There are a few different ways to approach connecting an Android device to your car stereo. The one you choose to use depends on the features your car stereo has. Let’s approach 5 solutions you can use in order.
1- Auxiliary Jack
Many newer cars come with an auxiliary audio jack. You may be able to spot the audio jack on or near the stereo. Some vehicles like the Honda CRV have an audio jack in the center console in between the front right and left seats. You can use a simple 3.5MM cable to connect the Android to the car. From there, change the stereo to the AUX setting and you’ll hear everything.
Older vehicles may have a “secret” audio jack located behind the stereo. Auto manuals often don’t include this information, so Google it to see if your particular car has one. Of course, using such a jack may involve removing the stereo and other handy work.
If you don’t like the idea of dealing with connecting a cable to an AUX jack every time you want to listen to music, you can purchase a Bluetooth receiver that plugs into the AUX jack to enable Bluetooth on your non-Bluetooth car stereo.
2 – USB Port
If your car has a USB port, it is likely that the stereo will play music through it. You can usually store music on your Android phone, or other USB device like a flash drive. Simply copy music files to your Android, then connect it using the USB cable provided with your device, and your stereo should have a mode you can place it in that plays the music files from the device.
This method usually does not work if your music is streamed via the Internet. The files usually must be physically stored on the Android. It likely also won’t usually work for phone calls.
3 – Bluetooth
If your car stereo supports a Bluetooth connection, you can simply enable Bluetooth on your Android under “Settings” > “Network Connections“. Then make your Android “discoverable” or “visible”. Set your car stereo to find the device, then you should be prompted to enter a PIN. Once connected, you can enjoy playing all of your music or making phone calls wirelessly.
4 – Cassette Tape Deck Adapter
If your car is old enough and contains a cassette tape deck, you can use a Cassette Tape Adapter to play audio through your stereo. Just slide the adapter into the cassette deck and connect it to the audio jack on your Android. Done!
5 – FM Transmitter
If you don’t have one of the above options, you’ll need to pony up a bit more cash for an FM Transmitter. An FM Transmitter will broadcast audio from your Android over FM frequencies, allowing you to listen through a selected radio station on your car stereo. Prices for such devices can range from $15 to $100. From experience I can say that an FM Transmitter is not a thing you want to cheap out on. Going mid-range is a best bet. I personally invested in the Belkin TuneCast and am very happy with it. This particular transmitter charges my Android as well. If you already have a car charging solution, you can go cheaper with this model.
Once you have your FM Transmitter, find the best radio station to use in your area and set it to that station.
Now you’re ready to listen to some Android tunes, place calls crisply and clearly through your car speakers.