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1997 Subaru Legacy - Drink spilled on radio, horrid and extremely loud squealing noises

Was driving with my girlfriend after just stopping by a coffee stand so she could get a redbull italian soda. Driving my 1997 subaru legacy outback which has the cup holders that pop out from directly above the stereo. All was well until I hit the brakes to make a turn and the redbull spilled all over my dash and radio, immediately the music cuts out and the speakers start making the most horrendous sound I have ever heard in my life. Just this maximum volume squealing noise that was rapidly going up and down in pitch. didn’t immediately stop after turning the car off, and turning the radio off didn’t fix it, finally stopped when I pulled the radio fuse. Is my radio ruined? I’m seriously afraid to try anything and test it out, that noise will forever haunt me, very similar to nails on a chalkboard. Had to put napkins in my ears for the 5 minute drive back home out of fear that it would happen again. I can find a lot of posts about the radio just not working, but nothing about the speakers making such a horrible sound.

Time for a new radio I think.


I fixed that for you. And I completely agree.


Sounds like a classic case of Caffeine overdose. :wink: But seriously, it’s hard to imagine how enough of a splash of liquid, Red Bull or otherwise, could have seeped into a vertically mounted radio to give it a “heart attack”.

Suggest you first let it completely dry out, working the knobs and switches to encourage any stray moisture and sugar to leave and maybe switch to an Easy Listening station or NPR.
If that doesn’t work, well the radio is 20+ years old and nothing lasts forever …

And ease up on the caffeine and aggressive driving. You don’t want your Red Bull wings to be Angel Wings.

You could try spraying with a plastic compatible electronics cleaner, but I suspect the cleaner will not remove the sugar residue. Look at it this way, now you have an excuse to upgrade to a unit with Bluetooth and satellite radio.

Give me your address and I will send you a teddy bear and a nightlight.

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According to the “How to trash Electronics” manual, this is perfectly normal, as illustrated on page 2.

Yes it is time for a new radio


If you can get the radio out of the dash use a hair dryer on low heat/airflow and dry out the insides. I doubt you can do it effectively with the radio in place but I could be wrong. A shop that installs car stereos can probably do it if you can’t. If that doesn’t work you can always replace the radio.