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My Car Radio Turns on but No Sound: Causes and Solutions

Written by R. Pennington / Fact checked by R. Combs

my car radio turns on but no sound

Car radios stop delivering sounds for multiple reasons; some can be technical and challenging to repair, such as a blown fuse or a ground issue, while some can be minor mistakes, maybe you pressed the mute button unknowingly.

When my car radio turns on but no sound comes from it, I always examine the head unit, input source, and cable first. When I don’t find any problems with those, I move on to inspecting the software, fuse, wires, and amplifier.

This article will walk you through the details so you can fix the problem yourself.

Why Does My Car Turn on but No Sound Comes From It?

my-car-radio-turns-on-but-no-sound

Before you discover the technical details, examine the common issues. Sometimes, you can restore the sound simply by pressing some buttons.

1. Common issues

  • Choose the correct input source

Is your car radio volume not working because you selected an incorrect input source?

  • If you connect your phone to your Chevy radio via an AUX cable, make sure you have plugged the cable properly and set the radio source to AUX input.
  • If you connect them via Bluetooth, ensure both have their Bluetooth enabled and paired.

The pairing procedure varies slightly between car brands. You should check the product manual for it. Don’t assume pairing a Ford radio is similar to pairing an Audi radio.

  • Examine the input cable

Cables can be faulty at times. So, try disconnecting and reconnecting your AUX cable several times. You can also plug the cable into another phone. If it works properly with other devices but not your phone, you know where the problem lies.

  • Check the mute function

Is there a mute icon on your Pioneer car radio’s screen? If so, press the mute button or turn up the volume.

When your problems fall into one of the three categories, they will be quick and easy to fix. But if they don’t, you will need to examine the following components.

2. Components causing no sound

dual-radio

  • Outdated software

Outdated software can cause your head unit to malfunction. Before you inspect the hardware, try searching online to see whether the manufacturers released new updates to your radio’s software.

  • Blown fuse

Fuses protect the electrical components of your vehicle. In the event of short circuits or other electrical incidents, the fuse will blow, cutting the electrical flow to the devices.

In your car, there is one fuse for the radio and another for the amplifier, but not for the speakers. When your car suddenly has no sound or the car speakers pop then no sound comes out; you should examine both fuses.

  • Check the radio’s fuse if the radio screen is off

The screen stops displaying when the radio’s fuse is blown, which consequently prevents your speakers from receiving its input. You shall find the radio fuse near the dashboard to the driver’s side.

  • Check the amplifier’s fuse if the radio screen stays illuminated

When you have no sound on car radio but the screen functions normally, check the amp fuse. The power supply to the amp might be cut, leading to no sound from car speakers.

The amp fuse is often installed in the engine compartment, around ten inches away from the battery. Once you find it, inspect its status. If it is blown, the middle part will break and darken.

  • Note: Whether you are dealing with a Ford or VM radio, it always has an amplifier. While some manufacturers install a separate amp, some integrate it into the radio.

If the latter is your case, the amp and radio share one fuse, and you will need to inspect this fuse. Refer to the manual instructions of your vehicle for the exact information.

  • Faulty wires

A loose connection chipped wire, or faulty installment can all disable or distort the sound of your dual radio. So, remove the head unit from its slot and inspect all the wires and connections on the radio and inside the dashboard.

If there are unused wires, make sure to seal them with wire caps, so they don’t touch a metal surface. Bare wires can cause a short circuit, affect internal components of the radio, and lead to the car speaker no sound issue.

Once you have secured all the wires, move on to inspect their polarities. Every car stereo system has eight speaker wires, which come in pairs. Each pair has one positive and one negative cable; they must be connected to the correct wires.

Additionally, try opening and shutting the doors of your vehicle. If my car radio goes in and out with the doors, I know there is a problem with the wire running from the head unit to the speakers.

  • Malfunctioning amplifier

A car stereo system contains three fundamental elements: the head unit, the amplifier, and four speakers.

If one of the speakers crashes, you can still hear sound coming out of the others. So, when your car radio works but no sound from speakers, the amplifier is one of the main suspects.

You should move to the back of your car and open the trunk where the amplifier is often located. Does it turn on properly?

  • If the amp has no power, check the power supply wires to ensure they are connected correctly.
  • If the amp is powered, see if its protection mode is on.

When there is an electrical issue in the stereo system, some amps turn on this mode to protect themselves. If this mode is on, you have a problem with other components in your system, such as the subwoofer or preamp.

Other than that, check the RCA cables. They carry the input source from the head unit to the amplifier. You might remove and reconnect them.

Finally, examine the control buttons on your amplifier. Conflicting filters can mute the device, and no sound comes out to the speakers.

How to Fix if Your Radio Has No Sound

1. Upgrade the radio software

Upgrading radio software is not as easy as updating a phone app. The procedure varies among different car models, but you shall need the help of a mechanic.

For example, you must download the latest software version of a Pioneer car radio to a FAT 32 formatted thumb drive before connecting the drive to the stereo and updating it. Same goes with the VW radio and other types.

2. Replace the amp fuse

car-speaker-no-sound

If you find a blown amp fuse, proceed to replace it. First, remove the plastic cover and loosen the fuse with a plucker. Then, check for a ground issue with a multimeter.

If your car has a ground chassis, you must inspect and fix all the loose wires. If necessary, take your car to a mechanic to identify the root of the problem. With an unfixed ground issue, the new fuse will snap shortly after you install it.

Replacing the fuse is simple. All you need to do is place it in the slot and secure it. Make sure the fuse you use for replacement is of the same rating.

3. Fix the wires

Here is how to check for grounded wires with a multimeter.

  • Set up your multimeter, turn it on, and test to see if it works properly
  • Place the multimeter’s lead end on a metal surface
  • Touch the other end of your multimeter to the wires

Remember to remove the harness of the speaker wires from that of the radio before testing them.

When your multimeter notifies a grounded wire, reroute it, then retest. You should move the wires away from power and ground cables, run them at a 90-degree angle, or replace them with high-quality ones.

4. Repair the amplifier

If you have tried different ways to fix your malfunctioning amplifier but yield no positive result, you might need to take it to the service center or replace it.

FAQs

chevy-radio

Is there a fuse for radio sound?

Yes, there is at least one fuse for every aftermarket radio sound system. It is a sacrifice component that helps prevent further damage. When a short happens, it blows to cut the electricity flow to electrical devices.

Can a blown fuse cause no sound?

Yes. Indeed, examining the fuses is the first step in car stereo no sound troubleshooting. If the radio screen is not powered, you should check the radio fuse. But if the radio screen functions normally while no sound comes out of the speakers, check the amplifier fuse.

Car radio no sound but CD works: what to do?

When you can’t listen to AM and FM radio, inspect the antenna and tuner. The broken antenna and tuner are preventing your radio from receiving signals.

Conclusion

My car radio turns on but no sound comes out of the speakers: what should I do? You should start by checking the functions of the radio and the input source. Then, search for software updates and inspect the hardware, such as the fuses, wires, and amplifier.

You can fix this problem yourself, but you need to be patient. Follow our guide and carefully examine each compartment. I’m sure you will identify the issue, repair it, and restore the sound of your radio.

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