Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Car Stereo not working in hot afternoons

I have an aftermarket stereo in my 97 F150. The stereo is a few years old and has worked fine, but recently it only works in the mornings. Here in East TN we have cool foggy mornings and sweltering afternoons during the summer. On my way to work in the morning the stereo works just fine, but after being parked at work all day I get in to go home ane the stereo does not make a peep. All the lights are on and the unit is completly functional, but no sound. My thought was a short, but I cannot find any. Is my stereo bad?

Some car systems have a mute input that mutes when grounded. Maybe that wire is not fully insulated and is flopping around, occasionally making contact with ground?
Not sure what the weather would do to it, though.

I thought that may be the case, but when its working… it works great. No static or cutting in and out. All the lights work, etc. No amount of bumping will make it cut off in the am, or cut on the pm.

Could be that the electronics are having issues at higher temperatures. If you make the cabin really cold by running the AC for an extended time, does it start working?

This is a classic symptom of a component failing due to heat. The next time the stereo to doesn’t work, try this, turn the stereo off, open the CD/DVD tray, (gently, but give it a good long shot) spray some canned air into the stereo interior. This will cool it off. If the unit works after it is time for a new one.

Thanks for the advice. I’ll try the canned air idea tomorrow afternoon. RemcoW, I have not tried running the ac for an extended period of time as my commute is only 15 mins. Will try both ideas tomorrow. I’m afraid a new unit is in my future.

If you do end up replacing the unit, look into I like them because they provide you with a cable that just plugs between the car and the radio without cutting wires.
No muss, no fuss.

I agree with MTraveler. This is a classic failure mode for electronic devices. The other common failure is when it won’t work until it heats up. Eventually, you may even end up with both, with the stereo only working in a narrow range of temperatures. It’s so common for people to call all manner of electrical/electronic problems a “short”. If you really had a short, you’d be looking at smoke/blown fuses. If the short was in the speaker wires, probably no smoke, but the amp would probably be damaged and not work again on the affected channel.

I think you’d be best off replacing the stereo, and I too would recommend They’re a little pricier than some, but they will usually throw in the installation kit when you spend a certain amount, and their techs can tell you if the stereo you’re looking at will fit, down to the millimeter. They also offer great tech support if something isn’t working right.