Why Does My Car Radio Keep Cutting Out


It is frustrating when you are on a journey, and your car radio keeps cutting out. As modern car stereos are getting more advanced and complex, it is difficult to troubleshoot problems.

But why car stereo keeps cutting out? Let’s find out.

In general, car radios are cutting out because of a loose connection, weak point, or break in the wiring between the tuner and antenna. There also can be similar wiring issues between tuner and stereo. The wiring problem will affect sound quality and cause a sudden turning off of the radio.

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Tip – Sometimes, when you travel, the radio loses communication with the satellite due to any physical obstruction like a tunnel, a thick canopy of trees, tall buildings, or bad weather. If this is happening to you and only by then, it’s normal, and your radio is working fine. 

To eliminate this problem, you can install a Signal Booster Amplifier. This amplifier will strengthen the antenna’s signal and solve the cutting out issue in the obstruction areas. 

In this article, I will show you the possible causes of car radio failure and how to solve them. 

Why Does Car Stereo Turn Off at High Volume?

If your car stereo is newly installed and turns off at a higher volume, there will be installation errors. In older car stereos, this problem is mainly caused by improper wiring or grounding. 

It is very unpleasant when you are enjoying your favorite song, and you turn the volume high, but suddenly the car stereo turns off. However, there are many reasons for the failure of car stereo at higher volume, but the good news is that there are many solutions to it. 

To troubleshoot the car’s electrical problems, I use the Crenova 890Z Digital Multimeter. It is an excellent multimeter with 10 different testing modes. 

Here are some of the causes of turning off car stereo at high volume:

Improper Grounding

The main cause in most cases when car stereo cut out or total power loss is improper grounding.

A loose ground connection can cause breaking or short-circuiting. Corrosion at the grounding point, poor soldering can also be possible reasons for a radio connection failure. 

Bad Power Connection

Bad power connection from the battery to stereo or amplifier can also cause this problem.

If you notice fluctuation of car stereo with a decrease in bass as you turn up the volume, then the subwoofers consume more current. 

Blown Fuses

Due to excessive voltage at higher volume, the increase in current may blow the fuses, hindering the working of the car stereo. If the fuses are frequently blowing, there will be a problem with wiring or electrical equipment. 

Using Speakers With a Low Impedance

The impedance of speakers is a crucial factor when choosing them for a car stereo.

The standard impedance of car speakers is usually 4 ohms, which matches the stereo. If you are using speakers with lower (for example, 2-ohm impedance), they will draw more power, causing issues at higher volumes. 

Amplifier Wiring Issues

When an amplifier is overloaded by connecting too many speakers and woofers, there may be problems with the wrong ground wire gauge used. 

This size difference can cause the stereo to turn off at higher volumes. Make sure that both the grounding and power wires are of the same gauge. 

Blown Speakers

If the voice coil of a speaker is damaged, then one of two cases can happen.

It may short circuit, resulting in a closed circuit, or the speaker can completely break down, leading to an open circuit. This also causes cutoffs in the sound system and produces noise. 

Why Radio Cuts Out When Bass Hits?

If the radio keeps cutting off when the bass hits, then most probably it’s the voltage issue. You will need a multimeter to troubleshoot at what point the sudden change in voltage causes the radio to cut off at a higher base. 

Below are the possible causes of the radio shutting down suddenly when base hits: 

  • Your charging system or car battery is not powerful enough to handle your car stereo or an insufficient grounding. Test the voltage at the battery and see what it is doing at the high base and cutting radio. 
  • Power wires have loose connections from the alternator side. 
  • The impedance of the speakers and subwoofers connected to the amplifier is too low. 
  • Damaged coils of subwoofers.  

How Do I Fix My Car Radio Cutting In and Out?

Fixing a car stereo that is cutting off frequently is usually easier said than done. Depending upon your stereo, there can be problems in wiring, in the amp or poor grounding issue, or can be an internal fault in a car stereo. 

Below I am giving a step by step process to fix the car radio cutting out:

Check voltage at the battery side.

Pick up the multimeter and check the voltage at the battery. 

  • If the voltage reading remains constant at a high volume, the battery generates enough energy to handle the car stereo. 
  • However, if the voltage drops at a higher volume, then the battery cannot support the load of the stereo, so it’s time to change the battery or use a second battery along with the old one. 

Check the Grounding 

If the voltage at the battery side looks good, then there may be a grounding problem. 

  • To check to ground, the best place to start is the back of the stereo. For this, you have to remove the stereo carefully. 
  • After removing the stereo, you will find a bunch of wires at its back. Check the cables and make sure they are tight and properly connected. 
  • If the wires are loose or corroded, you have to connect them again either by soldering or by crimping.
  • Trace the black wire. It is the ground wire, and see where it goes. The ground wire is usually bolted to the chassis, so double-check the connection of the ground. It should be clean, free from rust, and tight. Also, check the inline fuses and check if they are good or not. 
  • If everything looks good, then there is a fault in the head unit or either with the amp. 

Check Faulty Wiring

 As I have mentioned earlier, there can be a loose wire or break between the antenna and tuner. It can affect the sound quality and also causes the radio to cut off. 

  • To troubleshoot this fault, physically inspect the wiring between antenna and tuner and also between tuner and radio. 
  • Check the connectors and see if they are tightly connected. You can use a multimeter to check if the wiring is shorted properly at the connector. 

Check Amplifier 

Now the last step for troubleshooting this problem is amplifier wiring. 

  • Check if the amplifier is grounded correctly. 
  • Make sure the power and grounding wires are of the same gauge. Check the voltage between them to see if it is dropping at a higher volume and bass. 
  • Check if the amp is in protect mode. Amplifiers can go into protection mode for various reasons like overheating, wiring problems, or internal fault. 

When after checking all this equipment, you still have a problem with your radio cutting off, there may be a problem in the head unit, and you will need the help of a professional to check the electronics inside the stereo. Sometimes replacing the head unit is the only option. 

Conclusion

Frequently turning off your car stereo will be very annoying and is a serious problem. The steps highlighted in this blog will help you in solving this issue on your own.

If you choose the right components and properly install a car stereo, you can avoid this 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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