2006 Chevy Malibu Radio Draining Battery And Then Showing LOCKED

Hi All, About 4 yrs ago, my Son called me and said battery was dead in 2006 Chevy Malibu. and that the weird thing was CD player was spinning with the car shut off. Jumped battery but had to take out radio fuse because when car was shut off, radio would still run! Took it to the dealer and they wanted 500.00 dollars to fix the thing!!! No way I am paying that. Long story short put fuse back in and Radio plays for 30 seconds then shows “LOCKED” Why oh why is my Malibu radio draining my battery and running when car is off? I haven’t had a radio for four years because of this “electrical problem” and NO WAY can I afford 500.00! Someone also said check the Ignition Switch or it could be the RAP (Retained Accessory Power)? Here is what I tried this morning…When trying to unlock the radio, I put the fuse back in for the Radio, turned ignition on and heard the CD player spin with nothing in it and then LOCKED came on. Tried to unlock it and nothing when pushing all buttons. Shut ignition off again, took fuse out and put in again and heard CD player spin again. My guess is Radio itself has a short or something? I don’t know what to do anymore with it as I cannot afford much at all. I also don’t know if Garage or Auto Zone will check it for free :frowning: Sorry for such a long post, But anyone ever hear of this happening and what to do? I don’t know if it’s a short, the radio itself or the Retained Accessory Power…

I’m assuming that by the Retained Accessory Power your friend is referring to a problem with the ignition key cylinder not disconnecting power when the key is OFF. And he/she might be right. If that is true, your other accessories that would not normally be OFF when the key is OFF will also work. Things like power windows and windshield wipers normally fall into this category. Try them and see if they work when the key is OFF. If they do, I think your friend’s theory has merit. If not, there’s something else going on here.

Post back with the results.

What did the dealer propose to do to fix the problem for $500? Had they diagnosed the issue?

The dealer is usually the most expensive place for repairs. You might want to visit a good local mechanic for a second opinion and a quote.

If the radio is malfunctioning, it’ll probably be easiest and cheapest to replace it with an aftermarket one from Crutchfield.

the same mountainbike wrote:
I’m assuming that by the Retained Accessory Power your friend is referring to a problem with the ignition key cylinder not disconnecting power when the key is OFF.

I believe this is referring to a feature I’ve seen in a few cars (probably GM ones) where you can keep using the radio for a short time after the car is turned off and the key is removed. If that never turned off, then that could explain a problem like this (or maybe not, as asemaster has a valid point below).

Are you trying to unlock the radio by pressing the specific buttons in order and entering the security code as directed in your owner’s manual? If not, you’re just wasting time.

It’s possible that the radio has failed internally causing your problem, because the radio is always powered up to keep the security system and station memory alive. The CD shuffling happens when the rest of the power has been restored when you put the fuse in. $500 for a dealer to install and program a factory radio sounds about right. You can get an aftermarket one for half that.

If in fact you have a problem with the Retained Accessory Power circuits staying on then simply disconnecting the radio would not have solved your problem, and many other items on the car are powered by RAP.

If that’s true, than this could be as simple as a sticky relay.

The CD sections are a common problem area for radios that cause battery drain issues. If you replace the radio you may eliminate the issue. Ebay is a good place to find used radios or you could send your unit in for repair but that may cost you more than a used one does.

Retained Accessory Power is a feature of GM cars (such as my Cadillac) that allows you to use the radio, windows, etc. for about 10 minutes or until a door is opened (at least the driver’s door, but possibly other doors as well).

It sounds like there are two problems - one with the radio, since the CD player shouldn’t be spinning with the radio off, and one with the RAP, since the radio should not be able to do anything once the RAP is canceled after 10 minutes or after a door is opened.

EDIT: If you buy a used OEM radio on eBay, it will probably need to be reprogrammed by a dealer with your vehicle’s VIN, or you will need to make sure that the unlocking code comes with it.

Just an example of how new tech retarded I am. My 2002 Mitsubishi failed to start after driving it about 15 miles in the dark with no problems. No electrical power. It was diagnosed as a 4+ year old battery with multiple dead cells. OK. The charging system was checked and battery replaced. The next day the car started normally but the radio didn’t. The display read “CODE”. It was mid December so of course it was “code/cold”. The little light bulb over my head suddenly illuminated! The stereo had an anti theft device which activated if it was removed from the car. It activated when the car lost all electrical power. I was able to find the code in the original paperwork and easily restore the stereo.