How To Fix Car Stereo That Turns On and Off Repeatedly

Music is the best thing while driving, and music tends to make things better around unless any technical issue pops up. The most annoying one is when the car stereo turns on and off repeatedly.  

The continuous on-off process can quickly turn your mood to bad, and more like torture to ears and brain, which you can’t help sometimes.

It is more because the device has got old over time and has undergone some wear and tear but honestly, it has nothing to do with the age of the stereos. 

Today, most new model cars’ sound systems end up being crap and nothing. Bugs can appear anytime and cause malfunctioning of an entire system. 

All you need is to pick the cause, understand, dive deeper to find the solution, and fix it. 

If you face these car stereo rapid on-off situations and are looking for the cause and solution, we are happy to assist you in this. 

Troubleshoot the Problem

When the car stereo suddenly comes up with the issue of rapid turning on and off, it is mostly due to two conditions. 

The most common reason is a wiring issue when the stereo itself shuts down and the other problem is – when the stereo keeps playing but there is no sound. 

So here are the things you can do to troubleshoot the problem –

  • If the system’s display gets black and the music also cuts out, then most probably it is due to losing power.
  • The stereo shuts down and gets turned-on on its own, it is due to poor wiring. 
  • It can sometimes be challenging to anticipate the problem if the radio functions properly and the audio system gets turned on and off repeatedly. 
  • The bumpy road, hilly areas, and the sudden breaks can also make wires lose and the car stereo gets turned off. 
  • When the amp works fine but it fails to produce sound, it is because of the speaker’s wires. 
  • Problem could also be due to the bad wires, grounding, and poor and thin cables that couldn’t carry the load of transmitting the signals.
  • If everything works fine – no wiring, faceplate or cable are also efficient to carry signals, batteries are working well, then it must be a head unit causing the issue. 

How To Fix Car Stereo That Turns On and Off Repeatedly

The common causes of car stereo rapid on and off?

  • It is more likely due to the poor wirings that make it cut out more often when it keeps on restarting itself. Problems with wires are common and not just with the turning on and off of the stereos but with the other devices connected to it as well. If the wirework is fine, everything works fine mostly.
  • It can also be due to the low-power supply to the stereos that halts it from turning on for long. Make sure that it gets enough power to stay turned on. But if the radio is functioning on a certain power supply then tracking the problem can become difficult. 
  • Speaker wires are not intact, and maybe the stereo is working fine but your speakers are connected via faulty wires and you could not listen to the audio. 
  • On bumpy roads, stereos might lose connectivity and turn off. 
  • If you have an aftermarket audio system, they can be detached easily. You can remove the front panel to ensure security. There’s a gold metal behind the front panel, it has to be connected firmly every time you insert the panel, if it is not stuck in properly, and it will not get a good signal and will switch off more often.
  • Short wires can also raise the problem. 
  • If you don’t look after the car stereo at all or do it rarely, it may end up with problems. 
  • Continuous use for the long hours or no-rest whilst long drives may drag it to wear and tear. 

The reasons can be numerous and the target is to grab the right solution and fix it before it further makes things worse with your car stereo. Below we have mentioned some most working ways to fix it on your own. 

Learn more about – Common Car Stereo Problems, Symptoms and Solution

How To Fix Car Stereo That Turns On and Off Repeatedly

How to Fix the Car Stereos when they start turning on and off repeatedly

Find the damaged and Loose Wires

Wires are the main elements. If your car audio system has got a loose or damaged wire, it can pop up a myriad of technical issues in the head unit. 

You have different wires in the sound system you need to be aware of before operating it. 

The most important ons is “Ground wires”, they are responsible for carrying electrical signals. Whether the conditions are suitable or not, ground wires try their best to keep supplying the current to the amplifier. 

It would be best if you made sure that an amp is grounded firmly. Because the grounding is poor, it will show the turn-off condition and can also stop working. 

If you start facing the problem quite often, check all the wires going in and out of the car stereo system; none of them must be damaged or ripped. 

If the wires are old enough to perform well, consider replacing them with the more efficient ones. 

The loose faceplate

The loose faceplate can also make the stereo turn on and off more often. When you change the volume or setting or song or press some buttons on the faceplate, the car stereo will shut off upon the touch. 

If it happens to you while driving, the temporary solution is to have a paper with some folds and fix it just behind the faceplate so that it stops wiggling and gets back on, producing a solid sound. 

For the permanent solution, you may require a technical guy to help you fix the loose faceplate. 

Once it is firmly adjusted back in the head unit, it will not lose an excellent electrical connection. 

Try resetting it

Stereos often are designed with reset options. They have a tiny colored button for it behind the faceplate and near the CD section. 

Sometimes, when the drivers cannot figure out how to adjust the setting of the car audio system, it starts causing problems, of which turning on and off is notable.

Resetting the device will take 5 minutes maximum; it will reset all software working. You may need to watch some tutorials to adjust the setting of the device.

You can reset the system to treat any stereo malfunction even if batteries don’t function well, try resetting to eliminate the problem. 

In order to reset the car stereo remove the faceplate and then press the reset button.

Blown fuses 

This is one of the common reasons for the stereo to stop to amplify music or turn on and off with the time intervals. 

There are always some limits of current for the fuses in the car audio system. If the system is designed to run on 16amp and the aftermarket fuses you are using work on 8 amp maximum, they may blow out due to their excessive current supply. 

The fuses that come with the factory stereos are designed to receive an equal amount of current running through the system – no less and no more, they are more durable than aftermarket fuses. 

If you found out that blown fuses are the reasons behind the turn-on and turn-off condition of the system, make sure you pick the one that can work on the limit of your stereo embedded in the dashboard of your car. Otherwise, it will always end up with some technical problem in the stereo.

Malfunctioned Head unit

Suppose the head unit of the car is malfunctioning. In that case, it invites a bulk of problems including distortion, lack of range, No vibration, radio malfunctioning, minor damages, popping sound, clipping, stereo gets turned on and off repeatedly, and amp stops working. 

A range of problems can occur with the head unit, so the solutions are also variable. Check the wirings and cables. 

Make sure the radio works fine; speakers are finely connected to the amp, batteries and fuses are in a great state to function or not 

What to do if the Car Stereo Stops Producing Sound?

This is another condition that might be confused with the malfunctioned stereos, if the car stereo stops producing sound or if it’s not hearable anymore or the sound cuts off then it is probably not a car sound system. 

Many other factors are involved to raise the issue, but that’s probably not due to the sound system. 

If you are done fixing car stereo but still it is causing sound cut off then it can be due to: 

  • Short wires are one major cause that can explode the battery. They can also damage the ground wires, which eventually leads to sound cut-off from the system. Wires short when speakers are connected to the wrong terminals of an amp. 
  • The other major cause is “Defective speakers” when they don’t function well, you’d probably not listen to the clear audio from the system, and it might cut off several times. Defects in the speaker can also result in an auto-change of the pitch and frequency, and you can’t help it without replacing it. 
  • The error may also occur if the setup is not done correctly. You may need a technician’s assistance to get it done. You can also watch some tutorials to understand how it works. But if this is something entirely new to you, pass the buck to an expert and ask him to guide you a bit of the wire and their correct terminals. 
  • Amp must be grounded ideally to avoid damages reaching its way.

Wires Adjustment to Stop the Stereo Turn on and off repeatedly

With extensive experience, we came to tell you that 8 out 10 problems in the car stereo are due to “wrong wirings” or the “bad-quality wires”. 

More due to drivers finding it difficult to understand where and how to insert wires correctly in the system. 

Always buy the thick wires, and if the requirement of the current in your system is about 4 ohm with power 50 watts, then long wires around 18 gauge work perfectly. For more powerful systems, 16 gauge is the perfect option. 

Radios have different types of wires going out and in; each of them has different roles. 3 types of power wires are elongated from the stereo to the deck, and these need to be fixed correctly so that a sufficient amount of current must flow to the stereo to function well. 

If the current is sufficient for the system to produce a good-quality sound. Next is to check the speaker wires. 

Some are colored, and some are labeled but don’t get confused; aftermarket wires and speakers always come with a guide for drivers to make the right adjustments. 

Replacing Stereo Might help

This is the dead-end, if nothing works, every strategy fails, then obviously, your car audio system has to replace it with the newer and more efficient one – it works sometimes.

All you need to make sure is that you pick the most-selling stereo for your dashboard with the maximum features, its setup should be easy with some clicks and has to be durable. Ask the seller to help you with the installation. 


Stereos make your voyages more interesting but since they are merely electronic devices, bugs appear and drag them to the plethora of unhealthy conditions of which the most common is “getting turned on and off repeatedly during the drive. This article is going to help you on how to troubleshoot and solve the problem on your own. 

About Brenda Smith

Brenda Smith is an Audio consultant and part-time automotive content writer. She has an Audio engineering degree from a reputed university of Tampa, Florida. Being a great audio enthusiast, she works with her audio consultation startup and writing automotive content as a part-time writer.

Check Also

How To Fix Car Speakers Crackling?

How To Fix Car Speakers Crackling?

Imagine traveling around the long roads in the beautiful weather with music in the background. ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *