Most car models come equipped with inbuilt stereos and speakers. These car stereos are usually well designed, however, all systems malfunction sooner or later. One common and a rather weird issue is that your car radio may turn on randomly by itself.
Generally, there are three major causes of car stereo problems:
- Old Age: The first one is old age, which is an inevitable problem.
- Wiring: The second is faulty components or wiring. When the components are not correctly matched, the proper sound output is inhibited, this could lead to malfunction.
- Incorrect Installation: The final cause, which happens to be quite common, is incorrect installation, also referred to as “user error”. Regardless of the root cause of your car radio’s problem, you should quickly get it fixed to avoid any long-term issues.
Why Does Your Car Radio Turn On by Itself?
Another likely cause is loose wires touching and causing shorts, leading to your car radio turning on spontaneously.
There could be an issue with where the switch is positioned inside of the system as well.
Outlined below are the major causes of this issue coupled with some light advice and quick fixes.
1. Blown Fuse
A fuse ensures that your car stereo gets the required operating voltage. The fuse is also designed to protect its circuit from any instance of shorting.
A poorly working or blown fuse might push your stereo into an on-off cycle which can be quite frustrating.
2. Memory Wire Malfunction
If your car radio exhibits this malfunction specifically when you start your car, try to replace the memory wire and see if the problem goes away.
If you can’t detect any issue with the memory wire with a visual inspection, check it for its voltage reading through a multi-meter.
It is advised to entrust these repairs and replacements to a well-trained mechanic or automobile engineer to avoid worsening the issue.
3. Head Unit Wiring Malfunction
Sometimes every component of the car stereo is working perfectly fine except for some wires of the head unit.
Therefore, start troubleshooting when your car stereo keeps resetting. Inspect every wire coming out of the head unit, and see if it’s properly taped. Often, you may figure out the issue this way.
Car Radio Keeps Turning Off By Itself
Sound cuts normally occur when the amplifier is getting overheated or a speaker wire has become loose.
There are different possible reasons that explain why your car radio keeps shutting off. It could be anything from a wiring error to a malfunctioning head unit.
Here are some potential signs that signal this problem and some basic troubleshooting techniques you can try.
1. Wire Shorting
This occurs when the wires at the back of your radio’s wiring harness get loose enough to start touching each other. When this happens, both wires get shorted out.
This can happen if the copper from the wires comes in contact with other wires they should not be connecting with. For example, the black ground wire touching the red power wire when going over bumps can make your car stereo shut off automatically.
2. Loosely Connected Wires
This is also another similar problem related to the first part of troubleshooting. This happens when the power and ground wires do not make proper contact with each other.
This can cause problems such as not getting enough power to the stereo, when the power output gets too low your radio will go off. So check that all wires are connected firmly with each other to ensure that they are secure.
3. Loose Front Panel/Face Plate
Nowadays, most car radios on the market come equipped with a detachable front panel you can take with you after you park your car.
While this definitely helps in terms of security, it also leads to certain problems. The front panel is designed with a gold metal component that connects it to the radio.
When the metal contacts are not correctly placed or pushed in, the electrical connection will not happen properly. This might lead to intermittent power shortages that might make your car radio seemingly go off by itself.
Head Unit Keeps Turning On/Off
Another cause for a powerless head unit could be that your amplifier has switched into protection mode. This can happen in one of two ways.
One, the power produced by the alternator is too much for the amplifier and the amp has to protect itself from damage. Two, the battery is unable to provide the audio system with constant voltage.
How to Fix This Head Unit Issue
Use a voltmeter to check if the power wire is sending 12V to the head unit. If the power wire is doing so, then the problem is with the head unit itself.
Hopefully, that is not the case. Before you give up on the unit, check these possible solutions:
- Change out the power wire.
- Check for blown fuses and replace if necessary.
- Check the battery.
- Contact an Automobile expert.
One of these should fix your head unit and get it back to life. If your head unit has a faceplate, like a Kenwood or Pioneer, you may need to clean the contacts between the head unit and the faceplate. Please check out our guide on the Kenwood faceplate display not working.
Car Speaker Cuts In and Out
To solve this problem, ensure that there is enough airflow where the amplifier is mounted. The airflow keeps the amp cool at all times and should prevent sudden sound cut-offs. It’s also a good idea to check your speaker wires to make sure they are properly connected.
Lastly, no matter the scale of your car radio problem, the smartest thing to do is to contact a trusted automobile expert. However, with the right knowledge and equipment, you should be able to fix most radio problems that your vehicle encounter.