How to Listen to Internet Radio in Your Car

Mpow FM Transmitter
Mpow FM Transmitter. Photo: Mpow

There are various ways to stream Internet radio from your iPhone, Android, Galaxy, or other mobile devices while in the car.

Generally speaking, the most popular way drivers now stream content from their smartphones or other mobile devices is by using a smartphone and Bluetooth technology. Basically, your smartphone acts as a mini-transmitter and sends the stream to the Bluetooth receptacle either built-in or installed into your vehicle's radio or dash.

The only drawback to this arrangement is it can be a little tough on your data plan.

Most high-end car stereo shops will feature radios and entertainment systems that have built-in Bluetooth technology that satisfy this need.

The Basics

Almost any smartphone can be connected to the stereo system in a relatively modern vehicle. If Bluetooth is not available, older models may very well have an AUX input which allows you to run an auxiliary cable with the appropriate size plug OUT of the earphone jack of your phone directly into the AUX IN. 

No Bluetooth? No AUX IN? No Problem

There is another solution for vehicles that either have no AUX IN or Bluetooth available. If you just have a standard FM radio, you can invest a little money in various product that act as an intermediary between your smartphone's Bluetooth and your FM Radio. Products like iClever's Universal Wireless FM Transmitter can do this for under $15.00.

You plug the device into your vehicle's power source and turn it on. You pair it with your smartphone's Bluetooth and then the iClever device receives the stream from your phone and transmits it via FM directly to an unused FM channel on your FM car radio. It's very easy to use and you can find deals on this device by going to Amazon.com or eBay.

iClever also has a new version called the iClever Wireless Bluetooth FM Transmitter Radio Adapter Handsfree Car Kit. It has many positive reviews.

You might also look at the Mpow Streambot Trapezoid In-Car FM Transmitter. List price is $24.99 but as of this writing, I saw it on sale for $10.99! Reviews are generally positive from users who have purchased it.

Pandora

Pandora says at its website that you can control Pandora directly through the dash in over 160 models. Which ones? Pandora has set up a quick searchable drop-down menu which let's you choose the year, car make, and car model. If you have a vehicle that was made beginning in 2010 and newer, you can use this search. To access this drop-down database, go to Pandora's page here. You should note that accessing Pandora from your vehicle will often require optional equipment which you may already have installed or a dealer can install for you.

Slacker Radio

Slacker has information at its website on how various model vehicles can connect to the app. Acura uses AcuraLink. Chrysler uses Uconnect Access. Ford and Lincoln vehicles use SYNC AppLink. HondaLink is a system used by Honda to achieve this. Scion's BeSpoke Premium Audio system provides access to Slacker.

Subaru has STARLINK and Tesla provides an in-dash touchscreen which supports streaming apps like Slacker. You should ask the respective dealer for information about on--board entertainment options for streaming.