While most new cars come equipped with Bluetooth technology, many cars on the road still don’t have hands free capabilities. With a lot of states adopting hand held cell phone and texting laws, it’s becoming more important than ever before to be able to answer your phone while still freely operating your vehicle.
If your car doesn’t have Bluetooth, there are a few options to upgrade your ride. Here’s a look at how to make your car hands free.
The most obvious solution is a battery powered Bluetooth speaker that clips onto your vehicle’s sun visor or sits on the dashboard. These units connect to your phone and use an internal microphone and speaker to provide an amplified speakerphone. They typically have a few buttons to answer and disconnect calls, raise the volume and mute the call; however, these range in price from $25 to $100 and sound quality on both ends isn’t always perfect because of the lower power used.
For a different option there are units that plug in to your power outlet and either transmit sound directly or over a preset channel on your FM radio. Using your car’s audio system provides better sound quality on your end of the call but, because these units don’t have a microphone built-in, the person on the other side may have a tough time hearing you.
You could also consider building your own hands free setup, especially if your vehicle’s stereo has an AUX input. Start by cutting the ear buds off a pair of headphones with a mic, and then solder the wires that powered the buds to an audio jack available from any electronics store (or you can cut them off an old pair of computer speakers). Remember to keep the headphones’ microphone intact so that you can use it to make calls. Now you can simply plug your creation into your phone via the AUX input and enjoy no-cost hands free technology.
If your vehicle has a radio that can be replaced, many of today’s aftermarket stereos come with Bluetooth capability built-in. Not only do you get superior sound quality for your tunes, you add hands free driving as a bonus.
Some smart phone makers have added an interesting function to their higher end model phones with Car Mode. Basically this feature recognizes when you’re in your vehicle and simplifies/limits your phones functionality to make it easier to use while driving. By installing your phone to a dash-mounted cradle you can have a hands free option and still have it available for things like navigation as well.
Hands free driving isn’t just an option, it’s becoming the law in more and more states every year. If your car isn’t equipped with hands free technology you still have a lot to choose from to make the switch. From high tech stereos to low cost and even no cost options, you don’t have to break the bank to stay safe.
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to make your car hands free, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Flickr
Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.