Upgrading Your Car Stereo Deck – keep it simple

Buying a new car stereo set can be a daunting process because there is just too many options to choose from.

For most people, upgrading your car stereo starts with the deck and as far as you’re concern you want to just have a few extra things available, such as bluetooth, iphone connectivity and may be GPS navigation depending on your budget

Unfortunately, there is too many choices and too many manufacturers trying to get into the same market. So it is difficult to find the right product at the right price.

I hope that this article will help you choose a car stereo deck that will do the job, without paying for the fancy excess for the real car audio enthusiasts.

Buying online will save you money, but it is advisable for you to find a certified car audio installer to do the job; it would be helpful if your installer Mumbai to Goa Taxi do not sell car stereo system of their own, otherwise they will talk down on the system you just bought.

It is important to install it at a certified car audio installer just in case you need to claim on the warranty, and most manufacturer shun internet purchase and will try not to honor your warranty based on a non-certified installer. Make sure you get a receipt that has the business name on it.

Amazon.com usually is a safe place to purchase car stereo equipment because they have several strict policy to help you get the product you wanted and have good return policy in case things go wrong. But keep in mind that you have to read these policies, simply changing your mind after making an online purchase could cost you at least the shipping cost to ship the item back to the warehouse or to the Amazon merchant.

In terms of product, I would recommend CLARION for your average car stereo deck upgrade. The reason being that CLARION generally have a reliable good quality product, which reduces your chance of having to claim a warranty for faulty products.

It is very annoying if you have to claim warranty on faulty products, especially if you have just made the purchase, worse though if you have had it installed by a certified installer and have to remove it after. For the most part, you will be responsible for the shipping cost to return the item and beyond your first 14 or 30 days, you have to deal directly with the manufacturer.

In fact, CLARION’s customer service unfortunately is not on par with other large car audio manufacturers. It is however quite expected when you are not paying a premium price for a product the first component that is compromised is customer service.

Despite this, the return rate of CLARION products are relatively low and the customer satisfaction on CLARION stereo deck is also good.

CLARION split their car stereo decks to 3 major categories, which makes life simple. Top end GPS equipped double DIN system, mid-end in-dash DVD player with multimedia, and the low-end stereo deck with bluetooth and optional iPhone connectivity.


For the top end product, Clarion NX702 is your best choice for multimedia, navigation and connectivity.

You will need a DOUBLE-DIN slot available in your car – that is the size of two regular car stereo deck. Most car will have the option of installing a double Din car stereo deck, but make sure you have enough space (about 4-inches in height).

The NX702 has everything you need and more: 7-inch touchscreen, Pandora internet radio, Parrot Bluetooth, HD radio and video multimedia playback.

Priced at less than $700 you are getting a bargain on the Clarion NX702 compared to other car stereo deck from Pioneer, JVC, Sony etc., for the similar or less features.

If you’re tight on budget but still want to have a stylish stereo deck, then checkout the CLARION VZ401 or the CLARION VX401; both are available from Amazon for less than $300 – and you still get free shipping!


The VZ401 is a single DIN multimedia unit, so it will fit in most cars. It is quite “fancy” because it has a 7-inch motorized touchscreen which slides out from the deck, and can be hidden away in the deck when not in use.

It has most of the features of the NX702 but with a less advance processor and no navigational feature built-in to the unit. External navigation “black box” is available (Clarion NP401), but will cost you an additional $233 from Amazon. Unfortunately, end-user review of the NP401 have experienced slower than expected processing speed when using an external GPS navigation like the NP401.


The VX401 on the other hand is the double DIN version of the same unit, but with a smaller 6.2-inch touchscreen.

The advantage of the double DIN is that it has less moving parts, so it is more likely to have motor or gear failure from the sliding touchscreen. But it doesn’t look as cool as the VX401 version of the unit.

Keep in mind that the both the Clarion VZ401 and VX401 were both released in early 2011, which meant that their technology is about 1-year behind the Clarion NX702, so don’t expect to have premium product at a bargain.

You can in fact go to down town LA or other places where the stores demo these units before purchasing them from Amazon. At least you will have a idea of what they look and feel like. But don’t get conned to buying it then and there, because they will sell it to you at least $100 more than what Amazon will sell it for.

Finally, if you just want a minor facelift of your car’s stereo deck, then you can consider either the Clarion FZ502for a Single DIN unit; or the Clarion CX501 for a double DIN unit.

Both of these units have iPOD and bluetooth connectivity, which meant that you can easily plug-in your phone to play music, receive calls etc, or playback pandora via bluetooth – all of these at less than $200!

Either way you will have lots of fun with your new toys and will be satisfied that you can answer calls while driving without having to wear those geeky bluetooth earpiece.

If you have further queries, drop me an email at [email protected]

On the next blog, I will give product suggestions on fitting your car with a multimedia AV system for those long interstate road trips with the kids.

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