The display is a crucial factor when it comes to car radios.
Whether you have a simple button-based head unit or an expensive touchscreen-based multimedia player, both heavily rely on their LCD screens.
It means that if the screen stops working somehow, or goes blank, the head unit will be practically useless.
Why is My Car Radio Display Not Working
In this post, we’ll discuss why it happens and what solutions you can follow.
1. Unadjusted Brightness
Most of the car audio problems are caused by minuscule changes we make in our vehicles. The same thing happens with car stereo displays.
Before doing anything else, press the buttons on the car stereo or steering wheel (that respond to the car stereo) and see if you’re getting any response in return.
If you feel any of such reactions (like a beep sound or button backlight glowing), it means the entire car radio is not unresponsive and the issue is only with its display.
Maybe you’ve accidentally turned the brightness to 0. While most car stereos don’t allow you to lower the brightness level down to 0, you can dim it by a great margin. So much so that it’ll look like there’s something wrong with your stereo at first glance.
So the first thing you should do is readjust the brightness through the dimmer.
If your stereo is touch-based, then you’ll have to go to system settings for this. In case you can’t seem to figure out where the exact brightness is (not able to search through the dim screen), you can simply reset the stereo as well. For more info, you can check out the step-by-step guides linked below:
Bear in mind, however, that resetting the stereo should be your last option considering it would delete all of your previously saved settings.
2. Malfunctioning Wires
In case you see buttons responsive to your inputs but the LCD is completely blank, then there’s an issue with either the wires that connect the LCD display/Digitizer to the head unit body or with the display itself.
Car stereo connections are not as secured as many think and they get easily loose and broken due to road bumps they receive over time.
Therefore, you’ll need to remove the front panel of the stereo and see if there’s any worn-out/poorly soldered wire. If there are, you’ll have to take it to a professional mechanic for resoldering or change of wires. If you’re into soldering, you can try crimp connections instead.
3. Damaged LCD Panel
If you’ve checked all the internal wiring of the car stereo and they’re securely connected/soldered, then it’s probably your LCD panel that has been damaged.
In this case, you’ll need to replace the old LCD panel with a new one and see if anything changes
Although you can DIY this process to save costs, replacing the LCD is a complicated process and should only be done by a professional. For your understanding, I’ve listed the whole procedure below as well.
How to replace the LCD panel
To replace this panel, you’ll have to take the stereo out of the dashboard first. After this, remove the screws on the front panel and then take this panel off.
It’ll be connected to the main body through a cable. Therefore, you’ll first have to disconnect this cable before taking the panel off.
Now, detach the board behind the panel from the panel body by removing the screws and connectors. This will leave you with the LCD. Take it out from the plastic frame.
After this, separate the digitizer from the LCD by carefully removing the insulation tape. Then, replace the faulty LCD with a new one, place it on top of the digitizer, and reapply the insulating tape.
Now put it back into the plastic frame, install the button board back with the screws, and reconnect the cable that connects it with the main body of the car stereo.
Then, put the panel back on the stereo and put the screws back on. At last, install the car stereo back into the dashboard.
For more information, check out this video below:
4. Blown Radio Fuse
The solutions we’ve discussed so far revolve around the idea that only the screen of your car stereo is not working.
But what to do if the whole unit (including the buttons) are not working?
Well, in that case, you should inspect the fuse of your car stereo first.
There’s a dedicated fuse for car stereo that protects it during power surges. If such a situation occurs, the fuse blows itself to protect the stereo from any damage by disconnecting the circuit.
Due to this disconnection, the car stereo doesn’t get any power after it and subsequently doesn’t turn on.
Therefore, you should inspect your car radio fuse to see if it’s partially/fully damaged. Depending on your vehicle, it can found in either the engine compartment or under the dashboard.
If the metallic ribbon in the middle of the fuse is melted, it’s a good indication that the fuse has blown and should be replaced.
5. Failing Head Unit
If you’ve tried all of the methods above and found no improvement, your overall head unit is most probably faulty and needs to be replaced.
Depending on how high-end your current head unit is, replacing it can be cheap as well as expensive.
Basic stereo come with sub-$100 price tag these days, while premium models with Android auto/carplay, gps, and backup camera can cost you as much as 500 bucks.