Can an Audio CD Play In Your Car? (Solved)

With a non-defective CD, the correct software, and adequate knowledge about your car’s stereo, you can easily create an audio CD to play in your car and make your long drives more memorable.

The music system is an essential element of a car and an important component that enhances your driving experience. In earlier times, Compact Disk (CD) was one of the few means of playing audio in your car’s audio system.

However, more recently, there have been many additions to the list, such as Bluetooth, AUX, Chromecast, etc. 

Can Audio CD Play In My Car?

Playing an audio CD in your car depends on lots of factors. To begin with, you need to know if your car audio system accepts an audio CD, you can easily find that by visual inspection to spot a CD loading bay. Then you need to check what type of file format your CD player can read, e.g wav, mp3, etc. If you burn the correct type of CD (CD-R, CD-RW, etc) with the right file format and your audio player has the CD drive then yes, you can play that CD in your car.

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If you want to know how an audio CD can be played in your car, you have landed on the correct page. Here, we will tell you everything you need to know regarding the compatibility of audio CDs with your car’s stereo.

What Are Some CDs That I Can Play In My Car?

Not every CD can be played in your car’s music system. Depending on the music system of your car, different types of CDs are available in the market. However, the most frequent type of CDs that can be used in most cars are those that have a bit-depth of 16 and a sample rate of 44.1 kHz. These features come in a specialized CD created by Redbook CD. It is popularly known as CD-DA. 

It should be noted that burned CDs are most unlikely to work in your car’s audio system. CD-R, which is the most widely used CD otherwise, has a very little chance of working in your car’s CD player. 

Why Can I Not Play Some CDs In My Car?

There are many instances in which CDs do not work in your car. The factors which decide whether a CD can run in your car or not are:

  • Music Format
  • Burn Method
  • Capabilities of the Head Unit
  • Media Type
  • Strength of your CD

It should be noted that CDs such as CD-R, DVD-R, and CD-RW do not work in almost all the music systems (unless modified). The CD which is most likely to play in your system is CD-DA. 

The head units of the car’s system play a major role in this. Sometimes, they do not recognize particular types of files stored on the CD, making it impossible for the music system to play the audio stored on your CD. 

Although the head units of the car audio systems today can play a variety of music file types, in old CD players, this was not the case. The head unit should come with a good Digital Audio Converter (DAC) to ensure that various file types can be played in your car’s audio. 

3 Ways To Make An Audio CD For Your Car

There are three ways to burn a CD and make it compatible with your car’s audio system. We will read about them below. 

With the help of Windows Media Player

  1. Take a blank CD and insert it into your computer’s disc drive. Ensure that the drive of your computer is CD-RW or DVD-RW, wherein RW stands for Rewritable, which means you can rewrite your disk as many times as you want. 
  2. Open the software of Windows Media Player from the Start>All programs menu. 
  3. On the top right corner, you will see a Burn button. By clicking on that button, you will get a list where you can add all the songs you want to add to your CD. 
  4. The file types that can be added to the list should be supported by the Windows Media Player (e.g. mp3, mp4, wav, aac, etc.). Drag and drop all the audio files into the list until the storage of the CD reaches its limit. 
  5. Click the menu dropbox. You will see various burning types in the form of a list. 
  6. Select the option “Audio CD”. Click on the “Start Burn” option. 
  7. Once the burning process is complete, the CD will be automatically ejected. 

With the help of iTunes

  1. Open iTunes by clicking on Applications> iTunes on the Mac, or Start> All Programs> iTunes on Windows.
  2. Start creating a playlist with all the songs you want to add to your CD. Click on File> New> Playlist, choose a name for the playlist and add the songs you want by dragging and dropping them. 
  3. Check the checkbox in front of the songs; only the checked ones will be added to the CD. Double-click on all the songs and see if they play to make sure that they are authorized for your PC. 
  4. Next, you need to insert a blank CD into the disc drive of your computer. 
  5. Click on File> Burn Playlist to Disc. 
  6. You will now see a list of formats on your computer screen. Click on “Audio CD”. This will ensure that your CD can be played on your car’s audio as well. 
  7. Click on the “Burn” option. Once the process of burning is complete, the CD will be automatically ejected from the drive. 

By using any other software

If you do not wish to use Windows Media Player or iTunes for burning your disc due to any reason, you can take help from any other software. There are many other software such as VLC media player, Foobar2000, which allow you to create the playlist for burning, free of cost. 

Also, you will need dedicated burning software, such as G burner, IMGBurn, etc. They come with many features, such as a hybrid mode, where you can create one CD that can be used on your computer as well as your car’s stereo. 

This way, you can insert a blank CD into your computer, add the song to the playlist and then burn them into the CD easily, with the help of any concerned software. 

What Are The Audio Formats For Car CD Players?

Format of the files of the music stored on your CD is a very important factor that decides whether you can play that CD on your stereo or not. The various formats supported by the stereo of most of the cars are mentioned below: 

  1. .wav- with a bit depth of 16 or 24 bit.
  2. .mp3- with a bit rate of 8 to 320 kbps.
  3. .aac- with a bit rate of 8 to 320 kbps.
  4. .wma- with a bit rate of 32 to 192 kbps.
  5. .flac- with a bit depth of 16 bit or 24 bit. 

The most famous out of those mentioned above is FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec), which is supported by almost all types of stereo, except in cases where the stereo of your car is factory stereo.

Also, it completely depends upon how old the stereo of your car is and the capacity of the head units of the stereo to support file types. 

Therefore, creating a disc with a playlist of your favorite songs is not difficult. You can even create one disc which can be used for your computer as well as your car’s stereo.

With the guidance given above, you can now build a collection of your favorite songs and create the perfect driving partner for yourself in the form of a CD!


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