Do New Cars Still Have AM/FM Radios? (Explained)

AM/ FM radios are companions that many drivers appreciate in their cars.

However, the replacement of modern technology for radios in new cars is widespread and subduing the appeal of AM/FM radios.

Let us dive into the possibility of new cars still coming with radios and explore the car brands that still include them. We will also discuss how much it costs to install one in your car after purchase.

Here’s the Answer to Whether New Cars Still Have AM/FM Radios:

There are still new cars that come with AM/FM radios. Though the invention of other audio technologies might have won the interest of some people, it has not stopped drivers from using the traditional radio nor manufacturers from including them in cars.

Are AM/FM Radios in Cars on the Way Out?

We cannot say with certainty whether AM/FM radios in cars are on the way out or not without comparing their usage with other audio products.

Though the advance in technology and the diverse usage of smartphones has reduced their usage in cars, AM/FM radios are still the leading audio device drivers employ. Statista, according to the research it carried out from 2018 to 2022, wrote:

According to a study held in early 2022, the most common audio source used in the car in the United States remained AM/FM radio.

However, each year, there have been reports in the reduction in the percentage of AM/FM radio users. As of 2018, Statista reported that 82% of correspondent uses FM/AM radios in their car and 73% in early 2022.

Despite this discovery, consumers have not entirely replaced their AM/FM radios with other audio devices. Its ability to broadcast information to as many people as possible in diverse locations at the same time makes it an irreplaceable asset, even in cars.

However, the continuous need for AM/FM radio in cars highly depends on consumers’ demands for them. So far, the demand is still in favor of AM/FM radios. statistics reported that among car drivers:

“87% of media time when traveling in a car is spent listening to live radio and radio reaches 57% of in-car journeys”

With this data, we can say that AM/FM radios in cars are not on the way out. They are still the popular audio medium drivers used to access information and entertainment.

How Many New Cars Still Have Radios?

Many new cars still have radios. That there are newer audio technologies has not stopped consumers from demanding radios. And neither has car manufacturers stopped including them in cars.

Both the existing and new car brands still include radios in their new cars.

These new cars include many popular products such as Audi, BMW, Bentley, Jeep, Lexus, etc.

However, just as technology has advanced, so as radio features and components. The ancient radios only comprise the AM/FM radio. As a result of advancements over the years, they now exist in different forms in new cars.

Manufacturers have upgraded radio components to include other audio features and sometimes, they can be the feature of another audio device. It all depends on your car manufacturer.

Here Are 4 Common Radio Models in Cars:

  1. The Stereo: Car stereos include the radio or head unit, also called the receiver. The head unit helps you control your car radio. Also, there is the speaker, which is responsible for sound production. And the amplifier that powers and regulates your sound system. The stereo comprises all the audio components of your cars, AM/FM radio included.
  2. HD Radio: HD radio broadcast information from terrestrial or traditional AM/FM radio stations by digitalizing them. It employs a high digital signal that makes it possible to broadcast more information compared to the AM/FM traditional radios.
  3. Satellite Radio: Satellite radio employs communication satellites to broadcast audio signals to wider geographical areas that traditional radios can’t. It also transmits clearer information compared to traditional radios.
  4. Bluetooth Radio: Just like the name, Bluetooth radio broadcasts information over short distances and between limited people. It employs UHF (Ultra-High Frequency) radio waves to broadcast signals.

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How Much Does it Cost to After-Install a Radio?

You can install or change your radio set in situations where your car didn’t come with one or you want to upgrade the one your manufacturer installed in it.

The cost of after-installing radios in cars varies depending on factors like the car model, radio model, the cost of labor, the location, and the dealer.

After-installing a radio in a car won’t cost you much if you are installing it yourself. However, this may not be a great idea for people with limited knowledge about car radio installation.

The best way to install a radio in your car is to employ the services of professionals in the field.

The average cost of purchasing a radio in cars varies from $50-$500. Note that the more features included in your radio, the higher the cost. Standard radio does not cost more than $500. High-valued stereos, however, may cost up to thousands of dollars.

Related: Do New Cars Have Cigarette Lighters & Ashtrays? (Checked)

What Music Player Technology Takes Over After Radios?

There have been many music player technologies invented after radios over the years. However, most of them have only been able to take over radios for a short while before being succeeded by advanced technology.

The first music player after the radio was the phonograph, also known as the record player. Thomas Edison invented it in 1877 to record and playback music. It wasn’t until the 1950s that they included it in cars.

Dr. Peter Goldmark invented the in-car phonograph which the Chrysler company adopted in 1956. The adoption of the player by Chrysler gave car drivers the option to listen to music independent of the radio. But the Hi-Fi Record player couldn’t replace the radio.

It was short-lived because of its defect to skip whenever a car hits a bump. The radio remained the only audio device in cars for a while until the invention of the 4-track player in the early 1960s.

Earl Muntz invented the 4-tracks player that replaced the Hi-Fi record player in the 1960s. The 4-track player didn’t gain consumers’ interest because of its high cost. An 8-track player later came along in 1964.

William Powell Lear, the inventor, was the founder of Learjet, a company that manufactures business jets. After striking a deal with Ford in 1965, they introduced the 8-track player in their cars.

The 8-track player was a very successful car music player during this period. It gained the interest of many car owners, that other companies like Chrysler had to adopt it in their cars. The invention and incorporation of the head unit in 1955 gave 8-track players the ability to include AM/FM radios. It gained high preference compared to the radio during this period.

However, it lasted until the early 1990s. This is because digital products started gaining recognition during this period.

After the 8-track player was the compact disc. Philips and Sony invented the compact discs in the 1970s. However, it didn’t gain consumers’ interest until the 1990s when it started including features the 8-track player didn’t.

Its portable size, ability to rewind, etc. made it dominate the 8-track player until the 2000s.

Just like other music players, the compact disc also faded out and got replaced by the MP3 in cars. Carmakers did not adopt the MP3 technology in cars until the use of Bluetooth and USB.

These devices made it possible to connect MP3 to the existing car audio system. They also made it possible for drivers to play from their music playlist using their phones.

However, while Bluetooth and USB are still in use, technology continued to advance. Car audio devices now comprise internet streaming services. Services like Spotify and Pandora allow car owners to stream music online without limitation.

However, technology advances daily and so do audio devices in cars. While these technologies have taken after radios from time to time, they have failed to last. There are many audio devices and more will be in years to come. But will any be able to take over after the radio? Surely, we will find out in years to come.

Related: Do All Cars Have Cabin Filters Today?

Final Thoughts

Over the years, the advancement in technology has affected the use of AM/FM radios in cars. But they are still the preferred choice of many car owners. AM/FM radios being the preferred choice amidst car consumers is the reason many car manufacturers still consider them an important feature of their products.


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