both your car and your audio equipment and may include handy features like automatic door locks and car jack protection

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