It’s quite absurd, you’re listening to your favorite radio channel and out of the blue, your car’s stereo switches to another channel.
Yeah, these things can be quite annoying, especially when you’re keenly listening to the show or music coming from the radio channel. You may ask, “Why is my radio keeps changing stations by itself?”
Well, maybe the stereo has electrical faults or you just got out of range of the radio station you were listening to, so the system automatically switched to a radio station that is within range.
Notwithstanding, there could be other reasons why your car’s stereo switches radio stations automatically, and they are all addressed in this article.
Why Is My Radio Keeps Changing Stations by Itself
We’d first start with the possible causes of this issue and then indicate the tested solutions you could try out for each indicated “cause.”
1. Weak Radio Signal
Not all radio stations have strong signals statewide, so, when you drive into a region where the signal (of such stations) is weak, your car’s stereo may automatically switch to another station. Of course, there are radio stations with strong signals nationwide, so you won’t have “weak signal” issues when locked into such stations.
Actually, there’s nothing you can do in this situation, except you’d drive back to a region where the radio station’s signal is strong. As long as the signal is weak, your car’s stereo won’t lock into the station.
Over time, your car’s stereo system components may start to fail and malfunction. This could be due to aging or as an aftermath of having your stereo changed by a non-professional auto electrician.
Faulty car stereo parts can cause the system to automatically change channels even when you’re in an area where the station’s signal is very strong.
If you worked on your car’s stereo system recently, maybe you should re-check the system to confirm you had installed the parts correctly and the wiring is proper.
If you don’t find anything wrong by yourself, maybe you should have a professional auto electrician troubleshoot the system.
3. Firmware Issues
Another common issue with car radio systems changing stations automatically is firmware-related issues.
If your car uses a modernized stereo system, you’d need to frequently update the firmware to the latest version so that the system performs perfectly without bugs. Running your car’s radio with outdated firmware can cause quite several issues.
Search for the latest firmware update for the radio system and install it. This can be done online using a mobile app (if the stereo is a smart system) or you’d need to buy a newer version/model of the stereo system and replace the old one you’ve got.
4. Radio Antenna (Receiver) Issues
Some vehicles have an external radio antenna usually installed on the rooftop or boot (rear side) of the car.
The antenna receives the signals and transmits them to the stereo. If the antenna is broken or retraced, you may experience situations such as radio stations not working or switching automatically.
Check the radio antenna and pull it up (if it’s retraced) or replace it if broken. The location of the radio antenna differs on different cars, but mostly, it’s either on the car’s rooftop or the boot. You may check your car’s manual to know where yours is located.
5. Weather Conditions
Yeah, weather conditions can affect the stability and performance of radio signals. Your car’s radio system may automatically switch stations when there’s a loud thunderstorm or lightning. Apparently, atmospheric disturbances can cause minor malfunctioning of electrical devices and gadgets.
There is literally nothing you can do about this, you just have to manually switch back to your previous station and keep enjoying the streams or podcasts. If it’s raining heavily, you might as well bear with the situation as signals may be very weak to lock in.
6. Cracked Touchscreen
Most modern vehicles come with touchscreen infotainment systems that integrate a lot of functions, including the stereo and radio. The touchscreen is, of course, delicate and could get cracked easily if any hard object hits on it.
A cracked touchscreen interface could possibly cause the system to malfunction (some soft buttons could press by themselves), thus, causing your radio stations to switch without you manually touching the screen.
Apparently, the best solution would be to change the infotainment’s touchscreen. There’s literally no other way to repair a broken touchscreen interface than having it replaced entirely. Yes, it can be quite expensive, especially if you drive a luxury supercar.
7. Auto-Seek Malfunctioning
The radio system in most modern vehicles comes with an “auto-seek” feature, which means the system could search and switch to radio stations automatically based on the one(s) with the strongest transmission signal.
While “auto-seek” is one of the exciting features of modern stereo systems, when it malfunctions, you’d be very upset.
You should turn off the auto-seek feature (if your car’s radio comes with the feature) and monitor the performance as you drive.
The auto-seek settings are available on the stereo’s settings page. However, with auto-seek turned off, you’d now have to manually launch a search for radio stations every time you get locked out from a previous one.
8. Overwhelmed Electromagnetic Forces
If you have too many transmitting gadgets or devices around the radio area, that could be the cause. The presence of another strong radio or television transmitter in close proximity can affect a car’s radio reception. So, the automatic switching of radio channels can be linked with reception interference due to heavy magnetic fields.
Take away the receptive devices or turn them off completely. This should work, but if it doesn’t, then you should check the signal strength of the radio signals on your car’s stereo. Electromagnetic forces can affect transmissions.
Your car’s radio keeps changing stations by itself because of any of the aforementioned causes explained above. Interestingly, the solution to each cause is clearly detailed, individually, so you can get your car’s radio working perfectly, again.