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Video: Bluetooth in Your Car

Heads up!

Welcome to this article from the Crutchfield archives. Have fun reading it, but be aware that the information may be outdated and links may be broken.

Bluetooth® hands-free calling can be a great benefit in the car, especially when it's integrated into your car stereo. Watch this video for a quick look at what it takes to add hands-free talking and wireless music streaming to your car stereo.

Read video transcript

Todd: Hi, I'm Todd. Today I'm here to tell you about some of the different ways to use Bluetooth in your car. Bluetooth is a technology that lets two devices communicate wirelessly with one another. It's most commonly seen in the form of hands-free calling for cell phones.

But many Bluetooth devices can do more than provide hands-free calling. For example, you can often stream music from a Bluetooth-capable music player or music phone to your car stereo.

There are three ways to use Bluetooth with your car stereo and your cell phone.

One, a universal Bluetooth kit that works in any car.

Two, a stereo-specific add-on adapter that connects to a Bluetooth-ready stereo.

Or three, a car stereo that has Bluetooth built in.

By the way, you'll need a cell phone with Bluetooth capability. Fortunately, most of today's phones offer this.

1. Universal Bluetooth

Universal Bluetooth kits are designed to work in just about any situation. Some are simple stand-alone devices, with a small speaker and a microphone that clips to the sun visor. Because these don't integrate with the car stereo at all, you can easily move them from one vehicle to another. However, their use is pretty much limited to hands-free calling.

Other universal kits can be wired to the stereo, so that the music is muted when calls come in. They play over your car speakers, instead of a tiny stand-alone speaker. Some can also handle music streaming. With these kits, you will have to remove the car stereo and connect a few wires in order to install them.

2. Stereo-specific add-on adapter

A stereo-specific adapter is a hideaway box that connects to a same-brand stereo. You still have to remove the stereo for installation, but the connection is usually just a single cable. Caller info shows up on the 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 or console. This is a good option if you already have an after-market stereo and there is a compatible Bluetooth adapter available. You end up with a Bluetooth system that's fully integrated into your car's stereo for hands-free phoning. And many of these systems can handle additional features like music streaming.

3. Stereo that has Bluetooth built in

The final option for adding Bluetooth to your car is getting a stereo that has Bluetooth technology built in. You get full control of your phone from your stereo, and you often get music streaming, too. Yet you don't have to deal with a hideaway adapter box, so installation is a bit easier. This kind of stereo is becoming more and more prevalent, so you don't necessarily have to buy the most expensive one to get Bluetooth built in.

So — if you're buying a new car stereo, and Bluetooth is important to you, keep an eye out for one with built-in Bluetooth capability.

Of course, this is just an overview. I didn't touch on every feature you might come across. For the latest info, go to, or call 1-888-955-6000 to talk to one of our experts.

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