My iPhone won't place nice with my car
January 29, 2008 3:18 PM   Subscribe

What is the best way to play hook my iPhone up to my car stereo that doesn't involve the use of a tape adapter or a FM transmitter?

I drive a 2004 Acura TL, if that is helpful. I'd love to have a dock that takes full advantage of the iPhone's capabilities, but any solution that gets the music onto my car stereo would make me happy. Thanks!
posted by aburd to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This looks like your best bet: the 2006- Acura interface won't work, as you've probably found out.
posted by holgate at 3:28 PM on January 29, 2008

Best answer: The iPhone brings extra issues with the GSM cell phone. Unless you put the phone in airplane mode you're going to have loud unpleasant GSM chatter in your speakers. Last I checked, there were no official iPhone audio adapters because of this problem.
posted by Nelson at 3:30 PM on January 29, 2008

iPhones have the same dock adapter as a regular iPod, right? Get a car kit, like one of these. I'm sure if you went to any big car audio place (but not a cain lik eBestBuy_) they'd have something for you.
posted by GuyZero at 3:31 PM on January 29, 2008

This thread may help.
posted by pompomtom at 3:33 PM on January 29, 2008

Response by poster: The iPhone's bottom jack doesn't seem to work with any iPod stereo I've tried. So I'm assuming it wouldn't work with an iPod jack.

I'm not sure I understand what GSM chatter is. Is this a big loud obnoxious sound? Or is it a small occasional click that can be easily ignored?
posted by aburd at 3:37 PM on January 29, 2008

Best answer: Coincidentally this helpful guide came out yesterday on the website iLounge (found via

I've heard others warn about the "chatter" that Nelson mentions. Also I've heard warnings that if you use a non-iPhone certified charger, there is a risk that you could fry your iPhone's battery. Don't know enough to say for sure this is true, but I'd check it out before using just any old car charger.

I have been using Monster's iCable plugged into my Honda Civic's aux port and its worked great.
posted by cptspalding at 3:39 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There is an aux input (going by memory alone here), but it is hidden in the back of the stereo. You need a kit or something to get a jack in an accessible spot in the cabin, hopefully one with power as well. Any car stereo store can hook you up, but it isn't' cheap (I have a somewhat similar car and it irks me that I need this, but my wife has an ipod jack, without power, on her car.) I have an ipod 160 and the battery lasts basically longer than I would ever want to drive so the power thing is not that important to me. Anyway, get a pro set-up is my recommendation. You have an elite ride and you want an ipod setup to match.
posted by caddis at 3:42 PM on January 29, 2008

Best answer: I've had no trouble using an iPhone with my 2006 Scion xB's iPod input. The phone pops up a warning asking if I want to put it in "airplane mode," but answering "no" has had no ill effects.
posted by designbot at 3:47 PM on January 29, 2008

Best answer: I'm not sure I understand what GSM chatter is.

Stick a Blackberry next to a speaker phone and you'll know. There's RF interference thrown off by the phone when it communicates with the towers that gets picked up by speakers pretty easily. It's not huge, but it is annoying.
posted by GuyZero at 3:47 PM on January 29, 2008

Best answer: I use a wired FM transmitter. It works great and there is no signal degradation since it does not go over the airways. The device plus installation typically runs under $100. It is a box that sits behind your dash in between the head unit and the antenna. When activated (by flipping a mounted switch) it overrides the radio signal going into the headunit with whatever the standard stereo jack is plugged into. I had one installed and it's been fantastic!
posted by dendrite at 3:51 PM on January 29, 2008

From Crutchfield, you can use this adapter pretty easily.
posted by pupdog at 3:58 PM on January 29, 2008

If you can take out your stereo/radio/whatever (ie not factory installed) or you know someone who can without making a mess of it, most stereo systems in cars have extra plugs for an AUX in behind the system. I got the cable for mine (a simple male to male audio cable that plugs into the AUX and the ipod) at circuit city for around $10, and if you add a miniplug adapter for the iphone, you'd be set. No crackles, no problems. You can even grab a cigarette lighter adapter for power, and then there's no chance of running out of juice.
posted by alcopop at 5:08 PM on January 30, 2008

I changed my car radio to one which had an audio out port. Couldn't be happier
posted by friedbeef at 9:43 PM on January 30, 2008

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