How to Set up Bluetooth in an Old Car (or a Newer, More Fashionable Car)

Maybe you bought a brand new phone; your phone may have just gone through a major OS update. Either way, the result is the same: you can no longer connect it via Bluetooth to your old car, which means you’ve lost the ability to rock, podcast enrichment, or make hands-free calls.

Fortunately, you have several options to fix this, from “free and may not work” to “expensive and will definitely work.” However, don’t overlook the potential cost; If you don’t want to deal with cables, Bluetooth is incredibly convenient while driving (when it doesn’t go bad).

Check your vehicle manufacturer for firmware updates

It’s unlikely, but it’s possible that your car’s system – whatever it’s using to get Bluetooth to work – has some kind of update that will restore functionality you no longer have.

First, make sure the device you are using has the latest operating system (probably your smartphone). Then go to your car manufacturer’s website, visit their support pages – or where all the information you need about your specific car is stored – and see if there are any download options for updates to your car’s stereo or infotainment system.

If you get confused as the car manufacturers don’t often explain this process, you can always call your local dealer. You might even be able to bring your car and ask them to check if there are any updates – they might still have to do the update anyway, so it doesn’t hurt.

They may tell you to install the software updates themselves, even if you can do it yourself for free. Or, as YouTube’s ‘MrDazanaput it, “My dealer told me it would cost me 160.00 + tax. I told them to fuck off and found it on the net. Enjoy. It is very easy to install. “

Connect in a different way

If you’re lucky, your car stereo has an AUX port – a 3.5mm jack just like your favorite old headphones. You are one cheap cable distance from plugging in your smartphone (or your smartphone’s ugly adapter) and listening to all your music and podcasts through your car speakers.

If not, and your car is old enough, you can always find a cheap cassette adapter with a built-in 3.5mm cable. Or if you have a new car with built-in USB ports, try using them. You can get some features from your smartphone even if you can’t go the full path of Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

You won’t be able to make or receive phone calls through your car stereo if you run the 3.5mm cable, but at least you can listen to music or a podcast. And while your phone calls will also ring out from the speakers, you will have to awkwardly hold the device near your face for someone to hear what you are saying. At this point, you can turn off the device and switch to speakerphone: it is safer, more legal and much easier to use.

Buy Bluetooth adapter with FM transmitter

You’ve probably seen these wacky devices before. Typically you plug one end into your car’s cigarette lighter – or a “12V accessory socket” or whatever you want to call it – and tune it to a specific FM frequency that your local radio station isn’t already using. You connect your smartphone to the device via Bluetooth, tune the car stereo system to the frequency of the FM device, and everything will work seamlessly through the car stereo system: music, phone calls, work.

In a perfect world, the FM transmitter device you pick up will support multiple Bluetooth pairs – so you and your friend can control tunes on your next trip – as well as offer a way to charge your device via USB in case all of your Bluetooth streaming kills your battery. You might want to look for one that also comes with a 3.5mm port, in case any device you’re using still needs a wired connection for audio.

Install an adapter or a new aftermarket stereo.

Every time I think about upgrading any part of my car – usually a stereo – I head to Crutchfield. This is not because I am in love with the salesperson (in fact, I usually buy equipment elsewhere), but because it is easy to see with Crutchfield’s help what will work with your particular vehicle.

As noted on the website , you will be able to unblock the Bluetooth function in your car by installing an adapter – this is useful if you want to keep your current car stereo for any reason. From what I understand, this really only applies if you didn’t have Bluetooth capabilities originally. If you’ve done this and your smartphone won’t connect anymore, I don’t think adding an adapter is the right way to go.

If this problem is really driving you crazy, it might be worth the splurge and buying an aftermarket headunit for your vehicle. And if you do, you probably have tons of different options to choose from. I advise looking for newer devices versus older and cheaper devices because you don’t want to buy something that hasn’t been updated three years ago and may still cause connectivity issues on your new smartphone – just in case. Also, check out any reviews you might get your hands on, as well as any guides or recommendations on enthusiast online forums like / r / cars , / r / carav ,, or , just to name a few. some of them.

If you don’t have room in your car for a terrific new head unit, you can also look for an amplifier with Bluetooth capabilities. You may even feel better sound quality from your crappy old stereo, especially if you go for an amplifier, which gives you more room to fine-tune the EQs than the standard “high and low” settings in your stereo.

You can probably manage to install the new headunit on your dashboard yourself – especially after some helpful YouTube tutorials, even if it’s a completely different headunit for your particular make and model of your vehicle. As for the booster, it is a little more complicated and you can pay someone else to do it if you are unsure of your skills.

Ignore stereo completely

If you just want a way to make calls from your smartphone without holding it to your face, you can always find a simple Bluetooth speaker that attaches to some part of your car, such as the sun visor. Here’s one example:

A device like this isn’t perfect for streaming music from a smartphone, nor will it sound as rich as your friends’ voices coming out of your car’s speakers during a call, but it’s something – and it’s cheap and easy to set up. …


Leave a Reply