Best way to use iPod in a car?

Discussion in 'iPod' started by markw10, May 20, 2007.

  1. markw10 macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2006
    I have a 06 Subaru Forester and purchased a iPod a few months ago. Now I have most of my collection on mp3 format so it's hard to go in my car and only have CD's to listen to. I know the 07 Foresters were supposed to have a iPod feature. I think it was something as simply as a plug that you can connect the headphone output to your stereo but unfortunately my car doesn't have anything like this.
    What is the best route to go for this? I see a lot of fm transmitters that you plug in so that you can just put your radio to the fm frequency to listen. Is this the best way to do it? There are so many products out there that do this so do any in particular stand out? It seems some even have a feature where you can just put it into a dock which plugs into a car charger.
  2. tombarnes macrumors 6502


    Feb 26, 2006
    Surrey, United Kingdom
    I would'nt get an FM transmitter if you like to turn your music up and if you want good quality. FM transmitters are all bottom of the ipod-car connectivity scale.

    I, personally use a Sony stereo which has an AUX input; the sounds quality is excellent. I am looking at buying a harman kardon drive + play interface. This allows control of your music easily whilst having your ipod in your glovebox. It kinda inegrates into the car environment better than an ipod itself. But you need an AUX input to use harman kardon drive + play.

    I would suggest hard wired ipod integration is far better than FM.


  3. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    Got a tape desk? if so, there are adaptors that will play your iPod though a tape desk. Cheap, and they work great.

    I too would stay away from FM transmitters...they aren't very good
  4. tombarnes macrumors 6502


    Feb 26, 2006
    Surrey, United Kingdom
    Oh yeh, thats something i forgot to mention. I too would recommend tape adapters. They are about £5. Far better than FM.
  5. volvoben macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2007
    nowhere fast
    FM transmitters are junk, tape is better but they always end up squeaking and making noise as the tape deck turns (plus i have no idea if your subaru actually has a tape deck), and aux inputs are the best. My JVC stereo had a great font 3.5mm jack on the front, but it was stolen, so now i'm back to my stock stereo and the tape adapter, which works fine for recorded talk radio shows etc, but i hate it for music.

    You could probably figure out if there's some trick to the mp3 compatibility with your car (ask dealer, google), my friend thought her stereo didn't have the capability but I looked it up online and I just had to take the unit out (dash disassembly is always so darn fun) and utilize the rca inputs on the back of the unit. Now there's a cable coming out of her dash storage area which connects directly to her ipod and looks original.
  6. freeflydrew macrumors member

    Feb 6, 2004
    I purchased the neo audio system from
    This allows me to change tracks from my stereo or the ipod.
    The Neo system uses the dock connector, so the sound is stereo and the ipod charges while it's used. This system plugs into the back of the radio. The neo also has another input port for any other audio device, like a dvd player. I mounted the ipod to the vent right above the radio so it's easy to see.

    People are always impressed with how good the audio sounds.
  7. honeytoast macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2004
    bay area, CA
    The best way is to get a new deck that supports the ipod. Many manufacturers make them now and all you have to buy usually is a $20 cable to hook it up.

    I use an Eclipse and can access everything on my ipod right through my deck
    and the info displays on the screen.

    check out for great prices.
  8. kuebby macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2007
    That's what I have and it works well, I bought an after-market Pioneer head unit a couple years ago and got a cable to connect my iPod to it. The only problem is that the cable goes to the glove box so it can be a pain to connect and disconnect your iPod.
  9. jruc4871 macrumors regular

    May 4, 2005
    Washington, DC
    My mom drives a Forrester, so I've looked into this. You have two options that allow you to listen to your iPod without buying a new stereo.

    1. Buy a tape adapter if your head unit has a cassette deck. This is an easy and cheap option, but you'll lose some sound quality. AND, not every tape adapter works with every stereo. Try RadioShack, they seem to be decent.

    2. Buy an FM transmitter. This is easy and relatively cheap. While the quality is far from perfect, many many people are happy with them. The newest models plug directly into your cig lighter so you can charge at the same time. Go to iLounge for more reviews than you can handle.

    Beyond that, you'll need a new head unit that is either specifically made for iPod, or has an Auxilliary input in the back (until recently, this was primary for CD changers). This is the option I've chosen and it works a charm. You just need the proper adapter and you can "hard wire" into your iPod's pin connector.

    I tried a couple different systems that allow you to control the iPods menus through your head unit. Great idea, disappointing in reality. The head unit's interface is always a joke compared to the iPod's and it's also painfully slow.

    Good Luck with whatever you choose. If your budget doesn't allow you to get a new head unit, the tape adapter and FM transmitter are certainly acceptable, if not ideal, options.
  10. memphismac macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2003
    Do any of these aftermarket connection kits (like a Dension IceLink) adversely affect iPod performance?

    I hooked one up several months ago, and my iPod up and quit last week. Before I start using the new iPod with it, I want to make sure there isn't some weird issue with it.
  11. eRondeau macrumors 65816


    Mar 3, 2004
    Canada's South Coast
    I bought an Alpine 9857 "Full-Speed" iPod-interfacing head unit when it first came out. Awesome! It interfaces to the iPod using the standard 30-pin flat connector. The head unit (stereo) allows you to scroll, select, in fact do everything that you can do from the iPod. It works, looks, and sounds absolutely awesome! Highly recommended!

Share This Page