Why Do Car Stereos Have Removable Faceplates?
In the past, most car stereos only had simple dials and knobs to control various features. In fact, most of them only had two knobs to adjust the volume and the frequencies.
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 glovebox 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 exact 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 whether 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.
Simply contact your car stereo manufacturer and ask if they manufacturer 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?
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:
- Switch off the Ignition and The Stereo: Switch off the car and of course power off the radio. You do not want the car nor the stereo on while you are working on it as you may blow the fuse or cause other issues.
- 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.
- 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.
- Reattach the Faceplate: Now reattach the faceplate and turn on the car
- Your faceplate should be working now!