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How do I add Bluetooth® to my car?

Three ways to get Bluetooth streaming and calling in your vehicle

Using a phone in the car

Bluetooth technology lets two devices communicate wirelessly with each other. It's most commonly seen in the form of hands-free ear pieces for cell phones and in wireless speaker systems.

Add Bluetooth to your car 

By integrating this wireless functionality into your car stereo, you can hear callers' voices over your car speakers, see incoming call information on your stereo's display, and possibly stream audio from your device to your stereo. Some universal Bluetooth adapters require no interaction with your car stereo. Most importantly, you can keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while talking to callers.

Many Bluetooth devices also make it possible to stream music from a Bluetooth capable smartphone, tablet, or other device to your car stereo.

There are three ways to use your Bluetooth device in your vehicle:

  1. a universal Bluetooth car kit that works in any vehicle
  2. a vehicle-specific Bluetooth car adapter that connects to the factory radio
  3. a new car stereo with built-in Bluetooth capability

Option 1: Universal Bluetooth car kits

Universal Bluetooth car kits work in just about any vehicle. Some are simple, stand-alone devices with a small speaker and microphone that clip to your sun visor or mount on the dash and don't interface with the car stereo at all. These are nice because you can move them from one vehicle to another. The downside is that their use is pretty much limited to hands-free calling.

Other universal Bluetooth adapters for the car are wired to the stereo so that the music mutes when calls come in, and the calls play over your car's speakers instead of a tiny stand-alone speaker. Some of these kits also handle music streaming. The downside is that you have to remove the car stereo and connect a few wires in order to install the kit. It's a little more effort, but the result is worth it.

Option 2: Vehicle-specific Bluetooth car stereo adapters

A vehicle-specific Bluetooth adapter is an interface that adds Bluetooth to your car's factory stereo.

Installation typically involves removing the factory radio, connecting the cable to the vehicle wiring and the radio, and then installing a microphone for hands-free calling. Caller info shows up on the factory stereo's display and you answer and place calls using the stereo's controls. An included microphone clips onto your sun visor or mounts somewhere on the dash, and you hear callers over your car stereo speakers.

This is a good option when you want to keep the factory radio. Although it involves some installation work, you end up with a Bluetooth system that's fully integrated into your car stereo for hands-free phoning. Many of these systems can handle music streaming, too.

USA Spec BT45-HON3

USA Spec created this Bluetooth integration package to work in select Honda and Acura vehicles.

Option 3: Aftermarket stereos with built-in Bluetooth capability

The final option for adding Bluetooth to your car is to install a new car stereo that includes Bluetooth or offers an adapter to include it. Depending on the stereo you select, you can control many of your smartphone functions and music streaming from your stereo. When you select a radio with built-in Bluetooth, you don't have to deal with installing a separate hideaway adapter box.

Pioneer DMH-220EX Digital Multimedia Receiver

The Pioneer DMH-220EX digital multimedia receiver features built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and music streaming.

Because of Bluetooth's popularity, it can be found in many new stereos. That means you won't have to buy the most expensive stereo to get one with this wireless technology. So, if you're buying a new car stereo anyway, keep an eye out for stereos with built-in Bluetooth capability.

Bluetooth Logo

Easy as 1, 2, or 3

Adding Bluetooth technology to your car can be easy. At the very least, Bluetooth makes it easier, safer, and — in a growing number of states — legal, to use the phone when you're in the car. As the applications for Bluetooth technology expand, it'll become even more useful in the car as well.

If you have any questions about the best way to get a wireless connection between your phone and car stereo, give us a call or contact us via email or chat. Our advisors will be happy to help you find the solution that will work best for you. 

  • Amy aguilar from Sparks nv

    Posted on 8/22/2020

    I just bought the car stereo few months works and good with Bluetooth with my phone suddenly my Bluetooth sign in my stereo won't work. I can't erase or deleted the memory full because the Bluetooth sign no signal. We pulled out the stereo we'll see if something wire loose or broken but nothing and still the same. I can't even use my stereo with my iPhone cause can't pair on it. What should I do?

    Alexander H. from Crutchfield

    on 8/24/2020

    Amy, if you bought your stereo from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details.
  • Brian Morgan from Howell

    Posted on 4/9/2020

    I also have this question (originally from Lynn Rice back in 2017): "Can a 2018 Ford F150 Sync 3 "pair" with a Megaboom wireless bluetooth speaker? Do the car stereos have the ability to send the music to an outside speaker? Thank you." I don't have a Megaboom speaker, but would like to output music to other bluetooth speakers.

    Alexander H. from Crutchfield

    on 4/10/2020

    Brian, a Bluetooth stereo (and connected car speakers) act the same way as a Megaboom speaker. They receive a Bluetooth signal from a device like your smartphone. So no, you won't be able to pair a car stereo with a Megaboom, but a Megaboom is a great option for a portable speaker, paired with your phone as its music source.
  • phillip virgile from kings park

    Posted on 3/17/2020

    Hey, I was wondering if you could help. I am looking for a Bluetooth device which outputs song data along with the sound. I want to use this data with a microcontroller and display it on an OLED display. Probably the device will output the data via SPI, I2C or some other interface. Thank you.

  • mike from Binghamton

    Posted on 1/18/2020

    I drive a 2009 Chevy Silverado: stock radio has a plug receptacle I use for streaming music on my iPhone. My new(er) iPhone only uses Bluetooth--I cannot plug into my radio. Is there a device I can buy that will bridge the gap without costing a bundle? And how would it work? Thanks--you guys rock.

    Alexander H. from Crutchfield

    on 1/20/2020

    Mike, I'm assuming the input on your radio you're talking about is an 3.5mm mini auxiliary in. The easiest, cheapest option would be to keep a Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone adapter in your vehicle to plug into your phone. You'll also need a 3.5mm male-to-male cable to make the wired connection between your phone adapter and your stereo. We don't carry the phone adapter, but you'll be able to find them easily online or locally.
  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/16/2017

    Arlene, that will depend on your stereo. If your stereo doesn't and you'd like to upgrade to one that does, just give us a call. An Advisor will be happy to help.

  • Arlene

    Posted on 10/14/2017

    Can we pair 2 separate iPhone numbers to our vehicle? We were successful with 1 only phone

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/25/2017

    Lynn, no, you won't find that functionality on a factory or aftermarket stereo. For now, a receiver will only receive a Bluetooth signal from a media source like a smartphone.

  • Lynn Rice from BAYPORT

    Posted on 9/24/2017

    Can a 2018 Ford F150 Sync 3 "pair" with a Megaboom wireless bluetooth speaker? Do the car stereos have the ability to send the music to an outside speaker? Thank you.

  • Jennifer Lingerfelt from Pleasant Garden

    Posted on 4/20/2017

    I have a 2006 Honda Odyssey EXL and want to play music from my phone in my van. What's my best option?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/14/2016

    Nathan, I've passed your question along to our sales team for the best answer. An advisor will contact you soon to help you find the best way to integrate your phone with your factory system.

  • Nathan from Falls Church City

    Posted on 9/14/2016

    I have a 2001 Prius with the factory radio. Vehicle only has 100K miles on it. But I would very much like to be able to speak hands free using my android phone. What are my options? I don't know how to approach it as there is no A/V input that I can see. However I do see a 2001 harness sold on your site but for another type of toyota, not the prius. but the matching tool says it is compatible?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/1/2016

    Richard, this unit will not stream audio via Bluetooth. I've passed your question along to our sales team for the best options to add audio streaming to your vehicle. An advisor will contact you soon.

  • Terrence. Richard from Lancaster

    Posted on 8/31/2016

    I have a alpine ina-w910 with Bluetooth I can only receive and call I cannot stream music from my phone what device do I need to connect with this Alpine to stream music thank you very much

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/17/2016

    Colleen, there are different ways to add Bluetooth to your car and some you may be comfortable doing yourself. I've passed your question along to our sales team, and an advisor will contact you soon to help.

  • Colleen Williams from Fort Worth

    Posted on 8/17/2016

    How can I add Blue tooth to my 2007 Saturn Vue? Also where can I go to get it done?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/6/2016

    Renee, I've passed your question along to our sales team. An advisor will contact you soon to help you find a Bluetooth solution for your Pontiac.

  • Renee Sustik from Knox

    Posted on 6/4/2016

    I have a Pontiac G6 and would like to add blue tooth to my factory radio I'd like to use my phone to make calls and stream music. Thank you

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/24/2016

    Sam, I have a Kenwood unit in my car and have always been happy with Bluetooth call quality, but I've passed your question along to our sales team for the best answer. An advisor will contact you soon to help find the right gear for you and your vehicle.

  • Sam Abernathy from Marietta Ga

    Posted on 5/23/2016

    What is the nest double din unit for call clarity? I have a car with factory bluetooth (2015 kia Soul) that calls sound fantastic, but every aftermarket bluetooth radio Ive had before is a bit lacking. I'm also a professional live audio engineer, so i need great equalization options, with 4v outs preferably. Going into a 2009 camry without the jbl system. Looking to upgrade speakers to components with relatively flat frequency response as well. Thank you in advance.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/3/2016

    Del, I've passed your question along to our sales team. An advisor will contact you soon to help.

  • Del Alexander from kapaa

    Posted on 5/2/2016

    I just bought a 2015 Chevrolet Sliverado regular cab long bed truck. CD player ,tuner with usb jack in center console. W as wondering my options included an addition to the existing stereo for getting the Bluetooth hands free for my phone, and possibly a rear view camera? I just installed the Sony XAV-W650BT in my daughters car and love the way its connects.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/12/2016

    Jess, you'll need an additional module plus a vehicle-specific harness to retain your factory Bluetooth features (as well as a lot more features!). Give us a call for more details, but this is one piece you'll definitely want to add to get the most out of your new receiver.

  • Jess from Kailua, HI

    Posted on 4/12/2016

    My car (2012 VW GTI) is built with factory installed Bluetooth capability. If I were to upgrade my stereo to ... say a Kenwood DDX573 with Bluetooth capability, will my existing Bluetooth button and mic no longer work? Is there a way to have the two work together the same way my existing stereo does?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/7/2016

    Blake, sounds like a good idea. I've passed your question along to our sales team. An advisor will contact you soon to help.

  • Blake from St Augustine

    Posted on 3/6/2016

    how about a bluetooth enabled amplifier? I have an old jeep and Id like to keep the original am radio that it cam with. Hoping to add an amp that can pick up audio from my phone.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/2/2016

    Sylvia, if you're referring to your factory system, it could be that the external microphone is malfunctioning. If you'd like to keep your factory system as it is, you'll have to contact your Chevrolet dealership for a replacement or repair. If you're ready to upgrade to a new stereo, we have a wide selection that allow hands-free calling. Find out what fits your Tahoe using our vehicle selector. Alternatively, something like Parrot's MINIKIT Neo 2 HD Bluetooth kit is an easy solution.

  • sylvia cabrales from hammond in

    Posted on 3/2/2016

    I have a tahoe which will recieve calls and play music through my phone but people can mot hear me when i talk. I can hear them. I have to turn my radio off to talk can you help. My radio also plays dvd movies

  • Nick from Columbus

    Posted on 2/24/2016

    Want to Add Bluetooth to a 2006 Honda Odyssey EXL with RES, no nav, no xm. Is it possible to add both a vehicle specific SM tuner and a vehicle specific Bluetooth option? What are my options?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/1/2016

    Olive, you'll need to match the Bluetooth protocols of your iPod with those of the car stereo in order to be sure. Check out this article on Bluetooth protocols. For more information on any receiver on our site, check out the Details tab for that particular item. Or if you want to double-check compatibility with a stereo in which you're interested, give us a call.

  • olive from neath

    Posted on 1/31/2016

    will any bluetooth ipod connect to a bluetooth car stereo...

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/29/2016

    Lynda, I've passed your question on to our sales team for the best answer. An advisor will contact you soon to help you upgrade your Lexus with Bluetooth.

  • Lynda from salt lake city

    Posted on 1/28/2016

    Hi Alexander, what hardware do you recommend to add bluetooth to a 2009 Lexus in order to make it equivalent to what would have come with factory installed bluetooth? Thank you for being out there to help all of us non-tekkies sort through all of this!

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/30/2015

    AJ, I've passed your question along to our sales team. An advisor will contact you soon to help you find the gear that's right for your Accord.

  • AJ from Fort Washington

    Posted on 12/29/2015

    What are my options to get bluetooth in a 2006 Honda Accord Ex-V6 with a broken navigation system?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/18/2015

    Kim, I've consulted Crutchfield Tech Support and they tell me that Bluetooth issues are not uncommon with the iPhone 6. If you own an Android device or have one available to you, it would be worth pairing it with your Sony to see if the same problem arises. If it does, then it could be the Sony that is faulty. If it doesn't, it may be your iPhone. Check for the latest iOS update. Follow the instructions for pairing provided in the Sony manual. If that doesn't improve things, you may have the best luck by making sure that your iPhone is "awake" to pair before you start your car. Toggling Bluetooth on your iPhone off and then back on might also help. Also, is it possible that another device, besides your iPhone, has been paired with the Sony at some point and is a default device? It may be bumping the iPhone off. Hopefully this helps your pinpoint the source of the problem. Good luck!

  • Kim from Fife

    Posted on 12/17/2015

    I have an iPhone 6s and just had the Sony XAV-68BT stereo installed. They seem to have a pairing problem, mostly in the morning after sitting apart all night. Once I get them paired I can walk away and come back and they are reconnected, but in the morning, nothing. I will see the stereo in my phone but the connection is unsuccessful. If I "forget this device" in my phone and then pair from scratch, it may not even find the stereo. I have also reset the bluetooth on the stereo. Is this common? Do I need to take the stereo back for something else or will I have the same issue with almost any stereo because of the iPhone 6s?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/22/2015

    Chris, we certainly have Bluetooth solutions for any car, but depending on your vehicle, you may want to consider upgrading to an aftermarket stereo and a SiriusXM tuner. Give an advisor a call for recommendations at the number above.

  • Chris Cazares from Merced, Ca.

    Posted on 11/22/2015

    I have the sirius app on my samsung phone, but don't have blutooth in my car.Can I install a blutooth device in my car to play Sirius through the factory stereo ?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/4/2015

    Sally, you'll have lots of solid options for your Civics. I've forwarded your information to your sales team, and an advisor will contact you soon to help you choose the right solution for your family.

  • Sally Chew from Maplewood

    Posted on 11/4/2015

    My family owns two Honda Civics, from 2002 and 2005. I would love to be able to add bluetooth capability for handsfree phone use to them. (We just got a brand new car with it and love that feature, but don't want to replace our Civics for a long time!) At some point, we added a CD player (at the dealer) to the 2002, which was installed in the little storage nook under the factory stereo, which only came with a cassette player. The 2005 has the "standard" stereo with CD player. Music streaming from smartphone or iPod would be a "nice to have". Built-in navigation also, but that's probably asking too much. What are our options?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/8/2015

    Peter, I've passed your information along to our sales team. An advisor will be able to help you find a Bluetooth solution that suits your vehicle.

  • Peter Mihm from Leefdaal

    Posted on 10/7/2015

    Greetings, Just bought a used vehicle in which the former owner installed the universal BT that plays thru the car speakers - but as far as I can tell, it's only good for phone. When I play music thru my phone, it does not play on the car's speakers. You mention above that some universal kits do allow streaming music. Can you name a few options please?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/21/2015

    Steve, I've passed your information along, and an advisor will be contacting you soon to help. In the meantime, if you'd like to take a look at our Bluetooth integration devices, you can find them here.

  • steve from harrisburg pa

    Posted on 9/18/2015

    I am looking for device to bluetooth my samsung phone to my 2002 s55 amg with a nav system

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/18/2015

    Faisal, I've passed your information along to our sales department. An advisor will contact you soon to help you with options for your Pathfinder.

  • faisal

    Posted on 9/17/2015

    I would like to add Bluetooth system on my Nissan Pathfinder SV 2015. Would like to keep the factory stereo system. What will be my best option.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/10/2015

    Eddie, we don't have a vehicle-specific solution for your 2004 LaSabre, but we do have universal solutions. Alternatively, a new stereo will get you Bluetooth and a variety of new features. If you have any questions, give us a call.

  • Eddie from New Castle, Delaware

    Posted on 9/10/2015

    I need a Vehicle-specific Bluetooth adapter for a 2004 Buick Le Sabre. What model should I buy.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/4/2015

    Kristina, regarding UConnect in your vehicle, you'd have to consult with your local dealer. Outside of a factory solution, the least expensive way to get Bluetooth in your car would be to install a Bluetooth adapter. Some are fairly simple to install. Alternatively, you could buy a new DVD stereo with Bluetooth, and we have harnesses that would allow you to retain the video functionality in your Grand Caravan. Give us a call at 1.888.955.6000, and advisor will be able to help you.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/3/2015

    Mike, as a fellow fan of CDs, I can understand your pain. Unfortunately, we no longer carry portable CD players.

  • Kristina from Parma

    Posted on 8/3/2015

    I just bought a 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan, the radio has all the buttons on it for Bluetooth, but it says UConnect is not equipped. Which of these methods do I need to do? I do not want to get a new radio as the radio I have is a DVD player as well....

  • Mike Dougherty from Frankfort

    Posted on 8/2/2015

    I just bought a 2015 Jeep Cherokee with the top end audio system and discovered that there was no CD player. Is there a "portable" remote CD player on the market that can communicate with my new Jeep via Bluetooth? If so, you should make Jeep aware of it because I am not the only one out here who wants to play CD's in my new car. I look forward to your reply.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/21/2015

    Bill, check with your nearest dealership or give OnStar a call. They should be able to help.

  • Bill from The Villages

    Posted on 7/20/2015

    My car is on star ready. How do I connect the phone??

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/17/2015

    Richard, your best bet is to give your dealer a call to see if it's something they can fix easily, even though it's not under warranty. After that, you could check out forums devoted to late model Chevy Malibus for any solutions. Beyond that, we do offer a variety of Bluetooth adapters .

  • Richard from port royal

    Posted on 7/17/2015

    I have a 2013 Malibu for two years now the Bluetooth worked fine. Now it disappeared from the radio how do I get it back with out spending money. The warranty ran out 100 miles ago

  • Robert Ferency-Viars from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/22/2015

    Ken, if you haven't been happy with "universal" style Bluetooth adapters, then you should try a wired version. These come in two types: universal to work with any car, similar to what you've already tried, but much more reliable, and vehicle-specific (option 2 in the article above). If one is available for your car, this is the best option. Before you purchase anything, though, give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. They can tell whether a wired adapter will actually do you any good, based on your experiences.

  • Ken Horne from Jacksonville, FL

    Posted on 6/19/2015

    Hello, I'm interested in having Bluetooth installed in my 1997 GMC Truck. I have tried several different model that "Plug in" and sit over the visor and do not work.

  • Robert Ferency-Viars from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/17/2015

    Ken, no, car stereos only receive Bluetooth audio from external sources. They don't transmit it. So, instead, you could use your music source (e.g., phone) to transmit audio to the Bluetooth speakers.

  • ken Voss

    Posted on 6/16/2015

    Can a bluetooth car stereo talk to remote speakers (such as a jambox)?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/18/2015

    Julian, these adapters integrate Bluetooth into your vehicle. As long as the supported Bluetooth protocols on the adapter you choose match those supported by your phone or portable device, you should enjoy full Bluetooth functionality.

  • julian kimpton from shaw oldham ol28xa

    Posted on 5/18/2015

    do any of these bluetooths fit nova sat navs and windows phones

  • Dave Delamere from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/11/2015

    Eric, you can purchase and connect the JVC KS-BTA100 Bluetooth adapter to your JVC KW-HDR720 stereo for hands-free calling and music streaming from a paired Bluetooth device, such as your phone.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/11/2015

    Sorry, Pete. We don't carry a vehicle-specific kit for that vehicle, but there are a number of universal options for adding Bluetooth to your car.

  • Pete from Palo Alto, CA

    Posted on 5/11/2015

    Is there an option 2 device specifically adaptable to a factory 2000 Lexus RX300?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/11/2015

    Frank, We're not aware of any sort of software that will add Bluetooth to a factory system. You will need hardware installed, and to use hands-free calling, you will need a microphone as well. We have all-in-one options for any car as well as vehicle-specific options that require a bit more installation. If you'd like to go the vehicle-specific route, give us a call with your vehicle information, and an advisor will be able to help you with options.

  • Frank from Cincinnati

    Posted on 5/9/2015

    can a vehicles current nav sys be upgraded (software) that would add Bluetooth app?

  • Eric Wilson from Bel Air, MD

    Posted on 5/9/2015

    I bought a JVC stereo: KW-HDR720 from Crutchfield. How do I add Bluetooth capability to it!. What kits or adaptors do I need? I installed it into a 1994 Nissan Maxima with Bose system.