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Car Stereo Display Not Working? [CAUSES & SOLUTIONS]

Why Is My Car Audio Display Not Working?

If the display of your car stereo is not working, check the stereo fuse and broken or loose wires. In old stereos, the broken backlight of the display can also cause this issue. Also, don’t forget to check the dimmer setting on the head unit that adjusts the brightness of the stereo display.

Car stereos don’t always trouble you with an audio problem. In some cases, the stereo is working perfectly fine audio-wise, but its display goes kaput. Despite working audio, you won’t be able to use your car stereo the way you want to if its display is not working.

It’s quite common for car stereos to develop issues where both audio and display don’t work. However, a stereo that turns on and plays music but doesn’t show display can confuse car owners.
If you are also wondering, “why is my car radio LCD display not working?” despite powering the amp and playing the music, continue reading this piece.

Here, we will discuss all the possible reasons why car stereo displays might stop working.

Bad Fuse

Like other electrical equipment, car stereos also use a fuse or several fuses to prevent circuitry damages caused by shorting. Whenever voltage fluctuates above the threshold, those fuses blow and protect the stereo from permanent damages.

However, fuses are not blown fully in some cases. When a fuse keeps working partially, it can affect the power transmission to the car stereo. When the stereo’s power is disturbed by a bad fuse, it might create a scenario where the stereo will turn on without a working display.

Therefore, inspect the fuse that will either be located in the instrument panel or under the hood. Remove and replace the fuse if it has become loose or burned.

Defective Backlight

If the fuse is working fine, but your radio light still not working, you might have to look at the front panel’s backlight.

The majority of old car stereos feature a basic display illuminated by a small LED lamp installed behind the panel. Take out the front panel, remove the LED, and replace it with a new one. It won’t cost much, but you can only do that on your own if you know how to handle small electric circuits and solder components on them.

In modern car stereos, we have entire LED screens as displays. They can also develop defects if they are subjected to frequent voltage fluctuations. These defects usually happen when your car stereo, particularly its screen, is not protected through a fuse.

Connector Problems

If the car stereo is working except for its display, you also need to look at its electrical connection. Stereo displays have an electrical connection either soldered on the board or go through a connector and wire. The car stereos with the latter configuration can develop this problem.

Remove the display panel from the head unit (refer to the stereo’s user manual) and see how its power connections are made.

If you see connectors, make sure they are tightly secured in the right place (again, refer to the user manual). Also, inspect the connector for the broken or loose wires and carbon buildup between its metal components. Fix the wires, clean the carbon layers, and put the connectors back.

In some rare cases, stereo displays with soldered board connections might also stop working. Car stereo has very delicate soldered connections that can break due to all the bumps and jerks that a car and its audio system face on the road. If you see any broken connection on the board, repair it yourself or get it fixed by a soldering pro.

Dimmer setting

Many car stereo models feature a knob that you can use to adjust the brightness of the display. If the dimmer is set on lower values, it might appear that the display is not working at all. Therefore, check the dimmer before pulling the head unit out of its dash cavity and inspect it for the issues discussed above.


We hope that the above discussion answers your question, “why is my car stereo display not working?” From bad fuse to loose connectors and broken backlight, it can happen due to various reasons that you can fix on your own. If you have questions about the car stereo and its display problem, shoot them away in the comment section.

Vincent Talbot