Bluetooth is a near-common short-range communication technology found in everything from smartphones to coffee makers. The latest version of this technology is extremely power efficient, can transfer significant amounts of data, and has very little perceived latency. So it’s no surprise that newer car models now come with Bluetooth built in.
The point is, what can you do if your car are not have Bluetooth for car audio? Even if it does, how do you even use it?
Don’t forget about the USB cable adapter
One of the reasons people are turning to Bluetooth for car connections is speed the death of the smartphone headphone jack. Your car or car radio may have an auxiliary jack, but your new phone may not.
The good news is that you can get that functionality back using USB (or Lightning for iPhone) 3.5 mm . jack adapter.
They are usually not too expensive, but there is an important caveat. Some phones do not have a DAC or digital to analog converter built-in for use with their USB port. So you’ll need to buy an adapter with a built-in DAC. These are more expensive, so do some Google to determine if your phone needs an adapter that supports DAC.
This is a cheaper, more reliable solution than Bluetooth. Although, it is less elegant and comes with all the hassle of working with cables.
Recommended USB adapter
If you are an iPhone user, we recommend simply using Original Apple Adapter, is guaranteed to work. The only real downside to this cheap dongle is that you can’t charge the phone while it’s in use.
If you have a phone like Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ that lacks DAC, then an adapter like WKWZY . converter is a good choice. It has a built-in DAC and therefore doesn’t depend on the phone’s hardware to produce sound, which makes it a safe choice.
Bluetooth with auxiliary adapter
If your car doesn’t have Bluetooth but has an auxiliary jack, you can still add car Bluetooth functionality by using a Bluetooth headset adapter. These are designed to let you turn any set of headphones into a Bluetooth-enabled pair, but instead, they work fine when connected directly to your car.
The only real downside is that they require USB power if you need them to keep going beyond their battery life. On the plus side, when you get out of the car at the end of the ride, you can simply plug in your headphones and hit the road.
Recommended Bluetooth for auxiliary adapters
When searching for a good Bluetooth receiver for your car that plugs into the auxiliary audio jack, two products stand out thanks to their numerous user reviews.
First is Mpow receiver. This has the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology in it, which means you’ll get very high quality streaming with no stutter. We also really like the inclusion of a small status screen, so you can quickly see what’s connected and how good the signal is. Mpow claims a 40-foot range. So unless you’re driving a tour bus, you’ll probably be fine.
The next tantalizing option is TaoTronics bluetooth receiver. This product does not have a screen but is capable of acting as a Bluetooth transmitter. This makes it quite versatile outside of using it in your car.
Bluetooth FM transmitter
If your radio doesn’t have an auxiliary jack, all is not lost. You can use a Bluetooth FM tuner to combine old and new technology. Usually these gadgets will run from your 12V cigarette lighter socket.
You will connect to the device with your smartphone the same way you would connect to any Bluetooth device. Once that connection is active, simply tune your car radio to the FM frequency the device is broadcasting on. You can even change the broadcast frequency.
While these FM transmitters are pretty neat, you should really only use them as a last resort to get your car bluetooth connected. Best sound quality like analog radio. They are also susceptible to interference from radio stations and any other sources of radio waves of the same frequency.
This is the best solution if you want Bluetooth audio on a much older car and don’t want to spend too much money. However, if you have any other options, we recommend trying them out first.
Recommended Bluetooth FM transmitter
The first FM transmitter that we really liked the look of was this one RIGHT AWAY unit. It plugs right into your cigarette lighter socket and provides charging through a fast-charging USB A port or an 18W USB-C Power Delivery port. Amazingly, it also offers hands-free calling! Using it is as simple as tuning your radio to an open frequency and then setting the widget to the same frequency.
Need a second choice? The Zeeporte offers essentially the same feature set, but has a different design and offers a 27W charge instead of 18. It’s like a flip-flop between the two.
Buy a Bluetooth-enabled Radio
Many modern cars have factory-installed radios built into a non-removable façade. However, on older cars, replacing the entire radio head unit is usually pretty easy. If you’re lucky enough to have such a car and don’t mind spending a little money on a new radio, getting Bluetooth audio is actually pretty easy.
Even entry-level car radios have Bluetooth as a feature now, and once installed, it will be like bringing your old car into the 21st century. Well, at least when it comes to listening to music. and podcasts.
Recommended Bluetooth-enabled walkie-talkies
If you want to completely remodel and replace the entire radio in your car, there are many options, but the most popular choice seems to be this one. BOSS Sound System Multimedia Car Stereo 616UAB. It’s a single DIN unit so it fits most cars and comes in at a very small price too. This modern budget player won’t play CDs or cassettes, but you’re pretty much protected digitally.
If you have a bit more cash on hand, this one Pioneer FH-X730BS Double-Din has the Bluetooth you desire, along with every other bell and whistle you can imagine. Between these two options, you are sure to find something suitable.
Connect with modern car Bluetooth
If you have one of those new cars with built-in Bluetooth, how do you actually connect to it? The good news is that if you’ve ever used not at all Bluetooth devices, the procedure is essentially identical:
- Refer to your car’s manual on how to enable Bluetooth pairing mode and follow the instructions.
- Open your phone’s Bluetooth settings and find your car’s name in the list of available Bluetooth devices. Click on it to start pairing.
- Your car’s infotainment screen will most likely show a passcode. When prompted on your phone, enter the code.
- The car and phone will now be paired.
- You may have to choose whether calls, vehicles, or both are handled by your car’s system.
That’s really all there is to do. Some cars have special phone compatibility, such as Apple Carplaybut overall it’s no different from any other Bluetooth connection.