11 Pros & Cons of Buying Reconditioned Car Stereo

Refurbished Car Stereo

Many people out there go for reconditioned car accessories to save up their budget.

However, that’s not the only benefit of getting a reconditioned model. A reconditioned model is something that is designed and customized most likely by an experienced user, if not an expert, to suit their needs.

A reconditioned model should have features and solutions to problems already faced by the previous user.

More often than not, a reconditioned car stereo is a better option than getting a brand-new one, especially when it comes to car radios. Because a car radio needs to be installed and set up to match with the car and the user’s compatibility. But in case of a reconditioned model, all that has already been taken care of.

You get a customized gear, ready-made. What can be better than that?

However, there are some things you need to look out for when buying a reconditioned product, based on price, warranty, environment-friendliness, and so on. Here are the 11 advantages and disadvantages of buying a reconditioned car stereo.


The Good Sides of Reconditioned Car Stereos

There are many good sides of choosing a reconditioned model instead of a used, or even a brand-new one. Before getting into all that, let me clarify something to you first. A reconditioned stereo does not necessarily have to be an old or worn-out audio system.

Many people buy a brand-new stereo and then return it for some reason. Manufacturers then send it for a thorough an inspection in attempt to find and fix any issues that the unit might have.

In that case, you get a “New” product, tested once by its previous user (Read: Manufacturers). Well, almost.

I found several key benefits that reconditioned car stereos provide overused and even new models. The first and the most obvious is that you have to pay less. But there’s more to it than it seems.

When you buy a reconditioned model, you’re not just paying less for the unit, but you’re also getting expert services like quality testing and upgradation. Something you won’t get even with new models.

Here are the benefits of buying a reconditioned car stereo:

Reconditioned Is Still Reliable

Pros of Refurbished Car Stereos -Refurbished Is Still Reliable

Many people confuse a reconditioned stereo with a used stereo. But the truth is, whether it’s been used or not, and regardless of how long it had been used by its previous owner, a reconditioned stereo goes through a tedious process of checking, rechecking, troubleshooting, fixing, replacing, and repainting before it’s even put up for sale.

So, you’re technically getting a new model (considering all of its parts and components have been replaced) for a lesser price. On top of that, on a refurb, you get to experience optimum quality control done by experts!

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You Have to Pay Less

I’ll be brutally honest with you. Money matters. Especially if you’re on a budget, every penny counts. Reconditioned models are a hell lot cheaper than new ones. In fact, you get even save up to 50% if you’re buying it from the right place. Just imagine all the stuff you can do with the money you saved.

You could even go for a new stereo with the money you saved, which you could not have afforded if it wasn’t for the discount. So, by purchasing a refurb, you get more features for less money. Isn’t that appealing?


Every Unit IS Tested by Experts

Pros of Refurbished Car Stereos - Every Unit IS Tested by Experts

A reconditioned unit undergoes several levels of testing before it’s put up for sale. The entire process is carried out by either the manufacturer themselves or qualified experts. They take a close look at every nook and cranny of the stereo and ensure that there are no parts missing or is faulty.

So, if you’re buying a reconditioned stereo from the manufacturer or an authorized reseller, rest assured your unit has been checked and polished by experts.


You Can Get Models That Are No Longer Made

Pros of Refurbished Car Stereos-Get Vintage Models

There are many models of car stereos which were released for a limited edition or were available only for a short time and then got discontinued for some reason. When you buy reconditioned stereos, you can actually get one of those novelty units and show it off to your friends. Nothing like a vintage stereo flaunting itself from inside a seemingly ordinary car exterior.


Reconditioned Is Always Better Than Used

Remember, reconditioned and used are not the same. Also, a reconditioned product is always better than a used one. Used products are not very reliable and they generally don’t come with any warranty.

A reconditioned stereo, on the other hand, is checked, repaired, and then checked again by experts so that there are no defects and it provides the most functionality within its capacity.

Oh, and when it comes to warranty, reconditioned stereos can offer a vast range of warranties starting from 6 months and ranging as far as 24 months. So, there’s no worrying about that.


The Downsides of a Second-Hand Car Stereo

There are certain drawbacks that reconditioned car stereos can’t seem to overcome. For example, there are some risk factors associated with buying reconditioned products. It’s recommended that you gather proper knowledge or take someone experienced with you during the process.

Of course, every product is different, and the drawbacks they come with will also be different. But there are some things that you should keep in mind when you buy anything reconditioned, not just stereos.

It May Fall through the Cracks and be Defective

Downsides of a Second-Hand Car Stereo - Can be Defective

A reconditioned stereo, although checked by experts, may turn out to be defective. This mostly happens because units are often renewed by third-party sellers. So, it’s crucial that you ensure you’re buying a stereo that has been renewed by the manufacturer themselves, or at least an authorized refurbisher.

Although this happens very rarely, but you should keep this in mind when buying a reconditioned stereo. Even if it happens to one in a million, you don’t want to be that one.

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Shorter Warranty

The disadvantage of buying a reconditioned car stereo that stands out the most is that the warranty period gets shorter compared to a brand new one. This happens because almost all of the parts and components of a reconditioned car stereo is either old, or has a shorter lifespan than the default installed component of the stereo.

In most cases, reconditioned car stereos come with a 30-day warranty. If you buy from a well-known manufacturer, the warranty might increase to as much as 90 days. And if you’re too lucky, you might even land a stereo that comes with a 6-month warranty. It all depends on luck, actually.

But if you’re smart enough, you’ll know how to get lucky. So, be smart, and buy from authorized manufacturers.


Uncertain Lifespan

Buying a brand-new car stereo means that it’d come with all the papers and stuff guaranteeing its lifespan and services. But in case of a refurb, the lifespan is usually not mentioned.

So, you have to fully rely on your luck in this case. But on the bright side, a refurb models have its parts and components imported from the top manufacturers, so you can rest assured that your refurb is a good bargain.


The Original Accessories Might Not be Included with the Package

Downsides of a Second-Hand Car Stereo - Original Accessories Might Not be Included

A reconditioned model usually has a history of previously being damaged and repaired. Meaning its components usually get replaced by the time it reaches you. While that’s all fine and dandy, chances are, you won’t get the original car stereo accessories that usually come with a new stereo.


Most of the Time Your Choices Are Limited

The collection of reconditioned stereos is limited, and you never know what you’re going to get. Going shopping for a reconditioned model is very much like going thrift shopping.

There might be a lot of products in the market when you go shopping, or there might not be any products at all. You have to make do with whatever you find at that time, or wait for your desired product to become available,

If you’re looking for any particular brand or model, then buying a reconditioned version might not be the best idea, as you don’t know when exactly might it become available/ It can be months, or even years before a reconditioned version of it finally becomes up for grabs.


May Come with Minor Dents and Scratches

Downsides of a Second-Hand Car Stereo - May Come with Minor Dents and Scratches

A reconditioned head unit was probably used by its previous owner to the point that they had to give it up for refurbishing. Even if that was in mint condition, you don’t know for sure how ‘minty’ that condition was. Authorized refurbishers and manufacturers try their level best to make the product look and feel as good as new, but some markings are not possible to remove.

But that shouldn’t be such a big issue as long as all the internal parts are working okay. If it’s in its optimum functional state, a few scratches here and there can be excused.


Buying A Reconditioned Car Stereo? Here’s What You Should Know 

Now that you know quite a handful of the benefits and drawbacks of buying a reconditioned car stereo, it’s important that you do your research and take necessary cautions before finally deciding to go for a certain reconditioned model.

So, here are some tips to keep up your sleeve to get the best value for money when buying a reconditioned car stereo:

Only Buy from Trusted Sources

Only Buy from Trusted Sources

By trusted sources I mean reputable brands and manufacturers, not just people you know. Your friend might not hand you a faulty stereo on purpose, but there might be problems in it that even s/he didn’t know existed. It’s better to get a product tested by an expert.

Also, avoid third-party sellers as they don’t maintain any standards and don’t provide any warranty either. On top of that, they often have a no-return policy which can be quite problematic. So, it’s crucial that you only buy from a trusted and reliable source.


Check The Return Policy

This factor comes intertwined with the previous one. Check out the return policy of a product before buying it, so that you can return it later if you’re not fully satisfied with the product. Some sellers offer a 7-10-day return policy, then some offer no return policy at all. Never buy from a seller with a no-return policy.

Get to the bottom of it. Try to gather as much info as possible about the product. Contact the seller directly if you have to. Get to know your stereo before you settle for it.


Check For the Warranty

Usually, a car stereo bought from an authorized seller comes with a warranty of 30 to 90 days. Some reputable sources also provide warranties that last up to a year. But then again, some products have no warranty at all.

Obviously, you should get one with a longer warranty and steer clear of the ones that provide no warranty. Things with no warranty are never reliable.


Check Out the Reviews Before Buying

Check Out the Reviews Before Buying A Refurbished Car Stereo

Reviews are helpful in many ways. Not only do they help you learn more about a product once you’ve chosen one, but it also helps you to decide which product would suit your needs the best, if you’re unsure about it. Check out as many online reviews as you can before finally settling for a stereo.


Check The Price Carefully and Compare

This is an obvious factor when you’re buying a car stereo or anything for that matter. Always check the price in different places where it’s available and compare. This way, you’ll get the best product for the best value.

Not only that. You should only buy a reconditioned product when the price difference with a new one is significant. If a reconditioned model costs say, $180 whereas a new one costs $200, then there’s no point buying an old model just to save that extra $20.

Because buying a reconditioned model considering all the risk factors for such a small price difference is not worth the hassle. Instead, get a model that provides a good deal with a higher price difference.


Some Final Words

Nowadays, purchasing reconditioned car stereos is becoming more and more common due to them being more eco and economy-friendly. But it’s always wise to carefully weigh the pros and cons before purchasing one.

To put it simply, on the bright side, reconditioned models are eco-friendlier, economically more sustainable, and tested by experts. On the other hand, they also come with a shorter warranty period, an unpredictable lifespan, and a lack of original accessories.

To get the best value for money, you must ensure that you’re getting it from a trusted source, that is reputable car stereo brands, and only after you’ve checked the warranty, return policy, reviews thoroughly.

Trust me, all this hassle will be worth it once you get your desired stereo at your desired price.


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