Need a thick Aux-In Cable for my car.
November 29, 2011 4:21 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for a new Aux-In Cable (3.5mm, male to male) to use my mp3 player in my car. I had a couple of cheaper retractable ones, but they usually break after a short period of use. I live in a cold climate and the cord gets cold in the car for long periods of time and I think this has an affect on its life. I have seen some people with thicker aux-in cables in their car and I have searched, but I can't seem to locate one for a decent price. Does anyone know where I might be able to buy a thick (preferably white, but not critical) 3.5mm Aux-in cable?
posted by dbirchum to Shopping (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Monoprice has many at under $5.
posted by AzraelBrown at 4:34 AM on November 29, 2011

Seconded, I got mine from monoprice, it's white and was under $10 and is still going after a couple of years. I leave it in the car year round, and I use it for playing my ipod in the car.
posted by 8dot3 at 5:43 AM on November 29, 2011

I'm in Winnipeg and keep a variety of cords in the car all year (unheated garage). This hasn't happened to me yet, nor have I heard of cold being a factor from my other geeky friends. Cables vary considerably in quality; I've bought ones in the summer that didn't make it to the fall so I don't think temperature is that big a factor.

The one thing I'd recommend for any cable that gets used a lot, in heat or in cold, is to preemptively wrap the first two inches on either end with electrical tape of the same colour. Make sure the tape comes over the thicker part of the plug. It's usually at the flex points that most of the stress gets transferred; taping spreads that stress out over a larger area.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 6:04 AM on November 29, 2011

Are you handy? Is it broken by the rubber part that meets the cable part? You can solder it back together and get a package of heat shrinkable wrap tubes and reinforce it. You don't need a new one. If you are not able to do the repair, I suggest that you get the wrap to reinforce a new one that you get.

Check out Griffin, they make ones for $7.
posted by Yellow at 6:16 AM on November 29, 2011

You can solder it back together and get a package of heat shrinkable wrap tubes and reinforce it

Tutorial I found online. (Haven't used it before, but think I might try this.)
posted by inigo2 at 6:21 AM on November 29, 2011

Try Radio Shack. Look in the audio cable section rather than the cell phone section. (The cell phone cables seem to be very flimsy and have no strain relief on them. The audio cables are somewhat better.) There ought to be ones with more substantial construction there. They will probably be black, however.

If the breaks tend to happen at where the connector and the wire meet, the heat shrink tubing trick will work. What you may need to do is use a couple of layers, or wrap the wire and plug with electrical tape first, and then put the heat shrink wrap on there to make it look pretty.

Another thing to try is to get a right angle adapter for one or both ends. When the aux cable is stuck in a phone, it usually sticks out in an awkward way and the cable to plug joint gets smacked and bent up. A right angle connector might slow this down. If it is just a standard stereo 3.5mm cable, Radio Shack ought to have every combination you might want.

I am loathe to recommend Monster Cables, but this looks like it might work well and isn't all that expensive.
posted by gjc at 7:12 AM on November 29, 2011

I got one fitting your needs from hhgregg for ~$10.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:23 AM on November 29, 2011

If the problem is flexing when it's cold, thick might just make that problem worse. The real question is material. If you can find one that has a rubber, rather than a PVC, wire casing, or even better, fabric, then it will flex much more when cold, which will prevent the cracking.

Retractables are even worse, because you're constantly spinning them up and then unwinding them.

The other option is to buy two reasonably decent ones, use one, and when it cracks, use the other and go get a new spare. Unless they're failing on a weekly time frame, it might be cheaper than buying one really good cable.
posted by eriko at 7:31 AM on November 29, 2011

A neater way to reinforce the cable near the ends is to use shrink tubing. You can get it in white from Measure the largest diameter of the plugs and get the size of tubing that will fit over them. Even if it doesn't shrink down to tightly fit the cable, it will still prevent major flexing at the plug. DX also sells the cables.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:35 AM on November 29, 2011

If you can find one that has a rubber, rather than a PVC, wire casing

Yes. Also wire strand count correlates to flexibility without breaking. In my experience, I'd heat shrink wrap on there, maybe two layers, and then tighten some small cable ties over the joint.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:04 AM on November 29, 2011

I found the heat of CA (in a black car with black interior) has destroyed more audio cables than the cold of WI. I dealt with the matter in WI the same way I deal with it in CA: cheap cables from
posted by fief at 12:25 PM on November 29, 2011

OK maybe it wouldn't be retractable, but if you've got a soldering iron, making one up yourself with parts from your local electronics store will be the cheapest BY FAR, and you can use your own choice of wire gauge.
posted by trialex at 12:44 PM on November 29, 2011

Thanks! I like both the Monoprice one and the Monster one. I think I am leaning towards the Monster one, but it is out of stock on that website. Can anyone tell me where I might be able to buy one?

The Monoprice one also looks great, but it appears to only be in "black". Do these also come in white?

posted by dbirchum at 5:17 PM on December 3, 2011

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