7 Reasons to change your Car Radio.

7 Reasons to change your Car Radio.

September 27, 2021 0

A car radio is the heart of your car sound system; if you are unhappy about it, you are unsatisfied with the entire system. There are numerous reasons why you should swap your factory car radio. 

According to statistics, Kenya imports 90,000 used vehicles from japan every month. 

These vehicles come with car radio systems manufactured for the japan market, thus, unsuitable for the Kenyan market. 

Here are seven reasons why you should swap your factory car radio.

Stock car radio -Language barrier is one of the main reasons people change their stock radios
Language Barrier

1. Language Barrier

Kenya as a country has two national languages; English & Swahili.

99% of factory car radios come with a Japanese default language. 

The sad part about this is there is no way to change the language to English. 

The likely hood of a Kenyan with Japanese as a third language is next to impossible.

The language barrier makes it very difficult to operate the radio. You cannot enjoy the features no matter how advanced they may be.

Aftermarket radios come with an English Default language, making them easy to operate.

Stock car radio - insert correct map disc error
Map Disc Error

2.Map Discs / Unlock Card

“Insert correct map disc” have you come across this message on your radio? If you happen to remove your car battery, that will be your next predicament. 

Some imported vehicles also land on Kenyan soil without the map discs. The cars leave japan with map discs which are stolen in transit or at the port during clearance.

Manufacture of map discs for resale does not take place hence; hard to find. 

However, if you are lucky enough to find a map disc, the price is high. 

Once you lose the map disc, the radio becomes useless. Whichever way you lose your map disc, your best option is not to replace the map disc but the radio.

3. FM Broadcast Coverage

Stock radios come with a local Japanese FM broadcast band which ranges from 76MHz-95 MHz

In Kenya, this frequency range does not cover all AM & FM radio stations. You will find that most of your favorite FM stations are missing making the radio monotonous.

Adding an FM Expander to your stock radio may act as a temporary solution to the problem.  

A 20 band FM Expander enhances full band reception within the Japan local Frequency by reducing 20MHz from the Kenya local Frequency.

For instance, the radio Jambos FM frequency in Nairobi is 97.5MHz which falls outside Japan’s Local Frequency. 

With the aid of an FM Expander, you will listen to radio Jambo through 77.5MHz.

Even though an FM expander offers a temporary solution, the permanent solution is to swap the radio. 

Stock radios also tend to be characterized by poor FM signal reception. However, as with the FM band range, fitting an  FM Signal Booster can solve poor signal reception temporarily.

4. Expandability

An Expandable radio can support external accessories. This feature lacks in stock radios. 

Lack of video output 

Video output is a provision required when installing external screens such as headrest monitors. Most stock radios lack this crucial feature.

Missing Subwoofer Output 

For you to connect an external Subwoofer for Bass, your radio should have at least one subwoofer output. 

If the subwoofer output is missing, it means you have to get a new radio to enjoy Bass in your car.

Lack of USB & AUX Input 

With a USB port, you can play media files or charge your smartphone on the go. Some radios have a USB port that is limited to MP3 format.

Auxiliary input enables you to play media files from your phone.

These features are lacking in most stock radios.

No Bluetooth 

Bluetooth capability is a principal feature in this day & age. 

Bluetooth wireless technology allows us to share lots of data across paired devices. With Bluetooth, you can stream music and make hands-free calls. 

While some stock radios may have Bluetooth, it only supports one function. 

5. Improve Aesthetics 

I Am sure you have come across some crazy-looking dashboards like the one on the image above. 

Well, the only way to improve the appearance of such a dashboard is to replace the radio. As you choose a radio replacement, don’t forget to go through our Car Radio Buying Guide

6. Poor Audio Quality

Most stock radios have a weak inbuilt amplifier that does not match well with highly rated aftermarket speakers. 

Thus, changing your car speakers may not yield the desired performance due to a weak radio amplifier.

When upgrading your car sound system, subwoofer, amplifier & speakers, it’s necessary to establish how strong your car radio is to curb underperformance.

Otherwise, you may end up blaming the setup while the real problem is the stock radio.

7. Advanced Features Lacking 

Lastly, the need for advanced features may prompt you to swap your stock radio.

Car Manufacturers are focused on delivering on aspects that make a car durable easy to maintain. 

While a car radio system is part of the car, manufacturers may not be keen on developing a high-standard radio. 

As a result, premium features, in most cases, are always lacking.

For instance;

Android Auto 

Android auto gives you control over your android smartphone applications such as; Maps, calls, text messages & music on the radio.

Apple Car Play

Apple car play gives you control over your IOS device applications such as; Maps, calls, text messages & music on the radio.


Weblink delivers you relevant applications from your phone by projecting them on the car radio.


Inbuilt navigation maps will take you to your desired destination. The beauty of inbuilt navigation maps is they don’t require a wireless network for access.


Recently, car manufacturers are enthusiastic about developing more up to standard car radio systems due to competition. 

However, some are still lagging leaving room for stock radio swaps.

Even so, stock car radios will never match aftermarket car radios in terms of technology.

Have you considered swapping your factory radio? If so, Why? 

System Admin
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