How to turn your hoopty into a sweet high-tech ride with smartphone supportAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Smartphones have come a long way since their earlier adaptions, and have become so popular that we have an insane amount of support in order to keep them incorporated in our every day lives. One of those aspects is trying to safely incorporte how we use our phones in places where we probably shouldn't be using them, i.e. cars. Of course, just becuase we shouldn't be using them in our cars doesn't mean that people quit using them anyways.
A lot of newer models of cars address this issue. A lot of the time these cars will include Bluetooth support that allow you to talk, dictate texts, listen to music, or get driving directions from your phone's GPS over your car's stereo. While these features are all very handy to have in a car, not everyone has the latest models that have these features. Fortunately, as an owner of a car without such high-tech features, I happen to have experience in rigging my car to do these some of these things. I mean really, who needs a 2013 Chevy Impala with all the bells and whistles when you can have a 2000 Ford Taurus that has all of the same features that were installed with love?
I know what you're thinking: How did you manage to make your car such a desirable hunk of metal? While some people would prefer to keep it a secret, I've decided to show you, dear readers, how you don't need thousands of dollars to be able to pull up next to your neighbor's Lexus so you too could say, "Hey, check out my ride!" without completely embarrassing yourself. Let's get started.
Some people have a lot of issues resisting pressing the little green button when somebody calls their phone while driving. Although it's not widely regarded as a good idea, sometimes people just decide to do it anyway. If you can't beat 'em, try and make it a little bit safer by using a Bluetooth in-car speakerphone. Most of the time these little buggers will clip on to your visor or other easily accessible area from your driver's seat, allowing you to press a simple button in order to answer a phone call. Then all you have to do is simply carry on a conversation while safely having both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Look ma, two hands!
What's the point of having gigabytes upon gigabytes for music storage if you can't have jam sessions in the car? Just because your car won't support your phone by Bluetooth doesn't mean you can't still use your car stereo to turn up the volume when the playlist gets to "Eye of the Tiger". If you don't have a Bluetooth installed in your car, you have a variety of options to choose from when it comes to listening to music. If your car is like mine, you're still probably sporting some sort of tape deck. This is the easiest (and probably cheapest) option to go with. Tape adapters are usually around $10 and, from my experience, can definitely get the job done. Unless, of course, you rage out on your tape deck and somehow managed to get your adapter jammed and now it won't come out or play. In which case, you still have two alternatives you can try
Aside from tape decks, a lot of cars also have AUX outlets, which simply requires an AUX cord to plug into your phone's headphone jack and connect it to the car's port and voila! Music a la smartphone. If you don't have an AUX cord, that's okay. Remember that Bluetooth speakerphone we were using earlier? A lot of them have the option to stream your music over a local radio station. This is my current set up, and I can't tell you how many times I have to tell all the fine fellas to back up off my ride because they're just so jealous.
GPS can be a drag to work with when driving. Even if you can hear it, some people just work better with visuals. When it comes to dealing with GPS, my recommendation is to get a car mount and place it in a spot where you can glance at it and still keep your eyes on the road. Sometiems you can even find mounts that clip on to your vents, which is generally located right there in front of your face anyway. If you're somebody who does better listening to directions, but find that your phone's speaker isn't loud enough for you to hear, you can refer to step 2 to get that volume where you need it to be.
All in all, my car might not be as perfect as a lot of those newer cars are but it sure is getting pretty close if I do say so myself. If you can look past the paint chipping and the dents from that one hailstorm a few years back you're pretty much looking at a brand new luxury car!
Disclaimer: If you decide to actually implement any of these features in your older vehicle, please set them up properly before you start driving. Setting up a Bluetooth on the freeway is dangerous and a terrible idea, as well as typing in a GPS location. If you need to, pull over!