Most cars now come with Bluetooth technology built in so you can talk hands-free. Although talking while driving is not ideal, sometimes it can't be avoided. Now there are lots of Bluetooth devices made for older cars.
Consumer Reports just checked out four inexpensive ones.
Beth Rothschild uses her Bluetooth to talk hands-free in her car.
She wants to be able to keep her hands on the wheel.
Rothschild says, "You don't have to think about it. The phone rings, you push a button and you're talking. There's nothing to do . You can keep on driving. You're focused on the road."
To see how they work, Consumer Reports checked out some Bluetooth kits for older cars that cost 60 dollars or less. There were some pluses and minuses.
The GoGroove FlexSmart X2 was easy to install because it's wireless. But the audio quality wasn't great. There was a lot of background noise.
"So Dave is going to join us and Scott and Brian..."
On the other hand, kits like the Belkin CarAudio Connect AUX sounded really good because they plug directly in. A plus, you can talk or play music from your phone through the car's speakers.
Jim Travers of Consumer Reports says, "That one won't work unless you have an auxiliary jack. It does have very good audio quality, but you're also of course going to have a bunch of wires in the car, and you do need to semi-permanently mount it."
The easiest to install are self-contained devices that clip on the visor-no wires. You could hear calls clearly with two-the Jabra Journey and Motorola Roadster 2.
And you can play music through your car's audio system with the Motorola kit.
So if you have to talk while driving, a Bluetooth kit is a smart move.
Travers says, "Studies have proven that as long as it's just a hands-free device, you're a lot safer behind the wheel."
Consumer Reports says be aware voice recognition technology is far from perfect-so the device might not always "understand" who you want to call.
Nevertheless, calling hands-free in the car is a plus.
When shopping, be sure to check the Bluetooth kit is compatible with your phone as well as your vehicle.
For instance, with the Belkin Kit Consumer Reports looked at requires an auxiliary jack. Not all cars have one.