How to Install Echo Dot in Your Car

Updated on June 21, 2018
Chriswillman90 profile image

Krzysztof is a lifelong future tech junkie investigating the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.

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How to Control Amazon Alexa in Your Car

Amazon's Echo Dot is currently the best smart device for your home, but did you know it's an even better product for your car?

Home voice control can be fun and useful, but what if you could have the ability to ask for the weather, gets news updates, play music, listen to audiobooks, and more by controlling Alexa in your vehicle.

There are several methods to connect the Dot to your car including:

  • Vehicle's built-in WiFi
  • Mobile Hotspot Tethering
  • Car's Bluetooth speaker
  • Manual Bluetooth add-on
  • Via car's AUX port

These methods allow practically anyone to have the best voice control available in their car without spending a lot of money.

The most important items you'll need are:

  • Echo Dot, a smartphone, car charger/USB port, micro USB cable, and additional options including an AUX cable and Bluetooth receiver

You may even opt for a portable battery attachment for the Dot if you have no means of powering the Echo in your car.

Since most of us already have a smartphone, the most expensive item you'll need is the Dot which normally sells for $50 but can go as low as $30 during promotional deals on Amazon.

Once you have the gadgets required, then you'll just need to follow these simple steps to have the best and cheapest voice controlled infotainment in your automobile.

How to Connect Echo Dot Without Built-In WiFi

If your car has built-in WiFi, then the setup process for your Echo is exactly how it would be for your home.

However most people do not have this option and will have to use your smartphone's mobile hotspot to connect Alexa to the internet.

The first thing you'll have to do is power on your Echo, and I do this via my car charger's USB port and the Echo's micro USB cable.

If you don't have a battery attachment, then you'll need a USB port to turn on your Dot.

Once your device turns on, it'll take about 45 seconds to boot, which can get cumbersome if you're in a rush and don't want to spend time setting up your Echo Dot.

After your device boots, you must go to the Alexa app and begin the setup process by holding down the "action button for 5 seconds" until you're in setup mode.

You'll then have to go into your phone's settings and connect to your Echo's network. Alexa will let you know when she's connected.

Next go back into the Alexa app and locate your phone's network.

If your phone's network settings aren't available in the app, then you may have to manually input your smartphone's network.

I did this by going into my phone's hotspot settings to locate the name and password for my phone's WiFi.

Once you identify your phone in the app, Alexa will tell you to turn on your mobile hotspot which you must do in your phone's settings.

If all goes well, then your Dot and Alexa should successfully connect to your hotspot and you'll be able to voice control her as you would at home.

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How to Sync Alexa to Vehicle's Bluetooth Speaker

Once your Echo Dot is fully powered and connected via your car's built-in WiFi or through WiFi tethering, then you'll want to pair it to your vehicle's speaker/Bluetooth speaker for better sound.

If your vehicle has a Bluetooth speaker, then the syncing process is very simple but there may be some complications.

You'll want to go into your Alexa app, find your Echo Dot in the settings, click on Bluetooth, and select "Pair a New Device" in the app.

Hopefully your speaker should come up and you can link it up with your Echo Dot.

If successful, Alexa will tell you you're connected to Bluetooth and your Dot's audio will come through your car's speakers, which makes for nice, easy listening.

However based on your car's features and the Dot's limitations, you may run into some complications including:

  • Inability to sync to car's speaker
  • Inability to view/hear directions (Echo Dot's limitation)
  • Interruption with Bluetooth connection

My biggest problem with connecting to my Bluetooth speaker is that sometimes the Dot doesn't sync due to an error. That may be due to my car's lack of modern features or perhaps the Dot itself.

The Echo will also not give you turn-by-turn directions and can't show you anything on your car's tablet screen either, so I still use my phone as a proper GPS.

But there are workarounds to the connection and Bluetooth problems that have been successful for me and should work for you as well.

How to Install Bluetooth in Your Automobile

If for any reason your car doesn't have Bluetooth built in, then you can install it yourself using a receiver.

The standard Bluetooth receiver will need to be powered through a car charger that's plugged into a lighter socket, and it'll require an auxiliary port to transmit the sound to your speakers.

If you want more portability or are unable to charge your device, then you can opt-in for a battery powered receiver. The only downside is that it'll have to be charged from time to time using your car charger.

Another option is to purchase a separate Bluetooth speaker or clip-on speakerphone that can pair with your Echo. In that case the sound won't come out of your auto's speakers but from the speakerphone.

The cost of these receivers can range anywhere from $8 to $20.

Given the low pricing, it's a quick and affordable solution that won't set you back too much. You just have to figure out which one works best for you and your car.

I've often found that using a receiver works even better than the car's own Bluetooth with fewer interruptions and technical issues.

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How to Manually Connect Echo Dot to Your Vehicle's Speaker

If you don't want to deal with the hassle of having to buy a receiver and perform a DIY Bluetooth install in your car, then there's another option.

If your car has a 3.5 mm AUX input, then you can easily plug one end into the Echo Dot and the other into the port.

I'm able to flip on the AUX in my car's settings and hear Alexa through my vehicle's speaker with ease. The only issue with this is that unlike a Bluetooth connection, you'll have an additional step for setup.

Once Bluetooth is paired, it will automatically connect to your Echo Dot next time you turn the car/Dot on.

Then again you don't have to connect your Echo Dot to your speakers, but doing that will give you very low and poor audio quality.

I suggest syncing via Bluetooth, if possible, because it saves you time and I definitely recommend connecting the Dot to your speakers because Alexa can respond to you better with much better song quality & volume levels.

How to Get Alexa in Your Car Without an Echo Dot

If you want a less intrusive Alexa experience in your car, then I'd recommend the Roav Viva by Anker. It's a sleek, 2-port USB car charger that gives you Alexa hands-free voice control, in-car navigation, and even noise cancellation.

It's only around $50, it comes with a 12-month warranty, and it's powered by PowerIQ technology for fast, dual charging. There's even an option to turn off the mic like you would on your Echo Dot.

However you still have to set-up the device through your phone and its own app like you would with the Echo Dot. Also be aware that this device may not work with all car models, and there's a listing on the bottom of Amazon's product page that includes the cars it may not be compatible with.

Additionally, Spotify support is not yet available but it's expected to be live soon, so I'll update this page when it does.

Is this a good replacement for the Echo Dot?

I've been using this device for a couple weeks and so far I'm happy with the results, however; it does have its flaws. For example, I found that the Roav may struggle to hear you at times, and it can occasionally disconnect from your phone's hot spot.

I've only been using it for a short while, so I'll need to use it a bit longer before making a full assessment. That's why I still like to have both the Roav and the Echo Dot nearby just in case there are connectivity or audio difficulties.

However if you want an inexpensive and less clunky Alexa gadget in your car, then it doesn't get better than the Roav Viva.

Your Turn!

Would you use an Echo Dot in your car?

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Questions & Answers

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      • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

        Krzysztof Willman 

        8 weeks ago from Parlin, New Jersey

        That's always the hard part when blending older and newer technologies. I too have a bunch of CD's that I can no longer use without transferring them to new media sources. I do use music streaming but they don't have everything either.

        I can imagine how annoying it must have been to do.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        2 months ago from UK

        I still miss the CD player, which I no longer have in this car. I had to figure out how to copy my CDs onto a USB so I could get music back in my car!

      • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

        Krzysztof Willman 

        2 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

        I have an older car and it doesn't even have a car display, so I try to make do with what I have. I understand your hesitation as well.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        2 months ago from UK

        It has taken me a while to get used to my phone coming up on the car display. I think it'll take a while longer before I try Echo Dot.

      • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

        Krzysztof Willman 

        2 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

        Thank you so much, I believe the goal is to eventually fully integrate the Alexa platform into more and more cars similar to Car Play or Android Auto, but a lot of people still won't have that option.

        So for now this is the best way to make more use of our current smart speaker technology.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        3 months ago from UK

        We recently got given an Echo Dot and it has now become a popular member of the household. I had no idea it could be put to use in the car. This is a really useful article.

      • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

        Krzysztof Willman 

        5 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

        Good thinking, personally I still have problems getting my Echo to hear me at times when music is playing.

        Thanks for the tip.

      • profile image

        mousmaniac 

        6 months ago

        I have a very similar setup. The only difference is I am connected via aux and instead of connecting to my stereo via bluetooth, I connect the Dot to my phone. This way I can still hear directions through my stereo and I can control my music, etc. with my voice or on the screen.

      • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

        Krzysztof Willman 

        6 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

        This is definitely a side step before we see full Alexa compatibility for all vehicles, a better version of CarPlay.

        You're right that it is hard to hear with music playing, and navigation is an issue.

        I strongly believe that the next version of the Dot will be for travel and specifically for vehicles, and a GPS inclusion with an Alexa app for car navigation is the likely option.

      • profile image

        SL Allen 

        7 months ago

        I think this would work great unless you needed to navigate. For me, if I'm playing music my phone would be hard to hear over the music. When I have my phone connected to my car's Bluetooth this isn't an issue the music pauses and I get my GPS prompt then the music resumes. My car can only connect to one device at a time so if I need navigation I would need to use my phone. Oh if amazon only made an app that gave my phone voice prompted Alexa functionality or added proper GPS to the dot my problems would be solved.

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