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September 14, 2009 2:34 PM   Subscribe

Why does the radio in our 95 Camry stop making sound?

Our 1995 Camry with factory radio cut out in the middle of a drive yesterday. The unit appears to be on and functioning, but suddenly no noise comes from the speakers. No static or anything. When the car is completely powered off and then back on, the stereo will sometimes come back for a minute or two then disappear again. It has never done this before.

What's causing this?

In case it's relevant- over a year ago, we had a Sirius receiver professionally installed and connected via the FM antenna hook-up. My first thought was that this was related, but even if I power the Sirius receiver off completely, I get the same results using just the regular FM stations.
posted by JuiceBoxHero to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
Best answer: It's possible there's either a cold solder joint or perhaps a crack in a connector or circuit board that gets worse as the unit warms up during normal operation. Car electronics are under a lot of stress and after 13 years it's possible yours has succumbed to the stress.
posted by tommasz at 2:49 PM on September 14, 2009

the speakers just plug into the back of the radio.. the harness they're in could also be failing, or it could have wiggled loose.
posted by mrg at 2:55 PM on September 14, 2009

Sounds like you've got a bad connection in the radio harness. A less than perfect accessory installation can cause funny issues, especially if a harness isn't tied back into its original position and the wires have started rubbing against something...
posted by Jon-o at 3:05 PM on September 14, 2009

If the radio has a CD or tape, try playing that. If it works, the problem is likely the antenna connector. Usually, the antenna connector is a separate plug from the wiring harness that connects power and speakers to the radio.

The auto is a high vibration, thermally variable environment. Booming audio also adds vibration. 90% of electronic problems in my experience (35+ years) is connectors.

You need to access it to correct it, and that is non-trivial. Dashboards are not designed to be easily accessible, sadly, and getting one apart and back together correctly is a challenge for most people, fraught with cracked plastic, unseen fasteners, bad lighting, and requires the flexibility of a contortionist.

If you are old, or clumsy, or not good with your hands, go to a radio shop and pay to have it done. Sometimes the best repair tool is a checkbook.
posted by FauxScot at 2:49 AM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

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