How To Connect Phone to Car Radio & Audio Without AUX or Bluetooth

Updated on December 4, 2018

How To Connect Phone to Car Radio & Audio Without AUX or Bluetooth

Listening to your favorite music or podcasts during a long drive is one of the best ways to pass the time and make driving a little less stressful. You may also want to be able to talk to your friends and family without having to hold the phone and risk driving dangerously.

Connecting your smartphone to your car radio is one of the best ways to stay entertained while in the car. However, it can be very frustrating if your car is not AUX or Bluetooth enabled, preventing you from connecting it to your car radio. Perhaps you have an older model car, or maybe your phone’s auxiliary features don’t work very well. Luckily, there are some strategies you can use to get connected and listen to audio from your phone using your car radio.

Strategy #1: Car Adapter

This is one way that you can connect your phone to your car radio without AUX or Bluetooth. A car adapter plugs into your car’s CD-changer mechanism and essentially tricks it into thinking that it is playing a CD, when in fact it is using the speaker to play the audio from your phone. To determine if this strategy will work for you, you will need to figure out if your car has a CD changer. The CD changer is located on the back of the head unit and you can look in your car’s owner’s manual to find out if you have one.

There are many different types of car adapters, and each of them is a little bit different. When you purchase a car adapter, be sure to look at what sort of connectivity it supports and how you will need to install it. This information should be available in the online description of the adapter. You will most likely need to find an adapter that is made specifically for the model of car you have. If your adapter isn’t specifically made for your car’s model, then you won’t be able to connect it. Most adapters at the very least will support an auxiliary plug and a USB plug. Some adapters have even more options, like an SD card plug or even Bluetooth connectivity. This will allow you to connect your phone this way even if your car doesn’t have this option.

The only downside to this option is that it does require a bit of installation. You will need to remove the head unit from the car to access the CD changer and connect the adapter. From there, you will need to determine how to route the cables and ensure that all the equipment sits comfortably in your car. It’s important to note that this option may not work for everyone because not all cars have a CD changer. However, if you do have one, this is a very reliable way to connect your phone to your car radio.

Strategy #2: FM Transmitter

Using an FM transmitter is another way to connect your phone to your car radio very affordable. The transmitter will connect to your phone and transmit the audio from your phone to your car’s radio system on an FM bandwidth. The most affordable models will plug into your phone’s headphone jack. However, the more recent Apple iPhones don’t have headphone jacks. To address this, there are many FM transmitters that connect to your phone via Bluetooth.

This strategy is very convenient because it is so affordable and easy to use. You can find plenty of different models online, so you can choose the one that best suits your connectivity needs. An FM transmitter is also very convenient because it does not require any installation. All you need to do is plug it in. The only downside is that you will have to adjust the radio frequencies if you are traveling for long distances. This is because the transmitter requires a free FM frequency to work. Since FM frequencies vary from city to city, you will have to change the settings on the devices as you travel. The audio quality on an FM transmitter can also be spotty, as it will break if there is any interference in the signal. This option is best for casual listeners or those who aren’t very particular about sound quality.

Criacr Bluetooth FM TransmitterWe recommend the Criacr Bluetooth FM Transmitter. Here’s Why:

  • It’s highly affordable.
  • It works as a charger, having two USB ports.
  • It has Bluetooth functionality which meaning you can:
    • Play music to your car radio wirelessly
    • Take phone calls wirelessly using the transmitter

The radio frequency on this unit is better than most. It’s 87.5 to 108.0 MHz as compared to the usual 88.1~107.9 MHz most units cover. This means you’ll get more stable playback and you won’t have to keep finetuning your radio all the time.

Strategy #3: Install A New Head Unit

The head unit is the part of the dashboard where the radio and speakers are located. You can actually purchase a new head unit and install it on your car to ensure that you always have an auxiliary or Bluetooth connection. Although this solution is much more costly than others, it will provide the best quality audio and ensure that you never have to fuss with external devices again to connect your phone to your car speakers.

When purchasing a head unit, you need to make sure that it is compatible with your car. The process of installing a head unit can be somewhat complicated and time-consuming, so you will want to make sure that you do your research before deciding on a specific product. The features on a head unit can also vary widely depending on which one you purchase, so it’s important to make sure that the one you decide on has the features you need to connect to your car. You may want to look up online video tutorials for this process to see if it’s something you would be willing to undertake since it requires complex installation.

Pioneer DEH-150MP In-Dash Single-DIN CD/CD-R/CD-RW, MP3/WAV/WMA Car Stereo Receiver w/ 3.5mm Auxiliary InputFor head units, we recommend the Pioneer DEH-150MP. Here’s why:

  • Cheaper than most competitors
  • Can serve pretty much any audio format (CD-R, CD-RW, AUX)
  • Highly customizable audio experience with built-in 5-band graphic equalizer
  • Fits a wide range of car models

The DEH-150MP is made by Pioneer – a very reputable brand in the industry of car audio. It’s crucial that you pick a head unit from a renowned company like Pioneer as you may need support. Maybe not now, but years down the line, you might find yourself in the need of help. Therefore, it’s critical that you have the ability to contact the manufacturer at any point in time. Their support is solid as well.

Wrapping It Up

These are the three most effective strategies for connecting your phone to your car’s radio speakers when your car doesn’t offer the option of an auxiliary connection or Bluetooth. Just because your car doesn’t have the latest technology doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favorite music or podcasts. Setting up an FM transmitter or a car adapter is fairly simple, and within a day, you can be listening to your favorite content straight from your phone.

Now that you’ve found the solution to your problem, it’s time to blast some awesome tunes through your car speakers! Enjoy.