The advantages of installing digital radio in your car
If you’re tired of the fuzzy sounds from your current in-car radio, it’s time to think about switching to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) – it’s cheap, easy to install and means you’ll be ahead of the game when it comes to selling your vehicle in the future.
The government has recently announced it intends all new cars to have DAB radio fitted as standard by 2013, with a view to all used cars being converted by 2015, and as buyers become increasingly aware of this, it will be more important than ever to make sure your car keeps up to date to avoid losing market value when you sell.
At the moment, only one per cent of UK cars receive DAB radio, but the Society of Motoring Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has stated that the simplicity of adding DAB to a new vehicle means that the 2013 target should be achieved.
The main advantage of DAB is that it gives you a crystal clear reception, eliminating the crackle you get on FM and more noticeably AM wavebands so that you can listen to popular programs such as BBC Radio 5 Live and talkSPORT with no interference. To find out more about in-car digital radios, follow the motors.co.uk guide below.
What is DAB?
DAB produces radio that’s interference free, so if you live in a poor signal area where the FM signal is barely audible, then DAB will offer you a much better reception. With the right kind of tuner, listeners can receive a choice of stations without hiss or fade unlike conventional FM and AM receivers. And it doesn’t matter if you’re driving in the countryside or in the city centre – the reception on DAB radio remains the same, there is no need to retune. And if you do go out of range, most DAB systems are programmed to switch to the FM version of a station automatically.
Is DAB present in my local area?
DAB can be received in over 85 per cent of the United Kingdom and the signal is either present or not, there is no tuning involved . To find out whether DAB is present in your area, there are a variety of websites which enable you to enter your postcode to find out, for example www.ukdigitalradio.com or www.uk-dab.info.
Which DAB radios are available for my car?
There is a great selection of DAB radios currently on the market which range from a simple plug-in which can be self-installed, to integrated systems which replace your existing radio. Or, if you’re purchasing a new car, below is a list of the manufacturers who already offer DAB as standard or as an option:
Audi, BMW, Fiat, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lotus, Mercedes, Mini, Renault, Seat, Toyota, TVR Vauxhall, Volkswagen and Volvo.
How do I install a DAB radio into my existing car?
The easiest way is to buy a short range device which plays through your existing FM radio. The PURE Highway DAB system is one of the devices currently available on the market. To use it, you simply plug the system into your lighter socket and it sits on the dashboard like a sat nav. You then tune your car radio to an FM frequency, and then you’re ready to receive DAB radio. The PURE Highway costs around £79.99 and is available from several online portals. Another option is to purchase an integrated DAB system. This is more costly with prices starting at around £200, or you can purchase a DAB ‘hideaway box’ which starts at £299 – with both these options you’ll need to make sure you have a DAB-specific aerial and you may need to seek help from a professional to install the equipment.
Should my next car purchase include DAB radio?
If you’re buying a new car, it’s well worth paying a little extra for DAB radio to be fitted – normally the cost to have DAB included as standard is between £100-£500, so not much more than you’d pay for a conversion kit, and it will guarantee your car doesn’t lose value when you come to sell it.