Do Pawn Shops Buy Car Radio Equipment?

Pawn shop

Pawnshops often buy a variety of stereo equipment, but the valuation will depend on the desirability and condition of the equipment. Pawnshops don’t generally give better prices than eBay or Facebook Marketplace but are definitely the most convenient.

One question that we’ve heard from time to time is ‘do pawn shops buy stereo equipment?’ and the answer would be a resounding ‘yes!’.

Pawnshops are an excellent place for buying or selling audio equipment, and this will be the subject of our article today.

We’ll attempt to cover the topic as broadly as possible in anticipation of your questions. So, without further ado, let’s start with why pawn shops love to buy stereo equipment!

Why pawn shops love to buy stereo equipment and components

Well-made Stereo equipment and components have a rare quality to them in that they actually DO tend to last.

Vintage stereo gear from the ’70s and even earlier often still work just fine and will probably continue to do so for a long, long time. Pawnshops know this (as do audiophiles), and as many components are interchangeable, stereo equipment is a sound investment.

This means that your stereo equipment could be indeed desirable, and you can sell it at a pawn shop, but try to stick to higher-end equipment. Bear in mind the condition though, does it work?

Even if it’s not working, old equipment could be valuable, but it would be working ideally. Make sure to bring all the wires and cables so they can test it and you can receive a higher value.

Do pawn shops buy high-grade stereo components?

Pawnshops are a great place for selling high-end audiophile-grade gear. They tend to be quite knowledgeable about stereo electronics, and if your item is in great shape, you might be surprised at the price you get for it.

Due to the demand for quality audio equipment, it is one of the easier things for them to sell, so it is likely a transaction that both of you will feel happy about.

What stereo components are most desirable at pawn shops?

With vintage items, you are looking at tube equipment for fetching the most from collectors.

Early amplifiers or pre-amplifiers from brands like Mcintosh or Marantz are also quite popular. For more modern grade stereo equipment, you can sell a wide range of items including (but not limited to):

  • Microphones
  • Speakers
  • Digital sound mixers
  • Studio monitors
  • Headphones
  • Car Stereos
  • Car Speakers and audio accessories


TIP: Big names and branded equipment will also bring a higher price. See some of the top brands in audio equipment: German, American, and Japanese.

How do I sell my stereo equipment at the pawnshop?

When you are selling stereo equipment at a pawn shop, the first thing you want to do is research the value of your equipment online.

Never go into a sales situation where you don’t know what your property is worth. This doesn’t mean that you will get top dollar, but it can protect you somewhat from an unscrupulous dealer. 

The easiest way to get a rough estimate of the value is to look up similar sold items on eBay, which is the largest marketplace for selling second-hand goods such as stereo equipment.

This way, you can get a rough idea of the value and confidently negotiate a sale at the pawnshop.

However, it’s worth considering that pawnshops are likely to offer you a much lower value than eBay as they’re the middle man and will have to make money reselling your equipment. 

See our article about the best place to sell a car stereo. While the article is about car stereos, the retailers listed are still a great place to sell all kinds of stereo equipment.     

Next, the condition of your item is going to be very important. You want to make sure that your equipment is functional, and if it is damaged, you may not even be able to sell it. Of course, this might not be the case with vintage equipment, as it can be reconditioned, but this is just something to keep in mind.

Finally, you should clarify that you are looking to sell the item rather than pawn it to start negotiations off right. If they like your equipment, then they will undoubtedly want to buy it!

How much can I expect to sell stereo equipment to a pawnshop?

30%- 45% of resale value

According to a previous pawnshop owner Mathew May, you can expect to receive between 30% to 45% of what the pawnshop desires to sell it for.

This is because the pawnshops are a business at the end of the day, so they still need to make money and are taking a risk that they will be able to sell it for a profit.

As we’ve discussed, you should consider selling on eBay or Facebook Marketplace for high earnings. 


An example is a Technics RS TR167 Stereo Double Cassette Deck that we found on Pawn America, which has stores across the US. 

Retail value: $99.99 of Technics RS TR167 Stereo

Low end (30%): $30

High End (45%): $45

So as an easy rule of thumb, you should expect to receive between half and a ⅓ of roughly what the resale value is, for instance, the previous resale price on the likes of eBay.

This way, you’ll know if it’s a fair or scrupulous deal!

Stereo Double Cassette Deck Pawnshop Price
Technics RS TR267 Stereo on sale at:

Do pawn shops buy car stereo equipment?

People often think pawnshops will not accept car stereo equipment because of the history of stolen car radios.

But because of the current lower value of removable stereos and newer models are bolted into vehicles, this is not the case.  

So the answer is yes, pawnshops do generally buy car stereo equipment but make sure if your removing a stereo, bring as much of the original equipment as possible to the pawnshop, which includes:

  • All wires
  • All casings and housing 
  • Manuals and boxes (If you still have them)


Having as much of the original equipment that came in the box will help your chances of the pawnshop wanting to buy the equipment and giving you the highest value possible.

See our article on the best places to sell your car stereo for the best idea of what prices are at pawnshops, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace. 

Do Pawn Shops Buy Subwoofers?

Some pawnshops may accept subwoofers. However, this dispends on the desirability and likelihood that they will be able to easily resell the product. 

One way you may be able to check is if you look on platforms like eBay and see if your exact product is selling (Sold). That way, you can estimate a value and resealability.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Pawnshops do indeed buy stereo equipment, and the next time that you need to buy some yourself, we highly recommend you visit a pawn shop.

They tend to have hard-to-find equipment and other electronic gems that can make your day when you discover them.

Ultimately, we don’t recommend selling your equipment at a pawn shop if you’re after the best price possible; eBay or Facebook Marketplace will be better for this but will not be as convenient as walking in and out of a pawnshop with cash in your hand. 

We wish you the best for your pawnshop visit!

Picture of Alex
I loved my car but was frustrated with my media system. So I upgraded my stereo, making silly wires and precarious phone mounts a thing of the past. The Apple Car Play stereo was so good I wanted to show more people how this could be done and truly upgrade their cars multimedia system! Founder
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