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What to Do When Car Radio Won't Turn On?

YuanYuan Liu |

What to Do When Car Radio Won't Turn On?


One of the biggest problems with diagnosing electronic equipment, most problems are intermittent. This also includes the diagnostic electronics in your car. Intermittent problems are impossible to solve.


The unfortunate fact is that you may spend a lot of money to repair the head unit if your car radio won’t turn on suddenly, or even have to replace the entire unit. If you are encountering a problem where the root cause of the problem can be found, there is still a glimmer of hope. If you are lucky, you can even fix it yourself.


Common Car Radio Problems

Although the car radio may be completely broken, there are many internal and external problems that can be solved, and there is no need to replace the head unit. The most common problems include blown fuses, damaged wiring, and the anti-theft mode that is often triggered when the battery is exhausted.


In order to find out why the car radio won't turn on, you will need to tackle each of these potential issues one by one.



Verify the Unit Isn't in Protect Mode

Some unit heads have a safety function to prevent them from operating after a power interruption. This function will make the radio useless when someone wants to steal it, which is also to prevent the machine from being stolen.


In some cases, the display of the head unit with this function can be turned on, but it will only show a message, such as "code", and cannot be operated. In other cases, the head unit will appear completely dead and you will have to enter a code or execute another manufacturer-specified program to make it work again.

Before you are ready to enter the diagnostic process, you will need to verify whether your head unit has any type of anti-theft mode. If the display is completely blank when the radio cannot be powered on, this is a good sign. This shows that you are actually dealing with another problem. However, if you have a user manual, you can check it first. If you don’t have it, contact the manufacturer to confirm if there are specific procedures you need to follow.


Check the Fuses


After you confirm that the unit is actually power supply and has not entered the anti-theft mode, the next step is to check the fuse. At this point, you need to use some basic car diagnostic tools, such as a multimeter and test light.


Most car radios have one or two fuses that you need to check. Your car may also have amplifier fuses mixed with other related components. It is generally located in the center of your vehicle or in the area of the accessory fuse, and it is usually marked in a conspicuous manner.


You can test the car fuse visually, or use a multimeter or test light to check the power on both sides of the fuse. It is better if you have a multimeter or similar test. Because it is difficult to tell just by looking at the fuse.


Some head units have a built-in fuse, which is usually located on the back. Some installations come with an additional in-line fuse located somewhere on the power cord or wire. If any of these fuses are broken, it may be the reason why your car radio won't turn on. So you can change the fuse and see if it solves the problem.


Of course, a blown fuse usually means another problem. So never replace the fuse with a larger amperage fuse.