The demand for Bluetooth connection is skyrocketing at local auto-electronic shops less than a week before Tennessee’s new Hands-Free Law goes into effect on July 1.
The key to compliance is having the right technology, but not all cars come equipped with it.
The answer? Retrofitting older-models cars with Bluetooth technology.
“With this law, we’ve already seen a huge influx of customers wanting to add Bluetooth,” said Nathan Dunn, owner of Cartronics.
“We’re always normally doing them anyway, but in the last couple of weeks it’s at least doubled,” said Phillip Lindsley, owner of Titan Motoring.
With so many options, deciding which upgrade is best depends on the function you want and how much you’d like to spend.
The Dunn family recommends starting with a Bluetooth receiver for basic voice-to-call functions.
“You won’t see any wiring, you’ll just see piece itself and button for it,” they explained.
The Dunns hard-wire the device into the car, so there will be no interference during a call.
The cost of equipment and service is about $200.
If you’re willing to spend more, Lindsley said to consider add-ons for more than just making calls.
“Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which gives them a lot more than telephone calls, access through wireless,” Lindsley said. “It actually gives them the ability to do texting and other features on the phone without ever touching their phone.”
The cost for that upgrade starts at about $600.
But if both options are beyond your budget, you can also look online.
“As long as there’s a microphone built into them, that’s one thing you want to check,” Dunn said.
Amazon also sells wireless, hands-free car kits, some for as low as $10.
“My recommendation would be: don’t buy the $10 one,” Lindsley said. “Spend a little bit more, just a few more dollars, and check the reviews.”
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s installed and working by July 1.