What is Bluetooth? 02 September 2016 by Gareth Evans, Road Test Editor What do we mean by Bluetooth? How does it work? What does it do? Parkers explains how to get connected Bluetooth is a form of short-range data transfer between devices. While it has many applications, the most common motoring use is connecting your smartphone to your car’s multimedia system. This allows for handsfree phone calls, which is a major safety benefit, and in many cases access to other features such as music streaming, live traffic information, sat-nav and even the ability for the car to read out your text messages or email on the move – although we wouldn’t suggest you do that. How does it work? Every car company and mobile phone manufacturer has a slightly different way of connecting devices (also known as ‘pairing’), but the basic idea is that you enable Bluetooth on both devices (your phone and car) and use one to search for the other. Once you’ve found it, you request a connection. This often has to be confirmed on the other device before pairing is complete. Do I need it? Yes, if you ever want to talk on your mobile phone while driving. It's currently illegal in the UK and many other countries to use a handheld device while in control of a car. Found on Almost all new cars. Can also be retrofitted to older cars using aftermarket handsfree kits. Looking for more jargon-busting motoring meanings? Head over to our Parkers Car Glossary page and take a look at our other definitions Tweet Related articles on Parkers Parkers car glossary: motoring jargon explained What is LED headlamp technology? What is Euro NCAP? What is cruise control? What is sat-nav?