10 Things Everyone Should Learn How to Do With Your Car’s Infotainment System

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In today’s tech-dependent world, cars have become rolling computers packed with all kinds of features, from navigation to 4G LTE connectivity. Offerings from luxury carmakers, in particular, now include a mind-boggling array of technology to appeal to a new generation. All of these new features mean owners will need to learn how to use them, especially the infotainment system, which is becoming the norm. No longer does your center stack only adjust radio channels or play music. It now gives you maps and directions, allows you to make phone calls and personalize your car, and it even checks your vehicle’s oil life or reminds you when it needs to go in for service. Here are 10 things every owner should learn or know how to do with their car’s infotainment systems. Pair a smartphone via Bluetooth Because nearly every car sold today comes standard with Bluetooth connectivity, pairing your mobile phone with the car has become part of the car-starting ritual. Once you’ve finished pairing your device via Bluetooth, you can stay connected without taking your hands off the steering wheel or looking away from the road. Make hands-free calls using Bluetooth One of the key reasons to pair your phone with the car via Bluetooth is so you can make calls without holding a device in your ear and turning yourself into a cop magnet and a less safe driver. Additionally, you’ll be able to hear the person on the other line clearly because Bluetooth will project the sound through the car’s speakers. Use voice command to change music, add a destination, etc. Although the controls for infotainment systems are getting easier and less complicated, there’s still no reason to be tinkering with it while on the move. For that reason, knowing the available voice commands in your car is indispensable because it allows you to make inputs without taking your eyes off the road. Even though it’s still not as intuitive, voice command systems are improving and are able to understand speech better as updates are continually rolled out. Customize your instruments and interior mood lighting Personalization is becoming another key part of the modern infotainment system, and with cars becoming more customizable, owners can now make their vehicles as unique as they are. Mini, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz all have vehicles that are available with mood lighting and customizable instruments for some added level of personalization, giving your car a unique interior ambience. Search for destinations and directions online Some vehicle infotainment systems offer the ability to search for restaurants or points of interest when equipped with 4G LTE connectivity or online capability. BMW was one of the first to integrate a search engine into its infotainment system, and that capability has since spread to other luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Play digital music Other than the cheapest, most bare-bones variants, cars today all come with at least one USB port, allowing you to play music from a flash drive, so you can bring your entire playlist with you. Additionally, using Bluetooth, you can also stream your playlist from your mobile device. Controlling your phone via the screen on the dash Some cars give you more entertainment options than others. One of these extras is the ability to control your mobile device, either via the touchscreen by plugging it into the USB port or with features such as MirrorLink. Once this is done, you can access all of your smartphone’s functions in the infotainment screen. Everything from your music and text messages to Google Maps and apps such as Pandora will be at your fingertips. However, being able to control your phone via the infotainment system’s touchscreen has its limitations; some of these systems won’t let you access them while driving. Use Google Android Auto or Apple CarPlay More and more carmakers are realizing that connectivity is important to nearly everyone these days, hence the addition of Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto to infotainment systems. Pairing your phone via a USB port and opening Android Auto or CarPlay gives you a more comprehensive menu in your infotainment system and keeps your car connected to the rest of the world. Additionally, you can expand the navigation system through Google Maps, which gives you more routes to get you to your destination. How to use the navigation system Onboard navigation systems come in handy and work even when you have a weak mobile phone signal. GPS data loaded into the car is aided by satellite-based information, eliminating the need for a few more bars. Knowing how to use your navigation system is a big help when you’re lost and can’t call anyone who can get you back to civilization in one piece. Use smartphone apps With everyone’s lives revolving around staying connected, the infotainment systems in cars today now come with app capability for smartphones. Features such as Pandora, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Aha, Spotify, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Maps are now available in some vehicles. This means you can stay up to date with what’s happening with the rest of the world and your circles using your car’s infotainment system. Just make sure you do so without taking your attention off of driving and operate these features only when stopped.