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Can You Convert Car Radio to DAB?


Computers, televisions, and even radios have moved from analog to digital. If your car radio is analog, you won’t get to enjoy a full radio experience. So the question is can you convert car radio to dab?

Well yes, you can convert your car radio into a dab radio. The world is gradually switching towards digital radio. And if you’re a fan of radio, you don’t want to be left behind.

Old types of radios don’t support digital transmission. However, the good news is you can upgrade your car radio to a digital one.

This article explains more about dab radio and ways to convert your car radio to dab.

Understanding DAB Radio

DAB stands for Digital Audio Broadcasting; it’s a radio transmission system with a better sound and reception quality than traditional radio.

DAB radio car

Dab radio has more channels and you can tune in to any radio station across the world.

Aside from having a broader transmission, dab radio signals are also less prone to interference.

The other benefits of dab radio include the following: 

  • Dab radio is less susceptible to interference
  • With dab radio, you get to record live radio, pause, and rewind.
  • You will get easy access to multiple channels.
  • There’s no need for manual searches to find new radio channels.
  • Dab radio is not limited by location, so you can tune into radio channels across the world from your location. 

How to Upgrade Your Car Radio to DAB Radio

To ascertain if your car radio is a dab radio, check if it can access multiple channels without manually scanning. If your car can do this, then it’s a dab radio. However, if it can’t then it’s a traditional radio.

If you would like to upgrade your car radio to a dab radio, these are the four ways you can go about it.

Use a DAB Car Radio Adaptor

This is a basic and affordable way of upgrading your car radio that doesn’t require changes to your car interior.

DAB Car Radio Adaptor

This process involves the use of a plug-and-play dab radio adapter. You Place the adapter in the control unit and attach the aerial to the windscreen.

Dab car radio adapter uses antennas to transmit dab signals and convert them to FM. The adaptor can also come with some extra features such as handsfree, voice control, and Bluetooth connectivity.

The downside of dab radio adaptors is that they can easily lose radio signals, hence they might not be a reliable and lasting solution.

Additionally, the visible wires connected to the adapter can reduce the aesthetics of your car’s interior.

There are generally two types:

  • Windscreen or dash-mounted dab adaptor: this is fixed to the windscreen or dashboard. It has a long antenna wire and a long wire that’s connected to the cigarette lighter socket for power.
  • Cigarette-lighter/power-socket mounted dab adaptor: this dab adapter connects directly to your car cigarette lighter and it’s easy to set up. 

However, both dab adaptors are difficult to use when driving. Likewise, the trailing wires from the adapter reduce your car’s interior aesthetics.

Digital Radio Conversion Kit

Another way to upgrade your car radio to dab radio is through a digital radio conversion kit. This process also involves the use of plug and play dab adaptor. However, the adaptor comes with a visible antenna.

The installation process of a radio conversion kit is more complex, so you might need the help of a professional.

You can choose from two types of digital radio conversion kits:

  • Fully integrated kit: this type of conversion kit doesn’t require the modification of the car’s interior. The existing traditional radio display is used to control the dab radio. 
  • Semi-integrated kit: this conversion kit doesn’t use the car’s existing radio in controlling the dab radio. The conversion kit comes with wireless remote control.

While fully integrated kits are more suitable for cars with steering wheel controls, semi-integrated kits fit into any type of car.  

Replacement Radio

Replacing the car radio might not be possible with newer car models due to huge differences in interior design.

However, if you drive an older model that dates back ten years, you can take out the traditional radio and replace it with digital radio.

If you have a newer model, replacing the radio requires that additional parts be added to the interior to fit in the digital radio. This will set you back an extra couple of dollars and it will also alter your car’s interior design.

Add a Dab Car Aerial to the Radio Set

This is only possible if you choose to replace the existing radio with a dab car radio. The replacement radio comes with an aerial you can stick to your windscreen or dash dashboard.

Dab car radio aerial works better in areas with string dab signals. However, to get a better listening experience, you can mount it on the roof.

You can also opt for the magnetic aerial which comes with a tiny cable that can be routed through the car hence making it easier to install.

Dab radio aerial is sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about it falling off while driving. The aerial can hold firmly even when you’re driving at a speed of 80 kph.

Use A Smartphone

If you don’t want to alter your car’s interior design to fit in a dab radio. Or if you can’t spare the money for a dab radio installation, you can consider using your smartphone.

listening to DAB digital radio

Some cars allow you to connect your smartphone to the sound system through mirroring, Bluetooth, USB, or aux-in cable. You can connect your phone to your car to transmit dab radio signals.


Digital radio provides a robust listening experience that allows you to listen to radio stations from across the world.

You can upgrade your car radio to a dab radio by choosing the upgrade method that suits your taste and fits your budget.

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