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Car Radio Won’t Turn On After Battery Died: 7 Fixes & Tips

Last Updated on: July 8, 2024

Has your car radio stopped working after the battery died? Well, you’re not alone; we all have at some point left the headlights on, and the battery ran out of juice or malfunctioned. 


Whatever the reason is, your car battery is out cold; after all, it wasn’t meant to last forever, and you may need a replacement battery. 

You replace the car battery or jump start it using jumper cables, but the car radio won’t turn on after the car has switched on. What could be the problem? Let’s find out.

Car Radio Doesn’t Turn On After Replacing Battery — What Could Be the Problem?

If your car has a battery problem and the car radio or cd player won’t start after you jumpstart it, then you should prepare for a silent trip to work. But during the long silent drive to work, most car owners will start thinking of replacing their current car radio or taking the car to the auto repair shop, believing that the car is the issue.

Fortunately, repairing your current stereo can be a tad cheaper than buying a new one.

But, of course, troubleshooting and solving the problem can be more complicated. Luckily, it is cheaper than breaking your bank for a new stereo. 

Why Is My Car Radio Not Working After Battery Change?

When you replace or jumpstart your car battery after it has died, the obvious thing you have to do is disconnect all the car’s components from the battery. Without being careful, you have exposed all these components to a likelihood of a high electrical power surge once you jumpstart or replace the battery. Therefore, improper dead battery removal procedures or handling can cause a wide range of damages to your car.

The sudden power surge can either cause internal damage to the radio or blow its fuses, leaving you with many questions, including “Can a bad battery cause the radio to not work?” 

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Removing the battery is not a straightforward process. There are a few steps you have to follow and skipping one or two steps can result in your radio not functioning. Be careful whenever you intend to remove your car battery so that you lessen the possibility of your car radio not working afterward.

Fun Fact: Car maintenance sometimes brings out some problems you aren’t ready to handle! If your car stereo does not start after battery re-connection, then it could be your car amplifier acting up. Research on symptoms of a bad ground car audio to help you better understand what is happening to your car stereo.

Memory Loss Can Occur if the Battery Is Not Disconnected Correctly

Most folks in the United States, who only deal with older vehicles, may not be aware that the new models require a memory saver when disconnecting your battery. Therefore if you don’t know how to reset the car radio after a battery change, you should never remove the battery before switching all the electrical components off first. 

If you remove the battery without following the right procedure, your radio may lose its memory within 10 minutes of disconnection.

After all, your vehicle’s computer needs a constant supply of power to remember the stored settings and your preference. 

After replacing the battery without following the right procedure, you will discover that your vehicle runs differently and display different settings. Therefore, your vehicle will ask for a radio code before giving you access to the computer and the other electrical components.

After all, you have spent hundreds of hours with your car, and the computer saves some of your preferences. So you may experience driveability and starting issues like weird transmission functions, malfunctioning sensors, and poor running engine. 

What Happens When You Reinstall the Battery and Turn On Your Car?

If you installed the new battery correctly, then you have nothing to worry about, but if you mishandled the installation process, then you risk damaging a number of components in your vehicle. With a better understanding of disconnecting and reconnecting procedures, you can avoid lots of car issues.

Some of the top reasons that you’ll have to deal with include:

1. The Anti-theft Feature May Have Locked Your Stereo

The car stereo may refuse to switch on if removing the battery activates the anti-theft mode. Most modern vehicle manufacturers install a security feature to help prevent burglars from accessing the computer modules. But it can be very tedious when everything you do is removing the battery. 

When the security feature is activated, your car stereo will display “locked” on the screen instead of radio stations and ask for a code.

You will have to reset the car radio after the battery change. Luckily, there are four ways you can get the radio code, and these include:

  • Look for the code in the owner’s manual
  • Visit the manufacturer’s website in the service section and look for your radio code. You have to input the car model, make, year, and identification number for your code.
  • You can also contact the local dealership
  • Call the car manufacturer’s customer service and ask for assistance

After inserting the activation code, your car’s ignition switch will read the code and then activate the vehicle.

2. Damaged Car Stereo 

If you don’t follow the right procedure when replacing your car’s battery and take the necessary precautions, you may end up damaging some components, including the radio.

3. Replace or Disconnect and Reconnect Its Pigtail Connector

At times, all you have to do to reset the car radio after a battery change is either replace or disconnect and reconnect the pigtail connectors. Wait for 15 minutes, reconnect it, and then switch on the radio.

4. Fuse Damage 

Car Fuse
Car Fuse

A Fuse is an exceptional short wire with certain diameters and compositions that exists to prevent electrical shocks and fires, among other components. After replacing the battery, you may blow up its fuse when you turn the car on. Before you reset the car radio after the battery change, you must confirm if the fuse is blown or not; you should do the following: 

  • Start by disconnecting the car’s low battery
  • Locate the fuse box, which is normally situated behind the stereo
  • Examine the fuse for signs of damages

If you’re dealing with a blown fuse, you can replace it and try restarting the car and the radio. If the fuse is blown, you should do the following:

  • Before purchasing a new radio fuse, you should consult the owner’s manual for the right specification
  • Purchase the specified option
  • Uninstall the spoiled one and install a new one in its compartment.

Fun Fact: It is easy to put the blame on your car fuse as the culprit of your non-working stereo! Have you checked the fuses thoroughly? Do you even know what a busted fuse looks like? Or maybe it could be something else? Did you even notice if your amp powers on but no sound? Consider every possibility before pointing the finger at your car fuse.

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5. Examine the Head Unit

If the fuses and connections are not damaged, you can examine the power wires. Remember, every vehicle has two power wires: one only warms up when the vehicle is switched on while the other is always hot. If these wires are in reverse, the radio won’t turn on, and if it has low power, it’s broken.

After confirming that the wires are broken, you can replace them and try turning on the radio.

6. Check the Car’s Infotainment System for Ground

Grounding issues are quite common, and they can affect any car’s electrical component. If the car has ground issues, you’ll notice ground loops instead of grounding failure; therefore, you should check the grounding cables. 

Test the voltage passing through the ground wire using a multimeter on the car’s body ground and the infotainment system pigtail. A poor grounding system means the ground is not the only cause of the problem.

Fun Fact: Poor grounding could lead to a blown amp if not checked after battery re-connection!

7. Test the Infotainment System

After confirming that the grounding wires and the fuse are ok, but the radio is still not working, you should replace the head unit. But if the radio itself is damaged, you may have to replace it with an aftermarket radio.

Other Solutions: 

  • Look for other solutions in the owner’s manual. Most of them have a troubleshooting guide that can help you fix the problem.
  • Insert the key in the ignition and turn the key enough to switch on all your vehicle’s basic functions and not the engine and leave it like that for 10 minutes.
  • Switch off all the power components in the car and then reconnect and connect its battery. Leave it overnight before reconnecting it in the morning for better results.
  • Examine the battery terminal and battery cable connected to the negative terminal for rust. Examine the power wire for rust and make sure it’s tightly connected to the battery terminals.

Pro Auto Thought: You might want to look into your car battery’s life span. Learn some tips by proceeding here — How Long Before Car Battery Dies With Radio On.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Bad Battery Cause the Radio to Not Work?

Yes, the battery is the powerhouse of most of the car’s electrical components. With a low battery that just won’t recharge, your car will have a lot of electronic issues that will make it almost impossible for the car to even start at times.

How Can You Reset the Car Radio?

If the battery is fully charged and the stereo system is still not working, then you may have to reset it directly. Start by removing the car stereo’s faceplate. Next, press the reset button situated on the front radio panel using a ballpoint pen. 

Does My Car Have a Fuse for the Radio Sound?

Yes, vehicles have numerous fuses, with one responsible for protecting the radio from power surges. If it’s blown when jumpstarting the battery, then you have to replace it for your car radio to start functioning properly.


Nothing is more disappointing than your radio failing to start after your battery fails. Unfortunately, most car owners prefer replacing the radio after experiencing this issue, but did you know that the radio may not be the issue in some cases? Therefore learning how to troubleshoot this issue can save you some cash in the long run.

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