There are not many things more annoying than starting your car to see that the car stereo lost the settings you have put in, or in the worst-case scenarios asking for a code.
The most f important part for many car owners is their radios. When they start acting up, finding the exact fault can be challenging, especially when the radio resets for no reason.
Your car radio will only reset when one of three things have happened:
- It has lost power completely,
- It is overheating,
- Or, the memory wire has been installed incorrectly.
To fix this, you will need to measure how hot it gets, check on the battery, check the fuses, trace the wiring set-up, or in the worst cases, replace the unit altogether.
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Tip: To correctly diagnose the problem with your head unit, you have to use the right tools. I have been working with many multimeters, but my favorite one for car audio systems is the Crenova 890Z. Because it can measure not only all electric parameters but also the temperature, it will help you analyze potential problems that may arise with your car stereo.
Once you have the problem located, the fix only takes a few minutes to implement, with the most complex one usually being the replacement of the head unit.
If you want to use a quality multimeter for your car, click the above link and check the latest price on Amazon.
Here’s how you will find the problem with your radio and the easiest and fastest way you can fix it!
Why car stereos turn on and off?
Radio systems in your car are not wired to be an essential part of the vehicle; however, they can easily show that something more is wrong with the engine. The most common cause of radios turning on and off is that the battery cannot supply enough power to keep the stereo on or overheating when used for long periods.
This is often caused by lights was left on or a door was not closed properly, causing the battery to run dry overnight. There are rare cases where the car will run perfectly, but the radio will be cut out randomly while driving. This can happen when the head unit of the stereo is overheating.
Fortunately, the stereo will only dip on and off when this is the case. Fixing this issue can be simple, checking the wires or adding a cooling unit for the stereo system. Either problem requires some attention, and many times the only way to fix the stereo will be to test, seeing which solutions make the situation worse or better.
Why my radio resets when I start the car?
There are five reasons that a car stereo system resets, each of them caused by the same thing, a loss of power to the stereo system. Car stereos are not built with batteries to compensate for power loss, as the car should always have some current flowing through it.
Here are likely causes of power loss to the stereo system, and knowing how to recognize them will save you many hours of frustration:
The most common and easy problem to fix that causes stereo resets are battery problems—broken and old batteries or batteries that are simply drained. Finding faults with the battery is always easy, owing to the rest of the car either not starting or having a lot of trouble starting.
A problem that can sneak up on even the most experienced car owners is the head unit overheating, which often happens during custom stereo systems installation. There are two causes for this, over Volting of the system or not enough cooling.
The harness fitted is usually not simple to install, and if you are not careful, you will supply too much power to the stereo. In other cases, the more complex stereo you are installing will create too much heat for space it now occupies.
A fuse failure for stereo systems will usually result in the stereo not starting up at all, even when you turn the key simply to listen to music. The fuse is the first thing that most people will check when their stereo starts acting strangely. Fuses are the first line of defense when a short is created, or a surge goes through the car’s electrics.
The easiest thing to overlook when installing or fixing a car stereo system is the memory wire. Usually, a small yellow wire is part of the wiring harness. This wire has a constant flow of power to it. When it is not connected or broken, the stereo system will reset every time it loses power.
The most unfortunate way a stereo system will not work is when the head unit has become faulty, usually as a cause of surges, liquid damage, or just age.
When everything else in the car is working correctly, the wires are correct, and the fuse is brand new, this usually implies that something has gone wrong with the head unit. Replacing this in modern cars can require hours of work and should only be done if you are incredibly confident.
Fortunately, most stereo systems that break in this manner can be replaced with only a few screws.
How to stop car radio from resetting?
When you are unsure of what the problem is, and you are looking for a solution to your car radio constantly resetting, there are some things you can do. These are simple solutions that range from inexpensive to spending more money than yearly maintenance to fix the car.
Fix Overheating Through Power:
A common problem only if a custom stereo system has been installed. Overheating is caused by the head unit receiving too much power, usually by a wire that has been installed incorrectly. Simply finding this wire and plugging in the correct one will solve the problem.
Venting The Unit:
Not many people realize that all electronics create some type of heat, even the stereo system in your car. If you install a new, slightly larger unit in your vehicle, you may end up blocking even the vents installed on the new stereo. Checking to see how you can create airflow for the stereo through vent holes or fans will create a stereo system that runs a lot more reliably.
Fuses rarely cost more than a few dollars and can be bought in packages with several sizes to use. Simply checking the corresponding fuse will show you whether or not it is blown. This fix usually takes less than a minute to complete.
Usually, the most cost-effective thing to do first is to check if the wiring harness has been connected properly. Doing this takes only a few minutes and might reveal why several other parts of your car are not working as expected. Usually, when this is done, the problem is a loose memory wire, and reconnecting this wire fixes the resetting head unit problem.
A slightly more involved process than most think is replacing the battery in your car, and when you start experiencing any electrical problems, this should always be on the list of things you will do. New batteries are often the easiest way to solve almost all of your car’s issues in the electrical department. Few people realize that they need to put new batteries in their cars every few years.
When the fuses don’t work, the wiring is solid, and even a new battery fails to stop the radio from resetting, it can mean only one thing. The head unit will need to be replaced, either because it is entirely faulty or because the internal components have slightly broken. While you can open the head unit to pinpoint which part exactly has broken, usually the capacitor, replacing parts on these small boards can be next to impossible.
The stereo system is one of the most vital pieces of technology in your car; however, it is still hundreds of different components assembled together. If you are experiencing troubles with it, the solution can be as simple as installing a new fuse or as complicated as installing a brand-new cooling system that keeps the air fresh.
Just remember that no matter what you do, disconnect the battery before you start touching the cables that power it!