2005 Honda Accord Radio with stutter

I really like the car. It’s functional, relatively efficient, quite enough, comfortable enough, and roomy enough. Getting from point A to point B is more-or-less struggle free. Struggle free, that is, unless my wife rides along. You see, my radio only sometimes works. It will work for a day or two, then fails for a week. Only to spring to life again for a tantalizing five minutes, and then to rest again. This auditory irregularity provokes behavior irregularity in my wife. When the radio breaks, it would seem she breaks as well. Smashing buttons, yelling at the car, banging on the dash commences. The radio simply yawns.

It seems this problem is rather common for the '02-'07 Honda radios. Some people seem to have radios that stay on when the car is off! Thankfully this doesn’t seem to apply to me (knock on wood). They radio (or CD) player will simply randomly turn off. There is no loud ‘pop,’ as seems to be another common symptom for others. The CD play will also stop accepting CDs. Sometimes it will refuse to eject CDs, and sometimes it will continuously ‘dry heave’, i.e. try to eject a CD when no CD has been inserted. Also the display backlight sometimes just goes off.

At any given time, any or all of these behaviors can be displayed. Similarly with my wife’s response.

It seems the problem is isolated to the CD player/radio unit. Other console functions, AC, dash indicators, etc. all seem to work normally.

The current consensus that I can find from other web venues is to replace the radio with refurbished model (local place will charge $600 for this), or install an aftermarket radio (looks to cost around $250 to $300 for this solution).

My worry is that an underlying problem (e.g. some grounding issue) will simply cause the new radio/CD system to act similarly possessed. Has anyone with this kind of problem had luck with a repair?

As I have a 15 hour car trip with my wife coming up in two weeks, any help and advice would be greatly appreciated!


In my old cars, the problem you describe would be the cat’s whisker coming off the crystal. However, I don’t think that is the case in your Accord.
Here is something you might try: At night, with the radio off, turn on the headlights. Does the dial light in the radio go on with the rest of the dash lights? If not, turn on the radio. If it comes on, does the dial light up? If the radio goes off, but the dial light stays on, the radio is receiving power and the problem is in the radio.
If the dial lights with the dash lights, then this test is out.