How to connect bluetooth to car audio system: Steps and tips

Published on 5 May, 2022, 4:53 AM IST
Updated on 2 Jul, 2024, 8:50 AM IST

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Bluetooth is one of the best technologies available for short-range communication between two devices. You can find it in many gadgets like mobile phones, speakers, earphones, and car music/audio systems. A Bluetooth function in the car makes the whole experience of hands-free calling and managing music very easy and comfortable. This article will provide you with a detailed guide on how to connect a phone to a car Bluetooth? 

how to connect bluetooth to car

Connecting a phone to car Bluetooth

Connecting your phone to a car audio doesn’t necessarily have to be a struggling experience, as you can pair the two Bluetooth devices. Once you complete pairing Bluetooth, you can access your mobile’s calling function and music on the car audio unit.

Connecting your mobile to your car audio provides a seamless and comfortable experience. There are many ways to connect your mobile to car audio, but Bluetooth is one of the most effective, reliable, and easy to use methods.

Learn how you can make the most of this technology if your car has a Bluetooth function (or even if it doesn’t). Here is all about how to connect Bluetooth to car audio.

How to connect a phone to a car Bluetooth?

You require the following to connect a mobile to the car.

  • A Bluetooth enabled smartphone

  • A Bluetooth compatible head unit

Most smartphones these days come with the Bluetooth function, as is the case with most infotainment units in cars. Even the aftermarket car music systems/audio systems are compatible with Bluetooth. If you have an old audio system, you can always add a hands-free unit to make it Bluetooth compatible.

  • You can start with figuring out if your mobile has Bluetooth. Once that is done, you can turn it on and make it discoverable. 

  • The next step is to switch on the Bluetooth on the car unit and make it discoverable.

  • You can use either your car audio unit or your mobile Bluetooth to send a connection request to the other device. 

  • Once the request is accepted, you can pair the two devices with each other via Bluetooth.

  • If you face any issues with the connection request, refer to the car audio unit manual, as it may have the process for pairing the specific audio system model with the mobile phone.

What is Bluetooth pairing?

The process of connecting two Bluetooth devices is known as ‘Bluetooth pairing’. As the name suggests, it is ‘pairing’ because you can only connect one pair at a given point in time. For instance, you can connect your mobile Bluetooth either to your wireless earphones or your car audio at one point in time.

How to connect car Bluetooth with mobile

You can learn how to connect Bluetooth to a car by following these steps.

Step 1: Ensure that your smartphone has the Bluetooth function and turn it on.

Step 2: Enable Bluetooth functionality in your car's music system/audio system.

Step 3: Search for your phone on the car music system/audio system and tune it to discoverable mode.

Step 4: Locate your car audio system name in the list of Bluetooth devices available to connect on your smartphone screen. Tap ‘scan again' or 'retry' if it doesn't appear.

Step 5: Select the car stereo name as you see it on the list. It will ask you to confirm the pairing request. You may have to approve the pairing request on both – the mobile and the car music system/audio system.

Step 6: Enter the audio system pairing code. If you have one of the newer audio systems, you will see a pairing code on your mobile screen, and you will need to tap confirm. 

In the case of older stereo systems, you would need to get the pairing code from the stereo manual. You can try your luck by entering 0000 or 1234, as these are the two most common pairing codes for Bluetooth devices.

Step 7: Once connected, check the volume on your phone and car audio unit and keep it as per your preference. You can now use it for music, hands-free calling, and other available features.

How to connect a phone to a car without Bluetooth?

Don’t worry if you have an old car audio unit that does not support Bluetooth. You can connect your mobile Bluetooth to your car using any of the following ways.

FM Transmitter

You can buy an FM transmitter from the market and follow the below steps.

Step 1: Slot the FM Transmitter right into the cigarette lighter socket in the car.

Step 2: Switch on the FM on the car stereo.

Step 3: Set the FM transmitter to a frequency that is not of any radio channel in your city.

Step 4: Switch on your smartphone Bluetooth and pair it with the FM transmitter from the list of devices on your phone.

You can now play your music. A word of caution: audio quality is dependent on the signal quality, and you may not get a good signal in the city due to too many radio stations.

Cassette tape adaptor

You can buy a cassette tape adaptor from the market and follow the steps below.

Step 1: Connect the cable of the cassette tape adaptor to the smartphone’s headphone slot.

Step 2: Slot the adaptor into the cassette slot.

Step 3: Find the tape mode on the car stereo and press play.

You can now listen to the music from your car stereo and control it from your phone.

USB Connection

Many car models these days offer a USB port. You can follow the below steps to connect to the compatible USB port.

Step 1: Find a compatible USB cable for your smartphone.

Step 2: Locate the USB port on your car's audio system. It can generally be found on the head unit, in the dashboard, central compartment, central armrest, or glove compartment.

Step 3: Plug both ends of the USB cable into the smartphone and USB port.

Step 4: Once the connection is established, you will have to follow the next few steps (as per your phone make/model) to control music from your phone.

This option gives good sound quality, and the USB also charges the phone.

Sound routing application or hands-free application

Some of the old car models have the feature of Bluetooth calling but do not allow you to play music. You can work around this hurdle by installing a sound routing application or hands-free application on your phone. You can follow the below steps to execute this method.

Step 1: Pair your phone with the car and make a call to check the connection.

Step 2: Download and install a sound routing application that you want to use to play music.

Step 3: Open the app from which you want to play music.

The sound quality in this method will be mono and not stereo.

Apple CarPlay or Android Auto

New car models allow you to connect your phone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. You can mirror your smartphone screen to the car audio unit and operate your phone from the car screen. It allows you to play music, view maps, make calls and messages, etc.

How to play music from phone to car Bluetooth?

You can play music from your phone to your car Bluetooth using the following steps.

Step 1: Establish a Bluetooth connection between the car audio and phone using the steps explained in the above sections.

Step 2: Select and open the application on your mobile that you want to use to play music.

Step 3: Check the volume on your phone and car audio if you face issues.

How to connect a phone directly to car speakers/car stereos?

You can use the following ways to connect the phone directly to car speakers/car stereo.

  • Connect the phone to the car stereo using Bluetooth.

  • If you cannot connect it via Bluetooth, you can use the USB Port on the car audio unit and the charging cable of your mobile.

  • You can also connect your phone directly to car speakers/car stereos using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

  • You can use any hands-free device or FM transmitter if your car audio does not support Bluetooth or USB.

Cars with Apple CarPlay in India: 1. Hyundai Creta 2. Kia Sonet 3. Kia Seltos 4. Maruti Suzuki Brezza 5. Mahindra XUV700

Additional tips and tricks on Bluetooth pairing

Here are a few additional tips and tricks on Bluetooth pairing that may come in handy while connecting your mobile phone to the car stereo system.

  • You can only connect one device at a time. Linking to another device will disconnect the previous Bluetooth connection.

  • If a Bluetooth device is already connected to a car audio system, it has to be disconnected before you can connect a new device to the car audio via Bluetooth.

  • If you exceed the Bluetooth device limit on the device, the Bluetooth memory deletes the information of the oldest device.

  • The Bluetooth pairing time limit is usually a few minutes. If you cannot pair during that time, you can try again by enabling the pairing mode once more.

  • If you do not find your device name on the car audio system, try deleting the car audio unit name from the mobile and recommencing the pairing process.

  • If you do not find your car audio unit name on your mobile Bluetooth, deactivate your mobile's Bluetooth and activate it once again. Some mobiles also have a refresh function for Bluetooth.

  • Enable/disable the phone's Bluetooth in case you cannot find the device on the phone.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common queries and their answers regarding connecting phone bluetooth to car audio system.

How can I connect my mobile to my car without Bluetooth?

You can use mediums like FM Transmitter, Cassette tape adaptor, USB cable, Sound routing application, Apple CarPlay, or Android Auto to connect to your car audio without Bluetooth.

How can I connect my mobile to my car with aux?

Connect the two ends of the aux cable in your mobile headphone slot and Aux slot in the car audio unit, respectively. You will be able to play music on your mobile from your car.

I'm not able to connect Bluetooth to my car. What can I do?

You can check if the Bluetooth is on in both the car audio and your mobile device. Some other steps that you can take are as follows.

  • Make sure two devices are close to each other.

  • Power the devices off, restart them, and recommence the pairing process.

  • Delete old Bluetooth connections.

  • If you still face issues, check the manuals and the possibility and process of connecting the two devices.

Can I connect Bluetooth to my car radio?

Yes. You can connect your Bluetooth to your car audio. You will have to activate Bluetooth on both mobile and car audio devices and establish Bluetooth pairing between the two.

How can I connect my car audio wirelessly to my Android phone?

You can connect your Android phone to your car stereo using Bluetooth or Android Auto.

How to connect my iPhone to the car Bluetooth?

If your car supports Apple CarPlay wireless connection, you can simply navigate to the ‘Settings’ menu on your phone, select ‘General’ and click on ‘CarPlay’. Next, select your car and connect. If you have an older car with only Bluetooth connectivity, ensure that the audio unit is in pairing mode, and then you can connect the iPhone via the Bluetooth menu.

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