Bluetooth was introduced in 1994 as a wireless phone technology that allowed "nearby telephony devices" to communicate with each other. Today it has evolved far beyond what was originally planned and has become the industry standard for hands-free telephone technology in cars. But even though Bluetooth is nearly ubiquitous in new vehicles and theoretically uniform in the way it operates with compatible devices, miscommunication between vehicles and phones is still very common.

If you're buying a new car, the compatibility of your cellphone and your car is likely a very important topic. So to make sure your phone and your new car will get along, here is a checklist of items to look at before you make your purchase.

Compatiblity

  • Check the vehicle manufacturer's Web site to ensure that your cell phone is compatible with the car you are looking at.
  • Are the steps easy to understand when pairing up the devices?
  • Does the phone reconnect automatically if the vehicle is stopped and restarted?

Making Calls

  • How easy is it to place a call using the system?
  • Are the hands-free controls on the steering wheel or on the dashboard?
  • Does the vehicle allow hands-free calling using voice commands ?
  • How easy is it to end or redial a call using the system?

Address Book

  • Does the vehicle allow you to download your cellphone's address book or does it have its own Bluetooth address book that requires you to add entries one at a time?
  • If the system downloads your phone's address book, how easy is the process? Do all the information fields for the address book display?
  • If the system has its own address book, how easy is it to add entries? Does it have different fields for multiple numbers for the same contact? Does it allow you to add "voice tags" to contacts so you can quickly find them using a voice-activation system?

Other Bluetooth Features

  • Does the vehicle support Caller ID? Is the Caller ID easy to read and understand?
  • Does the Bluetooth system support Dual Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF) dial tones to access voicemail and other phone company services?
  • Are you able to transfer between hands-free mode and privacy mode?
  • Does the vehicle support call waiting?
  • Does the vehicle maintain your call history?
  • Does the vehicle support text messaging? If yes, where is the message displayed? Does the vehicle convert the text to voice? Is it easy to understand?

Hassle-Free Phone Calls

In general, you need to make sure your phone and your car can communicate with each other easily and that the Bluetooth system is easy to use. Otherwise, you may be tempted to just pick up the phone instead and that's neither convenient or safe when driving.

Source: Antioch Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram