Why Is My Car Radio Display Stopped Working Suddenly? How to Fix It?

If you are like me, then your car radio display is a pretty crucial piece of equipment in your car. Sometimes, if not most times, it functions as a route navigator and that smart friend that tells you the title of the song currently playing to stream it and add it to your playlist. Sure, you’re allowed to have different reasons why you love your car radio display. But one day, without warning, your car radio display just crashed; it stops working.

Then, you begin to wonder what went wrong? I mean, you and the radio car display seemed pretty chilled. Sadly, it flipped the switch, and you’ve been forced to sing the “car stereo display not working” song. Don’t worry! I’ll walk you through some of the reasons your car radio display is no longer working and share some tips on fixing it. Ready? Set? Let’s dive in!

Why Is the Car Audio Display Not Working?

There are quite a few reasons your car radio display would stop working. We’ll address a few of those reasons. Once you figure out the problem, it’s easier to find the solution. When you can no longer see anything on your car radio’s display, here are a few reasons why.

Connector problem 

Different car manufacturers follow different techniques in connecting the car radio display to the main radio unit when it comes to car radios. While some car radio display is connected to the main radio unit in the radio display via some connectors, some are connected on the main radio unit.

If the connection between the main radio unit and the car connector was made via connectors in the display unit, the car radio display is prone to getting faulty.

There are quite a few reasons why the connector holding your radio display to the main radio unit would go faulty. First, the connectors could come loose. When that happens, a disconnect between the radio display and the main radio unit will occur. Sometimes, you’d find that the radio display might start to blink or look unstable.

Another reason is, your car brand might have built the connectors with cheap materials. Hence, the materials have started to fail. Also, somehow, carbon could have gotten into the radio display and glued to the connectors.

There’s also the possibility of the connector wire being broken, especially if you got into a minor accident. If you recently drove into a terrible pothole and your radio display suddenly went off without warning, it’s possible the impact damaged the connectors.

Rough handling of your dashboard or radio by punching or slamming it severally to get your radio display to work is another reason your connectors could be broken or damaged. The truth is, while your radio display might frustrate you sometimes, it’s best to consult your mechanic on what to do so that you do not end up ruining the connectors.

Related: Kenwood vs Pioneer, Car Audio Brand Comparison

Faulty LCD or backlight

The backlight or LD is responsible for the visibility of your car radio display. It ensures that reading the information lined up on the radio display is readable. Think of it as the light in the dark of your radio display. It’s similar to the backlight on your phone that makes it easy to see what you’re doing so you can easily navigate through your phone.

However, when the backlight goes faulty, the radio display screen goes dead. Of course, it would still function. You won’t be able to make out the words on it. In this case, rather than fixing the entire radio display, you only need to change the backlight or LCD. In a case where you’ve had to change it so many times, opt for buying a new backlight from you’re the manufacturer of your vehicle.

Chances are, the fact that you’ve had to change the backlight over and over might be a result of compatibility issues. Hence, getting a functioning backlight from your manufacturer would fix the backlight once and for all.

Related: How to Play CDs In Newer Cars

Defective main head unit

Although the main radio unit rarely gets damaged, it might be the culprit of your radio display not showing. Let me explain what I mean. So, you know how you hardly ever remember to take out the radio from the dash to clean it or how you keep using the same radio unit for long without remembering to change it?

Well, sometimes, your radio unit could start to react either as a result of old age or dirt that has settled on the radio unit. These two reasons can, over time, damage your radio unit. Hence, if your radio unit is old, you should consider replacing it if you encounter issues with your radio display. Otherwise, take it out of the dash and clean it.

The car sure gets dusty sometimes. So, it is almost inevitable for your radio unit not to suck in some of the dust. However, these are just some suggestions on why your radio unit might be defective.

Related: Kenwood DDX9703S Review

Defective fuse

There's always a dedicated fuse in every car with a radio that connects the radio unit to the main power source from the car. Hence, when the fuse becomes defective, it would most likely affect your car radio display. This dedicated fuse is important to your radio unit. Consider it as your radio’s guardian angel or shield.

It protects your radio from issues like short circuits. However, when the fuse itself becomes faulty, you know your radio would be exposed to danger, affecting the radio display in the process. One of the reasons the dedicated fuse might be defective is the irregular supply of power current to your radio.

Once the fuse becomes defective, there would be no power supply to the radio. Consequently, what you’ll get is either a zero or dim display on your car radio. So, when the car radio display suddenly gets dim, then goes off, there’s a possibility that the fuse is the problem, and it needs to be tackled.

Dimmer adjustment

Not many car radios come with the dimmer adjustment feature. In essence, this particular reason does not apply to everyone with a car radio. So, I’ll say this once. If your car radio has the dimmer adjustment feature, take a seat. If not, then you might want to dwell on the previously highlighted reasons for why your radio display might be faulty.

Now, down to business. The dimmer adjustment feature allows you to adjust the intensity of the light that beams from your radio car display. Here’s how the dimmer adjustment might be responsible for the famous car stereo display not working problem. So, you or a child or relative might have toyed with it and accidentally reduced the brightness of the radio car display to the barest minimum.

If you adjusted the dimmer, the brightness from the display was probably disturbing your eyes. The best thing to do in that case is to check the dimmer adjustment level and readjust it. After readjusting it, check if the display comes on. If it does, problem solved. If it doesn’t, something else might be the problem. Keep reading to find out how to fix a touch screen car stereo. If your car stereo display isn’t touch screen, these solutions are also applicable to you.

Related: Single din vs Double din

How to fix the car radio when the display is not working?

Truthfully, the secret to getting ahead in fixing your car stereo display problem is first to decide what the problem is. Once you can pinpoint the problem, you’re good to go, and troubleshooting shouldn’t be a problem.

For connector problem 

If, after conducting your diagnosis, you figure out that the connector is the problem, then you need to change the connectors. A note of warning: do not purchase low-quality connectors. If you do this, you’ll have to change them again after a while. Trust me, using low-quality connectors is not cost-effective.

Also, if the wires connecting the radio display to the main radio unit are the problem, make a move to get it fixed, and your car radio display would be back to looking as new as ever. However, the connectors and the wires might be perfect in some cases, but the display might still not be showing.

In this case, the problem could be that the connection between the display and the main radio unit might be unstable. Here, you need to get in and adjust the connection properly.

For faulty LCD or backlight

The easy solution to this is to change the backlight or the LCD light. There are no rules to this. Just ensure you get a high-quality backlight or LCD light. Regardless of how cheap a low-quality LCD or backlight is, I’d advise you not to buy it.

The reason? It sure would serve you for a while. But after a while, it would break down, and you’ll need to buy another. Trust me; you shouldn’t be cool with changing your backlight often. It isn’t good for your car health as it would require the mechanic, or you, to constantly touch the wires, etc.

Save yourself the stress, purchase a high-quality backlight or LCD and install it. The installation process shouldn’t take long. You’ll notice afterward that you won’t need to change it anytime soon as it would serve you for long.

For defective main head unit

If you discover that the radio unit is at fault, there are two things that you can do about it. First, you can try to repair it. If you’ve got knowledge of how to fix a radio, you can do it by yourself. If not, send it to a technician to help you repair it.

You should note that sending the radio to a technician doesn’t mean that it would be repaired. If the damage to the radio is minor and redeemable, you won’t need to get a new radio. But if the radio is terrible, there’s no point keeping it around. Simply dispose of the old radio and get a new one. It would save you from a lot of drama.

For fuse problem

This is the easiest problem to fix. If the fuse is faulty, then you need to get a new fuse.

For dimmer adjustment

Locate where the dimmer button sits. It’s mostly with the volume button. Meanwhile, you most likely won’t easily change it as the selection has to be made on the display panel. Just find a way to navigate.


  • What is the most common reason that a car radio display doesn’t turn on?
    The most common car radio screen blank problem is the fuse problem. The reason? Remember that the fuse protects the connection between the main radio unit and the stereo display from a short circuit. In essence, the fuse is prone to blowing itself out faster than causing any more problems that could lead to the death of your car radio display.

  • Where is the fuse for the car audio located?
    There is no specific location for the fuse. Depending on your car, the fuse for the car radio is located in certain places. For instance, some cars have the fuse located on the radio. Hence, you’ll be required to take out the radio, reach down to the back of the radio to access the fuse. Once you can access it, it becomes easy to replace it. For models that require you to reach the back of the radio, you might want to see a professional to help fix it. There would be a fuse box beneath the hood or right next to the steering for newer car models. Open the fuse box to access the fuse for replacement.

  • What should I do if my car radio seems fine, but the display is not working?
    In this situation, you mostly have the dimmer adjustment issue. Try to adjust the dimmer. If you can’t do it yourself, give it to a trusted professional technician to help you fix it.

Last Words

Now that you know how to react to your car stereo display not working, hopefully, you won’t panic when next it happens. Instead, you’ll tackle it head-on. You’ll start by diagnosing it. Once you know what the root cause is, fighting it shouldn’t be difficult from then on. If you need help with the possible causes, read through this article. I’ve addressed some of the common root causes.

Then, it’s left to you to check which root cause in this article fits your situation. If running diagnostic is not something you can do, it’s best to leave it to a professional to handle. It would stop you from touching or ruining the radio or the car. So, trust a technician to do a fantastic job for you.

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