Can Car Stereos Be Repaired?

Updated November, 2020
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Car stereos can be replaced with the right set of tools and a little prior experience. First, you should check your fuses, connectors, and the head unit to ensure it's not a simple fix. But if this doesn't work, and you don't have the tools or the know-how, you should consider bringing your car into a professional who specializes in stereos to make sure it's repaired correctly.

Identify and troubleshoot common car stereo problems

Here are common stereo performance problems and their possible causes:

  • Your stereo doesn't turn on. In this case, it's usually a blown fuse or merely a wiring issue.
  • Your stereo turns off by itself. This means there's a power or ground connection issue.
  • Your stereo turns off when you go over a bump or round the corner. Most of the time, this is caused by a loose connector at the back or the front of the head unit.
  • The stereo display and sound turn off and on simultaneously. The head unit isn't getting enough power.

If you're experiencing one of these problems, try a few troubleshooting methods (for which you're going to need a multimeter):

  • Check the fuses. If you don't have antitheft equipment, grab your multimeter and light and check the fuses.
  • Check the pigtail connector. If your fuses are working, remove your head unit and ensure your pigtail is sitting correctly.
  • Check for power at the head unit. After that, pick up your multimeter and test to see if your two power wires are functional.
  • Check for ground at the head unit. Visually ensure there's no rust and that it's well-connected.

What equipment do I need to repair a car stereo myself?

Suppose you're trying to fix your car stereo by yourself. In that case, you should be at least a little familiar with the basics of electronics, wiring, and interior car repair. There are also a few tools to help you get the job done. Such as:

  • Socket/ratchet set
  • Nylon prying tools
  • Multimeter
  • Wire strippers and crimpers
  • Voltage tester
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Sound meter
  • Shop tools

What if I can't fix it myself?

In some cases, the repairs are simple. However, some jobs require the expertise of a handyman or audio specialist. If your issue wasn't resolved with the troubleshooting methods above, your stereo needs more extensive repair. Front-of-vehicle specialists or someone specializing in interior audio/stereo equipment can most adequately diagnose and resolve the issue with your stereo.

How much will it cost me to repair my car stereo?

As with any car repair, this depends on the extent of the problem and where you take it. The amount of damage and availability of parts is a big wild card that determines how much you'll pay. Luckily, you can call around for estimates, so labor is generally a more accessible cost to manage. On average, repairs to a stereo system cost anywhere between $180-$300. This price also depends on the make and model of your car.

Does insurance cover car stereo repairs?

If the stereo was damaged because of a crash where you were not at fault, the other driver's liability insurance should cover the damage. However, if the damage wasn't incurred by an accident, it could still be covered by your insurance if:

  • You have a comprehensive insurance policy;
  • And it was damaged as a result of a non-driving incident such as fire, weather, or theft.

Unfortunately, insurance doesn't cover normal wear and tear. So, if your stereo has simply stopped working due to age, your policy won't cover it. And if you only have basic liability insurance and the damage was caused by something external, you're unfortunately not eligible for coverage. This is a prime example of why it's so essential to purchase supplemental insurance plans.

When the time comes, can I rely on my insurance?

When it comes to car insurance, there are several factors to consider beyond monthly cost. A policy that covers you when you need it, has a low deductible, and offers several discounts can be hard to find - which is why we've done the work for you.

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