Car Accessories and Gadgets

How To Add Bluetooth To Old Car Stereo


How To Add Bluetooth To Old Car Stereo: In an era where technology rapidly evolves, our cars often lag behind in terms of connectivity. While modern vehicles come equipped with advanced infotainment systems and Bluetooth capabilities, older car stereos are often left in the dust. However, fear not! There’s no need to part with your beloved vintage ride just to enjoy the convenience of wireless connectivity. 

Bluetooth connectivity eliminates the need for cumbersome aux cables and messy adapters. You can effortlessly connect your smartphone or other devices to your car stereo without any physical connections. Hands-free calling and audio streaming through Bluetooth allow you to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel, promoting safer driving. With Bluetooth, you can access your entire music library, streaming services, and podcasts with ease. Say goodbye to outdated CD players and limited radio stations. Classic car enthusiasts understand the importance of maintaining the original aesthetics of their vehicles. 

This is the most straightforward and non-invasive option. Bluetooth car adapters plug into your car’s auxiliary input or cigarette lighter socket and connect wirelessly to your smartphone. They often come with easy-to-use controls and provide a simple way to stream audio. For a more integrated solution, you can install a Bluetooth receiver kit. These kits are designed to be compatible with older car stereo, offering a seamless connection. They usually come with a wiring harness for easier installation. These units often come with built-in Bluetooth, touchscreen displays, and compatibility with various audio sources.

How To Add Bluetooth To Old Car Stereo

Can you make a non Bluetooth car stereo Bluetooth?

Adding Bluetooth to any car stereo is easily done with an FM transmitter or units that use an audio line-in. FM transmitter kits are the most common that will connect to a radio on an FM frequency an add Bluetooth. There are many low-cost kits available that come in different designs and features.

Bluetooth Car Adapter: This is one of the easiest and most common methods. Bluetooth car adapters are small devices that plug into your car’s auxiliary input (often called the AUX-in or 3.5mm input) or the cigarette lighter socket. Here’s 

Bluetooth Receiver Kit: A Bluetooth receiver kit is a more integrated solution that often includes a wiring harness for connecting to your car stereo’s wiring. 

Aftermarket Head Unit: If you’re willing to invest more and want a complete upgrade, you can replace your old car stereo with a modern aftermarket head unit that has built-in Bluetooth capabilities. This option provides a seamless integration, often with touchscreen controls and additional features.

Professional Installation: If you’re not comfortable with DIY installations, you can have a professional car audio technician install Bluetooth connectivity for you. They can recommend the best solution based on your car’s make and model and ensure a reliable and secure installation.

Can you add Bluetooth to a stock car stereo?

Install a Bluetooth Receiver Into Your Stock Radio’s Hidden Aux Port. This is the easiest way to get consistent, reliable, hassle-free Bluetooth with very little investment. Especially if you own a car that’s too new for a tape deck but too old for a factory 3.5-mm auxiliary input, this might be your key.

Bluetooth Integration with Steering Wheel Controls: If your car has steering wheel controls for audio playback and you want to retain that functionality when adding Bluetooth, make sure to choose a Bluetooth solution that supports steering wheel control integration. Some aftermarket head units and receiver kits offer this feature.

Sound Quality: Pay attention to sound quality when adding Bluetooth. The audio quality can vary depending on the quality of the Bluetooth adapter or receiver you choose. Look for options that support higher-quality audio codecs like aptX for better sound fidelity.

Compatibility: Ensure that the Bluetooth solution you select is compatible with your specific car make and model. Compatibility can vary, so check the manufacturer’s guidelines or consult with a car audio professional if you’re unsure.

Can Bluetooth be installed in an older car?

Believe it or not, there are a few ways to get some modern audio connectivity into cars built as many as 50 years ago. Bluetooth cassette adapters insert into the tape player of your older car and connect to your phone.

Aftermarket Head Unit: If you’re looking for a comprehensive upgrade, consider replacing your old car stereo with a modern aftermarket head unit that has built-in Bluetooth capabilities. These head units often offer advanced features such as touchscreen displays, Bluetooth connectivity, and support for various audio sources.

Professional Installation: If you’re not comfortable with DIY installations or if your older car has complex wiring, you can have a professional car audio technician install Bluetooth connectivity for you. They can recommend the best solution based on your car’s make and model and ensure a reliable installation.

Bluetooth Speakerphone: Another option is to use a standalone Bluetooth speakerphone device that attaches to your car’s sun visor or dashboard. While it won’t integrate with your car’s speakers, it allows for hands-free calling and may offer some audio streaming capabilities.

How do I convert my old stereo to wireless?

Buying a Bluetooth adapter is easy and simple—in fact, this is one of the easiest ways to turn your speakers wireless. You need to make sure you get the right Bluetooth adapter to help your speakers and smartphone connect in the smoothest way possible, and that’s the biggest task.

Bluetooth Receiver or Adapter: You’ll need a Bluetooth receiver or adapter. These devices allow you to connect your old stereo to your Bluetooth-enabled devices wirelessly. You can choose between a Bluetooth receiver with a 3.5mm audio output or an adapter that connects to your stereo’s input.

Auxiliary Cable (3.5mm): If your old stereo has an auxiliary input (AUX or 3.5mm), you’ll need an auxiliary cable to connect the Bluetooth receiver to the stereo. Ensure it’s long enough to reach from the receiver to the stereo.

Power Source: Depending on the Bluetooth receiver or adapter you choose, you may need a power source. Some can be powered through a USB port, while others might require an AC adapter or connection to your car’s power.

Can you convert stereo speakers to Bluetooth?

To make your speakers Bluetooth capable, you will need a Bluetooth receiver. A Bluetooth receiver takes a wireless Bluetooth audio signal and converts it to a line-level electrical audio signal. A line-level signal is a low voltage signal that is resistant to noise.

Choose a Bluetooth Receiver/Adapter:

  • If you have powered speakers (speakers with built-in amplifiers), you can choose a simple Bluetooth audio adapter that connects to the speakers’ inputs.
  • If you have passive speakers (speakers without built-in amplifiers), you may need a Bluetooth audio receiver with an amplifier or a separate amplifier to power the speakers.

Connect the Bluetooth Receiver/Adapter:

If you have powered speakers:

  • Plug the Bluetooth receiver/adapter into the speakers’ input. This may be a 3.5mm aux input, RCA input, or another connection type depending on your speakers.

If you have passive speakers:

  • Connect the Bluetooth receiver’s audio output to the input of the amplifier.
  • Connect the speakers to the amplifier’s speaker outputs.

Power On and Pair the Bluetooth Receiver:

  • Power on the Bluetooth receiver/adapter and put it into pairing mode. Typically, this involves holding down a button until a light starts flashing.
  • On your Bluetooth-enabled device (e.g., smartphone, tablet, computer), go to the Bluetooth settings and search for available devices. Select the Bluetooth receiver to pair it with your device.

Can you turn aux into Bluetooth?

If you want to connect your non-capable device via Bluetooth, you’ll need an auxilary cable. This is a great tool to have so you can use your old devices and give them new life. Browse the top-ranked list of Bluetooth aux adapters below along with associated reviews and opinions.

Choose a Bluetooth Transmitter/Adapter:

  • Select a Bluetooth transmitter or adapter that matches the type of aux input on your sound system or speaker. Some Bluetooth adapters connect via a 3.5mm audio jack, while others may have RCA outputs or other connection options.

Power the Bluetooth Transmitter/Adapter:

  • Depending on the Bluetooth transmitter/adapter you choose, it may be powered via a USB port, an AC adapter, or have a built-in battery. Power it on according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Connect the Bluetooth Transmitter/Adapter:

  • Plug the Bluetooth transmitter/adapter into the aux input of your sound system or speaker. If you’re using an adapter with RCA outputs, you may need an RCA-to-3.5mm adapter cable to connect to the aux input.

How much does it cost to install Bluetooth in a car?

How Much Does It Cost To Add Bluetooth To a Car? A simple transmitter or receiver can cost $10, while the premium head unit stereos can cost $200-500. A decent single-din head unit will cost about $100-200.

Additional Costs:

  • Depending on your chosen Bluetooth system, you may need additional accessories such as wiring harnesses, mounting kits, or antenna adapters, which can add to the overall cost.

Optional Features:

  • Some Bluetooth systems come with advanced features like touchscreen displays, smartphone integration, and additional audio sources (e.g., CD players, USB ports). These features can impact the overall cost.

Vehicle Specifics:

  • The make and model of your car can affect installation costs. Some vehicles may have more complicated wiring systems, which can require more labor.

Quality and Brand:

  • The quality and brand of the Bluetooth system you choose can impact both the initial purchase price and long-term reliability. Higher-quality systems may come with a higher price tag.

Is aux cord better than Bluetooth?

Since Bluetooth requires no cables, you’ll never need to worry about audio quality diminishing because of many uses. In short, aux cables are better at providing a superior sound quality when compared to Bluetooth. However, it’s probably not very noticeable unless you are an audiophile yourself.


Bluetooth: Bluetooth offers the advantage of wireless connectivity, allowing you to move around your car or home while staying connected. However, the range can vary depending on the Bluetooth version (e.g., Bluetooth 4.0, 5.0), with newer versions offering more extended ranges.

Aux Cord: An aux cord is limited by its length. If you choose an aux cord that’s too short, you may have limited mobility when using your device.


Bluetooth: Bluetooth is a versatile option as it can connect to a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers, without needing specific ports or connectors.

Aux Cord: Using an aux cord requires a compatible port on both your device and the audio system. Some newer devices, like smartphones without headphone jacks, may require adapters or dongles to use an aux cord.

Battery Life:

Bluetooth: If you’re using Bluetooth, it relies on the battery of your device. Extended use of Bluetooth for audio streaming can drain your device’s battery faster than using an aux cord.

Aux Cord: An aux cord does not consume your device’s battery power, so you can use it for as long as you like without worrying about battery life.

How To Add Bluetooth To Old Car Stereo


The journey of adding Bluetooth to your old car stereo doesn’t have to be daunting. We’ve explored various methods, from simple Bluetooth adapters to complete head unit replacements, ensuring there’s an option for every skill level and budget. What’s remarkable is how seamlessly these solutions integrate into your classic car’s interior, preserving the aesthetics and charm you fell in love with in the first place.

While we revel in the convenience of Bluetooth audio, it’s essential to remember that sound quality matters. Some Bluetooth solutions may not match the audio quality of a direct connection. If audio fidelity is a priority, look for options that support aptX or higher-quality codecs. Additionally, compatibility is key. Make sure the Bluetooth solution you choose is designed to work seamlessly with your car’s make and model to avoid frustrating compatibility issues.

One of the remarkable aspects of this upgrade is the power of choice it provides. You can tailor your Bluetooth integration to suit your preferences, whether you prefer a straightforward plug-and-play solution, a more integrated receiver kit, or a complete head unit replacement with advanced features. Your choice ultimately depends on your car’s compatibility, your DIY skills, and your budget.

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