Why Car Radio Won’t Turn Off?

Why Car Radio Won’t Turn Off

I remember the headache my car radio gave me. Oh god, it just won’t stop. Why? I didn’t know then, but fortunately, I know now. Moreover, I know how to handle these issues as well.

Though it took me a few days to discover the foolproof solutions, it was definitely worth it. Are you looking for the same things? You may not find what you are looking for in your vehicle’s user manual, but here I will tell you everything you need to know.

Just give this a read, and you will be able to fix your car radio on your own. 


How I Usually Turn Off the Car Radio in My Car?

How to Turn Off the Car Radio

Before you jump into the complex method of fixing a car radio that just won’t turn off, you should try turning it off manually. Trust me, in most cases, the radio is completely okay. It is the method of turning off the faulty device.

When I try to shut down such a car radio properly, it turns off like a polite kid. The same can be true for your car as well.

So how do I turn off a car radio? I apply certain methods!

First, I take on the easiest one, turning off the device using the power button. Or, if the device has a remote, I use that instead. The main point here is to shut down the device the way it was supposed to work.

If this doesn’t work, I check the ignition. When the radio isn’t turning off, it is usually because the ignition is on. So… you already know what I am about to do, right? Yes, I set the ignition to the off position. This usually turns off the car radio.

When none of these works, I just open the car door and then close it. Surprisingly this fixes the issue. Weird. I know, right!

Give all these tricks a go. If it works, then congratulation! If it doesn’t, keep on reading. You will get what you want.

How to Fix Stuck Buttons on Car Radio?


Reasons Why Car Radio Won’t Turn Off

Reasons Why Car Radio Won’t Turn Off

Is your car radio possessed? Why isn’t it stopping? When it happened to me, I just wanted to bash the radio with a hammer. But I didn’t do it. Instead, I took a deep breath and calmly found out all there is to know.

Don’t worry, you won’t have to delve into the world of the car radio to understand all these because I will show you what I’ve found out. 

The foremost reason can be the brain of the car radio (popularly known as the head unit). If the head unit wiring gets somehow faulty, it may cause the car radio not to turn off. If the problem has been present for a long time, I look into the wiring.

In such situations, the wires are incorrectly arranged.

Another common cause I found is the ignition switch. This is a bit weird. The ignition switch supplies accessory power even when it’s apparently turned off. This power keeps the car radio on.

Similarly, the key and ignition cylinder can be in the accessory position even though it may seem to be switched off. And, as I have already mentioned, when the accessory power is active, it keeps the radio running. 

Now let’s talk about another point. Has it ever happened to you that you’re opening your car door and the radio won’t turn off? 

Apparently, tons of people face this problem every day. In case you don’t know, this can happen due to a faulty door switch, broken sensor, and radio shut-off delay (although this is highly unlikely).    

And the final (and most unusual) reason your radio won’t turn off can be the default design. Yes, some cars are manufactured in a way that it is programmed to stay on for a certain amount of time. 

Though it is possible to change the setting, things may become difficult if the system malfunctions on its own. In my opinion, it is better to consult a professional in this type of situation.   

In my observation, I couldn’t find any other reasons than these. Yes, there can be other reasons, but I think knowing about only these causes is enough to solve the issue.


What To Do to Fix the Car Radio That Won’t Turn Off?

Ways to Fix Car Radio That Won’t Turn Off

Fixing a car radio that won’t turn off can be like stealing candy from a baby. You only have to know the proper way, and the rest can be done easily.

The good news is, you are already halfway there as you now know the reasons behind a faulty car radio. All you gotta do now is element these causes one by one.

I have done it all on my own, and you will be able to do it too. Let me show you how I fixed my car radio.

Firstly, whenever there is any problem with a car radio, I go to the head unit. I hope you still remember that the head unit is the center of your vehicle’s radio system.

As the radio is active, and I am dealing with the head unit, it doesn’t take me lots of hair-pulling to conclude that the wiring is the issue here. So what do I do here? I fix the wiring of the device.

Every car radio has one ground wire and two power wires. They respectively deal with the engine and the ignition. If the connecting wire to the power source (the engine) is also routed to the main wire of the head unit, it will keep supplying electricity to your car radio. What I mean is, your radio will have a constant power supply.

I made sure that this was the case using a voltmeter. A test light will work here as well. So what I basically did was I tried to turn off the head unit and then tested the head unit power wire. And guess what, it signaled that there was an active electricity supply.

The next step was simple. I simply detached the radio wire and rewired it to the ignition. In this case, I was careful to wire it while the ignition was in the run position.

You can probably guess what this did. Yes, it secured a connection between the radio and the ignition. This way, my car radio shut down the moment I turned off the ignition.

As we previously discussed, a vital issue that can trigger the radio to stay on is the broken ignition switch. So far, I have seen ignition switches that continues supplying power even after the key is removed.

Now, it doesn’t take a genius to realize, problems with the ignition switch caused the radio to stay on in this situation. What do I do here?

Simple, I replace the ignition switch. It’s easy to do, but it demands a small expenditure. On the other hand, realigning the cylinder can fix the problem as well.

However, I recommend replacement because a worn-out ignition cylinder can cause the same problem. Yes, you may need to spend a bit of money, but this is totally worth it.

An uncommon and insignificant cause why a car radio doesn’t turn off is the shut-off delay problem. Some radio has this feature as a fault, while some are programmed to behave this way.

I turn off the radio and wait for 10 to 15 minutes to know whether a car has this problem. How does this help? If the radio turns off on its own around this duration, I note down the shut-off delay as the problem.

So how do I fix this? I check the setting of the car first to see if there is any such modification there. If there isn’t, then it is bad news.

It’s time to consult an expert. But before consulting someone, you can try a trick I follow. What I basically do is shut off the car engine and close the door.

Then… nothing. Yes, this is it. Surprisingly, this has reset the timer of many car radios.

Lastly, I check the radio system of the car. After I have gone through all the methods I described here, I look into the radio and see if it’s programmed to stay on for an interval.

As I said earlier, some car features this option. It can’t be changed at home. Hence, if you guess that your vehicle has the timer, take it to a professional. They will fix everything for you.


How Do I Ensure Proper Wiring in Car Radio?

Proper Wiring in Car Radio

Have you ever thought, what makes a car radio perfect? Well, this question has been in my head for quite a while, and I finally found its answer. It’s unbelievably simple. Just do the wiring right and you’re all good.

Yes, if the wirings are in perfect arrangement, the radio will function properly as well.

Realizing this led me to further research. I found out about different types of wires and their function. Knowing these helped me handle the car radio better. I am sure the same will be true for you.

Before getting into the main point, let me tell you something important. All the wires of the car radio can be identified by color! While it is fun and all, the color makes wiring easy.

At first, comes the yellow wire. It is not because it is the first thing that catches attention but because this wire is prominent. How so? The yellow wire is directly connected to the car battery. Guess what? This line provides 12 volts of power to the radio.

Yes, it is important to make sure that the yellow wire is properly secured in its designated position.

Now comes the matter of blue wire. It’s basically the power antenna wire. As the yellow wire supplies 12 V in the device, the blue wire provides 12 V out of the system.

This signal comes directly from the radio via this blue wire. This affects not only the power antenna but the antenna amplifier and the factory amplifier as well.

If the signal can’t get out of the system (which happens if the blue wire is faulty), it fails to send the signal to turn off the device.

As a result, the car radio stays active. This is why I always make sure that the blue wire is not damaged.

After this, I check the green wire. The set of green car radio wires is not completely green. There is one wire with a black line through it.

These wires are connected to the left rear speaker of the car. The proper green one is the positive lead, while the green-with-a-black-line is the negative lead.

The purple wire is identical to the green one. As the green speaker is related to the left speaker, the purple one is connected to the right rear speakers.

Similarly, the purple one is positive lead, and the purple-black lead is negative. These wires ensure your car radio is receiving the signals you want to transfer.

Finally, I check the most important wire of them all, the red one. This is the accessory wire. So far, you have been reading about accessory power, and now it’s time to deal with it. This red wire mainly triggers the radio to turn on.

When this wire stays triggered, the radio stays turned on as well. In this case, I replace the red wire, and I think you should do it too. Fixing the wiring is also an option but not a plausible one.

Apart from these, there are other wires as well. Such as white, grey, orange, and black. And all these wire functions differently. But they are not actually related to the radio issues. Knowing these will be enough.

How to Fix Car Radio Antenna Reception?



Who knew there is so much to learn just about a radio that won’t turn off…right? But this is not the end… there’s more. You too may have some questions I didn’t address in this article.

Well… to be honest, it is not possible to include everything in a single composition. This is why I have created this section where I will be answering the most common queries. Don’t miss these out. You may find them helpful.

Does Car Battery Wear Out While the Radio Is Turned On?

Simply put, any active system contributes to battery drainage. So yes, leaving the radio on will definitely cause the car battery to wear out. However, in the case of OEM factory radio, the battery will wear out comparatively slower.


How To Know Whether the Radio Timer or The Faulty Door Is the Culprit?

There is a simple way of identifying the reason behind a faulty radio. If your confusion is between the radio timer and the door, then do the following:

Shut off the engine and the doors. Now, if the radio system and the dome lights stay on, it means the door switch is the issue.

If the radio system stays on, but the dome light shuts off, then the radio timer is the culprit.


Is It a Good Practice to Switch Off the Car Radio Before Shutting the Engine?

The answer totally depends on your car. What I mean is, if your car is of an older model, you definitely should switch off the radio before turning off the engine.

However, if the car is recently manufactured, there is nothing to worry about. It can turn off the radio on its own when needed.


How To Reset a Car Radio?

Resetting a car radio can be done in two ways. Firstly, if your car has the Reset button, you can just press it and get your job done.

However, if there is no such option in your car, you have to select DSLP and then press CALL. After this, keep the OFF button pressed for 5 seconds. Now turn the radio on.

But you must know what these methods will erase all the contents you have saved on the car radio and delete the clock setting as well.


How To Replace the Ignition Switch?

Replacing the ignition switch can be a solution when a car radio isn’t turning off. But how do you do it? Well, I have a specific method, and it’s easy as cake.

First, I make sure my four-wheeler is securely parked, and then I turn off the ignitor. Then I loosen the clamping bolts of the negative battery cable.

After that, I remove the screws holding the bottom steering column cover. Then, I take off the upper steering column cover as well.

There, I locate the ignition switch behind the ignition key cylinder. Sometimes I need to dislocate the key lock cylinder to reach the spot.

Now comes the main part. After disconnecting all the electrical connections from the ignition switch, I removed the part and installed a new one instead. Finally, I reversed the whole process to get everything back to working.


My Final Thoughts on The Topic

By now, I’ve told you about everything I do to fix a car radio that won’t turn off. And I am sure that these will work for you as well.

How am I so confident? Well, I have tested all these methods just the way I have described them here.

Let me tell you an interesting fact, different cars are not so different when it comes to internal systems such as the radio.

No matter what car model you own, no matter how long you have it in your garage, you can fix its radio issues just by following my tips. Go, give it a try.


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