I spend a decent portion of each day (about 1 hour) in my car. Sometimes, as when I am taking long trips, I spend a much more time. Often when in my car, I want to make some sort of use of the time that I am spending sitting in one place, so I like to listen to podcasts. Other times, I just want to listen to music. To date, I have been doing that by putting my headphones in my ears and listening from my phone. Apparently, however, this is illegal in my state. Since I had been idly thinking about replacing my car stereo for convenience anyway, I started looking into ways to get an auxiliary input in my car.
Now, may car is very old (Manufactured in 1997, but it was free and functional, so I was willing to overlook that), but it does have an aftermarket stereo in it, and from what I had read, most car stereos do have an auxiliary input, although it is often hidden. There are two ways that manufacturer's normally do this-- either they hide the input in the back so that it can be used for external devices like CD Changers, or they provide leads for an input and separately sell an adapter for those leads. As such, the first thing I did was try to open up the console and look inside. This turned out to be a bit difficult for someone who has never done it before. The front plate of the console was secured by screws that were inside the glove box. The head unit was secured to a frame with some hex screws.
Once I got the unit out, I was greeted by a lovely mass of cables bundled in electrical tape as well as a nice set of inputs. These already had something plugged into them, which I traced back to the trunk. They were just hanging loose back there, not plugged in to anything. I believe that there used to be some sort of CD changer located there. Anyway, having found the input, I plugged a cable into it and tested it out.
I found there to be a couple of problems with my approach. The first of which was that there was no setting on the head unit that allowed for an auxiliary input. This meant that I needed to have the unit set to either radio or CD. Without a CD in, it automatically set itself back to radio. This meant that I had to move to an unoccupied radio station in order to not have two sources playing at the same time. Additionally, the sound from this source only came out of the back speakers.
After thinking it over, I had no desire to try to troubleshoot this problem. It is worth it to me to buy a new system that works properly. Unfortunately, my car is so old that it does not make sense to spend a lot of money on a stereo system. As much as it pains me, I am probably going to find something at a brick and mortar store and have someone else install it for me. I have no desire to deal with the rat's nest of cables that lies behind the head unit.