Factory Car Stereo Repair

"Let's keep it original"

 

 

 "Why is keeping it factory the best?"
(or at least a very good idea!)
Shouldn't I just buy a used one?

Many "How To Send" type questions are answered on our Send In Form  (Take a quick look)          Tech help is offered at Email A Tech

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The benefits of keeping it original

  • YOU GET THE CD'S OUT OF IT. Sometimes it's just good because you get your cd's back if they're stuck in a changer.

  • YOU KNOW IT FITS AND WORKS RIGHT. Many sellers of used equipment will not realize what they are selling is different and won't work. Another thing they do is sell as working when it really doesn't totally work like you want it to. 

  • THEY SOUND GOOD. The car stereo of today is integrated into your vehicle. The sound acoustics and balance have been planned out by the best engineers in the industry. Car manufactures do not make the stereos, they are made by names like Alpine, Bose, Clarion, Pioneer, Panasonic, and other top names. They just don't always put their names on there so it looks like it is made by the car manufacture.

  • THEY LOOK RIGHT. Non-factory stereos do not fit or look right in the dash. Many have tiny buttons and are hard to operate while driving. Bright colors and neon lights are not the look most people want in there cars.

  • THEY ARE NOT STOLEN. Custom installed stereos are stolen many times more often than the original equipment. This is true because custom stereos have a wiring harness that comes out with it. The thief knows there will be labels on the wires to tell him how to hook it up to his car. The factory wirings isn't marked or color coded. And with theft comes major inconveniences like broken windows and torn up dashes.

  • THEY WORK RIGHT. Even though it needs repaired, once that is done and it is back in the car you will get many more years of trouble free, no hassle use. Features like controls on the steering wheel or on the dash are usually lost when the original radio is replaced. Sometimes they can be hooked to the new stereo, but not very easily, or cheap. 

  • YOU HAVE FOUND THE RIGHT PLACE TO REPAIR IT, WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY DEALER PRICES. Before you decide to try to repair it yourself, you might find out how difficult the stereo will be to replace if you need to. Most are surprised at the cost or hassle to put in a different one or aftermarket.

  • IT IS PART OF THE CARS SYSTEM. The components like amp, speakers, CD player, are all designed to work together. 

  • THE ABILITY TO ADD ON. Many factory systems nowadays have the ability to add on Iphone adaptors or MP3 player adaptors to play through the stereo.

    Here is an example of a question asking for help, what a hassle...

"1992","Nissan","Pathfinder","XE","wire harness trouble","About a month ago my car was broken into and they stole my clarion CD player (aftermarket!). My real problem is when they stole it they just yanked out the wires and im in the process of hooking up a new CD player (aftermarket!) and i have no idea what wires go to what on the new wire harness is there any where i can get a diagram of the wiring system so i can hook it up?
The real problem this person has is he doesn't believe the reason for his hassles is the "aftermarket" stereo he keeps buying, He can put the perfect aftermarket system back in there and the theft hassles still will continue, with no end in sight. A factory unit will go for years without theft, even if it plays awesome like everybody likes it to sound.

"Can't I just buy a used one to replace it? The seller says it worked perfectly when removed from their vehicle." 

 Let's let this person tell us his experience buying used, we think it's better to have yours repaired with guaranty than buying one that needs repaired.

,"IL","1994","Acura","Integra","CD changer stops, searches and then resumes (sitting still - no bumps)","Hi, Just got a couple of Acura/Honda 6 CD changers (work with factory head units) from ebay. Of course both sellers swore they were fine but BOTH of them play okay for about 90 sec, then take a 3-5 sec 'break' (silence) then start back up. Sometimes they just stop as the unit is searching (you can hear the laser tracking back and forth) for signal. Disks eject and load with no error codes. Both are older units (early 90's vintage) with the large plastic removable side panels to access the suspension springs. I have not completely disassembled one yet though I clean the 'eye' with a q-tip and alcohol. Did not improve and in fact made it slightly worse for awhile. Tried an air blaster to remove dust but again not very good access. Choice is to have them repaired ($$$), attempt to clean them and risk damage or sell 'as is' back on ebay with a truthful ad. Any words of wisdom? Quote to repair? Common problem? (this is about the 5 th one that people have told me about...all similar issues.) Thank you!!  

Yes, changers that are 8 years old need serviced, we know!!! Not much different than servicing the cars engines parts that wear out with age. A cd cleaner, a q-tip or blowing air never help. It needs a technician with experience to take it apart and do a full service. Then and only then will it be a good trouble-free unit.

"I'll just install something else instead of repair, 
that seems better than factory equipment."
It might not be as easy as one might think, we can learn from others here.

"1989","Honda","Accord","4 door","need wiring schematic","Do you know where I can find a map that shows me what wires are for what on the stereo intake in the back?? My husband tried to install a CD player and cut them all...but does not know which wire goes to which and has blown all of the fuses in the car three times over. Please help!"
"2001","Nissan","Xterra","SUV","6 disc in dash stereo","I tried to hook an amplifier up to my 6 disc in dash cd player and I cooked the stereo. Smoke came out from the stereo and now it won't work it just instantly blows the fuse. What do you think it would cost to fix this?
"1994","Infiniti","J30","","Blew up radio","I tried to fix my factory Bose radio because it went dead and when I tried to put it back together, smoke started to come out of the stereo. I think it is definitely fried now. I don't think it is fixable and was wondering what other model cars have the same am/fm/cd stereo that is factory in the Infiniti J30s. Or if you sell the head unit for this car. Thanks for your help.
I replaced my stock auto antenna in my 1990L. During the replacement I guessed
at the wiring. The automatic antenna replacement has three wires black, red and blue. The Acura wiring harness has three wire a white/gold wire, a white/blue wire, and a black wire. I currently have one white Acura wire going to the red wire and the other white Acura wire going to the blue wire. The Acura black wire ends at the harness and is connected to nothing. The automatic antenna (AT_PW22) black wire is grounded to the frame. As a result I blew the 7 amp fuse that supplies the clock and the radio when the ignition key is off (so that the clock doesn't reset or the radio doesn't lose its memory station presets.) I replaced the fuse and everything seems to work OK, except the CD Player is dead. no lights, no nothing.  I checked the 10 amp fuse at the back of the radio and it did not blow. I am wondering if the CD Player has an internal fuse that I may have blown or worst the I fried the CD via an unprotected circuit at the same time I blew the 7 amp fuse? Any thoughts? Also, now when I turn on the radio on AM there is a howling noise as the Antenna extends????
"1993","infiniti","J30","","My Sound System"," I recently changed my Bose stereo for an aftermarket because it was having problems. Since then my speakers don't sound as loud, and when the volume is raised it sound kind of distorted....what's wrong, bad speakers or need my Bose stereo back?

Here are comments from people that did go aftermarket

This Ebay Seller tells us his thoughts in his ad, after replacing his factory unit. This radio came out of my 1997 Infiniti I30 and is in perfect working order. I replaced the radio with an aftermarket one to power the subwoofers that are in my car. If I had the choice again, I would have stayed with this Bose head unit. 
"1991","acura","legend","L","replacing new stereo w/factory","Hello. I recently replaced the entire system in my legend. Now I'm wishing I had gone with my original plan of keeping the factory head unit. *sigh* for all of the reasons you've mentioned on your site. I'm currently running an alpine head unit w/ a JL Audio amp and alpine cd changer (mp3). I would like to buy a factory deck, replace (and sell) the new alpine deck, and otherwise keep the system as-is. I'm wondering how difficult it will be to 'reverse' install this deck with the new amp. so, any info on this would be great, and I'm also interested in finding a working alpine factory head unit to replace the new alpine head unit. thanks. -Stephen 
First of all, I just have to say to all those people out there who are planning on simply replacing their broken factory stereo with an aftermarket: THINK TWICE BEFORE DOING SO!! I own a 91' Acura Legend LS Coupe, recently my stereo simply went dead. I took it to the Acura dealership and subsequently had it inspected (for a price of $100-just to determine what it needed). The dealership came back saying that I had a co-axial cable in the truck that shorted out and I would have to send in the radio to be repaired as well as send in the CD changer to check for needed repairs-all told approximately $800 just to friggin' see what's wrong with the system. The $800 didn't include any actual repairs that may need to be done. Absolutely ridiculous. On top of that, the dealer rep. told me that a new Acura radio system would cost around $3,000!!!! He subsequently told me, of course, that I could go aftermarket, and with 11 years in technological improvements, one would logically think I could get a great system installed.

Wait 'till you hear this: that afternoon (July 11th) I went back to ###(we'll be nice)##### Sound and asked the manager to simply take out the speakers and replace them with new speakers (not install the speakers) and he'll never hear from me again. At first he wanted to charge me for removing them, then he insisted on knowing what I was going to do (because of course he could see he was losing additional sales). Of course he wanted to sell me more of his junk. After refusing to tell him what I was going to do, he gave the O.K. to remove the speakers and replace them with a set of brand new speakers. After the installer removed the speakers and I got the replacements, I grabbed the installer, pulled him aside and asked him about it all, saying the system the manager sold me sounded like crap, then my car was broken into, etc.... You know what the installer said: "They never sound as good as the factory system!!" I couldn't believe it. I thanked him for his sincerity and honesty and told him to get his college degree a (The full message didn't come through, maybe he hit the limit on the amount of text - oops)  Jeffrey - Phoenix, AZ 91 Acura Legend LS Coupe 

 

Non-factory installations always create more of a hassle for the owner. This is not an actual story but neither is the advertising that says installing aftermarket is all great. We'll try to dispel some of the advertising hype and give a clearer picture of the way these installs can really go.

How much of this aftermarket story do you believe?

A person says, "I need a new aftermarket stereo. One that's better then the factory with more options like cd or mp3. I hear them advertise on the radio all the time, I'll just drop my car off and have one installed, it'll be awesome, I'm ready for a new toy." These people sound really fun in their advertising, I'm going to really enjoy dealing with this company. Reality will hit them as they stand at the counter and go over the options and prices. For the first time they wonder if this is the best option. Up until now, they were sure this was the thing to do. What they advertised was cheaper, this is expensive. Things are now starting to look a lot different. The guy they are talking to at the counter isn't like the person in the ad. Actually it doesn't even seem like the same company. People are surprised to learn that going aftermarket or installing a system is not as simple as they have been led to believe. They didn't know about this or that when they started the job or stopped in at the stereo store. These unknowns can be a number of different hassles from buying this or that, to doing this or that to make it work or look better. 

After the installation is complete and the person is on down the road, then more reality comes. They realize that they really don't like the person back at the store because of the way they treated him or her by the time this ordeal was over. But, they can forget about that and now enjoy the new system. People think the deal is over that same day, they think everything is done and now all they have to do is enjoy it, wrong! The system doesn't sound too bad, it did cost a little more then they thought it would be, but so what. It doesn't look as good as they thought it would but they'll get used to it. It does kind of rattle but maybe if they put a piece of paper in there on that one side, it will stop. They then say to themselves "All I have to do is remember when I get out of the car each time to take the stereo face off. That way my car won't be broken into because they can't use the stereo. Maybe I need to get an alarm system. The place that put the stereo in does also put alarm systems in. I remember that they did have a special running on them this week - quite a lucky coincidence." To that we say what's one more car alarm going off and being ignored.

Now if that person is informed, they will realize that the stereo in the dash is a target for theft. The place selling the stereo touched on its removable face features but didn't give the whole story, wonder why? The person will take that face off every time at first but in a couple weeks they will no longer think it is necessary to take it off every time, just sometimes. Before long the face will never be taken off because it hasn't been stolen yet, why bother with it. When they least expect it, in the middle of a nice parking lot, on a nice sunny day, reality will hit them again. Thieves don't care what a mess they leave you with. Broken glass and broken dash parts are just part of the theft deal, deal with it. Now the person has a decision to make. What are they going to replace it with? This time they will get the alarm system, installed all at the same time. The wiring may have been cut so the factory connector is gone, someone will have to figure out that.

When the person had a decision to make as to whether to go aftermarket or repair the factory unit, did they really know the costs. Did they really check out if there was a way to keep the theft issue down. Many people just believe the advertisers have the best answers and everybody does it that way. Did they really not like the factory system that much as to go through this? Was the aftermarket solution really the best for them? If the factory system had a way for them to enjoy the cd and not have to deal with all these hassles, would they find out about it? Learn your options and know that the retailers aren't always after your best interest. There are ways to keep the hassles and the theft to a minimum and have it nice. Repairing is a great way to have it nice for many more years, the above story happens in under one year. We've had people tell us they had theirs stolen the same day it was installed.

We had a customer tell us his CD player sounded so bad after it was installed that he had them take it out and put the factory cassette back in. Hum, I didn't hear them say that might be an outcome in their radio advertisement. The car manufactures use the same companies that make the aftermarket stereos to make the factory ones, they aren't usually cheap systems.

Non-factory stereos are stolen 1000% more, not because they are better. It's because they can go in any vehicle and the wiring is labeled. You see, people that steal stereos are not very educated and they need the wires color coded and labeled so they know how to hook it up. Along with the theft comes broken windows and torn up dashes.

We recently seen a very popular retail install shop sell a Bose customer on the idea that they could replace the stereo with a non-factory one. The customer was told that they would just wire around the amps and go directly to the Bose speakers. The problem with that situation is the installers know that the Bose speakers will have to be replaced because they are not compatible. They just conveniently forgot to mention that little fact to the customer. Why, because with new speakers in the initial estimate, they are more likely to lose the sale. So, what they did was wait until the install is under way, then break it to the customer that they were surprised, and the speakers aren't compatible. They knew this was going to be needed from the time the customer pulled onto the parking lot, it's not a surprise.

If you have any stereo controls on the dash or steering wheel to operate the factory stereo, in most cases those will not be able to work the aftermarket stereo.

This is why we say these installations are a "never ending project", it is one thing after another. It is our opinion that the average busy person does not have time for that. If you have your factory system repaired then you won't have to worry about how it looks or how it sounds. No worry as to the cost because it is usually much cheaper then the aftermarket when you consider all the cost. It will fit tight and you won't have theft issues. Factory equipment isn't stolen even 1% as much as aftermarket, there's really no comparison.

Maybe having it repaired is just the piece of mind you're looking for.

 

We recently talked to an install shop. I said to them "You know you are not putting that in your customers car the correct way. Your customer would be excited and want it the better way"  The young  installer said "I know but sales has already sold the job" so they did it the wrong way and the customer missed the benefits of having it really nice.
I tried installing a system. I had it all hooked up, 2 12" MTX to a 2 channel 100 watt amp. It all worked at first, but then all my car speakers shut off. I got the speakers working and the subs working until u shut the passenger side door. then the speakers cut out again. Somehow i keep blowing up my back up radio/clock fuse. Now just my subs work and it sucks driving with just bass. What do I do?
"1994","Honda","Accord","LX","Car speakers", I just bought some speakers for my accord but I have a slight problem. I bought 6 by 9 inch speakers but there is a metal plate that fits in the opening for the speakers that held the factory made speakers which are 6 and a half inch speakers. The plate will not allow my new speakers to fit in and I was wondering if there was a plate that you could buy that would hold the 6 by 9 s and still fit in the opening. I cannot take the speakers back and so I was wondering if you could buy that plate if you know please e-mail me of the solution. Thank you 
"1990","Honda"," civic","2dr","part for 2002 Honda cd player"," I was installing a 2002 Honda cd player from a civic into a 90 civic. I had the wire diagram to the wires apart. Well, something happen and the audio transistor and capacitor is fried. The transistor doesn't have any kind of serial number so I cannot cross reference it with anything and I don't want to get the wrong transistor. I'm wondering if you guys can help me out on this one. I want to know what kind of transistor it is and is it something I can obtain from my local electronic store or do I have to purchase it from you. I would like to fix it myself because I'm taking electrician classes and it will be a good learning experience. The transistor is a 25 pin 12 on top 13 on bottom. Also, no one seems to carry the capacitor it a 3300 mu 16v (micro farads) and is it possible if I can get the schematics for the cd player. Please contact me as soon as you can. Thanks in advance for your help and support.
,"1993","Honda","Accord","SE","bose head","recently i took-over a 93 Honda accord with a Bose stereo.. the head was just a tape deck so I tried to install a pioneer cd deck I had from a previous car... after installing it.. i came to find that it now makes a constant static noise.. its about 30dba.. no matter what volume music is being played at... I tried to use one of the schosre ""factory amp integration adaptors"".. but it didn't work... fuzz still happens.. same volume... what can I do to fix this... or can i buy a cd head for it that wont do this? thanks 
"1996","Honda","Accord","LX 4dr. V6","Electrical system","I am trying to install a head unit on my own. I've already taken out the old tape player. But I have no idea which wires go to what. All the different colors and. . . ??!!! Help! My car is a mess!
"1999","Ford","F150","Pick up","I bought a OEM Ford stereo (AM/FM/6 disk CD) and tried to install it in my truck. When I hooked up the connections I did get power to the unit but no audio. The unit also got very hot while it was plugged in. Any idea what is happening? Do I need some type of wiring harness because the connections may be crossed up? Please let me know if this is something I may be able to fix or should I send it to you?
"1992","Honda ","Accord Lx","Hello, I'm trying to install an Alpine TDM-7532 to my 92 Honda accord lx, but I'm also having a problem with the connections, I only have 4 speaker lines coming from the alpine machine, and I have 8 lines for speakers in the car, someone told me that the tweeters on the door near the mirror controllers have been added to the car, and this might be the reason why I have more speaker lines coming out from the dash. This is what I want to do, but I'm not sure and I need you to give some tips. I want to connect the 3 front right cables to one of the 4 cables from the stereo, 1 back right cable to another of the 4 cables from the stereo, and then do the same to the other side, but I'm not sure if this testing system of my would result in a car fire. (Don't speaker connections normally consist of 2 cables? a (-) and a (+)?) It seems to me like I only have one cable for each speaker ""???"" Help. Thanks in advance.
"1991","","acura","legend","replacing old radio with new cd player","Ok I got a new cd player and new subs. I'm trying to hook up the subs cd player and amp. I got the subs hooked up and the amp so the subs are working fine with the cd player but my radio doesn't work and my inside speakers don't work with the new cd player. I got the ground hooked up for the cd player but I'm not sure how or if I am suppose to ground the factory speakers. Also the cd player i have is a phase linear if that helps. Thanks for the help.
"1997","Jeep ","Wrangler","Sport 4.0L","Stereo Problem","I just bought a new MTX 4250amp don't quote me on that number but I just purchased it last week brand new...well all the wires are connected fine amp turns on but there's no bass it kind of cuts out when u turn the volume too high then u have to wait like 10-15 seconds before u turn the radio back on...now the amp is still powered on but no bass coming out at all can u please help me thank u"
"1992","Toyota","Corolla","DX 4drs Sedan","Installing factory cassette","The CD player from my car got stolen and I bought a Toyota cassette player that will fit my car. The problem I have is finding a wire that will plug into the new cassette player because the wire from my car has been cut. I looked in all the local electronic stores and none of them have it. So if you guys or any one has it, please tell me. Thanx
"1992","Nissan","Pathfinder","XE","wire harness trouble","About a month ago my car was broken into and they stole my clarion CD player. My real problem is when they stole it they just yanked out the wires and I'm in the process of hooking up a new CD player and I have no idea what wires go to what on the new wire harness is there any where I can get a diagram of the wiring system so i can hook it up"
"1989","Olds","Cutlass","Troubleshooting on my Sony CD player","Everything is hooked up except for the antenna wire when you try hooking that up it blows your tail light fuse and even if you un-hook it and turn your lights on the whole cd player shuts down. HELP ME!
"A call from a lady in Idaho". The aftermarket sounded bad, she had complained to them from the start but months have passed, no refund. She bought another factory unit because they couldn't tell her what happened to her original one - strangely disappeared. The one she purchased to get back to original equipment came from our "units for sale" page. The problem is they cut her wiring so she also bought a connector. Now all they have to do is figure which wire is what to put it back, that can take some time so and hopefully done right. I advised her to be sure they solder each wire because I have seen many just wrap them and tape them, that causes future problems.  
A man with a 92 Accord cassette player that needed service. He had aftermarket put in. Went back and ordered it taken back out because it sounded bad and had them put his original cassette back in, we repaired the deck for him and it not only sounds good, no one is going to be breaking his window to try to steal it, like with the bad sounding aftermarket (with cheaply done removable faceplate to try to prevent theft).  
Thanks for your quick response. I took the car into a local shop today and they said it was "dead" and needed to be replaced but they could not tell me what the exact problem was. Jeff
We've seen so much of that. They say "We don't know about your system so here, buy what we sell"
JVC 12 Disc, using it is almost as hard as installing it.

I purchased my unit from circuit city and was offered an $80 installation, or they told me that they would sell me a self install kit for $10. So I figured, to hell with it, id put it in my 99 explorer on my own. Installation was hell. New cars don't typically have the same standard stereo interface as old cars all did. Therefore, The directions told me to take of the radio, with my truck this was difficult, because it is a ford radio I had to go get the tool from the dealer and pay $15 for it. When I got the radio off I was told that I had to find where the antenna connected to the radio. I couldn't! So I called my Ford dealer and they told me it connected in the trunk! So I worked my way there and bought antenna cord at $30 for what I needed plus $15 for Ford Antenna adapters. I then wired it, and then I had to power it. I had to solder the power wires and then solder the ground wire to the brake pedal. What a pain! Then it was finally ready to work. I loaded up twelve cd's, my favorite in the 12th slot and started to listed to them. This thing takes so long to transfer from disc to disc the whole point of changer is diminished. The remote is also hard to use. You can adjust track and disc, not where on the cd you are, you cant repeat etc.. Just a bad product! Loading is the same deal, the flimsy cartridge is useless because the car must be on to load and unload discs. Just a bad product! Paid $289.00