When your car radio stops working, it can cause a little bit of panic in some folks because of the thought of how to fix a car radio fuse and how much a repair would be.
Luckily, in some cases, the problem lies with a blown fuse that is easy to find, remove, and replace.
Generally, you can’t fix a car radio fuse because fuses are not made to be fixed in any sense due to their nature of being a safeguard against a high current, but instead, you have to replace it if it is blown. To replace a radio fuse, you will need to locate the fuse box, remove it with the correct tool and replace it with a fuse of the same amperage.
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Tip: When replacing a blown fuse, make sure to use the new one of the same amperage as the current one. Otherwise, you risk permanent damage to your car’s audio system.
Fuses are not expensive, and you can find the full selection for just over $10 on Amazon.
For example, this set of 24 fuse sizes ranging from the 2amp to 35amp is also equipped with the fuse puller, and with this selection, there is no need to take your car to a repair shop.
In the article below, I will explain where the fuses in your car are located, how easy it is to check whether or not they are blown, and how to replace them.
How Do I Know if My Car Radio Fuse Is Blown?
The simplest way to figure out if your car radio fuse is blown is to notice that your radio will not switch on at all, and there will be no power to it whatsoever.
This is a telltale sign that the radio fuse is most likely blown (unless there is another major underlying fault).
Take note that if your radio turns on or is intermittent (it turns on and off at random times), there is probably a faulty connection or faulty wiring in the circuit somewhere, and this will not be a sign indicating that your stereo fuse is blown.
How Do You Check a Fuse on a Car Radio?
In essence, the process entails removing the fuse that you think is blown and is the correct one correlating to your car stereo and checking it.
There are two ways to go about this. Using a multimeter is a little more time-consuming, but it can also help you check to see that your circuit and your radio are working correctly.
If you do not intend to go about the process with a multimeter, the action of finding your radio fuse, removing it, checking it to see if it’s blown, and replacing it will take you less than 5 minutes.
Where Is the Radio Fuse Located in a Car?
To find the radio fuse for your radio is simpler than you may think.
Due to the evolution of cars and technology, vehicle manufacturers will typically place fuse boxes (compartments that house all your car’s fuses) in an accessible area.
Take note that there will typically be two fuse boxes.
One will be located in the engine compartment, and the other will usually be found under the dashboard on either the driver or passenger side. Depending on the make and model of your car, this will vary.
How Do I Know Which Is the Car Radio Fuse?
Usually, when you remove the panel to get to the fuse box, which makes the fuses accessible, the fuses will be labeled somehow.
This again will vary depending on the make, model, and manufacturer of the vehicle.
These labels might be numbered, labeled with letters or words. To understand these labels or markings, you can refer to the backside of the fuse box panel you have removed. There will be a breakdown of the fuses, locations, and labels in most cases.
There is one factor to note here. In some instances, the fuse that is used for the radio can also be used for another part of your vehicle, such as the interior lights.
If this is the case for your vehicle, you will notice that your interior lights stop working the moment the radio does.
Moreover, this fuse will sometimes not be labeled to indicate that it is indeed the radio fuse but may be labeled something like “interior” or “lights.”
You will need to refer to the back panel, and if it is still not clear from that, your best option is to search for your vehicle’s make and model online and get a schematic of the fuse box.
How Do I Remove a Car Radio Fuse to Check It?
Once you have located what you think to be is the radio fuse, you will now have to remove it. Depending on the size and location of the fuse, there are three ways to take it out.
- The first way is to use the correct tool, which is a fuse puller. This is a small plastic device made explicitly to pull fuses and to prevent damage in any which way to the fuse, its surroundings, or yourself.
- The following way is to use a pair of pliers. There is nothing wrong with using pliers. You will just need to make sure that you do not damage the fuse or any part of its surroundings. Remember that if you pull the fuse and it is not blown, but you have damaged it or its case in a way that can cause an issue, then you may have a problem. Your best bet would be to get thin needle-nose pliers or even jewelry pliers because they are small and will allow you more room for error than a large pair of pliers.
- The last way you can remove a fuse from the fuse box is simply by taking it out with your fingers. You may be able to do this without an issue if the location and size of the fuse are suitable. However, in some cases, the manufacturer tightly packs the fuses together, and using your fingers will be a tad problematic, maybe even downright impossible.
However, if you can use your fingers, just be sure to turn the car off and disconnect the battery. You will incur a fatal shock from your battery because it has low voltage.
If your car is on, some of the other electric systems could cause a nasty shock and, in some cases, also cause a short.
Note that you have to remove the fuse to check if it is blown or not. You will not be able to tell with it in place.
How to Tell if My Car Radio Fuse Is Blown?
Once you have pulled the correct fuse (your car radio fuse) with one of the methods we listed above, the next step is to check whether or not the fuse is actually blown.
Telling whether or not a fuse is blown is pretty straightforward.
Fuses are designed as a safeguard against electrical surges and shorts that would otherwise damage your expensive (in this case, your radio) electronic equipment.
Their job is not to let any excess amount of current pass through the circuit, and as such there material is made so that if there is, it literally disintegrates (melts) due to the heat of the current.
This will be easy to spot because nowadays, fuses are also made with a transparent housing so you can actually see the fuse, and when you can see that the filament inside is melted and there is no longer a solid connection, you will know that the fuse is blown.
How Do I Fix a Car Radio Fuse?
Once you see that your radio fuse is blown, you will need to replace it.
Fuses are not made to be fixed. That would defy their purpose of them. Remember that they are a safeguard, and when they are destroyed due to some short circuit, you will need to address that and then replace the fuse.
Replacing a fuse is as simple as taking one out. You will just need to clip the new fuse back in. Additionally, you must note that there are many different types of fuses in terms of how much current is allowed to pass through them (measured in Amps).
Even though many fuses may look the same on the outside and inside, their resistance tolerance can and will be very different.
You must purchase the correct replacement fuse, not just one that looks the same and fits. If you have replaced the original fuse with one that does not have the same current tolerance, the consequences could be dire.
If the forbearance of the fuse is less than the recommended level, then the fuse will keep repeatedly blowing, and you will need to keep replacing it.
However, if you replace a fuse with higher amperage, then if there is a short and a surge in current, the outcome will most likely be that your car stereo will blow entirely.
If this happens, there is no way around that except to purchase a new radio. Hence make sure you buy and install the correct fuse.
Use a Multimeter to Check if Your Car Radio Fuse Is Blown
You can use a multimeter to check the current to your stereo and thus be able to tell if your radio fuse is blown.
However, this method is more intensive than just checking a fuse, and you would typically only use it if you are at a loss as to where the radio fuse might be or if you are checking your car radio to see that it is not damaged in any way.
In order to do this, you will need access to the memory wire and the accessory wire that is connected to the back of your radio. Thus, if your radio is not removed, you will need to remove it.
- Start by connecting up the ground lead of your multimeter to the chassis of your car. Set your multimeter to a 12V direct current.
Remember, a car battery is 12v, and it is sending power to your stereo, so this will need to be tested.
- Next, you will use the positive lead of the multimeter and probe the 12V memory wire leading to your radio. This is typically the yellow wire. Note that the car keys do not need to be in any position for this test to read 12V.
If you don’t know anything about car radio wiring or harness, check out my other articles here.
The multimeter should read a constant 12V when probing the yellow wire. If not, you will know that the car radio fuse is probably blown. You will need to find the fuse, remove it, replace it, and repeat the process.
There is also another fuse that you will need to check, and that is the accessory fuse. You will need to repeat the previous process but check a different wire to do this. The wire you will need to check is typically red (the accessory wire).
By having the ground lead connected to the chassis and probing the read wire, the multimeter should again read 12V. However, the car keys for this test will have to be in the accessory position or the on position.
If there is no 12V reading, then the fuse is most likely blown, and you will need to find it, remove it, replace it, and perform the test again.
How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Car Radio Fuse?
If you intend to replace the car fuse yourself, then a box of fuses with almost 300 pieces off Amazon costs approximately $13.
An actual fuse costs a couple of cents; however, you cannot purchase them separately unless you go to an automotive brick and mortar store.
Sending your vehicle to get a fuse replaced can sometimes cost more than hundreds of dollars. The thing to note here is that you should always first check your fuses.
If your radio is not working (it does not turn on and off) and you are scared something is faulty with the car, make sure to run through troubleshooting to determine what is wrong before sending it in for some sort of repair.
Some automotive repair shops will just replace a 10 cent fuse, charge you an excessive amount of money, and make up a story that something else was wrong with your vehicle or radio, so to save some money, it is better to replace the radio fuse by yourself.
Now you know that you couldn’t fix a car radio fuse, but instead, you have to replace it if it is indeed blown.
The process of finding and removing the car radio fuse is pretty simple, and anyone with a bit of common sense can achieve this. Moreover, if you do, it will save you a ton of money rather than taking it to an automotive repair shop.
I went over two ways in which you can check if your car radio fuse is blown, with the first way simply being to find it, remove it, and if need be, replace it.
The operation with the multimeter would likely be used in specific situations where just checking if the fuse was blown is not good enough.
If your car radio is not working and you are at a loss as to why and you don’t know if the fuse is the problem, then this would be the correct method to use.