It doesn’t matter whether we drive a car that’s worth $500 or $1 million. One thing that all car owners do is listen to some music or radio programs on their car stereo. If you have a long car journey ahead of you, that journey can get pretty boring if you do it in silence.
Having some music or news playing in the background as you drive helps to break up the monotony of driving long distances. Let’s face it; you can’t read a book or watch TV when you drive, so listening to music whilst driving is an ideal pastime for motorists.
So it can be quite annoying when our car stereo systems start to malfunction. It doesn’t matter whether the problem is poor radio reception or a skipping CD player. Car stereo problems can bring a lot of frustration and disappointment to the lives of car owners everywhere!
If you are suffering from car stereo conundrums, today’s handy guide will tell you how you can fix many common complaints. Not only will you save yourself money by doing any work yourself, but you can also learn more about how your car stereo system works! Here is what you need to know.
Problem: radio reception is poor to mediocre at best
I don’t know about you but when I’m driving I sometimes like to listen to the radio rather than playing some music. It’s good to listen to local radio stations when you drive. That’s because you can find out about any breaking news or traffic problems in your area.
But what happens if you can’t get a radio signal in your car? The first step is to identify whether there is an actual problem or not. Sometimes you might be in an area where radio reception is poor regardless of your radio receiver.
A quick and easy way to find out is to listen to the radio in someone else’s car near yours. If the other person’s car can receive clear transmissions, the fault lies with your car.
The next step is to determine whether your car’s head unit is at fault. Sometimes when you drive over a bumpy road the aerial connector can get loose from the back of the head unit. To check this, you need to pull your head unit out from the dashboard. In most cars, this means using some “extractor” tools to pull it out.
On some cars, you might need to remove some dashboard trim before you can do so. Check with your main dealer to find out how to do so. If the aerial connector is OK, the next step is to check the other end of the aerial cable.
A lot of today’s cars have aerials that get mounted on the roof. These rubber “stubby” aerials have a nut that holds them in place underneath. They help to create a watertight seal around the hole in the roof.
You will have to remove some of the headlining fabric at the back of your car to get to the underside of the aerial. Once you do this, check that the connectors are in place. It’s worth noting that, in most cases, the stubby aerial or the aerial base can become faulty over time.
Replacements are inexpensive, so you should consider fitting a new one if yours is a few years old and looks worn or frayed in some way. It should take you around half an hour to remove the old one and fit the new one.
On certain cars, the aerial and base are an integrated unit. That means you have to change the whole unit rather than just unscrewing the aerial itself from the outside of your car.
If changing the aerial doesn’t fix the problem, check for problems with the wiring running from the back to the front of your car. It’s not likely that the aerial wire is at fault, but it’s worth a check just in case.
Still got poor radio reception? The last thing you can do is try a different head unit in your car. I would say that there is a one in ten chance the problem is down to a faulty head unit, so it’s not likely to be the cause of your radio woes. Still, we mustn’t rule it out!
Problem: CDs keep skipping
Today’s modern head units have built-in CD players. These CD players have anti-skip technology in them, which is important when you drive on bumpy roads. Let’s face it; you are never going to find a perfect, flat road to drive on for the entire day!
Of course, CD players can sometimes have problems. If you can’t listen to your favorite tunes because your songs keep skipping, it’s time to fix the problem.
The guys at RRG Suzuki swear by CD player lens cleaners. They only cost a few bucks to buy, and anyone can use them. The way that work is simple. Included in the lens cleaner kit is a CD that has fine brushes fitted to it.
Most of the time you can just insert the CD as it is, play it for a few seconds and then it removes any dust on the laser lens. If the skipping still occurs, you can apply some special liquid to the brushes before inserting the CD.
CD head units cost so little to buy these days. If there’s a major problem with the lens itself, it’s often cheaper to just buy a replacement than getting the lens replaced by a pro.
Problem: the speakers distort whenever music gets played
Speaker distortion is caused by a problem called sound wave clipping. It occurs when you crank up the volume, and there isn’t enough power sending the sounds to your speakers.
Head units only have small built-in amplifiers. So if you like to crank up the volume in your car, you should consider getting an external amplifier fitted. Most DIYers can fit a car stereo amplifier themselves, but you can always get a car audio store to do it for you.
Thanks for reading today’s guide!