Kenwood Faceplate Display Not Working (Quick Fix)

Norvan Martin
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There are many Kenwood branded stereos with a removable front faceplate panel. Over time, as it is removed and reconnected, the connector becomes exposed to dust and dirt. This can cause the faceplate display to stop working. In this article, we will be looking at how the fix your Kenwood stereo faceplate display not working.
The quick fix for your Kenwood faceplate display not working is to remove the faceplate and clean the electrical contacts between the faceplate and the head unit. Use a soft lint-free cloth to clean the contacts on the back of the faceplate and the front of the head unit. Do not use any liquid solvents. 
Read on to learn more about faceplates and how to fix the blank faceplate issue.

Why Do Car Stereos Have Removable Faceplates?

In the past, most car stereos only had simple dials and knobs to control various features. Most of them only had two knobs to adjust the volume and the frequencies.

Why Do Car Stereos Have Removable Faceplates

Nowadays, car stereos are much more complex and have much more controls. These devices are built with touchscreens or anything else we can imagine. But why do car stereos have removable faceplates? 

Car stereos have removable faceplates for security reasons – it is a deterrent to thieves. Car stereos are stone very frequently. When the faceplate is removed, a would-be thief will see a functionless blank face of the head unit. In many cases, they will assume no radio is installed in the vehicle and hopefully, this will deter the thief.

The History of Car Stereos Removable Faceplates

This idea of removable stereo faceplates was introduced back in the 1980s by the brand Pioneer. It was popularized by Pioneer as well. Pioneer introduced this concept because, at the time, car stereo theft was very popular in the United States.

Pioneer completed and released the first successful attempts at a fully detachable faceplate for their radios in 1989. Today, some of the best car stereo manufacturers such as Kenwood.

Should You Remove The Faceplate From Your Car Stereo?

If you live in a sketchy part of town or for whatever reason you are concerned about someone breaking into your car, having a stereo faceplate is a great idea. 

Disadvantages of Stereo Faceplates

However, stereos without faceplates are hassle-free and you can lose a faceplate or forget it at home. This can lead to one too many tuneless commutes, so I suggest storing the faceplate somewhere within the car itself.

The glove box is the first place a robber would look, though, so get creative with your hiding spots. Thanks to handbags, ladies are less likely to be forgetting their faceplates at home or somewhere else.

Alternatives To Stereo Faceplates

If you do not want a stereo faceplate in your car, but you want to deter thieves, then you need an integrated “infotainment” system.

Such a system will replace your traditional single stereo and will be difficult to steal. Remember, a faceplate is just a peripheral part of the stereo, not the stereo itself. 

Today, most cars are manufactured with these integrated “infotainment” systems as stock. By integrated, we mean these systems are directly integrated into the car’s multimedia capabilities as well as navigation tools, and vehicle status information.

All of this is in one unit! It wouldn’t make any sense for a thief to attempt to steal a system like this. It would require a lot of time, skill, and knowledge because these systems are complicated. 

In addition, there is no market for such stereos because they are very specific to vehicle models and are programmed in specific ways. 

Can You Swap Car Stereo Faceplates?

You can swap car stereo faceplates if both faceplates are compatible with each head unit. In other words, is the faceplate that you want to swap compatible with the head unit you want to attach it to?

This doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be the same unit. For example, sometimes you can find cross-model and inter-generational compatibility of faces and head units within certain stereo brands. However, it is unlikely that you will ever find cross-brand compatibility.

Can You Buy A Spare Removable Faceplate For Your Radio?

Faceplates can stop working for whatever reason and you may need a new one. Can you purchase removable faceplates or buy a spare one? Yes, you can. The best way to get a new or space stereo faceplate is from the manufacturer. Can You Buy A Spare Removable Faceplate For Your Radio

Simply contact your car stereo manufacturer and ask if they manufacture faceplates for your stereo model.

Of course, this is if your stereo is one of the later ones on the market. If it is very old, the manufacturer may not stock it anymore.  In this case, you need to search the second-hand markets in your area or check eBay. However, please be careful that you do not purchase a stolen faceplate.

What Causes The Kenwood Faceplate Display Not Working Issue?

If you have a Kenwood branded stereo with a removable front faceplate panel, there are electrical contacts between the faceplate and the head unit. Over time, these contacts become dirty from dust and rust. Regardless of what you may do, it is likely that the connectors will become exposed to dust and dirt.
If the contacts are dirty and eroded when the faceplate contacts touch the gold metal contacts on the back of the faceplate and the front part of the head unit, it will not provide proper electrical conductivity.
If there is no electrical connectivity, then the faceplate will not work. Sometimes, it will work somewhat. In some cases, some buttons may start to malfunction and in other cases, the car stereo or the screen will not come on. The blank screen issue is very common where neither the screen nor the buttons work.

How To Fix The Kenwood Faceplate Display Not Working Issue?

The Kenwood faceplate bank display issue is due to dirty, rusty, or eroded electrical contacts between the faceplate and the head unit. To fix it, you can simply wipe down the electrical contacts on the head unit as well as the contacts on the faceplate. 

You can simply use a cloth to wipe down the contacts. Do not use any cleaning solvents because you may damage the contacts and cause rust over time. 

Here is the step-by-step process on how to clean the contacts:

  1. Switch off the Ignition and The Stereo: Switch off the car and of course power off the radio. You do not want the car or the stereo on while you are working on it as you may blow the fuse or cause other issues.
  2. Remove The Faceplate: Take your time to carefully remove the faceplate from the front panel of the Kenwood car stereo. Be careful not to rip it out. Some stereos have a detach button.
  3. Clean The Contacts: Use a soft lint-free cloth to clean the connectors on the back of the faceplate and the ones on the front of the head unit of the car stereo. 
  4. Reattach the Faceplate: Now reattach the faceplate and turn on the car
  5. Your faceplate should be working now!

How Do I Get My Kenwood Stereo Out Of Protect Mode?

switch off the receiver and let it cool for a limited period; then try again. If the safety mode notice doesn’t go away, click the reset button. If that doesn’t work, remove the power lead from your receiver for 30 seconds and then reconnect it. If it still doesn’t work it is time to take it to the dealer. 

How to Reset Your Kenwood Stereo?

If you have been using your stereo for a long time, you will realize that your stereo has started acting up. The buttons might stop working correctly; your display screen might freeze up or become impassive. 

An easy reset will be able to fix all these issues then. If you still experience hitches you can choose a factory reset or take a trip to the nearby electronic store, where they will help you infer if anything is wrong with your stereo. When you discover a different setting or your friend decides to mess with your stereo, you might have trouble steering it. 

In such a case, a factory reset is due. A refurbishment of all your previous settings and show you the basic settings it was installed in. This way, you can customize our settings again, and your stereo will start working.


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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