Troubleshooting a Car Stereo When the Sound Cuts Out

by Daniel SmithUpdated July 19, 2023

It can be frustrating to turn on your car stereo and find out that the sound has cut out. Try troubleshooting and fixing the problem at home before taking your car into the dealer or auto repair shop. Wiring, fuses, speakers and antennas can often cause a loss of sound. Checking these areas might save you money.

Check Wire Connections

One of the most frequent causes of a loss of sound is loose or disconnected wiring. Remove the stereo cover. Unscrew the mounting screws. Gently lift the radio out. Follow the wires from the back of the stereo. Make certain each wire is connected.

Frayed or Damaged Wires

Check the condition of each of the wires. Replace or repair damaged wires, which can cause you lose the sound completely.

Check Speakers

Sometimes the only problem is a loose speaker wire or no connection to the car speakers. Check the speakers and make certain they are connected to the stereo.

Check for a faulty speaker if the wires are all connected. Use a voltage meter to check for faulty wires that aren't making a connection. It is possible the speaker has blown and must be replaced.

Check Fuses

Examine the fuses in the fuse box. Replace any blown fuses. Often the sound will return with a replacement fuse.

Check Radio Wattage

If your radio wattage is too low for the speakers or the car, it will cause a loss of sound. Read the car owner’s manual for the appropriate radio wattage recommendation. Replace the radio or install an amplifier to give it the appropriate radio wattage level to restore sound.

Check Radio Antenna

Another problem could be a faulty antenna if you're not receiving as many radio stations as you used to. Check its condition, and replace it if necessary. That should restore stations and the stereo's sound.

Video: Car Amplifier Troubleshooting: Sound Cuts Out When I Turn The Volume Up

Helpful comments on this video:

  • I just spent hours troubleshooting my integrated amplifier using tips from other pros on youtube. The problem wasn't the amplifier. I watched your video and learned that the speaker wires could be the problem and they were. My wires were touching like you said and now I have amazing sound and the amplifier isn't shutting off. Thank you so much for being so thorough in your troubleshooting video. Everyone needs to subscribe.
  • It helped to hear that 90% of the returns you look at have no problems. I thought that I blew my amp, or that the protect mode was messed up, because whenever I tried to increase the vol. it shut down and all I was left with was my subwoofer thumping away. I took the time to diagnose it myself and narrowed it down to my rear right 6". Realized that the rear wires weren't run behind the window guides and every time it was rolled down, it was pulling on the wires and shorting them on the door panel! Nice install mistake. --- Thanks for the advice - you've been a reliable source of info.

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