How to add bluetooth to your car

Craig Lloyd
How to add bluetooth to your carCraig Lloyd
Writer

Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile. Read more.

How to add bluetooth to your car

A lot of newer cars come with Bluetooth built-in–or at least as an option from the manufacturer. However, if you have an older car and really want Bluetooth access for your phone, here are several ways you can add it to your vehicle.

All of these methods vary as far as cost is concerned. You can either pay very little money to add Bluetooth to your car and have a decent setup, or spend a lot of money and have a very nice setup. Here are your options.

Get a Cheap Bluetooth Car Kit

How to add bluetooth to your car

If you want to add Bluetooth capabilities to your car on the cheap, then getting a Bluetooth car kit is the best option. I’m a really big fan of Kinivo’s Bluetooth car kit ($35), which gets power from your car’s cigarette lighter and connects to your stereo via the auxiliary jack.

The Kinivo has the ability to control music played from your phone, and you can control playback using the round control unit instead of your phone. The device also acts as a speakerphone during calls, thanks to a built-in microphone and using your car’s speakers as the speakerphone.

If your car’s stereo doesn’t have an auxiliary jack, you’re not completely out of luck. If you don’t mind digging into your dashboard a bit, it’s possible that there are empty RCA plugs on the back of the stereo that you can plug an auxiliary cable to. You can also use an FM transmitter like this one from iClever ($25), which you can connect your phone to over Bluetooth and then have your music beamed to your car’s stereo over FM. The quality won’t be the best, but it’s a decent option that I like using.

Tack On a Bluetooth Speakerphone

How to add bluetooth to your car

If you’re only interested mostly in making and receiving calls while on the road, you may not need something quite as versatile as the Kinivo, which is where a Bluetooth speakerphone unit can be a good solution. They run on battery power and come with their own built-in microphone and speakers, so they’re completely independent and they don’t need to rely on your stereo at all.

Something like the Jabra Freeway ($70) would be a great option, and it can easily be mounted on your car’s visor. Plus, it can last up to 40 days in standby mode and give you 14 hours of talk time before it needs recharging.

It can play music from your phone, but the unit’s built-in speakers probably aren’t the best if you’re expecting exceptional audio quality.

Install an Aftermarket Bluetooth-Equipped Head Unit

How to add bluetooth to your car

The most expensive, but most streamlined option is to buy an aftermarket head unit to replace the stock stereo in your car. If you pretty much live in your car and know that you’ll be using the Bluetooth functionality a lot, paying a bit more to get a good aftermarket head unit with Bluetooth can be a worthwhile investment.

You don’t need to spend a ton of money, though–$75 to $100 will get you a good head unit with all of the bells and whistles you would want. This Pioneer head unit ($89) can do the job just fine, and it even comes with a small corded microphone that you can use for speakerphone calls. Plus, the cool lights and nifty knobs are worth it alone, right?

Of course, the installation process requires you to open up your dashboard and replace the stock stereo (and you’ll likely need a new wiring harness), so if this is something that you’re uncomfortable doing yourself, you’ll need to find a friend or take it to a shop to get it swapped out. (And that may add to the cost.)

The Jankier Option: Use a Portable Bluetooth Speaker

How to add bluetooth to your car

If you already have a Bluetooth speaker lying around, you can take it with you in the car and put it in the console in between the seats, or get creative and velcro it to the dashboard.

Be sure to bring a USB charging cable for it, as well as a cigarette lighter adapter to keep it charged up. The audio quality certainly won’t be as good as your car’s own speakers, but if you don’t already have Bluetooth in your car, this is a quick and easy way to make it happen.

This probably isn’t the best option, but it’s at least an option. And if you already have a portable Bluetooth speaker lying around, it doesn’t cost you any additional money like the previous methods. You could at least try it and see if adding Bluetooth to your car is really worth the cost of a more expensive setup.

In the end, there are quite a few options to choose from, but it really comes down to how much money you want to spend in order to get Bluetooth capabilities inside of your car, and how much effort you want to put into making it happen.

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How to add bluetooth to your car Craig Lloyd
Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile.
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How to add bluetooth to your car

We started seeing cars with factory installed Bluetooth about ten years ago. If you have a newer model car, then you probably already enjoy Bluetooth features.

What if you have an older model vehicle but also want the ability to make hands-free calls or stream music from your smartphone? Don’t worry. You can easily install Bluetooth in your car yourself.

There are three ways to go about installing Bluetooth in your automobile. One involves a universal Bluetooth kit that works in any vehicle while another option is to use a vehicle-specific kit that connects to the factory stereo in your car. Then there’s the pricier option to buy a car stereo with built-in Bluetooth.

Unsure which product will best suit your needs? Here’s some background on each option to help you decide:

UNIVERSAL BLUETOOTH KITS

Universal Bluetooth kits are called universal for a reason—they work in just about any car, truck or SUV. You can even move them from one vehicle another. With a universal Bluetooth kit, you can easily add Bluetooth functionality to your car’s stereo as long as it has an auxiliary port.

How to install: Plug the audio cable into the auxiliary port and the power adapter in the cigarette lighter.

PROFESSIONAL BLUETOOTH KITS

Vehicle-specific or stereo-specific Bluetooth kits mean they were designed for certain car models. While these professional Bluetooth kits may be more expensive than universal kits, they will blend into your car’s interior much better because they use your car’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) radio, cutting out the wires and giving it an overall cleaner look. They also free up your cigarette lighter port (if you have one) and offer more features than a universal kit. At iSimple, you can run a search for the right Bluetooth kit for your car by selecting your car’s make, model and year.

How to install: Vehicle-specific kits involve removing your factory radio; don’t worry, you’ll put it back when you’re done connecting the vehicle-specific Bluetooth adapter.

NEW STEREO WITH BUILT-IN BLUETOOTH

This last Bluetooth installation option requires more work and more cash. It involves buying a completely new stereo and replacing your car’s head unit. So, not only is it on the pricier side, but it also requires an extensive installation process.

How to install: Installing a new stereo with built-in Bluetooth requires removing your car’s existing stereo, wiring the new receiver, and installing the new car stereo.

If you’re still stuck on which Bluetooth option works best for you and your car, drop us a line or shoot us an email. We’ve got simple solutions for your Bluetooth demands.

Thanks to the latest car manufacturers, now almost every car is equipped with a factory fitted car stereo, however, there are a few exceptions. This article is dedicated to those car owners whose car is not equipped with Bluetooth technology and planning for?adding Bluetooth to the car.

If you own an old car, you are missing the awesome streaming of music over the Bluetooth. With the advancements in the technology, adding a Bluetooth to any car is now just a simple and effortless procedure. You can use a Bluetooth Receiver, Car Specific Bluetooth adaptor, Universal Kit or buy a car stereo with Bluetooth technology.

If your car lacks this amazing feature, then this article is for you. I will discuss in detail, how you can add a Bluetooth technology in your car.

Ways to Add a Bluetooth Device in Car

Here, I will discuss four different ways, you can this technology in your car. If your car lacks a factory fitted Bluetooth?car stereo, then below is the list of best-suited options for you.

  • Universal Bluetooth Kit
  • Dedicated Bluetooth car adaptor
  • Go for a new Aftermarket car stereo with built-in Bluetooth technology
  • Bluetooth Receiver

Now let us discuss these four options in detail.

Universal Bluetooth Kit

I just love this device, these Universal Bluetooth kits can be attached to almost any car without any effort.? These universal Bluetooth Kits is a perfect choice if your car lacks a factory fitted Bluetooth technology.?Universal Bluetooth kits are simple yet they will amaze with you with their performance.

Universal Bluetooth kits commonly come with a separate speaker and a plugin for a microphone. You can simply attach it to the car dashboard or with the sun cover. These?Universal Bluetooth kits will not hinder in the function of the car stereo, yet you will enjoy the latest technology with ease.

One of the best features of this?Universal Bluetooth kits is their portable nature. You can shift these Bluetooth kits from one car to another simply by removing and attaching in the other car. The only thing that I don’t like about?Universal Bluetooth kits is that they lack a few features that are related to hands-free calling from mobile devices.

Now I have also seen many?Universal Bluetooth adaptors that require wires to be attached with the car stereo. I don’t like such Bluetooth adaptors as you will need to remove the car stereo and attach this adaptor with the wires to the system. Click here to buy from Amazon.

This is a hectic procedure and it also limits the portability of the adaptor. So I suggest going with a?Universal Bluetooth kits that do not require any wiring etc. However, these wired Bluetooth adaptors normally have better voice clarity than the portable ones.

Dedicated Bluetooth Car Adaptor

Dedicated Bluetooth car adaptor or a car specific Bluetooth adaptor is a perfect choice if you just want to add this feature to the factory fitted stereo. With easy to install, you will simply love this amazing device known as a Dedicated Bluetooth car adaptor.

To install car specific Bluetooth adaptor, you will need to remove the factory fitted car stereo. Now attach the wires and cables from the Bluetooth adaptor to the factory fitted car stereo. Don’t forget to attach the dedicated microphone?that will make hands-free calling very easy for you.

Now amazingly since this Bluetooth adaptor is attached with the car stereo, you can see all the call details at the screen of stereo. You can check all the details about the caller and even answer the call while driving with just a click of a button. Click here to buy this from Amazon.

You can attach the microphone at the dashboard or with the sun protector while answering calls you will hear the caller voice from the car speakers. However I strongly recommend not to do any calls when you are driving, if there is some urgent call, it is better to stop the car and answer the call.

I recommend using this option if you want to keep your previous car stereo and just add the Bluetooth technology with it. This may require some work, as you will be adding wires of this dedicated Bluetooth adaptor with the car stereo and mounting the microphone. still, I recommend this as this is inexpensive and can be done easily. These also feature streaming music but it is advised to check the manual for this feature.

Aftermarket car stereo with built-in Bluetooth technology

An aftermarket car stereo can be added to your car and these new car stereos have all the necessary features that can owners are looking. Aftermarket can stereos can have two options:

  • It can have a built-in Bluetooth technology.
  • It can have an add-on feature for Bluetooth.

Now it is up to you, I recommend going for the aftermarket stereo which comes with a built-in Bluetooth. Why will you want to again work and add Bluetooth?

I have just posted a detailed article on Bluetooth Car Stereo.?

It is better to spend a few dollars and get the best suited Bluetooth featured Aftermarket Stereo. With this amazing car stereo, you will be just a click away from getting benefits of this Bluetooth technology.

Now, this amazing Bluetooth technology is getting so famous that almost every car manufacturer is adding this feature to their car stereos. If you are buying a new car, then check for this feature at the time of purchase. All the good Car Brands have this feature and you should also ask for Bluetooth featured car.

Bluetooth Receiver

This is one of the most simple ways by which you can add a Bluetooth feature to your car. You just need a Bluetooth receiver and pair it to your phone and you can easily stream audio over it. Now amazingly this Bluetooth receiver comes with a different set of options to help you enjoy all the features.

You can simply plug-in a 3.5mm input that is commonly located at the center of the stereo or console. It may be located at one side in a few brands.

You can select from one of the options listed below for Bluetooth Receiver.

  • Battery operated.
  • USB-operated
  • 12-v operated

Now I recommend going with a USB- powered Bluetooth Receiver. I have found them easy and user-friendly. Problem with the battery powered Bluetooth receiver is that you have to maintain a proper charging for this. However, not a big issue for many, simply place that receiver near the auxiliary in jack.

Final words:

I have given details of four different and tested methods that will help you to add a Bluetooth feature to your car. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions related to Car audio accessories.

Here, I will enlist some of the major benefits of having a Bluetooth car Stereo. Even if you don’t have a Bluetooth car stereo, you can always the Bluetooth technology with the methods that I have just shared above.

How to add bluetooth to your car

Time Needed: 1-2 Hours, Difficulty: Intermediate, Cost: $20-$1,000+

Your car may have had a great stereo when you first bought it, but over time that can change. If it’s more than a few years old, there’s a great chance that it’s lacking modern features like Bluetooth, which can be a real drag when all you want to do is blast Soul Asylum from your smartphone.

Luckily, adding Bluetooth functionality to your car isn’t hard or expensive. In fact, the job can be done for as little as $20 if you’re ok with having an adapter kit plugged into your dash. Of course, you can also go all-out and spend as much as you want to add a custom stereo head unit . Car Bibles’ editors have done it both ways and are here to help you get the info you need to get started.

The Safety Brief

Any time you’re working with your vehicle’s electrical components, it’s a good idea to disconnect the battery. It will help prevent shocks and damage to the components that you’re working on.

Furthermore, you’re reaching into your dash, so it’s a good idea to wear gloves to protect your hands from cuts and bangs. At the very least, you should use a flashlight to inspect the area you’re about to stick your hand into.

The Tools & Parts You Need

If you’re changing out your stereo’s head unit, you’ll need a full complement of tools, but adding a universal Bluetooth kit to your car won’t take much.

The How-To Add Bluetooth To Your Car

Let’s get after it.

Universal Bluetooth Kit

Universal Bluetooth kits are, by far, the easiest and cheapest way to add Bluetooth to a car. This route assumes that you have an auxiliary input port on your existing stereo, however, so if you don’t, you’ll need to look at one of the other two methods listed here.

Most universal kits have a small microphone or listening device mounted somewhere on your dash. It connects to your stereo using the auxillary port, and plays audio from your Bluetooth connection through that connection. The microphone allows you to make and take calls, as the audio will be played through your existing speakers.

Replace Head Unit

The most complicated, and permanent, way to add Bluetooth to your car is to swap out the existing stereo head unit for one that offers it. Depending on the vehicle, this can either be a fairly straightforward process or a very complicated one. In general, you’ll need to:

  1. Disconnect the battery.
  2. Use a panel popper or removal tool to carefully pry away trim pieces and plastic that surrounds the head unit.
  3. Remove screws or bolts that hold the unit in place and pull the stereo out.
  4. Disconnect wiring harnesses or plugs, being careful not to damage them in the process.
  5. Plug in the new stereo and reverse the installation process

It’s worth noting that some stereos are plug-and-play, which means you’ll be able to unplug one and plug in the other. That’s not always the case, especially if you’re swapping out the stereo in an older car, so be certain that you’re comfortable with splicing wires or adding wiring harnesses if necessary.

Vehicle-Specific Adapters

Some vehicles’ stereo systems have the capability to be upgraded with Bluetooth using an adapter that has to be plugged into the rear of the unit. Depending on the vehicle, these systems can look and feel exactly as if they were installed at the factory. Retailers like Crutchfield and Amazon sell kits for various vehicles, but it’s worth keeping in mind that you’ll have to do some installation work to get them to work properly. The process will vary from vehicle to vehicle, but generally, it includes:

  1. Disconnect the battery.
  2. Use a panel popper or removal tool to carefully pry away trim pieces and plastic that surrounds the head unit.
  3. Remove screws or bolts that hold the unit in place and pull the stereo out.
  4. Disconnect wiring harnesses or plugs, being careful not to damage them in the process.
  5. Plug in the wiring harness from your adapter kit in line with the stereo wiring. If you’re unsure of where to plug or which wires go where it’s best to study the vehicle’s wiring manual/maintenance manual or take it to a shop.
    1. The kits are meant to be plug-and-play, but there is a huge level of variance in how different car models’ wiring and harnesses are set up.
    1. The sun visors or an out-of-the-way location on the dash are best

    The Car Bibles Questionnaire

    Car Bibles answers all your burning questions!

    Q: My Car Is Very Old. How Can I Add Bluetooth?

    A: If your car is older, the best way to reliably add Bluetooth will be to swap out the stereo for a newer unit. If you’re unsure about how to do this, find a local stereo shop and ask for help or have them do the work. Depending on the vehicle, you may need a single-DIN , double-DIN , or custom-shaped stereo installation kit to make everything fit and work properly.

    Q: How Much Does Adding Bluetooth Cost?

    A: Depending on the method you choose to pursue and how you plan on having the work done, it can be very cheap or exorbitantly expensive. A universal Bluetooth kit can be had for as little as $20, but a full-on stereo replacement can cost up to $1,000 or more, depending on the product and complexity of installation.

    Q: Can I Take My Bluetooth Kit With Me If I Sell The Car?

    A: If you’re using a universal kit, absolutely. You’ll just need to unplug it and take it to the next vehicle. Taking a vehicle-specific adapter or stereo head unit with you will take a bit more work, but are possible as well. Just keep in mind that you should replace the stereo if you remove it. Nobody wants to buy a car with a gaping hole in the dash.

    Video Tutorial on How To Add Bluetooth To Your Car

    For all you kinesthetic learners out there, here’s a video from one of our favorite, and most trusted, sources on how adding Bluetooth to your car works. Check it out.

    Best Places To Buy Tools and Parts to Add Bluetooth To Your Car

    There are several online retailers that offer Bluetooth kits and products, so it can be difficult to choose the right one. We’ve grabbed a handful of our favorites to get you started. They include the Sumind Bluetooth FM Transmitter , the Besign Bluetooth Car Kit , and the Pioneer 6.2-inch Touchscreen Head Unit .

    If you want to listen to your own tunes while driving, here are four ways to add Bluetooth to any car.

    Bluetooth is now a standard feature in practically every modern car. Like with Bluetooth headphones, a Bluetooth-enabled car lets you stream your own tunes or favorite podcasts on your daily commute without the hassle of CDs or the monthly cost of internet radio.

    If you’re driving an older car, however, you might not have the luxury of streaming over Bluetooth. The upshot is that the price of Bluetooth technology has come down and adding it to any car is affordable and painless.

    Here are the most common ways to add Bluetooth to your daily driver.

    Bluetooth receiver

    How to add bluetooth to your carTaylor Martin/CNET

    By and large, the easiest and most common way to add Bluetooth to a vehicle’s radio is by using a Bluetooth receiver. With a Bluetooth receiver, you pair your phone to the receiver and stream audio to it. The receiver then plugs into the 3.5mm input jack (auxiliary in) typically found near the center controls or inside the center console.

    Because every car is different, Bluetooth receivers come in a few different configurations:

    • 12V-powered
    • USB-powered
    • Battery-powered

    alt=”add-bluetooth-to-any-car-5″ width=”370″ height=”0″ /> Enlarge Image

    In many cases, the auxiliary in jack is grouped with a USB port that should provide enough juice to power a Bluetooth receiver. In this case, or if you’ve got a 12V USB charger that has an extra port, it’s best to go with a USB-powered receiver, such as Anker’s SoundSync Drive or the SoundBot, pictured above.

    The biggest problem with the above receivers is that they’re made on the assumption that your 12V socket or a USB port will be located near the auxiliary in jack. That is not always the case.

    If your 3.5mm input is nowhere near a USB port or 12V socket, you’re better off buying a battery-operated Bluetooth receiver that can be positioned anywhere within the vehicle. Of course, it will need to be charged regularly, but you can do that by plugging it into the car charger when it’s not in use or taking it with you when you arrive home and charging it there.

    FM Transmitter

    How to add bluetooth to your carTaylor Martin/CNET

    If your car or radio doesn’t have an auxiliary input, you’ll be better off with an FM transmitter. Effectively, the FM transmitter of today is a Bluetooth receiver, but instead of sending the audio to the stereo via an auxiliary cable, it broadcasts it over an open FM radio frequency. Tune your stereo’s FM tuner to the correct frequency and you should hear your audio.

    Previous versions of FM transmitters suffered from static, weak signal and overall poor audio quality, but reviews of more recent models are more promising.

    Another boon for the FM transmitter is the lack of wires. Since the Bluetooth signal gets transmitted over FM frequencies, there is no need for wires hanging around. Instead, FM transmitters typically plug into the 12V socket and sometimes have built-in USB charging ports.

    Dedicated speakerphone

    How to add bluetooth to your carTaylor Martin/CNET

    If you don’t mind not being able to stream your music through your car’s stereo, you can opt for a dedicated Bluetooth speakerphone. In most instances, these clip to the sun visor above the driver and pair to your phone like any Bluetooth speaker. When you answer a call, both the audio and microphone input are handled by the visor-mounted speakerphone.

    The downside to a Bluetooth speakerphone is that they’re often the more expensive option with the least amount of features.

    New head unit

    Another, albeit far more expensive option, is to replace the head unit in your car altogether with one that has Bluetooth built-in. Instead of paying $15 to $30 (£10 to £20 or AU$20 to AU$40), you’ll be looking at anywhere from $80 to upwards of $700 (£60 to £530 or AU$100 to AU$870).

    On the bright side, what you get is more polish and fewer wires hung around your vehicle. You can also choose to upgrade your car’s head unit to an Android Auto or CarPlay, and some head units come with beneficial add-ons, such as backup cameras. So while the investment might be larger, it also comes with a broader range of additions that can breathe new life into an aging car interior.

    The one thing to consider, however, is that this option is not plug and play like a Bluetooth receiver or FM transmitter. If you’re not familiar with working with head unit wiring hardness adapter kits, you will also need to pay to have the unit installed.

    Wired alternative: 3.5mm auxiliary cable

    Maybe you’re not totally worried about having truly wireless audio in your car. That’s definitely understandable. Sometimes, simply plugging in a cable is easier to manage.

    If you fall into this category, the cheapest and most direct alternative is a 3.5mm auxiliary cable. Effectively, it’s a cable with a male 3.5mm plug on both ends. One end plugs into the headphone jack on your smartphone and the other end is plugged into the auxiliary in on the car. Any audio you play from the phone will then play through the stereo.

    The biggest disadvantage to this is that if you receive a call while the phone is plugged into the car stereo, the audio will play through the car’s speakers, but the audio input will still be the phone’s microphone. This means you must hold the phone near your mouth or remove the cable and enable speakerphone — neither of which are totally hands-free, making it unsafe and even illegal in some states.

    Now that many countries and states are making it an offense to use hand-held devices while driving, installing a Bluetooth for the car is a sensible and safety-conscious option. Many new car models include Bluetooth technology with the stereo system. But if you’re not in the market for a new vehicle, you’ll be looking for a cheaper alternative to adding Bluetooth to your car. Here are some much less expensive steps for adding Bluetooth to your existing vehicle, so you can safely drive hands-free.

    Note: For all the following steps you first need a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone.

    Step 1: Detecting Headset Device

    Consider using the simplest and cheapest way to activate Bluetooth use with your cell phone. For this, all you need is a Bluetooth-enabled headset that provides speakers and a microphone. You can buy such a headset from many electronics retailers, and they also may be available in the same store where you bought your phone.

    To connect the cell phone to the headset, you need to establish contact between the two devices.

    Power on and open the microphone on your headset, and leave it turned on. Turn to the “Menu” on your cell phone, press “Settings,” then “Bluetooth,” and finally, “Devices.” Your cell phone should detect the headset device. Now enter the passcode “0000,” and your cell phone should read “Connection made.”

    Step 2: Charge Device

    If a headset seems too cumbersome, you can add Bluetooth for the car by purchasing a portable Bluetooth-enabled display speaker. These are readily available from after-market suppliers. The connection procedure is again very simple. Charge the device with the wire connection supplied. Then you can make a connection from the cell phone in the same way as with a headset (see Step 1).

    The typical speaker device will have a simple mounting. For example, a clip that enables it to be placed over the sun visor in front of the driver’s head. The screen display may also tilt so you can view it easily. Now when you receive an incoming call, simply press the receive button on the device. You will be able to hear your caller and they will hear you over your mobile cell phone.

    Step 3: Installing Device

    Another to add Bluetooth for the car is to install a device that connects the stereo system with your Bluetooth cell phone. These devices can also be purchased from the after-care market. The objective is to route telephone calls through your car’s stereo speaker system.

    It is often recommended you use a professional technician to install such devices. In some cases, the product warranty will be void if you install it yourself. Nevertheless, devices that wire into the back of your stereo display screen involve a very simple process. Alternatively, many of these devices use your car’s cigarette lighter for installation. All you need do is plug it in.

    Once you’ve enabled the device to operate with your Bluetooth cell phone (see procedure in Step 1), the result is full stereo voice communications when you receive a call. Many of these devices are also voice-enabled, which allows you to make calls without needing to even push a button on your cell phone.

    Best Buy doesn’t even sell CDs anymore, people!

    How to add bluetooth to your car

    Tony Markovich

    The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.

    Bluetooth does nothing new. Even before the technology was introduced, you could make hands-free calls to Mum and stream Mobb Deep’s The Infamous through your car stereo. Bluetooth’s crowning achievement is that it allows drivers to do these things without the messy annoyance known as wires.

    We despise cluttered car cabins, and wires have become one of the major culprits for quickly mucking up center consoles. If one of your 2021 resolutions is to keep a cleaner car or to simply upgrade it, it’s time for you to add Bluetooth to your cabin.

    There are good and bad ways to do this, just as there are pricier options and cheap options. Below, The Drive’s plugged-in editors untangle the wires and clearly lay out how to proceed without too much hassle. Time to get to it.

    What Is Bluetooth?

    Let’s begin with the basics. Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows two devices to communicate without a plug. This technology allows you to easily connect your phone to your automobile’s infotainment system.

    How Is Bluetooth Used in Cars?

    Smartphones pair to cars and can sync music, text messages, maps, contacts, applications, and numerous other functions.

    After great success in the world of computers and cell phones, Bluetooth wireless technology has found a solid home in the world of car stereos as well; Bluetooth car stereo functionality is an increasingly popular option.

    Bluetooth devices can are linkable with each other, allowing wireless transfer of information like pictures or video. This pairing is made secure with the use of a pin number, which must be entered by the user before any communication can begin.

    There are two ways to bring Bluetooth tech into your daily automotive routine. The first is to simply purchase a car with the technology built in from the factory. The second, more budget-friendly option involves the use of a Bluetooth kit. There are a few basic things anyone interested in adding Bluetooth to their car should know.

    Generally, any device with the ability to use Bluetooth (such as cell phones) will feature a menu with available settings. Any further questions can generally be answered with a quick look in the user manual packaged with the device. Before buying any type of Bluetooth accessory, it is a good idea to make sure the device you plan to use is Bluetooth compatible.

    Many aftermarket car stereos now feature Bluetooth capability. Drivers with older units may find upgraded radio is needed before they can take advantage of wireless devices.

    Some kits work with the vehicle’s Bluetooth capable radio to broadcast the caller’s voice through the stereo speakers. Others project the caller’s voice through a separate Bluetooth receiver. Generally, either setup will mute any audio being played on the car stereo in the event of an incoming call.

    Once a user provisions their Bluetooth device to store the information saved on their mobile device, they have the ability to send and receive all of their calls through their wireless kit. This means they will be able to communicate as normal without even touching their phone.

    More elaborate hands free devices feature built in MP3 capability and storage for multiple phonebooks or voice (hands free) dialing. Caller ID features are handled via a screen on the Bluetooth device, or by a built in verbal caller announcement system.

    Blue Tomorrow provides a great overview of Bluetooth history, its current uses and many other bits of wireless related information.

    While it may have initially seemed like a novelty, Bluetooth has proven its usefulness in many everyday environments. The ability to remain less distracted behind the wheel is an important opportunity for any driver…regardless of age. It may seem a little intimidating to some, but with a minor investment and a little patience, any cell phone user can make their driving habits safer.

    How to add bluetooth to your car

    Today’s smartphones give us the capability to do just about anything with them that we can with our home computers. Modern cars themselves are like computers, and they come with all kinds of software enhancements and accessories that increase the performance of your vehicle. The most used accessory that comes standard now in almost every car is Bluetooth.

    A wireless technology, Bluetooth creates secure networks in a localized area. Bluetooth networks are excellent to use as a local network connection between your phone and your vehicle’s head unit. It allows you to use your phone through the controls on your head unit and steering wheel. Here is a step-by-step guide to pairing your phone with your car. Each brand of vehicle is also different, but these are the basic steps that should have you covered.

    Step 1 Locating Bluetooth on Your Phone

    This process will vary depending on the phone you have, and the audio system set up in your car. First, check to make sure that your phone has Bluetooth (although most modern phones do). The best place to look is in the settings menu. The symbol should look like this. Once you find it, make sure it’s switched to on.

    How to add bluetooth to your car

    Enable bluetooth on your mobile device.

    Step 2 Enable Bluetooth in Your Vehicle

    Next, go to the audio head unit in your vehicle. Some cars allow you to simply say “pair Bluetooth” or there may be a button to push to begin the pairing process. If you’re having problems locating it, head to your handy owner’s manual and look in the table of contents for directions on how to pair your phone with your car. Once you find Bluetooth in your car, enable it.(

    How to add bluetooth to your car

    Enable bluetooth in your vehicle.

    Step 3 Pairing Your Phone with Your Car

    Now, set your phone to discoverable or enable “search for devices” on your phone. Either your car will search for your smartphone or your smartphone will search for your vehicle. For the purposes of this article, we’ll use the Bluetooth option in the audio/information system in your car. It should be an icon on your audio head.

    How to add bluetooth to your car

    Set your phone to discoverable or enable “search for devices” on your phone.

    Once your car starts the pairing process, go back to your cell phone. You should already have your phone in the correct setting menu since time for pairing is limited. If the car is searching for your phone, enable the “discoverable” setting. If the vehicle head unit is set to “discoverable” than your phone will need to scan for devices. This step is much like setting up a Wi-Fi connection on your phone when you search for networks.

    Step 4 Selecting the Available Device

    Once your phone and car locate each other, you’ll need to select that connection in your phone and car. It may be labeled “hands-free” or “phone.” Once you choose the device on your phone, you will need to enter a passcode. Each vehicle comes with a passkey programmed in, and you can typically find this in your manual. Many devices use 1111 or 1234 as default passwords.

    How to add bluetooth to your car

    Connect your mobile device to the vehicle’s bluetooth.

    If you’re having problems with any of these steps, just turn the Bluetooth off in your vehicle and phone and restart the pairing process. Your phone’s manufacturer may have a step by step guide online or a number that you can call for assistance. The same is true for your vehicle. Today, many cars have more complex systems that enable you to reach many applications through your infotainment system such as BMW’s Connected Drive.

    Once your phone is paired, you can enjoy answering it with just a touch of a button. Its also much safer than talking on your cell phone directly as it’s less distracting. With Bluetooth technology, you can talk on your phone while you’re driving down the road with ease. If you find yourself really struggling to pair your phone, feel free to stop by our workshop and we will help you out.