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Before You buy a New Car Stereo System, Consider Replacing or Upgrading the Factory System


Factory installed Car Stereo Systems have become very sophisticated with many popular features, yet some vehicle owners still want better performance and more features, so they turn to aftermarket systems, which offer even more entertainment, navigation, safety and convenience options. If you're considering a new car stereo system, you can either replace the factory system or upgrade it with system expansion products.

Replacing the Factory Installed Car Stereo System

Replacing the factory installed entertainment system allows you to customize the system and get the best performance. Purchasing a new system allows you to select the best receiver, amplifiers, speakers, subwoofers and accessories and build a first-class mobile entertainment system. There are many experienced installers who can build a custom system to your specifications. There are also drawbacks to replacing the system. Instead, you can upgrade the entertainment system with system expansion components. Here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of each:

Advantages and Disadvantages of Replacing the Factory Installed System


  • Allows you to get the best performance
  • You can customize the system to your specifications
  • You can add features not available in factory installed systems, such as high-powered subwoofers


  • Replacing the system is generally the most expensive option
  • You may void the vehicle's factory warranty
  • You can't take it with you if you sell the vehicle

Upgrading the Factory System with System Expansion Components

Upgrading the factory system allows you to add features and improve performance without replacing the existing system or tearing up the dashboard to install new components. System expansion components are available from Kenwood, Alpine, Pioneer and others and allow you to upgrade features and performance. Here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of upgrading a factory installed car stereo system:

Advantages and Disadvantages of Upgrading the Factory System


  • You can add components, amplifiers and features to the factory installed system
  • Components can be added without replacing the factory system
  • Less risk of voiding the vehicle's warranty
  • Less expensive than replacing the factory installed system.


  • You may still need to replace factory speakers and subwoofers, especially if you're upgrading amplifiers and receivers
  • Expansion options are more limited than replacing the system.

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