Why Does My Car Stereo Keep Resetting? [ON and OFF Repeatedly]

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Why Does My Car Stereo Keep Resetting?

A car stereo can keep resetting itself due to a bad fuse interrupting the power supply to the radio, causing it to reset. A malfunctioned memory wire, loose wire connections, and head unit circuitry problems can also throw the stereo in auto-reset mode.

A car stereo that keeps resetting itself is a huge buzzkill. An auto-resetting car stereo won’t let you enjoy your favorite music on the road, whether it’s a romantic long drive with your significant other or an interstate trip with friends.

This stereo problem is not related to any particular model or manufacturer. This issue is not exclusive to old cars. Any car can face this problem with any stock or aftermarket stereo.

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If you are also frustrated by this car audio problem and wondering in bewilderment, “why does my car stereo keep resetting,” continue reading this post. Here, we will walk you through all the plausible reasons behind this auto-resetting behavior of a car stereo.

Without any further delay, let’s delve into the reasons why a car stereo keeps resetting.

What causes a car stereo to turn on and off repeatedly?

Head Unit Wiring Malfunction

Sometimes every component of the car stereo is working perfectly fine except for some wires of the head unit. Therefore, start troubleshooting when your car stereo keeps resetting itself. Inspect every wire coming out of the head unit, and see if it’s properly taped. Also, look out for loose butt connectors and replace them.

Bad Fuse

A fuse ensures that your stereo gets the required operating voltage while protecting its circuit from any instance of shorting. A poorly working or blown fuse might push your stereo into an endless on-off iteration where you can’t use it for seamless music listening.

A bad fuse might also affect other electronics of the car as well. For instance, if you notice a headlamp or an indicator is not working and the stereo is also getting reset, you need to inspect the fuse(s) and replace it/them.

Depending on the car, the fuse can be located around the instrument panel near the dash, under the hood, or even beneath the rear seat. Refer to the car electric manual to find out the fuse’s location.

Malfunctioned Memory Wire

If your car stereo keeps falling back to the default setting whenever you start the engine, it also might be due to a malfunctioned memory wire.

A memory wire is a yellow-colored lead in your stereo’s wire harness. It is different from other head unit wires because it contains power all the time, even when your car is standing stationary with its engine off.

This wire provides power to the clock of the head unit and the radio frequency setter. It is called a “memory” wire because it saves the station (radio frequency) memory and plays the same frequency that you set the last time whenever you turn on the stereo again.

If the reset happens primarily when you start your car, you should try replacing the memory wire and see if the problem goes away. If you can’t detect any issue with the memory with a visual inspection, check it for its voltage reading through a multi-meter. A perfectly working memory wire will give you approximately 12V reading when the engine is off.

A Malfunctioned Head Unit

Your stereo might still auto-resets even when all the wires and connectors are installed properly, the fuse is working fine, and there is no issue with the memory wire. It’s a sign that your head unit has developed some internal circuitry issues. You have to consult an expert audio enthusiast to resolve this complex head unit issue. In some cases, you might have to replace the head unit altogether.

However, always make the final call regarding the head unit replacement when you are 100% confident about its irreparable malfunctioning. Car head unit replacement is an expensive affair and might require extensive work. Therefore, due diligence is very important before declaring it broken and replacing it.


We hope that this article answers your question, “why does my car stereo keep resetting.” It might be due to loose wiring, a bad fuse, a broken memory wire, or an internal issue with the head unit. You can also try the Big 3 upgrade of the wires and see if that helps. If you have any queries about your car audio, share them in the comment section.

Hey, there mobile audio lovers! My name is Vincent Talbot, founder and chief editor at 99carstereo.com. Ask any mobile audio fanatic, installer, or company rep what makes a good car speaker, sub, or amp, or, better yet, why he or she prefers a certain brand over another, and be prepared to endure a litany of opinions, viewpoints, and passion-fueled perspectives. To be honest, mobile audio shopping can be a daunting task without a guide, so I’ve assembled what I feel are the best products to consider to make things easier for you. More.

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