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Up grade car stereo? Will a new stereo work with my existing factory options?

YuanYuan Liu |

Up grade car stereo? Will a new stereo work with my existing factory options?

In the long history of car audio, the reason for each upgrade car stereo is to get higher sound quality, performance and more functions. This is usually due to the fact that the  manufacturer-installed OEM car stereos were feature-poor, and there will not cause any bad effects on the car if you upgrade car stereo.

Nowadays, the prospects of aftermarket head unit and OEM car stereos are more complicated. Many owners of new model vehicles are asking themselves this question: Is it worth giving up OEM functions in order to obtain better sound quality from an aftermarket head unit? With the rise of infotainment systems , The integration of steering wheel control and voice control, and OEM telematics systems. If just simply remove the factory head unit and r upgrade car stereo, it may actually impact or disable many great functions.

However, by making a meticulous plan, with the right adapters and accessories, it is possible to upgrade car stereo without losing anything.


upgrade car stereo


Keeping the Functions You Want


Infotainment is a compound word of information and entertainment. Depending on the OEM, they have slightly different meanings. This is a general term that covers everything from GPS navigation to Bluetooth integration and automotive multimedia, and more and more new car every year are equipped with these systems rather than basic head units.

Depending on the specific characteristics of the head unit or infotainment system, you may want to keep or give up some functions. So, it is important to consider this situation when you want to upgrade car stereo.

You may lose these functions after replacing the head unit, including but not limited to:


  • Voice controls
  • Bluetooth integration
  • Steering wheel audiocontrol
  • OEM telematics
  • Rear seat entertainment systems
  • Safety alerts


upgrade car stereo


Aftermarket Car Stereos, Wire Harnesses, and Adapters


There are three main factors that will affect the original function when you upgrade car stereo with an aftermarket unit. The first and biggest factor is the navigation you choose. Because, in order to maintain many functions, you must choose a car radio that has these functions and is compatible with the required harness or adapter. For example, if the aftermarket head unit you replace does not include this feature, you will lose it.


Retaining some other features may be more complicated, and you will often need to check back and forth: determine the features you want to retain, find a suitable adapter, and then look for an aftermarket head unit that is compatible with the adapter and the features you want.


The wiring harness is the root of all head unit upgrade, there are many ways to make it work. Some car stereo wiring harness adapters are designed to be connected to the car’s wire harness without any cutting, splicing or soldering. Other harness adapters are designed to be connected to the harness attached to your aftermarket head unit, and then can be directly connected to the vehicle wire harness connector.


In addition to these basics, wire harness adapters can also be used for specialized functions. Such as connecting to or bypassing a factory amplifier.  If your car comes with the factory amplifier and you would like to keep using it. You can use an wire harness adapter that’s designed to connect the amplifier to an aftermarket head unit.


On the other hand. There are other wire harnesses designed for these purposes, if you don’t want to use an anemic factory amp and use the built-in amplifier in the upgrade car stereo, or replace a brand new external amplifier.


upgrade car stereo