Why Is My Car Screen Not Turning On?




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We’ve all been there at one point or another – you slide into your car, ready to hit the road, but your car screen stubbornly refuses to turn on. This situation can leave many drivers feeling perplexed and frustrated.

It could be the touch screen refusing to respond, the car radio failing to produce any sound, or maybe the backlight isn’t illuminating the LCD display like it’s supposed to. So why is your car screen not turning on?

Your car’s screen may not be turning on due to a blown fuse, faulty wiring, a malfunctioning head unit, or a dead battery.

Key Takeaways
The health of your car’s battery is paramount; a dead battery can lead to several issues, including the car touch screen not turning on. The head unit, which is essentially the control center of your car audio system if faulty, could hinder the operation of the car stereo or radio display.
Regular maintenance checks can effectively prevent problems. Simple yet impactful issues such as a blown fuse can lead to non-functioning touch screens, while loose or damaged wires can disrupt power flow to the screen. Both these problems can often be diagnosed and fixed by regular inspection and repair.
Screen-specific issues such as a non-working LCD display or backlight often point towards more serious problems and might require the entire screen to be replaced. When your car radio or infotainment system is not working, it could be due to more complex issues with the main unit or navigation screen, which usually necessitate professional help.
Preventive measures play a key role in maintaining the health of your car screen. Regularly updating your car infotainment system, ensuring safe usage of the screen, and investing in quality components are strategies that can help avoid many screen-related issues.
Responding quickly to car screen issues is vital. Early detection and repair often prevent the escalation of problems, ensuring the longevity of your car’s systems. It’s equally important to know when to take your car to a mechanic, especially for complex or persistent issues.

Don’t let a malfunctioning car radio display spoil your journey. Find out how to fix this common problem in our article Why Is Car Radio Display Not Working.

Understanding the Common Causes of a Car Screen Not Turning On

Let’s take a closer look at some common causes that might be stopping your car screen from turning on. The issues range from a dead battery to a non-functional car stereo and many others in between.

my car screen does not turn on

The Dead Battery Phenomenon

How does a dead battery affect your car screen? Think of your car battery as the heart of your vehicle’s electrical system. When the battery doesn’t have enough power, your car screen may fail to turn on or function correctly.

I’ve been in this situation where my car touch screen didn’t turn on because the battery was flat. To determine if a dead battery is the culprit:

  • Check if other electric components in your car are working. If they’re not, it’s likely a battery issue.
  • Attempt to start your vehicle. If the engine doesn’t turn over, you might be dealing with a dead battery.

A Faulty Head Unit

The head unit is the control system for your car stereo and infotainment system. When it’s faulty, your car screen might stop working.

Signs of a faulty head unit can include:

  • The car screen turns on and off intermittently.
  • Your car radio doesn’t turn on, or the audio system’s power is inconsistent.
  • You’re unable to control the system’s functions, like navigation or radio.

Determining if a faulty head unit is causing your car screen issue may require professional diagnostics. If your screen and other components are erratic or not responding, consider having a professional inspect the head unit.

Blown Fuse

A simple blown fuse can also be the reason behind your car screen not turning on. A blown fuse is easy to identify:

  • Your car screen and possibly other electric components suddenly stop working.
  • Upon inspection, the wire inside the fuse is broken or blackened.

A blown fuse disrupts the electrical flow, causing components like your car screen, backlight, or even your car radio display to stop working.

Loose or Damaged Wire

Loose or damaged wires can cause intermittent or total failure of your car screen. To identify if a loose or damaged wire is causing the problem:

  • Look for inconsistency in the functionality of your car screen.
  • An inspection by a professional may be necessary as loose or damaged wires aren’t always visible or easily accessible.

LCD Display Not Working

If the LCD display isn’t working, your car screen may appear blank or unreadable. The causes of an LCD display not working can include:

  • Physical damage, like cracks or blunt force.
  • Internal damage to the LCD panel, which may require professional repair.

When the LCD display stops working, your car screen may show distorted images or no images at all.

Backlight Not Working

The backlight illuminates the LCD display, so if it’s not working, you might struggle to see anything on your car screen, especially in the dark.

Signs of a non-functional backlight can include:

  • Difficulty seeing the information displayed on the car screen.
  • The screen appears darker than usual.

When the backlight isn’t working, it greatly reduces the visibility of your car screen, making it hard to navigate your stereo or infotainment system.

Car Radio Not Turning On

When your car radio doesn’t turn on, it can affect the display on your car screen, especially if they share a power source or fuse. Troubleshooting car radio problems can involve:

  • Checking if the radio fuse is blown.
  • Ensuring all the wires are properly connected.

Car Infotainment System Not Working

Your car infotainment system encompasses various components, including the car stereo, navigation screen, and touch screen. When it’s not working, it could cause your car screen to stop functioning.

Symptoms of a non-functional car infotainment system can include:

  • Inability to control or access the navigation, stereo, or other features.
  • The touch screen is not responding to input.

When your car infotainment system stops working, it can affect the entire car screen, making it difficult to control or view important features.

Car Stereo Not Working

If your car stereo stops working, it might affect the display on your car screen, especially if they’re integrated. Indications of a broken car stereo include the following:

  • The car stereo doesn’t produce sound.
  • The display doesn’t show the radio station or other stereo information.

When the car stereo is non-functional, it can prevent the car screen from displaying important stereo information or controls.

Troubleshooting Car Screen Problems

Now that we’ve gone over the possible causes for your car screen not turning on, let’s explore some troubleshooting methods to help you rectify this.

Steps to Follow When the Car Screen is Not Turning On

If your car screen isn’t turning on, don’t panic. Here are some steps to follow:

#1. Check if the issue is isolated to the car screen. Are other electrical components working? If they’re not, it could be a larger electrical problem, such as a dead battery.

#2. Inspect the head unit. Is it securely installed, or do you notice any damage? Remember, the head unit is the brain of your car’s audio system.

#3. Check the fuses. Look for any blown fuses that could be disrupting the power supply to the car screen.

#4. Look for loose or damaged wires. A loose or damaged wire could be interrupting the power supply to the car screen.

How to Reset Your Car Screen

If your car screen is unresponsive or displaying incorrectly, resetting it might help. Here’s how you can do it:

#1. Find the reset button. It’s usually a small hole or button on the face of the radio or in the glove box.

#2. Use a thin object like a paper clip to press and hold the reset button for about 10 seconds.

#3. Wait for the system to reboot. The car screen should reset and hopefully start working again.

I recall a time when my car’s touch screen wasn’t turning on. The simple act of resetting the system did the trick, and it was as good as new.

Checking for a Dead Battery

To check for a dead battery:

#1. Try starting your car. If the engine doesn’t crank or cranks slowly, your battery could be dead.

#2. Use a multimeter to check the battery voltage. If it reads less than 12.6 volts, your battery might be dead or discharged.

Examining the Head Unit

When examining the head unit, look for:

  • Loose or disconnected wires.
  • Signs of physical damage to the unit.
  • Signs of electrical issues, like a burning smell.

Checking for a Blown Fuse

To check for a blown fuse:

#1. Locate the fuse box in your car. Your car’s manual should indicate where it’s located.

#2. Remove and inspect the fuses related to the car screen, car stereo, and infotainment system.

#3. Look for a broken or blackened wire within the fuse, which indicates that it’s blown.

Inspecting for Loose or Damaged Wire

To inspect for a loose or damaged wire:

#1. Look for wires hanging down under the dash.

#2. Check the connections behind the head unit.

#3. If you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, have a professional check for you.

Dealing with a Non-Working LCD Display

If your LCD display isn’t working:

#1. Adjust the screen brightness. It could be that the display is too dim.

#2. Check for physical damage, like cracks or scratches.

#3. If you’re unable to rectify the issue, it might require professional repair or replacement.

Addressing a Non-Functional Backlight

To address a non-functional backlight:

#1. Increase the screen brightness. The backlight might be set too low.

#2. Check the wiring for the backlight. A loose or damaged wire could be the cause.

#3. If these steps don’t work, a professional inspection may be necessary.

Fixing Car Radio Issues

To fix car radio issues:

#1. Check the radio fuse. It could be blown.

#2. Ensure all wires are connected properly.

#3. If the radio still doesn’t turn on, consider seeking professional help.

Solving Car Infotainment System Problems

To solve car infotainment system problems:

#1. Try resetting the system. A soft or hard reset can often solve many common problems.

#2. Check the fuses related to the infotainment system.

#3. If the touch screen is unresponsive, it could be a calibration issue. Refer to your car manual for how to recalibrate it.

Troubleshooting Car Stereo Problems

To troubleshoot car stereo problems:

#1. Check if the stereo fuse is blown. If it is, replace it.

#2. Ensure all wires are connected correctly.

#3. If the stereo still doesn’t work, a professional inspection might be required.

Fixing Car Screen Problems

Let’s explore the path to resolution if you’ve been thinking, “Why is my car screen not turning on?” I will guide you on replacing your car screen, the potential costs involved, and when it might be best to consult a professional mechanic.

Replacing a Car Screen That’s Not Turning On

In some cases, if your car screen isn’t turning on, you might need to replace it. Here’s what you should know:

#1. Replacement options: Depending on the model of your car and your budget, you could opt for a direct replacement part from the car’s manufacturer or an aftermarket part.

#2. Compatibility: Ensure that the replacement screen is compatible with your car’s make and model, as well as its audio system. It should work seamlessly with your car stereo, car infotainment system, and the rest of the car’s system.

#3. Installation: You can opt to install the replacement screen yourself or have a professional do it. If you’re tech-savvy and comfortable with car electronics, you could save some money by doing it yourself. But if you’re uncertain, it’s better to leave it to the pros to avoid causing any further damage.

I had to replace the screen in my car once. Even though I’m generally comfortable with DIY, I decided to hire a professional to ensure the job was done correctly, and also I did not want to lose a warranty.

Cost to Fix a Car Screen That’s Not Turning On

The cost of fixing a car screen that’s not turning on can vary greatly, depending on several factors:

#1. Extent of the problem: Is it a simple blown fuse that needs to be replaced, or is the entire head unit faulty?

#2. Repair vs. replacement: Repairing a loose wire or replacing a blown fuse will typically be cheaper than replacing the entire screen or head unit.

#3. Labor cost: This will depend on who does the work. DIY is the cheapest but requires some technical knowledge. If you go to a professional, labor costs can add up, especially for complex issues.

Keep in mind that while the upfront cost might be higher for a professional repair, the peace of mind of knowing that the issue has been properly addressed can be worth it.

When to Take the Car to a Mechanic

If you’ve tried the troubleshooting steps and the car screen is still not working, it’s probably time to consult a mechanic. Here’s when you should take your car in:

  • You’ve tried all the troubleshooting steps without success.
  • You’ve discovered a complex problem, like a faulty head unit, that requires professional expertise.
  • You’re not comfortable doing the repair or replacement yourself.

Don’t underestimate the value of a professional’s expertise. It’s always a good idea to seek professional help to avoid exacerbating the problem.

Preventing Car Screen Problems

Prevention is often better than cure, and this saying holds particularly true when dealing with car screen problems.

To ensure your car’s touch screen, car stereo, LCD display, and backlight work smoothly, implementing preventive measures is key. Let’s delve into some strategies.

Regular Maintenance Checks

Conducting regular maintenance checks is essential to prevent your car screen from not turning on or working correctly. Here’s what you should do:

#1. Regular inspection: Check your car’s electrical system, including the fuse box, wires, and the main unit. Look for signs of a blown fuse or loose or damaged wires that might cause the car screen to stop working. Regular checks can help identify potential issues before they become bigger problems.

#2. Battery health: Your car’s battery powers the car screen, among other things. Keep an eye on its health and replace it when necessary. Remember, a dead battery is a key reason why your car screen is not turning on.

I can’t stress enough how important these checks are. I’ve seen seemingly minor issues lead to serious car screen problems because they weren’t addressed promptly.

Safe Usage of the Car Screen

Practicing safe usage habits can prolong the lifespan of your car screen:

#1. Avoid rough use: Treat the touch screen gently. Rough handling can cause it to stop working or become unresponsive.

#2. Manage brightness: Unadjusted brightness levels can strain the backlight, reducing its lifespan. Adjust your screen brightness to a comfortable level to help prevent backlight issues.

#3. Mind the temperature: Cold temperatures can affect the working of the screen. During winter, allow your car to warm up before using the infotainment system.

Investing in Quality Components

Quality components can be a game-changer in preventing car screen problems. Choose reliable brands for your car stereo, head unit, and display screen. Though they might cost more initially, they can save you from frequent repairs and replacements in the long run.

Regular Updating of the Car Infotainment System

Regular updates are crucial for the proper functioning of your car infotainment system:

#1. Software updates: Updates often include bug fixes that can solve minor glitches and improve system performance.

#2. Map updates: If your car infotainment system includes navigation, regular updates will keep the maps accurate and up-to-date.

As someone who uses their car infotainment system a lot, I can vouch for the importance of regular updates. It’s like updating your smartphone — it keeps things running smoothly.

Further Reading About Car Screen Issues

If you enjoyed this post, there are a few more related to this topic that you may find interesting. If you do, click the link below and enjoy another article.

Why is My Car Screen Glitching?

If you’re experiencing a glitchy car screen, it’s crucial to understand the root cause to address the issue correctly. It could be a software problem, a faulty connection, or even a hardware issue with the screen itself.

Dive into the various reasons why your car screen might be glitching and possible fixes to get your screen back to working order.

Why Is Car Radio Display Light Not Working?

The car radio display light plays an essential role in ensuring that you can comfortably and easily use your car’s audio system, especially in low-light conditions.

It illuminates the controls and the display, making them visible and easy to read. However, there may be instances when your car radio display light is not working. This could be due to a range of issues, such as electrical faults, blown fuses, or even a problem with the radio unit itself. 

Understanding the potential causes and how to fix them can help restore the functionality and ease of use of your car radio system.


Understanding why your car screen is not turning on can be a daunting task, given the multiple potential causes ranging from a dead battery to a faulty head unit.

However, with a systematic approach to troubleshooting car screen problems, you can successfully diagnose and fix many of these issues yourself.

The Importance of Quick Response to Car Screen Problems

A quick response to car screen problems is crucial. Issues such as a blown fuse, unadjusted brightness, or a non-working radio touch can often be quickly fixed if caught early.

I’ve seen many people ignore these issues only to face more significant problems down the line. Remember, the faster you act, the better the chance of preventing further damage.

And finally, if you’re ever in doubt, it’s better to seek professional help. Some issues, such as a faulty main unit or a non-functioning navigation screen, require professional expertise.