How to Reset Kenwood Car Stereo (Easy)

Norvan Martin
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Kenwood is an excellent brand for car stereos. Most of their stereo systems are very powerful. This is why they are featured multiple times on our list of the best car stereos. However, there are many issues that may occur that will require a reet of your Kenwood car stereo. In this article, we show you two easy methods to reset your Kenwood car stereo.

Why Reset My Kenwood Car Stereo?

You would reset your Kenwood car stereo for the same reason you would reset most devices, something is simply not working and you want to power it up fresh.

Issues that would prompt a reset include malfunctions, like knobs and buttons not working or the display freezing. These issues can sometimes be fixed by a simple reset. a factory reset simply takes the system to the state it was in from the factory in terms of settings. 

Here are the two methods for resetting Kenwood car Stereo:

Method 1: For the KDC Line Models

Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Insert your vehicle’s key in the ignition and turn it gently until the stereo lights power up.
  2. Go to the stereo’s bottom-left corner and locate the “Detach” button.
  3. Press the “Detach” button to take the faceplate off the stereo.
  4. Find a small “Reset” button on the stereo.
  5. Press and hold the button with a pointed tool for 5 seconds.

That is all you need to do to reset your car stereo. Please note that you should reset it within 5 seconds after detaching the faceplate.

Method 2: For Kenwood Excelon DDX Touchscreen Models

Under this category, you have two methods.

Soft Reset

If you’ve noticed minor malfunctions or the stereo is unresponsive, you should follow the steps below to soft reset it.

  1. Find a small screwdriver or any other similarly pointed tool.
  2. Go to the top left of the stereo and locate the small red triangle light-up button.
  3. Press the light-up button for 5 seconds.

Factory Reset

Here are the steps you should follow to factory reset your Kenwood Excelon DDX:

  1. Long press the Eject CD button and the Volume button concurrently.
  2. Press the small triangular reset button using a pointed tool as you hold these two buttons.
  3. Keep holding the two buttons until the stereo boots back up.
  4. Tap the “Initialize All” on the screen.
  5. Press the small triangular reset button once you are prompted.

That’s all you need to do to factory reset the car stereo.

Kenwood Car Stereo Protect Reset

Kenwood car stereo protect-reset is the perfect way of ensuring your device keeps serving you after entering into the protect mode. However, you need to be able to troubleshoot the cause of the problem. This is the best way to find a lasting solution.Kenwood Car Stereo Protect Reset

You can consult the documentation that comes with your car stereo to discover the potential reasons your device is in the protect mode.

Unfortunately, some of them don’t provide all the required pieces of information.

For example, the manual that comes with stereo models such as KMR-D372BT and KDC-BT340U only offers that you should take your unit to a professional service center.  

However, the Kenwood KDC-MP242U explains that your stereo could enter the protect mode if your speaker wires have malfunctioned.

The KCA-M1824BBT provides that overheating, lower speaker impedance, and malfunction in the receiver can trigger the unit’s protection. With these details, you can quickly troubleshoot your car stereo and understand when to seek professional help.

Why Does My Kenwood Stereo Keep Saying “Protect?”

If you see the word “PROTECT’ on your stereo’s display, you should not worry. It means the device is in protect mode. It occurs with other devices too, for example, you may see “protect” on your Denon receiver.

In other words, it encountered a severe problem and shut off to prevent further damage. It’s important to note that some older Kenwood Stereos don’t have the display feature. They can enter protect mode without you even noticing.

Overall, if you see “PROTECT,” your receiver might have an internal short, or the speaker has developed a mechanical problem. It’s also possible that your speaker wiring has a problem or your speaker impedance is low, but you are trying to play your music at a high volume for an extended period.

As we’ve seen, you can reset your Kenwood Car Stereo using at least one of the two popular methods to fix this.

Kenwood Stereo Security Code

You might also be required to reset your Kenwood car stereo if its stereo security code locks you out of the service.Kenwood Stereo Security Code

Kenwood sets these codes to protect their car stereos from theft. Whenever you disconnect your stereo from the battery system of your car, the security check activates. The security feature can lock you out of your stereo after repairing activity under the hood or at any other time.

If this happens, you can try some standard security codes or contact the previous owner. That’s not all. As a matter of last resort, you can use the tips above to reset your car stereo.

How Can I Spot and Fix Kenwood Car Stereo Overheating?

Overheating is one of the easiest issues to spot and fix. If you sense the receiver’s body is hotter than usual, move on and troubleshoot for the underlying cause.

Has your unit been working fine all through? If that’s the case, and you haven’t made any recent changes to your stereo or car, you should consider ruling out installation problems. Of course, the opposite could be true if you made the changes recently.

On the other hand, if you’ve been blasting your tunes at an incredibly high volume for an extended period, you could easily be a victim of overheating. Remember, electronics hate too much heat, and a high operating temperature is enough to trigger Kenwood’s protection circuit to take this action.

If that’s the issue, you should turn off the stereo and let it cool for some hours. You can then try playing your tunes again. In some cases, that’s all you need to do for the protection warning mode or the “PROTECT” to disappear.

If the warning mode doesn’t go away, you should reset the stereo. This is the time to resort to the tips we shared, in the beginning, to fix the issue with ease.

Looking for the Kenwood Stereo Short Circuit?

A short circuit is another common cause of problems that might require you to reset your Kenwood car stereo. If you’ve added new speakers or installed the stereo receiver, you are highly likely a victim of a short circuit. It can trigger the protect mode or damage your unit.

If you suspect this is the cause of your problem, you should start the troubleshooting process by looking at the end of the wires to find out whether they are frayed or touching each other. You might also need to determine whether the car’s wiring is shorting the speaker wires behind your amp or receiver.

If neither of the two tips works for you, the next thing you should do is carefully test whether there are places where the wires are damaged, frayed, or the insulation has been sheared.

Ensure there is no chance at all for the wire to come into contact with any metal. It could cause a severe problem.

To fix this problem, you should insulate the damaged areas with a high-quality heat shrink. After that, reroute the wire away from the damaged place.

How to Fix Impedance Issues

Speakers act as resisters in your implication circuit. So, if you are using speakers that provide weak resistance (lower impedance speakers), your car stereo can overheat and then shut off. The same can happen if you run the wires in parallel. It’s the easiest way to reduce the impedance of your circuitry.

You can use an online calculator to find out whether your circuitry’s impedance is lower than required. If it is, run the speakers in series instead of parallel. The basic idea is to ensure your speakers get adequate power from the stereo.

Know When to Call a Kenwood Car Stereo Professional

There are several reasons your Kenwood car receiver can refuse to work, but you can solve most of them alone with ease. So, you won’t need to reset your stereo most of the time. Moreover, you won’t need experts to help you in most cases.

For example, if the stereo is still under warranty, the best option is to take it to an authorized dealer for replacement or free service.

Otherwise, it would help if you start by troubleshooting the issue. Sometimes, all you’ll need to do is fix a few impedance issues or allow your car stereo a few hours to cool down. The only time you should reset your Kenwood car stereo is when the protection warning refuses to go away, or you’ve troubleshot for the underlying cause of the problem without success.

After resetting your Kenwood car stereo, you should use it again, no matter the nature of the problem. If that fails, it’s another perfect time you can give the service center a call or shoot them an email.

Please note that you can also call a certified expert at any other time when you need professional guidance to reset your stereo.

How to Reset Kenwood Car Stereo: Summing Up

Your Kenwood car stereo model determines which of the two methods we’ve seen above you should use to reset it. One has been designed for KDC Line models and the other for Kenwood Excelon DDX Touchscreen models. Before choosing any of them, troubleshoot the issue and consider using other practical ways to fix it.

How Do You Reset A Kenwood Protect Mode?

Begin by switching the receiver off and allowing it to cool for a few hours before trying again. If the warning persists, press the reset button or disconnect the power lead from the receiver for a short period before reconnecting it. If it still fails even after trying all the fixes, take the receiver to the dealer.

How Do I Factory Reset My Kenwood Car Stereo?

Kenwood Factory Reset

Step 1: Hold the “Eject CD” and “Volume” buttons simultaneously.

Step 2: Press The Reset Button.

Step 3: Tap the “Initialize All” button.

Step 4: Again, press the reset button.

To this extent, your Kenwood Cr Stereo shall have been factory reset.


There are times when you need to reset your car stereo if it goes into protection mode. You can do the same if you’ve failed to troubleshoot and fix other problems. So, to enjoy your entertainment experience, you should learn to reset your Kenwood car stereo. Read on for two alternative ways to reset your stereo and other essential tips that you need to do so with ease.

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Norvan Martin is the founder of He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin