Why My Car Radio Stopped Working After Hitting a Bump?


It often happens when you drive along and hit a bump, suddenly your radio cuts out either entirely or for a brief second. Why did your car radio stop working after hitting a bump?

There are three main reasons why your car radio stopped working after hitting a bump, and these are faulty wires, a corroded connection, or a bad antenna. In any case, the signal may have gotten interrupted and resulted in either a partial or complete loss of sound.

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Tip: If your radio cuts out often, it can have a bad wring, and you should repalce the cables. Fortunately, these are relatively minor inconveniences and can be easily fixed.

When searching for the new harness, I recommend either Metra or Scosche, thanks to their quality and affordable prices.

If you’re regularly experiencing gaps in the audio, you may need to investigate the root cause, for which I will give you some tips below. Once you identify the root cause, you can take some steps outlined within the article to fix the issue. 

Why Does My Radio Cut Off When I Hit a Bump?

There are a few explanations for the sudden radio disruption after hitting bumps while driving. You can pull out the radio and do an investigation. Or you may benefit from contacting a professional if it’s out of your scope or range of expertise. 

The most common culprits are:

Faulty Wires

If your car radio has stopped working after hitting bumps or holes in the road, you may have a faulty connection with your wires that could’ve become loose over time. Car radios have multiple wires running to the back of the unit to produce the sound and send and receive signals from your antenna.

The cables are connected with a wire harness that connects all of the wires to a single point. This harness allows them to plug one piece in rather than every single individual wire.

If any one of the wires in the harness gets shorted out, potentially has stopped working, or is damaged in any way, it can cause the entire system to have issues. If one of the wires connected to the radio has a problem, hitting any bump that jostles the vehicle around will also directly affect the output.

Consider testing the theory by running over other bumps or roads that cross train tracks to see if this is an isolated problem or standard in your vehicle. 

Corroded Connection

While there may not be a specific break in any connecting wires, you certainly could have a corroded connection.

The cables running from your radio to your car may have been exposed to vapor or other liquids. This vapor can corrode the connection spots causing issues, especially if the wires used are not of the highest quality.

Moisture can deposit particles of water or liquid onto the exposed metal, causing it to become almost useless as the metal corroded away.

You may need to pull the entire unit out of the car to inspect the equipment’s craftsmanship further. 

Bad Antenna

A lousy antenna can mean a poor connection to the head unit or the antenna itself. If the antenna is faulty or needs a replacement, you may continue to hear skips or disruptions in your music. 

While most newer cars don’t have the traditional antenna sticking out of your vehicle’s side, you should still be able to locate the antenna.

More recent vehicle models might use a shark fin antenna, which is almost undetectable unless you’re looking for it. The shark fin sits on top of the vehicle’s roof, is small, and looks as if it blends in with the rest of its construction. These are aesthetically more pleasing than the old version.

How To Prevent Radio Problems Over Bumps

There are a few different approaches to preventing your car radio from stopping. While some may involve changing your car radio or installing a new system, others are things you can avoid while driving. 

Here are a few of the better strategies:

Avoid Holes While Driving

If you cannot dig into your radio problems’ root cause, take some extra precautions while driving to avoid any holes or significant bumps.

If you have faulty wires running to the radio unit and continue to hit bumps, this may increase the severity of your issue and can potentially disconnect a wire entirely, leaving you without any radio until you fix the problem.

Check the Current Connections

If your radio has stopped working consistently, it may be time to take a look behind the scenes.

Check the connections with the user manual if available, and determine the best approach for pulling the radio system out of your vehicle. You may need to use a few different tools to gain access to the equipment’s back, such as a screwdriver and pliers. 

Once you gain access to the unit’s back, you can begin inspecting the wires and connections. Gently look through each of the wire harnesses and see if there are any signs of faulty wiring.

If you have wires that appear to be broken or damaged, you may have found your culprit. If a wire seems to have a very loose connection, you may be able to repair it using a soldering iron. 

Additionally, while you have the back of the unit exposed, be sure to look at the base and connection ports for any potential corrosion. Signs of decay may include a rusty color or other discoloration on what should be silver metal pieces. If you identify areas with corrosion, you may need to replace the unit or replace the corroded parts individually. 

Inspect Your Antenna 

If you’ve pulled out your radio and all connections appear to be okay, consider taking a look at the antennae on your vehicle. If you have the older antenna style that sticks straight up into the air, look for any bends or abnormal creases in the wire, especially if your antenna is a long one or telescopic type.

If the antenna appears to be damaged, you may need to replace it, or you can attempt to straighten it out. 

Replacing Your Radio

If you’ve been able to pinpoint a specific issue with your radio and need to replace it, you can follow the steps below. You can replace it on your own or consult a professional for assistance.

How To Replace Your Head Unit?

The following steps provide a high-level overview to replace the radio. However, you’ll still need to follow the user manual included with your new radio system to ensure proper installation. 

  • Use extraction keys to pop the old radio out of the case. Place them in the small slots of the stereos and push them in.
  • Disconnect all the wiring from the car to the current radio’s adapter harness. 
  • Take your new radio and connect the car’s wiring to the new adapter. 
  • If the new radio includes an output converter, you’ll need to plug it in to communicate with the vehicle. 
  • Slide your hand into the console to tuck all the wiring to be behind the radio. This will help to keep everything organized while you finish. 
  • Plug the harness into the radio and attempt to power it on. If successful, complete the installation by sliding the radio into the frame. You may need to use a faceplate adaptor if it does not fit perfectly. 

Conclusion

Your car radio may stop working after hitting bumps due to faulty wiring, corroded connections, and issues with your antenna.

If the problem continues to happen every time you hit a bump or run through a pothole, you may need to investigate the issue further. Car radios are relatively easy to take out and inspect, so you can first attempt to diagnose the problem before contacting a professional. 

If you still cannot locate the issue, or if you need to replace your car radio entirely, contact a local expert to assist with updating the system and fixing the problem. 

Martin

Welcome to ImproveCarAudio! I am Martin, and I love to write about everything related to car sound systems. I strive to provide the most accurate and helpful information about car audio through extensive research, as well as my experience with car audio installations.

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