How Do I Get a Jammed CD Out of a Car Stereo?

by Brian Walker
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Car CD players usually differ from those on computers or home stereos in that instead of using a slide-out tray that you place the CD on, they feature a thin slot that the CD is sucked into when inserted. Because of this construction, CDs can often become stuck in the slot, not ejecting no matter how many times you press the button. If this happens to you, there are a few different methods to try to remove the stuck disc.

Emergency Eject Button

Some CD players feature a separate button that’s to be used specifically in instances of stuck CDs. The button will disengage the mechanism that’s holding the disc in and will push it out enough for you to grab and pull free. This button is usually not easily seen and doesn’t look like a standard eject button. It may be one similar to a reset button on electronics, recessed into a small hole and pushed with the help of a pin or paper clip. If you can’t immediately locate this button, check the user manual of your stereo system, as sometimes these buttons are hidden behind some trim or parts that first need to be unscrewed and removed. Most newer stereo systems with CD players will have this emergency feature and it remains the quickest way to remove a stuck CD.

Use Another CD

Sometimes the CD is stuck simply because a small piece of the edge got caught on something in the disc drive. The CD player’s eject phase will run as the motor tries to push out the CD, but the disc simply won’t budge. You can make use of a second CD to aid you. Take the second disc and slide it slightly into the CD slot so that you can feel it make contact with the stuck disc. Wiggle this disc around while pressing the eject button on the CD player. The goal is to use it to jar the stuck CD lose from whatever it’s stuck on, at which point the CD player’s ejection system will do the rest. You may find that you need to continue pressing eject several times while trying to wiggle the disc free, and in some cases will need to really work the second disc into the player a good bit in order to move the stuck CD enough to force it loose.


This method only works if the CD has already ejected somewhat but remains stuck in the drive. Sometimes in the case of the newer vacuum slot CD players, the disc will eject just slightly and then get stuck, usually as some edge catches on a part inside the drive. If this is the case, check to see if the disc is out far enough to grab any piece with a pair of needle-nose pliers or hemostats. If so, simply get a good grip on the edge of the CD and, with gentle pressure, pull toward you. This won’t damage the player and the stuck CD should slide free with relative ease. Unfortunately a jammed CD usually doesn’t involve any part of the disc being easily reached with pliers, so this method won’t always come into play.

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