What To Do When Car Radio Keeps Turning On By Itself

Dealing with a car radio that keeps turning on alone can be frustrating and inconvenient. 

Not only does it drain the battery, but it can also be annoying and spoil your driving experience. It’s crucial to understand the potential causes of this issue before thinking of how how to address it to resolve the problem. 

In this article, we will explore the common reasons behind a car radio turning on itself and provide practical steps of what to do when car radio keeps turning on by itself. 

Reasons Why Car Radio Keeps Turning On By Itself 

The car radio turns on by itself, mainly for an issue with the wiring or a faulty radio system. Still, it can also be because of other reasons. 

The following reasons are usually seen as the most common:

1. Problem With The Ignition Switch

If there is a problem with your car’s ignition switch, it can lead to the radio turning on without warning. 

This can happen when the ignition switch is damaged or not securely placed. The cause of this is typically a short circuit in the ignition switch.

To check if the problem is with the ignition switch, you can try starting your car with the key in the “run” position. If the radio turns on at this point, the ignition switch is likely faulty.

You can also test the ignition switch using a test light. Connect the positive lead of the test light to the battery’s positive terminal. 

Then, touch the negative lead of the test light to each terminal on the ignition switch. If the test light illuminates, it means the switch is working correctly. If there is no light, it indicates a faulty switch that needs replacement.

2. Misdirection of Power 

When you turn off the car, the radio should also lose power. However, if the radio continues to receive power even when the ignition switch is off, it can cause the radio to turn on by itself.

3. Loose wire

One more common reason for the car radio turning on by itself is a loose wire. This can occur for various reasons but is often caused by gradual wear and tear.

When a wire becomes loose, it can create an electrical flow that unexpectedly switches on your radio.

To determine if a loose wire is causing a problem, you can check all the wires connected to your car radio. 

Make sure they are firmly attached and not loose. If you find any wires that are not securely connected, they are probably why your car radio turns on by itself. 

4. Blown Fuse

A blown fuse can also be a reason for the car radio to turn on by itself. The fuse provides the necessary power to your car stereo and protects its circuit from shorts. 

If the fuse is faulty or blown, it can cause your stereo to turn on repeatedly and off, which can be frustrating. The fuse can blow due to electrical problems like a short circuit.

Before replacing the fuse, it’s essential to check the electrical system thoroughly to ensure no underlying issues. 

If the problem continues after replacing the fuse, it will likely blow again, indicating a persistent issue that needs to be addressed.

5. Stuck Radio Buttons 

If your car has buttons on the dashboard or steering wheel for the radio, one of those buttons may get stuck and stay pressed down. 

This can happen if something like food or dirt is stuck under the button, making it unable to pop back up to its original position. As a result, the radio keeps turning on because the button is constantly being pressed.

Try pressing and holding all the buttons on your car radio. If any of the buttons feel stuck and remain pushed in the “on” position even after you let go, it’s probably why your car radio turns on by itself.

6. Poor Installation

Sometimes, the car radio can be installed incorrectly. This is a common reason people experience situations where the radio turns on itself. 

7. Old Age

Car radios can start having problems as they age, like any other device. The internal parts of the radio can wear out and stop working correctly. This can be one of the reasons why car radios turn on by themselves as they age.

8. A Weak Battery

If you’re using the radio while the car is turned off, it can drain the battery and cause it to die. 

When this happens, it will not hold a charge and can cause several electrical issues in the car. One of which will be the radio turning on by itself. 

What to Do When Car Radio Keeps Turning On by Itself?

The most important step to fix the problem of the car radio being turned on by itself is to take appropriate action after finding out the cause. 

The best bet is to take the car to a professional, but you can still try your hands with some DIY fixes.   

1. Fixing a Faulty Ignition Switch

Follow these steps to successfully replace a faulty ignition switch and ensure your car starts smoothly.

1. For safety, disconnect the battery’s negative terminal to avoid any electrical accidents.

2. Loosen the nut at the center of the steering wheel using a wrench to remove it.

3. unscrew the bolts that secure the old ignition switch in place.

4. Pull out the old ignition switch and disconnect the wiring harness.

5. Connect the wiring harness to the new ignition switch.

6. Insert the new ignition switch into its place and tighten the bolts.

7. Reattach the steering wheel by screwing in the nut at the center.

8. Reconnect the negative terminal of the battery. Now your car will be ready to start!

2. Fixing a Loose Wire

Fixing a loose wire is a straightforward task. You can do a simple DIY  using only a screwdriver and some electrical tape. 

1. Find the loose wire that is causing the issue.

2. tighten any screws or bolts holding the wire.

3. Wrap the wire with electrical tape to keep it securely in position.

4. Test your radio to check if the problem has been resolved!

3. Fixing a Stuck Button

1. Take a cotton swab and dip it in rubbing alcohol.

2. Press and hold the swab against the stuck button for a few seconds.

3. This will help loosen any dirt or grime that might be causing the button to get stuck.

Replace the button if it still doesn’t work.

4. Poor Installation

To fix this issue, contact the manufacturer or the workshop that installed the radio in your car and have the radio set installed correctly.

5. Weak Battery 

You can jumpstart the car to fix this issue, but that’s a temporary solution. A permanent one will be to replace the battery as soon as you can. 

You can also avoid using the radio when the vehicle is off. Although the duration you can listen to the radio with the car off varies. Generally, you can expect around 2 to 3 hours, depending on the power usage.

6. Blown Fuse

If you have the cause of the radio problem is a blown fuse at home, you can consider it. Changing a fuse yourself. Fuses are designed to break to protect the entire system from overloading.

1. Locate the fuse panel in your car, usually found under the steering wheel. 

2. Remove the cover of the fuse panel. Inside, you’ll see different colored fuses. Refer to the illustration on the back of the cover to know what each fuse powers in your car.

3. Identify the blown fuse, which may appear black inside or have a broken metal filament.

4. Carefully extract the broken fuse using tools or your hands. Handle it cautiously, as fuses can break easily.

5. Insert a replacement fuse with the correct amperage.

7. Start the ignition to check if the new fuse is functioning correctly.

If the same fuse blows soon after replacement or doesn’t work, it may be necessary to visit a mechanic for further assistance.

7. Old Age 

If the issue is that the radio is getting old, the solution is to get a new radio. If you don’t have the expertise on experience to do this yourself, a good mechanic can change it in no time. 

8. Regular Maintenance 

Prioritize checking cars at a local garage or the car manufacturer’s workshop for regular maintenance.

Quick diagnosis and maintenance of the radio problem are essential for the radio’s proper functioning and the overall operation of the car. 

The diagnosis may reveal more significant issues with wiring and devices that could lead to severe problems, damage, or injuries if not addressed early on.


A car radio that turns on alone can be a bothersome problem, but it is not unsolvable. We have showed you what do to when your car radio keeps turning on by itself and how to address the issue effectively by identifying the root cause and fixing the issue accordingly. 

Whether a faulty ignition switch, a loose wire, a blown fuse, a stuck button, or other factors. 

Remember to prioritize safety, consult professional help if needed, and ensure regular maintenance to prevent similar issues in the future.


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