In-car technology is advancing faster than anyone imagined, and it's also easier to upgrade an older car with advanced features than ever before. Numerous aftermarket companies allow motorists to take advantage of convenient connectivity and safety features without having to buy a new car. Bluetooth is a good example of that – it has been around for years and it was an expensive option only offered on high-end cars, but it has become a cheap, easy upgrade for any vehicle, regardless of its age or value .
Bluetooth can be used to make calls (it directs the call through your car speakers) or to stream music directly from your smartphone, although some of the more basic systems are limited to calls. Either way, it's a feature that significantly reduces distractions and allows the driver to keep both hands on the wheel at all times. Therefore, most states have laws that require hands-free calling while driving.
With this in mind, let's take a look at the quick, affordable ways to add Bluetooth functionality to your car.
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5;720.jpg "onerror =" dti_load_error (this) "class =" size-large wp-image-2231520 dt-lazy-load dt-lazy-pending "alt =" Himbox Bluetooth  Just unplugging wires is not your thing, the easiest way to add Bluetooth is with a universal kit, such as the iClever Himbox Plus. As the name implies, these standalone units work in almost any car thanks to a built-in speaker and microphone. These systems click on your visor or can be mounted anywhere with suction cups or tape.
These systems have advantages and disadvantages On the plus side many universal sets can be easily moved from vehicle to vehicle, so if you change cars a lot and do not want to pay for multiple units, you can use the device take home. Unfortunately, systems that are not connected to your factory audio unit cannot be integrated with your phone's music apps. Note that mounting the device with tape can leave an annoying print on your dashboard.
There are a few universal devices that will plug into your head unit that can add music streaming to the list of functionalities, but that makes the installation process a bit more complicated. These devices usually range in price from $ 15 to $ 30.
Aftermarket Audio Units
Replacing your vehicle head unit is a great option for those who want the most audio functionality. This process takes some work and you will have to embrace the aftermarket look of your new system, but most devices come with easy to follow instructions. With patience, common tools and a few hours, most people can replace their stereo system. Don't want a hassle? Many electronics stores offer installation for around $ 100.
There is a wide variety of replacement stereo systems on the market. Fortunately, even the most affordable devices have Bluetooth integration for hands-free calling. As you make your way up the price ladder, features like Bluetooth music streaming, full smartphone integration (so you can access your phone's apps through the car stereo), text messages (read your messages aloud so you can keep your eyes on the away) and voice commands become available. You can even add units with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The large number of devices on the market also means that you are likely to find a unit that is close to your default settings in terms of color and design. Prices for these devices start from $ 40 and go up to several hundred dollars for a more versatile unit. Top brands such as Pioneer, Alpine and Kenwood currently offer a range of affordable options.
Vehicle Specific Adapters
If you love the look of your vehicle's stereo system and don't mind crossing your wires (no pun intended) then a vehicle specific adapter with Bluetooth functionality may be for you. Crutchfield and other retailers sell many.
The best thing about a factory adapter is that it is specially designed for your make and model vehicle, so that you get the best possible audio quality and vehicle-specific installation. instructions. If you only want Bluetooth for hands-free calling and possibly streaming music (some systems are limited to phone audio), there is no need to replace your entire head unit.
Installation time and issues vary depending on the manufacturer, but most systems require you to remove the factory stereo, plug the cable into the adapter, and route a wired microphone to the back of the head unit. When everything is said and done, you can make and receive calls through your factory system via Bluetooth. In addition to maintaining the stock aesthetic, these adapters are usually quite inexpensive, with an average setup costing less than $ 100. Luxury automakers generally charge more for their devices, but well, what's new?
Buying an FM transmitter is one of the cheapest ways to add Bluetooth to your car, especially if you are driving an older model that has a aux input missing. It is a phone-shaped device that plugs into your car's cigarette lighter and emits a signal over a clear FM frequency. For example, set the transmitter to 106.3, tune your radio to that frequency and you will hear the music streaming from your phone or your MP3 player. Most FM stations also allow you to make hands-free calls.
You can get a decent FM transmitter like this Nulaxy unit for about $ 20. We like this solution because it is affordable and no installation is required; you just turn it on and set it to the desired frequency. Since FM frequencies vary from region to region, a station clear in Reno, for example, can broadcast '90s hits in Salt Lake City. You will find that you often set the device to a new frequency if you regularly drive long distances. Finding a clear frequency in a big city like San Francisco is often easier said than done.
A Bluetooth receiver is a compact device that can be connected directly to the aux input of your car. Once paired with a phone, it plays music or phone calls through the speakers. It is similar to the aforementioned FM transmitter, but it doesn't need a clear FM frequency to work, which means the sound quality is often much better. The catch, of course, is that your car must have an aux input. Most late model cars do that, but the unit will not work with older models unless you want to upgrade your stereo.
The list of options on the market is almost endless, but most units cost around $ 20. Mpow currently makes one of the better units, one with a discreet design and a handful of useful features. For example, if the device is connected, users who have downloaded the Mpow mobile app can use it to find their car in the parking lot. Multipoint technology also allows you to keep two devices connected, meaning you can stream music from an iPod and still make calls on your iPhone.