An AUX (auxiliary) cord is a type of audio cable or connection. In the United States, they made their first appearance in cars around the middle of the early 2000s (2005 to 2006 model year cars).
At that time, whether or not your car had one depended highly on its trim level. But by 2010 AUX cords became common in cars.
Even my 2015 Ford Fiesta SE has an AUX cord attachment.
The most common is a 3.5mm jack, which has the same type of connecter used to connect headphones.
It should be noted, however, that cars don’t come with an AUX cord. But rather an AUX port.
What is an Aux Port?
A car’s aux-in port is a 3.5mm jack. You can use it to plug in anything that has a standard headphone connection.
It allows you to stream music from your device, carrying sound through the car’s speakers.
You can use them to plug in MP3 players, headphones, headsets, microphones, speakers and practically any kind of communications device you can think of.
Do All Cars Have an AUX Port?
Today, it’s common to find an auxiliary connection as standard equipment in pretty much any car produced after 2004.
Along with an AUX port, it’s also pretty common to get in a car that offers Bluetooth connection.
As with most automotive technologies, the AUX and Bluetooth connections were initially only offered in higher end luxury cars.
But as the technology became easier to produce, it became easier for auto manufacturers to offer it in their lineup.
Now you can find them in practically any passenger vehicle. There was another invention that helped with the proliferation of the AUX port.
Remember the iPod?
It was a short-lived piece of tech that allowed you to watch YouTube and listen to music from a device no bigger than the size of your palm.
Then it quickly got replaced by the iPhone.
When people found out that they could download and save their own mixes, they wanted the freedom to play those jams in their cars.
Is AUX Better Than USB?
AUX and USB are two different types of ports that can deliver music from your phone to your car.
If there’s no USB interface, like in an older car. Then an AUX input is the better way to go.
That said, USB connections generally delivers better sound. However, that’s only if the system delivering the sound is digital.
You have to be an audiophile to really notice any difference in sound quality.
The true difference between AUX and USB lies in the way each delivers sound, which will help you decide which is better.
USB (Universal Serial Bus) sends digital information – it’s able to deliver superior sound quality due to its digital-to-digital connection.
AUX sends analogue signals – it converts audio from digital to analogue. This conversion often results in loss of sound information.
The main benefit of an AUX port in a car is its wide application.
They’re available on smartphones, CD players, head units and even record players (yup, there are some cars that have a record player as an option).
Playback is easy without the compatibility issues that plague a USB connection.
Can You Put an AUX Cord in a Cigarette Lighter?
As a matter of fact, a device like an FM transmitter is designed to plug directly into your cigarette lighter socket and connects to your device like a phone via an AUX cord.
The transmitter then broadcasts the music from your phone over a short FM frequency to your car’s audio.
The downside to plugging in an AUX cord into your cigarette lighter through an FM transmitter lies in your ability to find an uninterrupted FM signal.
What if the AUX Port in My Car Stops Working?
The first thing you want to do is check the fuse. A blown fuse will keep the AUX port from carrying sound.
If the fuse is fine, then its time to check the wiring. Check to see if you have any loose wires and if any of them are frayed or broken.
Water and electronics don’t mix. If moisture from open beverage seeps into the inner components of the AUX port, it can cause it to fail.
The AUX port could just be broken. To make things cheaply, manufacturers often use low-quality construction materials.
An AUX port constructed with low quality materials will come to the end of its life prematurely.