How To Add Android Auto to an Older Car

Do you have an Android phone that’s up-to-date with the latest operating system and applications? Do you own an older car that doesn’t have a current infotainment system or even Bluetooth? Well, it’s time to join the future and outfit your car with Android Auto. But how do you even do that?

What is Android Auto?

Android Auto uses the best parts of your Android-powered smartphone and puts them in an easy-to-use program in your car. You can use applications like Google Maps, Google Assistance, Waze, WhatsApp, and Spotify all in the comfort of your car’s cabin via the car’s touchscreen infotainment system or through your actual phone.

Connect to Bluetooth and run Android Auto on your phone

The first, and easiest, way to go about adding Android Auto to your car is to simply connect your phone to the Bluetooth function in your car. Next, you can get a phone mount to affix your phone to the car’s dashboard and utilize Android Auto that way. You won’t have a fancy infotainment screen to look at, but you can look at your phone to gain all of the functionality. However, if your car doesn’t have Bluetooth functionality, then you could change out the head unit altogether.

Add an aftermarket head unit

If you decide that adding an aftermarket head unit is the way to go, then you’ll first need to figure out which kind of head unit your car can use. Technically speaking, any qualified audio shop should be able to guide you in picking out the best system for your car and could possibly even install a custom system should your car need it, but if you would rather take on the job yourself, then you will need to do a little research

Fortunately, websites like Crutchfield are very handy when it comes to picking the proper head unit for your car. They have a drop-down menu so you can input the exact year, make, and model of your car and filter out which systems will work and, to top things off, they even recommend the appropriate speakers and accessories you might need.

Double DIN head unit

While you’re shopping for a new head unit, you might come across a variety of “double DIN” head units that you can install in your car. If possible, these are the best types of systems to buy because they will add the Android Auto functionality to your car and will open up other features like the ability to connect a back-up camera and tune into Sirius XM satellite. If anything, adding a new head unit is one of the easiest ways to get Android Auto into your car, just note that some systems can range from anywhere between $200 to $600.

Pioneer double DIN head unit
Pioneer double DIN head unit | Crutchfield

Single DIN head unit

Upon researching the available head units, you might find that your car is only able to accept a “single DIN” head unit, which means that it can’t accept a larger double-DIN sized touchscreen. In that case, there are some single DIN head units on the market with flip-out touchscreens. As long as your car can accept it, then that method would work well too.

Using Google Maps on a smartphone.
Using Google Maps on a smartphone. | (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Does the Ford F-150 Have Android Auto?

Welcome to the future

Now that you know what you need to get your full Android Auto functionality into your car, you’ll be able to find the best head unit or system that works for your car and your budget. We always recommend shopping around and asking for advice from professional installers if needed. Otherwise, welcome to the future!