Car radio causing car to not start

i recently bought a 2004 Malibu maxx. The factory radio wasn’t installed/plugged in when I bought it, it was on the floor. When I got home I figured i would plug it in myself, so I plug it in & try to start the car & it won’t start. So I unplug it & the car goes back to starting up perfectly fine. What could be the issue? (i of course disconnected the battery when plugging in the radio)

Possibly an after market radio that needs additional adapters, if you can look up the radio and car at you may see what additional adapters are needed to work. It could be a security system kicking in also.


It’s tuned to NPR and having a driveway moment.


it’s the factory radio that came with the car . i believe it’s missing a piece to plug in but idk . cause the radio lights came on for second . but the car wouldn’t start & then the radio lights turned off .

Call a local vehicle audio store and ask for a ball park price to connect this radio properly .


Probably time to start fresh if you want a radio etc. Probably something fried, my go to place.

Suggest to ask this question at a dealership. Some vehicle designs integrate the radio in with other powertrain functions. Might be to discourage radio-theft. If this is the case you might need to prove to the dealership you are the car and radio owner, after which they’ll use their factory scan tool to initialize the radio with the car’s software, and you’ll be able to get both the radio working and the car starting again.

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I wonder if an aftermarket radio was installed by the last owner, and then removed when you purchased the car (this would explain why the factory stereo was on the floor.) Perhaps some wires got rerouted, broken, or shorted during this process? Previous installed may have got power from somewhere they weren’t supposed to.

When the radio is plugged in and won’t start, what exactly is happening when you turn the key? No crank? Crank but no start? no electrical at all?


it doesn’t crank . everything seems to not love such as the speedometer & gas gauge don’t move anymore . the radio plays for a split second & then shuts off . but as soon as it’s unplugged the car starts up fine .

So what are you going to do about this problem ? Without actually seeing the wiring no one on the web can really tell you what to do . Have you called a local auto sound shop as I suggested ?

It could be as simple as a bad radio and you just need a new one.

for giggles: figure out which fuse is for the radio, and pull it out. Then hook up the radio and see if the car starts.


There are two dark green wires for the BUS communication system connected to the radio, if these are shorted or connected in the wrong cavity this can cause communication problems with the theft deterrent module.