When your car radio turns on but no sound, there is usually no prior warning.
Going home after a stressful day at work, then turning on your radio to get a reprieve from the songs or a favorite program on air, only to be greeted with silence, can be really frustrating, to say the least.
However, you shouldn’t panic in such a scenario because such problems can be handled by a piece of simple technical knowledge.
There are basically four reasons why your car radio isn’t working, and they include the following:
- A blown fuse
- Faulty speaker or faulty speaker wiring
- Faulty antenna or tuner
- Anti-theft interference
- Why Car Radio Turns On But No Sound
- FAQ’s Of My Car Radio Sound Goes In and Out
Why Car Radio Turns On But No Sound
While some of these issues can be tackled with little technical know-how, you will be better served if you visit a car workshop.
However, knowing the source of the problem will always be a plus to you. At least, you stand a good chance of not getting ripped-off by some conniving workmen.
01. A Blown Fuse
Just like some electrical appliances, car radios are bound to have a fuse(s) that protects them from power surges and other electrical elements.
There are cases where the excess current is released to the audio component of the vehicle, which can cause the fuse to blow, thereby disconnecting the circuit to preserve the radio itself.
Anyone conversant with the basics of voltage or electrical continuity meter should be able to check the fuse. Most car radio fuses are located at the back of the radio.
Replacing a bad fuse will likely get your radio blasting again, however, note that anything that causes the new fuse to blow shortly after installation will require you to visit a car workshop because it means there is something faulty with the electrical system as a whole which can only be properly looked at by a professional.
How To Change a Car Radio Fuse
- Car manual
- New radio fuse
- Fuse puller, twizzer, or Needle-plier
Park and turn off the car.
You are advised not to leave the engine running when changing your car radio fuse. As soon as you notice the need to change the car radio fuse, look for an appropriate place to park your car and turn off the engine.
Locate the fuse panel
In most car radios, the fuse panel is located at the side of the driver’s dashboard. However, it can also be located under the dashboard or underneath the vehicle hood.
To save yourself the stress, ensure you read your vehicle’s manual for proper clarification.
Study the fuse diagram
Once you locate your fuse, study the fuse diagram carefully. To ascertain the radio fuse, it is imperative you still refer to the owner’s manual. You can also lookout for a well-labeled fuse diagram located on the reverse side of the fuse block cover.
This diagram identifies all the fuses in the fuse block as well as the amperage rating. Knowing the amperage resting will help you to easily replace the blown fuse.
Remove the radio fuse using the fuse puller.
This is where your fuse puller comes in. After locating the radio fuse on the diagram, use the fuse puller and grab the radio fuse from the fuse block. Needle-nose pliers or tweezers can also get the job done.
After extracting the fuse, check for the small metal bar at the center of the fuse – if it is burnt through, then you will have to replace it with a similar fuse having the same amperage and color.
Replace the burnt fuse
Purchase a new fuse of the same rating as the one you removed and place it in the same spot you removed the burnt one.
Turn your key in the ignition to the accessory point, then turn on your radio to verify if it’s working. As soon as the sound erupts, turn off the radio, and fix back the block cover the same way you dismantled it.
02. Faulty speaker or faulty speaker wiring
If the wires connected to the speakers are wrongly connected, there is a high chance that the speakers won’t blare when they are supposed to.
It could also be that your speaker is aging due to wear and tear. Speakers are designed with a vibe that aids them in producing sound waves, and the older the speaker gets, the less effective it becomes.
A simple way to identify this problem will be crackling sounds that emanate from the stereo, which can deteriorate over time.
How to replace a faulty speaker
Just like replacing a bad fuse, you don’t need to be an engineer to fix a faulty speaker. The steps below should get you nodding your head to the jams in no time at all.
- New speaker surround
- New speaker voice coil
Remove the faulty speaker
To remove the speaker, start by removing the mounting screws using a screwdriver. This will open the enclosure of the speaker.
Ensure to turn off the power by simply turning off the engine, then proceed to unplug all the wires connected to the speaker.
Remove the surround on the speaker.
There are two ways of going about this;
The first step involves using a sharp object, preferably a knife, to stab a section of the old foam surround of the faulty speaker. From the stab section, carefully tear out the surround using this hand.
You have to apply extreme caution while doing this so that you don’t tear the paper cone during this process.
The second process involves using scissors to cut out the surround instead of your hand, which is usually safer and neat.
Remove the components of the speaker — the voice coil, the old glue, and the cone.
Carefully use a knife to remove the cone of the speaker. Before removing the voice coil that’s connected to the speaker, ensure you disconnect all the terminal wires. After this process, use sandpaper to remove the visible glue remains.
Clean the speaker
Clean the speaker using a compressed air cleaner to blow out the dust. You can also use a soft cloth to clean out the edges and the central areas of the speaker — ensure you apply extreme caution.
Replace the old voice coil
Get the exact replica of the speaker’s voice coil from the store and replace it with the old one. Place the new voice coil in the same position where the old voice call was formally stationed.
Assemble the speaker cone in the voice coil
Apply some glue on the voice coil, then place the speaker cone on the voice coil and allow the glue to dry for a few minutes. The time interval will allow the glue to hold the speaker cone adequately.
Put the new surround in place.
Get a new surround, then apply glue where the old surround uses to sit. Place the new surround in the same position and allow the glue to dry out properly.
Reassemble the speaker back in position
After putting the surround system back in place, connect all the wires back to the speaker, then screw all the mounting screws you removed previously.
Test your speaker in a low volume and see how it sounds. Cautiously and gradually increase the volume and notice the difference.
03. Faulty Antenna or Tuner
If you’re having issues with your radio and not your CD player, then it’s most likely that your radio antenna is faulty, and if it’s the other way around, then the tuner of your radio is likely the problem. You have to be certain of the problem before attempting a DIY procedure.
Most cars now have wires running beneath the windshields in place of the old metal antennas, and while a faulty wire antenna will require a technician, you can always change an old-fashioned antenna by yourself.
How to change a faulty antenna
- Lithium grease
Remove the problematic part.
If your car antenna is located at the rear-fender, you will have to remove the trunk panels to access it. The fender units are usually located in the engine bay area or sometimes behind the fender.
Use your screwdriver and wrench to loosen the bike and remove the strap, antenna weird, and every other thing attached in that section.
Remove the entire antenna assembly by simply pulling down the mast via the fender, but endure you take caution when handling the connectors.
Locate the source of the problem
Remove the screw covers, the gear cover, and the housing protecting it, but take care when removing the housing and gear cover so that the cord that’s usually made of nylon doesn’t spring out from within.
Look out for the gears, motor, and rope. If you notice the teeth on the rope are broken, then you have to change the entire assembly.
Adjust the bits
If you notice the mast is the challenge, take it off by removing the bushing on the guide tube. Pull out the mast using pliers or your hand. Clean the whole section using dish soap, then lubricate the housing as a whole with lithium grease.
Put back the assembly together.
After the clean-up, reinstall the assembly. Do the same if you ended up getting a new assembly. Ensure you completely bring down the mast, then connect the nylon rope to the tube before fixing the base into the entire setup.
Stretch the antenna fully before joining it with the base of the cord and the gear drive, then put together the housing and cover.
Before screwing the mechanism in place, connect the electrical wirings — this will cause the mast to retract — if it doesn’t happen, then it’s likely that you didn’t do a good job, and you would have to repeat the process.
Your radio should be up and running after everything.
04. Anti-theft interference
One of the major causes of radio issues is usually Anti-theft installations interfering with your radio programming. In some cases, you might be required to put in a code to get everything working to normal.
A notable reason why this might be an issue is usually a disconnected or a dead car battery. So ensure you have the required code when such occurs, and avoid disconnecting your car battery unnecessarily.
In general, car wiring has always been an issue with cars installed with radios that aren’t compatible with the vehicle model.
To save yourself time and stress, you can always seek the services of a professional if you have something more worthy of your time.
FAQ’s Of My Car Radio Sound Goes In and Out
How do I fix the radio sounds on my car?
Aside from the steps I explained for the external radio antenna, you can also use the following steps listed below:
Ensure it isn’t an external problem
One of the best ways to do this is to carry out the external procedure above. If you ascertain the car antenna isn’t the problem, then you can proceed to the next step.
Inspect the ground connection of the radio
Make sure all the connections are in place. Any missed or disconnected wire is capable of bringing the whole radio assembly to a halt.
If you still notice the static sound on your radio after carrying out all these steps, then your next destination should be the mechanic shop for a proper diagnosis.
How do you know if a car fuse is blown?
For starters, you have to know the fuse you are looking for, and as I stated earlier in this article, fuses can be located in the engine compartment or below the dashboard in the driver’s corner.
You can tell if a fuse is blown or not by looking closely at the fuse. A blown fuse will be the wire disconnected at the middle, while a good fuse will have the wire running through from end to end.
Why is my radio not turning on altogether?
Just like I stated in the course of writing this article, the cause for this is not far from a blown fuse, bad wiring connections, and the anti-theft mode that turns itself on in cases of low battery.
Do not panic if you exist any of such. Simply follow the DIY tips as explained above, and you will be good to go.
Since the day I spent $200 for an item I later discovered I could do with simple DIY tips, I have been on a personal mission to ensure that I enlighten the public on simple knowledge they can apply on their own.
Don’t just conclude on buying a new radio when you can simply buy a fuse instead.