Headrest DVD Troubleshooting

by Lauren Treadwell

Headrest DVD players allow you to bring video entertainment on the road. They are a great way to keep children busy during long car rides, and they are also a fun way to enjoy a movie on vacation in a remote area. Like all electronic equipment, your headrest DVD player can malfunction. Depending on the severity of the problem, the repair can be anything from a quick fix to a full system repair.

Isolating the Problem Area

Determine the area that is causing your problem. If the DVD player turns on but the screen is blank, the problem could be related to the display or the disc reader. If the disc reader spins the DVD but does not play correctly, examine the disc for damage. If the player does not start at all when the car is running, check the connection to the battery first. Finally, if the device is connected properly, the problem is likely in either the wiring or the device and will require removal (see Reference 2).

Operational Problems

Operational problems are easier to correct than installation problems. Begin with the remote control. If the remote does not seem to control the system, replace the batteries and try using it again. Order a replacement remote for your system if this does not work. Check the DVD being used to make sure it does not have scratches, cracks or other damage. If the player turns on but does not show a picture, make sure the brightness level is not set too low. Some DVD players will not operate properly at a low temperature, though they may work fine when the car is warm. Similarly, if any condensation formed in the player overnight, it will need to dry out over one to two hours (See Reference 2).

Installation Problems

If the problem is more serious than an operational issue, it is related to the installation of the player. Make sure the unit is mounted properly. In most units, the unit should be firmly pressed into the headrest and held in place by mini-din connectors. Next, check the wiring. There should be cables running from the player to the monitor (if separate components) and to the car's sound and electrical systems. Most wires are routed beneath carpets and can be accidentally unplugged by excessive in-vehicle movement. Make sure the wires are connected to the right terminals in the electrical system harness. Generally, the yellow wire is connected to the battery, the red wire is connected to the accessory power and the black wire is connected to the ground. A fourth green wire is designed to fit the parking brake, though it is optional to install in most systems (see Reference 1). If the wiring is connected properly, the unit is mounted the right way and the operational issues are not affecting the player, the unit may have internal damage and should be examined by the manufacturer. Uninstall it by disconnecting the wiring, removing the unit from the headrest and including all components in the shipment sent to the manufacturer for examination.

About the Author

Lauren Treadwell studied finance at Western Governors University and is an associate of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Treadwell provides content to a number of prominent organizations, including Wise Bread, FindLaw and Discover Financial. As a high school student, she offered financial literacy lessons to fellow students.