For a long time, aftermarket car stereo systems have been considered "high maintenance" items that would not be worth very much money. They were very hard to find, usually starting at $100 or more, and required specialized installers who could do extensive work. Once, stores were doing most of the custom work, stripping out older standard equipment, installing aftermarket audio amplifiers, high-end eight-track tapes, high-end cd players, tape decks, CD cases, radio cassette decks, auxiliary input devices, rearview mirror kits, head units, steering wheel mount brackets, and even GPS systems. Some of these systems even came with a built-in speaker.
Today, however, that has all changed. Many car stereo companies have moved their focus from high maintenance "high dollar" items to value-conscious packages that are much easier on the wallet. In some cases, it is common to find used stereos that are only a couple of years old being sold for half of the cost of a new one! In addition, many manufacturers have begun to bundle their own line of Bluetooth audio devices along with their stereo units.
If you are looking at aftermarket car stereos, you may want to do your homework first. There are two main manufactures left in the U.S. that make different kinds of car stereo receivers and speakers: Alpine and Kenwood. They each have a reputation for making great products that work well. So when you are browsing their lines of products online, be sure to look at the reviews that their previous customers have given for both the speakers and the sound systems. You might find something that really jumps out at you.
Aftermarket car stereos and head units are designed to improve the sound quality of stock speakers. Some of the newer aftermarket units can even replicate the sound quality of your OEM units. This is an especially great idea if you are a hardcore audiophile. If you want the absolute best sound quality possible, be sure to spend extra money. But if you are looking for a more reasonable expense, you might be able to get a better sound quality with a used or refurbished unit. Check out the web for reviews of aftermarket car stereo receivers and head units for a better idea of what you can expect from each brand and model.
Most car manufacturers offer some sort of warranty on their stock speakers, but you may not get the kind of quality of service you expect with aftermarket car stereo systems. The reason for this is because car manufacturers want their products to sell. They have to make the speakers fit into the cars and fit into the styles of the cars. The result is that you will not get the kind of sound quality that you want.
In addition to better sound quality, many aftermarket car stereos and head units will also include additional features such as iPod integration. With this function, you can plug in your iPod, keeping it ready for when you get ready to listen to it. In most cases, you can also connect up your Bluetooth. Some of these units also come with built-in speakers, so you will be able to enjoy stereo music on your home theater system or personal computer without having to carry around another device.
Another benefit of an aftermarket car stereo is that it is designed to work seamlessly with all of the major vehicle manufacturers' devices. Many different brands and manufacturers offer premium audio systems for vehicles today. So, even if you own an older or standard model vehicle, you can benefit from premium audio. You may not be able to upgrade to the highest quality audio, but you can sure make a significant improvement to your sound. This will also allow you to make better use of your existing audio system by saving money on purchasing premium equipment.