Why does my car stereo hate me?
February 11, 2006 8:48 AM   Subscribe

I am loaning my never used 1995 Altima to a friend whos car was stolen, however, whenever she turns it on, the clock on the radio and all the pre-set stations disappear! The radio plays fine, just won't keep the data. Any ideas?
posted by keep it tight to Technology (13 answers total)
 
I had an old '88 Topaz that used to do this. It had something to do with a corroded battery cable. Maybe you should check the cables for signs of corrosion around the terminals. If yes, then you can either buy new cables or clean the old ones (I just cleaned my old ones with a wire brush and sandpaper). If no, then...?
posted by LunaticFringe at 9:05 AM on February 11, 2006


Baking soda is also a good agent for cleaning corroded battery terminals.

Additionally, you might take a look at the fuse box although I'm guessing the battery and or cables to be the issue.
posted by geekyguy at 9:10 AM on February 11, 2006


You might also check the fuse box to see if the always-on battery connection fuse has blown, as well.

I've screwed up done enough stereo installs to know that it's a fairly easy fuse to blow, and it causes this exact problem.
posted by Orb2069 at 9:20 AM on February 11, 2006


Or it might be connected wrong in the first place, but yeah, the fuse does sound likely.
posted by insomnus at 9:49 AM on February 11, 2006


My battery died soon after this started happening (Ford Tempo FWIW). Like DIED died. Had to get a new one.
posted by unknowncommand at 10:07 AM on February 11, 2006


The cable is a very unlikely culprit, and many (most?) cars do not have a separate fuse for the always-on lead to the radio. Checking the fuse is of course the easiest thing to do (and doing so is sensible), but my money is on a botched install.
posted by Kwantsar at 11:02 AM on February 11, 2006


You have a battery going kaput.
posted by glenwood at 11:23 AM on February 11, 2006


The simple explanation is the the radio is not getting electricity when the car is turned off. All of the above are various explanations for why this may be occurring.

I'm also voting for battery dying. You could probably find someplace that will test it for free.
posted by winston at 11:37 AM on February 11, 2006


It's not a fuse or a battery issue. There's an always-on lead that should be hooked up properly to the stereo, and it's not. Check your harness and your connections.
posted by rxrfrx at 12:53 PM on February 11, 2006


The original question led me to perceive that the oddity only occurs when the loanee turns the car on, and retains the settings when the owner turns it on -- did I misread it?
posted by vanoakenfold at 1:42 PM on February 11, 2006


Sorry vano, i should have been clearer...its happens all the time. I haven't driven the car in over a year. I took it to my mechanic a year ago and while there, my aftermarket CD player was stolen. We I gave it to her, i dug the original factory stereo out and snapped it back in. No wireing by me, just had to plug in the existing wire harness and it came on. I am leaning towards the "always-on lead" that rxrfrx mentioned since the battery and everything is brand new.

Thanks everyone!
posted by keep it tight at 6:36 PM on February 11, 2006


Don't put baking soda, a strong base, near your car battery, which is filled with strong acid, unless you like the idea of an explosive reaction spraying hot strong acid into your face and eyes. I would go so far as to label this 'worst answer' on the grounds of safety, or more to the point, lack thereof.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:05 PM on February 11, 2006


Don't put baking soda, a strong base, near your car battery, which is filled with strong acid, unless you like the idea of an explosive reaction spraying hot strong acid into your face and eyes. I would go so far as to label this 'worst answer' on the grounds of safety, or more to the point, lack thereof.

Good point and it is why I linked to the AAA directions that outline the recommended safety precautions.
posted by geekyguy at 2:57 AM on February 13, 2006


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