Tips & Tricks of How To Turn On Radio Without Starting Car – The Possible Ways is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

Knowing how to turn on radio without starting car is an important trick a lot of car owners want to know about.

When you understand how it works or how to navigate through the steps and process involved.

You will be able to listen to your favorite radio channel without necessarily igniting your vehicle’s engine.

If you are fascinated by this feature and want to know the trick and tips involved (To listen to the radio without turning on your car or how you can keep the radio on to continue enjoying a show or program while you turn the engine off).

This article has all the details and information you need, irrespective of the vehicle you drive (keyed or keyless).

While the process involved may appear or sound simple.

It may be complex or challenging to execute, especially for someone who has never done it before or does not have a previous experience or understanding of what it entails.

How Can I Listen To The Radio When The Car Is Off?

For conventional, older, or regular keyed cars

If you drive or own a keyed vehicle.

You can listen to the radio without necessarily turning on the engine or starting your vehicle.

First, ensure your vehicle’s gear is shifted into neutral and then insert the key into the ignition port.

Once the key is in the ignition port, turn it once.

At this point, your car will enter the accessory mode, allowing you to operate any of the low-power vehicle accessories such as your radio.

Keyless car

If you are driving/operating a keyless vehicle for the first time.

This task may be a bit challenging to execute.

As you know, modern vehicles are built to allow access to the cabin and even start the engine without a key.

Hence, turning on/off the engine is done by pressing the designated button.

Since there is no designated button or switch to operate the vehicle in accessory mode, you need to learn the necessary trick involved in initiating this process.

To operate a keyless vehicle in accessory mode, you need to press the start/stop engine button not more than once.

While at it, refrain from pushing or activating the brake pedal.

How To Keep The Radio On When The Car Is Off (BMW)?

If you want to turn off the engine without affecting the radio’s functionality (to ensure the radio stays on even after the engine is turned off) in a BMW that uses or has the push start button.

The process is not as complex as many might have thought or expected.

First, ensure the gear is placed in neutral or park. Also, take your foot off all pedals (throttle or brake).

Once you have followed these details, press the start/stop engine button once.

This action turns or switches the engine off, leaving the radio and other infotainment accessories running & uninterrupted for a few hours.

How To Keep The Radio On In A Keyless Toyota?

Keeping the radio on in keyless Toyota vehicles is the same as other vehicles with similar configurations.

Although Toyota vehicles, especially the newer designs are built to compete with the best designs out there.

The manufacturer has been able to keep the system and configuration easy for car owners by adopting similar standards as other automakers.

Shift the gear into the park and avoid placing your foot on the brake pedal.

Do not press the start engine button more than once.

When you follow this simple trick, you can continue to enjoy your favorite radio show once the engine goes off.

How To Turn On Radio Without Starting Car

Tips & Tricks

  • The vehicle should be in neutral or park
  • Do not press the brake or clutch pedal
  • Turn the ignition key to the first click (for keyed automobiles)
  • The push-button should be pressed not more than once to activate or operate the vehicle in accessory mode.

Step By Step Guide

To operate your vehicle in the accessory mode, follow the steps illustrated below

01. Insert the key into the vehicle accordingly: Insert the key into the ignition port if you drive a keyed car.

However, ensure the key fob is positioned inside the vehicle, not far from the receiver if you own/drive a button-operated or keyless car.

This way, the fob sends a unique signal (low-frequency) to your vehicle’s computer system.

Once the computer system receives the signal, it proceeds to validate the command to allow the use/activation of the push button.

02. The gear must be positioned/placed in park or neutral: Now that the key is in your car, ensure you place or shift the gear into park or neutral.

03. Avoid placing your foot on any pedal: Now that the gear has been placed/positioned as suggested.

Make sure you refrain from putting your leg on any of the clutch or brake pedals.

04. Activate the push button: If you drive a keyed vehicle, turn the key once (to the first click) to enter the accessory mode.

For a keyless car, press the push button or on/off engine button once. At this point, your vehicle is expected to go into accessory mode.

05. Turn on the stereo: At this point or stage, the dashboard light should come on.

You can then switch on the stereo to listen to your favorite radio station/channel or play music.

Common Problems That May Prevent The Radio From Starting

01. Blown fuse: When your stereo’s circuit fuse blows off or gets damaged, it may prevent the radio from coming on.

You may need to inspect the fuse to see if it’s the culprit.

This fuse can be found in a similar location as the other vehicle fuses.

Solution: If the fuse has gone bad, replace it using a fuse with a similar rating. Ensure the fuse’s size and color are the same as the blown fuse.

02. Drained battery: When the battery’s voltage is extremely low, it won’t be enough/sufficient to power your radio.

Solution: Jumpstart your vehicle to revive the battery.

Jumper wires/cables coupled with another battery and a battery booster are enough to get the job done.

03. Damaged or disconnected wire: Usually, wires connected to the stereo or head unit extend to the wiring harness.

Inspect the harness carefully to confirm if any of the wires entering into it are loose or disconnected.

You can also check the ground cable to confirm if it is not affected by rust or if the connection is still intact.

Solution: If you observe any loose wire, reinsert or reconnect it.

For any damaged wire, conduct a replacement accordingly.

04. An issue with the antenna: When other components of the audio system, such as the CD player, function correctly, but the radio wouldn’t come on no matter how long you try.

You may want to check the antenna’s condition or state.

Solution: Take your vehicle to an expert to troubleshoot the problem/issue and make the necessary adjustment or repairs.

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FAQ’s About How To Turn On Radio Without Starting Car

01. Can I turn on the car radio without starting the engine?

Yes, you can. However, some new drivers do not know the trick.

This is common among experienced car owners, especially when they are in the parking lot or in a particular area/location waiting for someone.

They may decide to shut down the engine during this period and still catch up with exciting shows and programs on the radio to stay entertained during the waiting period.

02. What should I do if the tips and tricks fail to work on my car?

We know how frustrating this experience may be. However, do not be hard on yourself.

Instead, reach out to an expert or professional in your region to check what might have gone wrong.

03. How long can the radio stay on while the engine is off?

Usually, how long you decide to operate the radio under this condition depends on each driver/car owner.

With most vehicles, especially the new/modern designs.

You can continue listening to the radio for a few hours.

Up to 6 hours in some cases while the engine is turned off.

However, you can stick to 1-2 hours to avoid possible battery issues in the long run.

04. Will the battery be affected if I keep listening to the radio without starting the engine?

Yes, it will.

Although the radio doesn’t use much current compared to having the vehicle’s headlights turned on, operating it for a very long period may affect or drain the battery.

When you listen to the radio for a very long time, the battery voltage may be affected in the process (a voltage drop is experienced).

This may eventually be insufficient to start/turn on your vehicle.

05. What happens if I play/listen to music while the engine is turned off?

Playing your favorite songs while your vehicle’s engine is off is not a dangerous action to initiate or engage in.

Since your vehicle comes equipped with this feature, there is no way it would harm it.

However, you need to control the amount of time and how frequently you use this feature.

When you listen to music for an extended period, your battery could get drained in the process.

Usually, the louder the volume, especially when you listen to music, the higher the current the amp and stereo draw/pull from the vehicle’s battery.

06. What happens if I place my step on the brake pedal?

If you step on the brake pedal while trying to switch on the radio without starting the car.

The engine will be triggered when you press the start/off engine button, turning on your vehicle in the process.

07. How can I deactivate/turn off the accessory mode?

If you decide to turn off the radio.

Especially if you do not have any reason to switch on the engine or start the vehicle, all you need to do is press the push button once.

This turns off the vehicle’s power completely.


If you are operating a new or entirely new interface for the first time.

The experience could be very frustrating.

For instance, switching from a keyed vehicle to a keyless design or system.

During this time, you may find basic tasks or operations such as how to turn on the radio without starting the car a bit confusing.

Irrespective of whatever vehicle you drive or find yourself in.

Following the tricks, tips, and steps we have identified and highlighted in this guide will help you understand some of the things you are unfamiliar with.

In the end, you will be able to switch the radio on while the engine is off or continue listening to the radio while you turn off the engine.

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