How to Add Bluetooth to an Old Car Radio in Two Easy Steps

How to Add Bluetooth to an Old Car Radio in Two Easy Steps


The average age of a car on the road is just over 12 years. While that puts the average model at 2010, there are plenty of cars on the road significantly older than that. Whether you have a base model from the late 2000s or a vehicle before the turn of the millennium, chances are you don’t have Bluetooth, but you do want to keep your car going.

Sure, being able to play songs from your device is great, but is it worth getting a new car over? For many people, the answer is a solid “no.” Sure, you could go the cassette adapter route and that works fine, but it isn’t the only solution on the market. If you want a simple, cost-effective solution, an FM transmitter is your best bet.

What Is an FM Transmitter?

An FM transmitter is a way to bypass your old car’s lack of Bluetooth. It takes an unused radio frequency and allows you to play music via your phone on that frequency. It converts what’s playing from your smartphone into an FM signal, and from there, you can listen to all the music and podcasts your heart desires.

Why Should I Choose an FM Transmitter Over Other Choices?

The biggest draw of a car FM transmitter is the quality to cost ratio. You get solid sound for a price much lower than most other options. While it tends to be more expensive than a cassette adapter, cassette adapters have a couple of major limitations. 

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First of all, most cars after the early-mid 2000s just don’t have cassette decks. If you do have a car that can play cassettes, you either need to continually charge a wireless cassette adapter or plug your phone directly into a wired one. With an FM transmitter, neither of those are problems. Since you’re plugged directly into a power source, you never have to charge them. With a Bluetooth FM transmitter, there are no wires to worry about!

Sure, if you have the money for the parts and labor, you can install an entirely new head unit in your vehicle. However, it’s much more costly, and you have to be sure that the unit you buy fits your specific car. Even if it doesn’t, going cheap on an aftermarket stereo is usually a recipe for disaster. Unless you spend at least a few hundred dollars, chances are the unit won’t perform well over the long-term. FM transmitters are a much safer Bluetooth car radio bet at a significantly lower price.

How to Add Bluetooth – Step One

It’s actually quite a simple process to add Bluetooth to your old car radio. Step one: Identify whether you have an aux port or not. If you have an aux port, you can actually get an FM transmitter that plugs directly into the aux port. Sure, the aux is better than a cassette adapter, but wouldn’t you rather have the option to be wireless?

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How to Add Bluetooth – Step Two

If you have an aux input, get an FM transmitter that plugs into your 3.5mm aux jack. If you don’t have an aux input, no worries. You’ll just need an aux input that plugs into a 12-volt socket in your car. This is the more classic version of an FM transmitter.

That’s it! There are really only two steps to get Bluetooth into your older car. Know which kind of FM transmitter you need and acquire it. That’s literally all there is to it. FM transmitters are not only the best quality to price ratio, but they’re also the easiest to install and use.

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