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Why Does My Car Stereo Keep Resetting? (With Head Unit Tips)

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.

As an Amazon Associate, ImproveCarAudio will receive a small commission from qualifying purchases made through the links in this article.

Tip: To correctly diagnose the problem with your car stereo, 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 does my car stereo keep resetting?

Why does my car stereo keep resetting is one of the most common questions car drivers ask, and there could be several reasons why your car stereo is rebooting. Below are a few possibilities:

#1. Power issues:

Car stereo often resets when its power supply is unsteady. For example your car battery may be weak or dying, causing the stereo to reset when the car is turned off.

If this is the case, you may also notice other electrical issues, such as the headlights dimming or the engine struggling to start.

#2. Blown fuse

Your car stereo may have a blown fuse, which can cause it to reset. This common issue you can quickly fix by checking and replacing a radio fuse.

#3. Software bugs

The radio may have a software bug causing it to reset.

This can be more difficult to diagnose and fix, as it may require a software update or a visit to a professional. However, in most cases uploading the software to the latest version helps with the problem and makes the radio run smoothly.

why car stereo keeps resetting

#4. Wiring problem

The wiring in your car may be loose or damaged, causing a short circuit and resetting the stereo.

Especially when your ground connection is unstable, or you have problems with the ignitions, the stereo may be resetting itself often.

#5. Overheating

It does not happen often, but if your car stereo is overheating, it may automatically shut off to prevent damage.

This can be caused by various things like a blocked ventilation system or a malfunctioning cooling fan.

Why is My Car Stereo Rebooting when I start the car?

There are five reasons that a car stereo system keeps resetting, 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:

Battery problems: 

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.

Overheating: 

A problem that can sneak up on even the most experienced car owners is the radio 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. 

Fuse Failure: 

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.

Memory Wire: 

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.

Head Unit: 

The most unfortunate way a stereo system will not work is when the radio 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 car stereo. 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 stereo from resetting

How to Stop Stereo Head Unit 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.

Check Fuses: 

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.

In most cars, the fuses are under the hood, but some radios have a fuse built into the wiring harness, so depending on the model you use, you may need to check several places.

Wiring Checks: 

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 car stereo problem.

New Battery: 

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. 

Replacement: 

When the fuses don’t work, the wiring is solid, and even a new battery fails to stop the stereo head unit from resetting, it can mean only one thing. The radio will need to be replaced, either because it is entirely faulty or because the internal components have 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. 

Conclusion

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!

FAQ

Why Does My Stereo Turns On and Off?

There can be a few reasons for this, such as loose wiring between the antenna and the tuner, issues with the radio or wiring, or there is a problem with the battery.

How Can I Fix the Loose Wiring Issue Causing My Stereo to Reset?

To fix this issue, you will need to check the connections between the antenna, tuner, and stereo and ensure they are secure.

If the connections are loose, you may need to replace the connectors or use a different way to connect the wires, for example, to solder them.

Is It Expensive to Fix My Car Radio Resetting Issue?

The cost of fixing the problem can vary depending on the severity of the issue and the specific cause.

In many cases, it is not a costly repair, and sometimes the problem can be fixed by tightening a loose wire but in the worst cases, you may need to replace the radio.

Why My Stereo Resets When I Turn My Car off and Back On?

This may happen because the car stereo wires are not securely attached or the car stereo system is incompatible with the car.

You can check the wires, but if they are OK and the stereo keeps resetting each time you turn the car off, you may need to consult with a car stereo specialist to figure out the best solution for your vehicle.

Why Does My Car Radio Reset When I Start My Car?

Starting the car can sometimes be tricky for the aftermarket radio. The resetting issue can be related to a faulty fuse connecting the radio to the car’s battery or incorrect wiring between the radio and the battery.

It can also be an issue with the ignition harness, so to fix this issue, you may need to either replace or repair this wiring connection, depending on its condition.

Why Does My Car Radio and Clock Reset When I Turn Off My Car?

This may happen because the battery is not providing enough power to keep the radio and clock running, or there is a problem with the radio or the wiring connecting it to the battery.

Consult with a car stereo specialist to figure out the best solution for your car because when the radio does this each time, you lose the clock and all other memory settings.

Why Does My Car Radio Lose Its Settings When I Turn Off My Car?

Your car’s radio relies on constant power to save any changes you make. 

Turning off the car saves the settings because it is still plugged in, but if you disconnect and reconnect it, the device loses all saved information. 

The battery, faulty wiring, ignition, and fuse issues are typically the leading causes of resets.