Correcting a Toyota Bluetooth Quirk

Correcting a Toyota Bluetooth Quirk

A customer contacted me recently with an interesting problem. Her phone use to work just fine with her 2015 Toyota Prius. Recently her phone experienced an operating system update and all of a sudden she was having problems connecting her phone to her car via Bluetooth.

The issue was that whenever her phone connect via Bluetooth it would be connected for about 30 seconds and then disconnect from the Prius. Not only would it disconnect, it would actually shut the vehicle’s Bluetooth off and not allow it to be turned back on again until the vehicle was shut off and restarted. She was using a Samsung Galaxy S5 phone but when an iPhone user paired to her vehicle they had no problems at all. (This issue does not apply to current generation Entune systems on Toyotas. This is something that happens on the previous generations infotainment system, 2012 to as late as 2015, systems referred to by Toyota service departments as 11 CY)

toyota 11 CY 02At first glance I had no idea what to do with this issue. And obviously had something to do with the android operating system update that the Galaxy S5 experienced and didn’t seem to be an issue with the car itself considering it had no problems functioning with an iPhone. I took to the Internet and did as much research as I possibly could and saw that there were a number of other previous owners across the country having the exact same issue.

Here’s what I found out: Occasionally, android phones running android version 4.0 and higher essentially send so much information to the infotainment system when it tries to share text messages that it causes an overload that forces the Bluetooth connection in the Toyota to shut down, almost as a self-defense against further problems. After a little bit more digging I was able to find a solution.

  1. galaxy S5Delete the Bluetooth paring on the car’s screen, and from the phone
  2. Fully shutdown the phone and restart it
  3. Fully turn off the vehicle and restart it
  4. Pair your Bluetooth phone to the Toyota
  5. When you’re asked for permissions on your phone’s screen, choose Allow when asked to share contacts with vehicle.
  6. DO NOT ALLOW text messages to be shared when asked on your phone’s screen
  7. It will not disconnect and shut off the vehicles Bluetooth as long as text messages it shared. You can still send and receive calls, use the voice command system to dial, and play Bluetooth audio.

This isn’t a perfect fix but it will allow you to regain all phone functionality with the vehicle with the exception of sending and receiving text messages on the vehicle’s infotainment screen. I would love to hear from you if you’re having this issue and Here if the solution works for you. The customer I helped earlier this month seems to have her issue solved with this solution.

Stay Connected,
Andy

Technology Specialist FAQ vol 2

Technology Specialist FAQ vol 2

It’s time for another edition of Technology Specialist frequently asked questions!

Question: My spouse and I both have cell phones. Can we connect two at once so no matter which one of us gets a call it rings through the vehicle’s Bluetooth system?

Answer: Unfortunately, your car can only connect to one bluetooth device at at time. You have have multiple phones paired to a vehicle at once, but only one can be connected at a time. This is true of any phone accessory like a bluetooth headphones or speakers. Most vehicles give you the choice of choosing one of the phones to be the primary phone, meaning that phone will be connected even if there are other paired devices around the vehicle.

Question: My vehicle didn’t come with SiriusXM radio, but I’d really like to have it. How can I get it?

Answer: As with just about anything you want to add to your vehicle, West Herr Vehicle Accessories can add it for you. What you’ll probably need is an SiriusXM receiver and antenna installed in your vehicle, or an entirely new head unit, whichever makes the most sense for your budget and installation availability.

Question: My vehicle has a button labeled “Apps”, does this mean the apps from my phone will be available on the screen of my vehicle?

Answer: In short, sometimes. On Ford and Lincoln systems with Sync 3, some compatible apps will be available onscreen under the Apps page, and on Toyota Entune Audio Plus systems the apps page will reflect your vehicle’s auto streaming apps along with a few others, but that’s about it. The infotainment screens were designed to provide exactly what you’d expect; information and entertainment, but everything on screen is in service of the driver and the act of driving. If it doesn’t enhance that experience it probably won’t make its way on screen.

Question: When should I press the Traction Control Off button?

Answer: The traction control system turns on automatically every time you start your vehicle. It identifies when a wheel isn’t getting substantial traction and transfers power from that wheel to one that is. You’d want to turn this system off only when you’re stuck in a stopped position. This allows the wheels to spin and the vehicle to rock forwards and backwards giving you an opportunity to catch traction and pull out of your stuck position and move forward.

These are some question I often get from customers, but feel free to comment with your own and I’ll answer them in a future post.

Stay Connected,
Andy

Make Your Vehicle’s Technology New Again

Make Your Vehicle’s Technology New Again

One of the things that your post office from people when I’m assisting them with their vehicles is something along the lines of, “My car used to do things this way but now it doesn’t anymore and I can’t get it to go back to the way it was.” This can happen for a number of reasons. It can be because something was changed when you or someone else was tinkering with the vehicle settings. It could be a button was pressed accidentally. No matter the reason, it’s still very frustrating to have your vehicle set up one way and then have that change on you one day for what appears to be no reason.

There is however a way to fix this, and this solution works on almost all vehicles with an infotainment screen. To make your vehicle’s electronics behave the way they did the day you took it home, simply go into your vehicle settings and choose to factory reset your infotainment system. This will revert all settings back to the way they were the day the car rolled off the assembly line. I need settings that were changed in a way that was inconvenient for you will all be put back to the way it was.

ford-master-resetNow this setting option will be found in different places and can be called different things depending on the make and model of your vehicle. On the Chevy equinox from 2012 to 2017 this is found in the radio settings and is called Reset Radio. On the Toyota Entune system this is found under general settings and called “Delete Personal Data.” On current General Motors vehicles this can be found under the heading of “Settings” and then choosing “Vehicle” followed be “Factory Reset.” Ford’s Sync 3 system calls it “Master Reset.”

toyota-delete-personal-dataThe beauty of your vehicle electronics is there are almost no moving parts associated with them. This means there is a very low chance of them wearing out and failing because of age. That means if something goes wrong or he ends up being different than it used to be it’s probably just a setting that got changed and can be restored with a reset. Wouldn’t it be nice if it was that easy to reset your engine back to the way it drove the day you took it home as opposed to the way it runs 200,000 miles later? If only it were that easy.

The downside here is the same as the upside; all of your personal data will be erased. That means you’ll have to reset your radio presets, change any specific settings that you liked that differed from the factory ones, and re-pair your Bluetooth phone. There’s also ends up being a benefit because sometimes a Bluetooth connection that is intermittent can benefit from a fresh connection.

This is also helpful for another reason. Knowing how to factory reset your vehicles radio is important for when your time with that your vehicle is up. It’s a wise idea to factory reset a radio before trading it in or selling it to another party. This will help secure any personal information stored in your vehicle and help protect your privacy.

Most people who spend their lives around technology and gadgets (such as myself) will tell you that factory resetting your electronics (cell phones, tablets, computers, etc) periodically over their lives goes along way toward keeping them from having problems and behaving slowly over time. The same is true for your car. You don’t need to reset your cars system, but it never hurts if you want to take things back to the way they were. The good old days.

Stay Connected,
Andy

We Have Nothing to Fear… About Our New Vehicles

We Have Nothing to Fear… About Our New Vehicles

I write to you today with the hopes of inspiring you. For too long people have had the excitement of a new vehicle purchase squelched by the fear of the new technology in their vehicle. This happy moment somehow darkened by the idea that they’ll never understand all of the bells and whistles, gadgets, and features that have become available to them all of a sudden. Then you start to think about safety and you wonder if all the newness in our vehicles has somehow compromised our safety. If you continue on this train of thought soon your exciting new vehicle purchase can become just another thing to worry about.

I’m here to put your mind at ease, to restore the excitement in the vehicle ownership, and to make you excited about all the ways in which vehicles are new. These are exciting times to own a new vehicle, and I’ll tell you why.

cadillac cueWe’ve never been more comfortable, connected, and entertained in the history of automobiles. Just about every vehicle sold new these days comes with a color touch screen that doesn’t just tell you what radio station you’re playing, it also lets you customize your entertainment experience while driving. You can play audio from a variety of sources including AM/FM/XM radio, streaming audio from a Bluetooth device, USB, auxiliary port, and CD players. Whether you’re listening to heavy-metal or that new audiobook that was just released, how you’re entertained in your vehicle is more customizable than ever before.

If your priority isn’t entertainment, but rather staying connected with friends and family, their vehicles have never been better for you either. With the rise of Bluetooth technology and voice command systems in vehicles, you can call, text, even keep up with some social media all hands-free and eyes free. This allows you to be as social or productive as you like while you’re on the road.

If safety is your concern, I encourage you to rest easy. Vehicles have never been safer than they are right now, and vehicles have never had so many advanced high-tech safety features built into them than right now. Available safety features such as lane departure assist, adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, and advanced forward collision warning have made vehicles safer for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians than at any other time in history.

At this point you might be saying to yourself, “That’s all well and good but I know I’ll press the wrong button and messed it all up and this won’t work for me.” Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this. The technology specialist are here to help with vehicle settings and technology questions and the service department is always available to help should there be a problem or malfunction. As for pressing the wrong button, I tell all the people I sit with that short of taking a baseball bat to the infotainment system, you cannot break it. There’s always the option, on every system out there to factory reset the system back to the day you bought it.

There’s plenty in our lives that can stress us out and weigh us down, but your new vehicle purchase shouldn’t be one of them. I write this peptalk to you this holiday weekend to encourage you to enjoy your new vehicle, to drive with joy, and know that you’re not alone in your ownership experience; West Herr is with you the whole way.

Stay Connected,
Andy

What All Vehicles Have in Common

What All Vehicles Have in Common

We live in a crazy mixed up world with her plenty of things that can separate us. Our political views, our sport teams of choice, even our vehicle features. West Herr offers 21 different brands of new vehicles and countless varieties of preowned vehicles that span all manufacturers, trim levels, and years of manufacture. This tremendous variety has helped us become the largest automotive group in New York State, and given our customers the most choices when it comes to their vehicle purchase.

But despite all the different brands and all of the different configurations there are still some things that are similar on all (if not the vast majority) of vehicles manufactured in the last few years. So I present to you a couple of the features, icons, and configurations that all vehicles have in common.

How to Save a Radio Station to a Preset – Pretty much every single touchscreen radio and radio with physical preset buttons allows you to save stations to those preset buttons the same way. Simply tune to the station you would like to save and press and hold you get the physical button or the virtual on screen button where you would like to save that station. After a couple seconds you should receive some sort of confirmation from the radio that the channel was saved. The medical programs or designs and manufactures the radio this seems to be a universal throughout the industry.

GPS Systems Will Lock You Out While Driving – most vehicles will have this feature and if they don’t have it now their line will have it in the very near future. This feature denies you access to add or change the destination of your vehicles navigation system on the vehicle’s touch screen while you’re driving. This is meant to prevent drivers from tinkering with their navigation system or typing in an address while they’re driving. This has frustrated some owners because it also prevents passengers from making navigation changes while the vehicle is not in park. The solution that the manufactures came up with for the inconvenience this causes you is to allow you to make any navigation changes you’d like at anytime via the cars voice activation system. Just press the voice command button on your steering wheel and follow your manufactures voice commands to add or change the destination in your navigation system.

Wait for the Beep – Speaking of voice command systems, I frequently get customers contacting me telling me their voice command system doesn’t work in their vehicle, or at least it doesn’t understand them. Usually the source of this trouble is the customers aren’t waiting until after the beep to begin giving commands to the vehicle. All voice command systems will tell you what they’re looking for and ask you to speak your command and then there will be an audible beeping sound. To make this work as best it can, wait for the beep, take a one second pause, and then begin speaking. This allows the system time to switch over from speaking to listening and it will make things far more accurate for you going forward.

These features are helpful and are becoming more prevalent on newer vehicles. If we can understand and use them to the best of our ability now this will greatly assist us in not only the ownership experience of our current vehicles but on our next ones as well.

Stay connected,
Andy

Bluetooth Troubleshooting for Calls

Bluetooth Troubleshooting for Calls

Just about every new vehicle sold these days comes equipped with Bluetooth connectivity which allows for hands-free calling from your cell phone. This is not simply automotive manufacturers trying to keep up with each other in terms of standard technology, they’re looking at it as a safety feature. Thousands of automobile accidents every year are a result of distracted driving, and if people can make the calls they need to make by only using voice commands it reduces the need for people to look at their phone and take their eyes off the road. Couple this with the fact that holding a cell phone and driving is illegal in New York state and you’ve got a very good reason to use Bluetooth in your vehicle if you ever choose to use your phone while driving.

But just like any technology, Bluetooth is not without its quirks, limitations, and issues. You can pair up a phone and everything is fine, and everything will be fine for a while, but sometimes things go awry. That’s with the technology specialist come in. Here are a few Bluetooth issues and the ways we’ve found to resolve them.

“My phone used to connect automatically when I got in my vehicle, but now it doesn’t anymore.”

This is one we hear all the time and it’s actually a very common Bluetooth problem. Overtime your Bluetooth connection can stop working and need to be unpaired from your vehicle and paired up again. Sometimes the best remedy to Bluetooth connection issue is starting over with a fresh pairing. This sounds simple at first but there’s a couple steps you’ll need to take to make sure you fully unpaired and paired your phone again in a way that will give you maximum connectivity.

Pair Phone to Car 1stWhen un-pairing your phone make sure you go into your car’s settings and remove your phone as a Bluetooth connection, but also go into your phone’s setting and remove your car as a Bluetooth connection. Both sides of the connection should forget the other one ever existed. This will prevent the previous connection from interfering with the brand-new one you’re trying to establish. When you’re ready to pair your phone up to the vehicle again, make sure you take your time. Once the pairing is complete a lot of phones will have a pop up message that asks if you would like to share your contact list, call history, and text messages with your vehicle and it’s usually a good idea to allow all of those things to happen. If you navigate away from the Bluetooth settings on your phone too quickly sometimes these messages won’t pop up. So the best thing to do is make sure that you go through the process slowly and carefully. The extra minute or two you spend establishing the connection properly will save you a lot of frustration down the road.

“Sometimes the people I’m talking to on the phone are either way too loud or way too quiet.”

A feature that not many people talk about is the fact that the volume control buttons on your steering wheel not only control the radio when the radio is playing but they also control the volume of the other person on the phone with you while you’re in a call. The easiest thing to do if the volume isn’t right from the person you’re on the phone with is to turn them up or down using the steering wheel volume controls.

“Where on my car’s infotainment system can I add a new contact to my contact list?”

This one is pretty easy. If you want to add someone to your contact list on your vehicle all you do is add them to your contact list on your phone like you normally would. The next time you get in your vehicle it should automatically look for a new entries in your contact list and add them to your cars infotainment system.

New time we’ll go over troubleshooting ideas for streaming Bluetooth audio in your vehicle. I’m looking forward to it.

Stay Connected,
Andy

Adaptive Cruise Control Explained

Adaptive Cruise Control Explained

Vehicles have changed a lot in the last few years and are still changing rapidly. According to General Motors CEO Mary Berra, we’re going to see more changes in vehicles in the next five years than we’ve seen in the last 50. The changes we’ve seen to vehicles and vehicle technology are not going away, and are not going to slow down in their development and implementation any time soon.

One of innovations that has become more common on vehicles in recent years is an adaptive cruise control system. This feature is a standard part of Toyota Safety Sense system, and brands like Ford and General Motors as well as others have adopted it as well. Unlike the previous version of the cruise control system an adaptive cruise control system allows the driver to set the speed they would like to drive while taking into account the speed of vehicles in front of them. This prevents drivers from having to make as many adjustments to vehicles around them, and protects against situations where cruise control drivers might be distracted and not paying attention to what’s happening in front of them.

For example, if you’re cruising at 60 miles an hour and someone in front of you is driving 50 miles an hour, your adaptive cruise control system would see that car in front of you, slow down to match their speed, and resume your 60 miles an hour cruising speed once that vehicle has gotten out of your lane. Vehicles equipped with the system have the option of choosing your following distance from the vehicle in front of you. You can select close, medium, or far distances from the vehicle that you’re driving behind.

Something to keep in mind with these systems is they are not adaptive systems that are in addition to a regular cruise control system. It’s all one system that works together. I spell this out because if a vehicle’s camera cannot see what’s going on in front of you the cruise control will not work at all. This means that in inclement weather like snowstorms, rain storms, or intense fog your cruise control system will be inoperative. (Also if the section of your windshield that includes the camera is dirty the system will not function.) I’ve been asked by customers when manufacturers are going to allow cruise control to work as it used to even if the camera can’t see what’s going on in front of the vehicle. They believe if the weather conditions are bad enough for the adaptive cruise control system to not function then it’s not safe to have cruise control working at all. I would have to say I agree with them.

Using the system the way it was designed¬†frees the driver to enjoy the ride and spend less time making minor adjustments. As I’ve said before in my previous post asking what a specific button does, advances in technology like this are baby steps toward autonomous self driving vehicles, but we’re not there yet. In the meantime I encourage you to use the system safely and with the full attention and alertness the driving should always require.

Stay Connected,
Andy