What do I need to do to convert my car to digital radio? 

There are four types of digital radio adapters currently available on the market in the UK.

1. Fitted to your dashboard and connected directly to your existing radio with visible wires (similar to a portable sat nav-type device) – for example, Pure Highway (pictured below), Beat 400 and Celsus Caliber. Prices start from around £50, excluding fitting. There are also in-store fitted options, available from £100.

Highway in car


2. Fitted discretely behind the car’s dashboard and integrated with your existing radio and steering wheel controls (if fitted correctly this product should not be visible to the driver) – for example, Connects2 AutoDAB (pictured below), Celsus and CK-O. Prices start from around £150, excluding fitting.


Auto dab


3. Integrated with your existing car radio, with a screen fitted on the car’s dashboard – for example, Pure 300 Di and Alpine Ezi DAB (pictured below). Prices start from £150, excluding fitting.


Alpine Ezi DAB


4. Digital radio head units (DIN) can be fitted to some cars and can directly replace your existing radio – for example, Kenwood (pictured below), Pioneer and JVC. Prices start from £80, excluding fitting.


Kenwood DAB

 

Can I fit a digital radio myself?

It is possible to fit some digital radios yourself, but you would need a good understanding of a vehicle’s electronics system to ensure you do not make a mistake. We recommend that you ask a professional to fit your digital radio adapter.


Where do I need to go to fit a digital radio?

Drivers wanting to adapt their existing car to digital radio can purchase an in-vehicle digital radio adapter from the following:


- Halfords: find your nearest store by visiting www.halfords.com
- Your local independent in-vehicle aftermarket retailer
- A range of franchise dealerships (including Ford, Vauxhall, VW and BMW)


Please ask in store for details on which product is suitable for your vehicle.

You can search for your nearest in-vehicle digital radio retailer by entering your postcode into our Store Finder.


Do I need an antenna for a digital radio?

The majority of cars adapting to DAB digital radio in the aftermarket will require a new antenna. There are several antenna types available:


Internal glass mount (pictured below)

- Easy to install on the inside of the car (not necessarily fitted, though it does need to be positioned correctly to achieve the best performance)

- The lowest cost antenna (prices from £20)

- Poor performance in fringe coverage areas

- No need to drill a hole in the roof

- Unobtrusive in the car / low visibility 

- Can be removed with no evidence of installation

Internal Windscreen

Mag mount (pictured below)

- Attached by a magnet to the car’s roof (not necessarily fitted)

- Prices start from £15

- No need to drill a hole in the roof

- Cabling needs to be thread through door rubber seals (can lead to water leaks)

- Easily stolen if left on the vehicle

- Can be removed with no evidence of installation



Mag mount


External glass mount (pictured below)

- Fitted to the outside of the car on the window (the front, rear, or side window glass)

- No need to drill a hole in the roof

- Can be removed with no evidence of installation

- Prices start from £30



External Glass Mount


Beesting whip roof aerial (pictured below)

- Requires a hole drilled onto the roof  or uses existing aerial hole

- Requires fitting by an experienced installer

- Cabling needed inside the car  

- This is an expensive option, due to cost of installation 

- The best antenna for sensitivity performance

- The antenna looks similar to the original fit



Whip Roof Mount


Shark fin antenna (pictured below)

- Requires a hole drilled onto the roof or uses existing hole

- Requires fitting by an experienced installer

- Cabling needed inside the car

- This is the most expensive option, due to cost of installation 

- Due to limited size of the fin body, this is not as effective as the beesting whip antenna

- The antenna looks similar to the original fit



Shark Fin Antenna


FM/DAB amplified splitter (pictured below)

- Uses existing roof / body mounted aerial

- Must be used with an existing non-amplified (passive) aerial

- Prices start at £25.00

- Easy to install no cabling required

- At the time of writing, this product was not available in Halfords


Amplified Splitter

 

How much with a digital radio cost?

The cost of the digital radio will vary depending on which product you choose, which antenna you select and the cost of installation. Prices start from £50 and can go up to over £300, including installation.


Will a digital radio work if I drive to Europe?

The majority of in-vehicle radios include DAB, DAB+ and FM. These radios work across Europe. When buying your digital radio please ask your retailer whether your radio includes DAB, DAB+ and FM. 


If you have any further questions visit our FAQ’s section or contact us page.

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