How to use Alexa in your car
The idea of using Alexa while you’re driving a car might seem like a novelty, but it can help you with navigation, calls, and music when you’re out and about. Here are several ways that you can use Alexa in your car.
At home, you might be used to asking Alexa about the weather, traffic, and any important news. You’ll probably use it daily to listen to your favourite music or control your smart home devices. So it makes sense to figure out how to use Alexa in your car.
So, if you like Amazon Alexa more than platforms like CarPlay or Android Auto, you can set up the voice assistant in compatible vehicles. Here are a few ways how to use Alexa in your car and on the go.
How to get Alexa in your car with Echo Auto
Unlike Apple and Google, Amazon doesn’t have a dedicated car platform. Well, not yet! However, Amazon sells the Echo Auto. It’s a stand-alone device that works with your car and provides Alexa features.
You, therefore, don’t need to worry about compatibility with your vehicle as the Echo Auto works with most cars and only has a few basic requirements.
#1 Check if your vehicle works with Amazon Echo Auto
You’ll need a free USB port for power. If your car doesn’t have a USB port, use an alternative connector that plugs into the “cigarette lighter” for power.
The Amazon Echo Auto works via Bluetooth, but some Bluetooth models don’t work with the Auto device, and some cars don’t have Bluetooth. You can solve these issues by using a spare 3.5mm audio jack on your dash to connect an audio cable.
If your air vents support a mount for a new device, that’s a bonus as you can mount the Echo Auto. But if you don’t, it isn’t as big a concern.
#2 Does your phone supports Echo Auto?
The Echo Auto uses a phone connection to allow Alexa to work. So, your Android or iPhone needs the latest Alexa app and is generally up to date.
#3 Purchase and set up an Echo Auto
Amazon released a 2nd generation Echo Auto in 2022. It’s a vastly improved device over the first gen. So, you’ll want to buy the latest version and resist the temptation to pick up a second hard 1st gen device off eBay or Facebook Marketplace.
Unpack your Echo Auto speaker and secure the mount to an ideal spot in your car (typically a vent), ensuring it won’t get in the way. Place the Echo Auto on the mount and check for stability.
#4 Power your device
Connect your Echo Auto to power, preferably via USB or the alternative connector, and connect the audio jack if necessary. Turn on your car to power the Echo Auto up and start the connection process.
#5 Set up the Echo Auto
Start by loading the Alexa app on your phone. Select the Devices tab at the bottom, then select the small Plus icon in the upper-right corner to add a device.
If Alexa asks you to choose a category, choose Echo. Wait for Alexa to sense nearby Echo devices, and select the Echo Auto when it appears.
Answer Alexa’s questions about connecting your Echo Auto, and choose a name for your Auto so that you can recognize it. Keep following the steps until the Auto is found and confirmed.
Alexa will then asks you if you want a connection by Bluetooth. If that’s possible, choose Yes and follow the instructions. Sometimes this is automatic, and sometimes you’ll go into your phone’s Bluetooth and manually connect with the Amazon Echo.
Ensure your car’s dashboard system is set to Bluetooth, so all three systems can connect properly.
Go through the testing phase to get the right volume on your car’s speakers, and select Continue when you’re satisfied.
Choose a navigation app to use on the Amazon Echo Auto if you want navigation updates from Alexa. You can choose popular apps like Google Maps and Apple Maps. Enter your home location to Alexa’s directions to work properly.
#6 Experiment with Auto Mode
You can choose to turn Auto Mode on or not. This mode will work if you have a separate mount for your phone in the car.
It turns Alexa into a vehicle-friendly app with a new UI for music management, checking on messages, making voice calls, and more. It’s an important feature if you want to get the most out of Alexa while driving.
Not up for an Echo Auto? Use an Alexa skill to access Alexa in your car
You don’t have to use an Echo Auto as there’s another option. However, it’s limited. Simply, open the Alexa app, go to the More section, and select Skills & Games. Here, look for the search function, and search for the brand of your car (Ford, BMW, etc.).
Some may have Alexa Skills you can enable, which work with certain models. While they can be useful, these skills are often quite basic.
You might be able to unlock your car from a distance using Alexa, for example. A little functionality might be better than nothing!
How to use Alexa in your car
With an Echo Auto, Alexa becomes part of your journey. If you can enable Auto Mode, Alexa can manage navigation and take calls, nearly reaching the functionality of full infotainment systems like CarPlay.
Remember to update your Alexa app and your car’s dash system regularly. If something goes wrong, unplug the Auto and then plug it back in after a pause. And if you want some privacy, select that big mute button on the front of the Auto to stop it from listening.
And that’s How to use Alexa in your car!