5 Reasons Your Car Bluetooth Is Not Working

Frustrated by Bluetooth troubles in your ride? Happens to most of us at some point. Fussy phone pairing and dropped calls plague many drivers. But solutions exist!

Learn to tackle the five most common culprits behind defective Bluetooth connections so you can focus on your drive and not messing with endless menus and error messages.

bluetooth not working in car

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a wireless technology that is used for short-range data transfer. It is a low-power technology that uses radio frequency to pair devices, like your phone, with other Bluetooth devices.

Bluetooth technology has become the standard for short-range data transfer in many industries. In the automotive industry, Bluetooth has been implemented in cars to provide hands-free calling and wireless audio streaming.

Causes of Bluetooth Not Working In Your Car

People often have problems with their Bluetooth device not connecting to their car’s computer. Below are the top 5 causes for why this might occur.

#1 – Compatibility Issues

Bluetooth radio not connecting

One of the most issues involves compatibility. For example, one person may be able to get their phone to connect to the car’s Bluetooth, but the other person in the car cannot. This can be really frustrating, especially if you’re trying to use hands-free features while driving.

There are a couple things that you can try if you’re having compatibility problems with your car’s Bluetooth. The best thing to do is to make sure that both your phone and the car’s system are up to date. Sometimes there can be updates that improve Bluetooth compatibility since a new version of Bluetooth may not be compatible with the Bluetooth receiver in your vehicle.

Secondly, try restarting both your phone and the car. Sometimes this can help clear up any issues.

#2 – Not Ready to Pair

A lot of people often assume that once both of their Bluetooth devices are on, then you can just transmit files between them afterward. They forget that you have to set each device to “pairing mode” or “send/receive mode” for the data files to get transferred.

#3 – Low Power

When using Bluetooth through your smartphone, it can use up a lot of battery power if it’s left on for a long time. An example of this is when you use the Bluetooth radio on your smartphone.

As the battery power gets low, the Bluetooth connection stops working. You need to recharge the battery to reestablish the connection.

#4 – Failing to Pair

Sometimes you will just have a weak connection between the two Bluetooth devices. You may not even get a connection at all. This might happen if you previously had a connection, went too far away from it, and then came back toward it.

In this scenario, try turning off your devices and then turning them back on. Re-pairing the devices may be necessary.

#5 – Interference

Other electronic devices which transmit wireless signals could interfere with your Bluetooth signal. A Wi-Fi connection, for example, will most likely be what does this. You may also see this with anything that generates a radio spectrum signal. Some people even claim that a USB 3.0 wired connection will interfere with Bluetooth too.

Bluetooth has been out for a while but it is amazing how little most people know about it. So, if you’re having problems connecting your Bluetooth device to your car, just look upon these possible causes and you’ll likely figure out which one is the cause of your failed connection.

Troubleshooting Car Bluetooth That Won’t Stay Connected

car phone pairing

Restart Your Devices

Before attempting any other troubleshooting steps, try restarting both your car’s infotainment system and your phone or other device. This simple action could resolve connection issues caused by temporary bugs or glitches in the software.

Check LED Indicators

Examine the LED indicators on your car’s dashboard or infotainment system. These lights can provide valuable information about the status of your Bluetooth connection. For example, a flashing blue light might indicate an active pairing mode, while a steady blue light may mean a successful connection.

Ensure Battery Power

Make sure your device have sufficient battery power. A low battery level can cause interference or disconnections in the Bluetooth connection. If your phone has a low battery, charge it to at least 50% to ensure a stable connection with your car.

Enable Pairing Mode

Follow these steps to ensure proper pairing. The actual steps may vary slightly depending on your phone model.

  • Go to the ‘Settings’ app on your phone
  • Tap ‘Bluetooth’ and ensure it’s enabled
  • Check your car’s manual for instructions on enabling Bluetooth connectivity or pairing mode on your car’s infotainment system
  • Keep the devices close to each other during the pairing process

Follow any additional pairing instructions provided by your car, and keep in mind that some cars might require a pairing code.

Resolving Software and Firmware Issues


Occasionally, Bluetooth connectivity issues in your car may be due to outdated software or firmware. In this section, we’ll discuss ways to address these issues and keep your devices up-to-date with the latest versions.

Update Software/Firmware

Ensure that both your phone and car’s software are updated to the latest versions. A software update might iron out any bugs causing the connection issues. To update your phone’s software, simply navigate to the settings menu and search for a software update option. Installing the latest updates ensures optimal compatibility between your phone and the car’s Bluetooth system.

For your car’s system, check the manufacturer’s website for any available firmware updates. Downloading and installing firmware updates may fix any compatibility issues or bugs that are causing the Bluetooth connection to fail.

Addressing Bluetooth Pairing and Unpairing Issues

Pairing and unpairing Bluetooth devices in your car can be a bit tricky at times, but here are some helpful tips to guide you through the process.

Unpair Old Devices

If you’re experiencing difficulties with your car’s Bluetooth connection, it’s a good idea to unpair all old devices first. Unpairing devices can help prevent interference and ensure that there is space for a new connection. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Access your car’s Bluetooth settings.
  2. Locate the list of paired devices.
  3. Select each device, one at a time, and choose the option to unpair or remove the connection.

Once all the old devices have been removed, it’s time to put your preferred device into pairing mode.

Pairing Mode

Before you can connect your device to your car’s Bluetooth system, you need to ensure that it’s in pairing mode. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Go to the Bluetooth settings on your device (typically found under “Settings” or “Connections”).
  2. Make sure Bluetooth is turned on. If it’s not already on, toggle the switch to enable it.
  3. Select the option to make your device visible or discoverable to nearby devices. This might require clicking on a button or simply waiting for a few seconds.

With your device now in pairing mode, go back to your car’s Bluetooth settings and look for your device in the list of available connections. Select your device and follow the on-screen instructions to finish the pairing process. If successful, your device should now be connected to your car’s Bluetooth system.

Remember, you might need to repeat these steps whenever you want to connect a new device or if you’re experiencing connection issues with an already paired device. Stay patient, and don’t worry—you’ll get the hang of it!

Mark Stevens


  1. I recently started having issues using handsfree calling in my car. The phone is connected via Bluetooth. i can use the phone functions in the car and dial via Bluetooth – i can hear the dials, but as soon as the other party picks up, no audio in the car through the speakers. It’s happened twice when I call the hubs. i haven’t tried with anyone else. i have to hang up, unpair the phone from the car, and then call, holding my phone, which is against the law in my state. I don’t know what to do

    1. What is the make, model, and trim of the vehicle? Do you know if other owners have experienced similar issues with that particular head unit?

      You could always start with the basics. Try restarting your phone if it’s been a while since you’ve done that. You could try resetting the head unit as well. The dealer may have a software update available that fixes the problem if the root cause of the issue is something with the head unit software or bluetooth compatibility.

  2. My new iPhone 14 is paired to 2015 terrain. About 3 minutes into a phone call, the audio kicks out. I can hear the other person but they can’t hear me. I thought it was my phone so I got a new one. I have done the pair-unpair- open the car door, re-pair thing a couple of times. Problem remains. Any ideas?

    1. Check to see if your the head unit in your vehicle has a software update available. The dealership should be able to do this for you.

  3. I have tried to pair my car to several devices and it is not pairing. I have reset and tried to connect but still nothing. I have a 2014 Nissan Altima

    1. Make sure the Bluetooth version in your car is supported by the devices you are trying to connect with.

      1. It was all working perfectly, three phones connected. Suddenly stopped working and all it says now is … blue tooth initialising please wait. I tried the reset options but with no luck
        Any ideas?

        1. It could be an issue with the head unit. What is the year, make, and model? Does your vehicle have a factory radio? If not, what is the make and model of the aftermarket radio?

  4. My Bluetooth keeps cutting out intermittently when playing Spotify and Waze but fine on a hands free phone call. Any clues? Tia

    1. Is your car connected to more than one device? Sometimes when you connect multiple devices, one will momentarily steal audio from the other (for instance, when you get a text notification).

      If you remove the phone from the car, the signal will drop off pretty quickly. Bluetooth doesn’t have a very long range. You could try restarting your phone and see if that helps as well.

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