CDs stuck in my Toyota disc changer

So it finally happened – I got CDs stuck in the JBL factory-installed four-disc changer on my 2010 Toyota Prius. (We predicted this would happen the first time we saw it.) What I didn’t expect was that the dealership says it can’t be repaired and that the CD player – and the whole navigation system – have to be replaced. Really? Geeze, that’s the kind of planned obsolescence that will make me never buy another Toyota again. I took it to a car audio specialist who told me the same thing. But there again, their goal is sell me something, so I’m skeptical. I’m thinking about going the route of giving in to an extended warranty swindle and then cancelling it once I get the cd player replaced. But that feels like overkill, and it makes me as duplicitous as I suspect they are being. Does anyone out there know if it’s indeed true, that cds stuck in the cd player means you have to replace everything? That’s just not right…

They’re being honest with you. Auto repair shops lack the training and equipment to repair audion units. They simply replace them. Car audion specialists are installers, not system “uit” people. Bench electronics is a whole different field, and, frankly, I doubt if anyone repairs these units anymore. It’s cheaper to just replace the whole unit.

My local auto electric guy salvaged my CDs and then offered to put in a used unit, or I could get one fairly cheap at a local car sound shop. I expect most of the sound quality is in the speakers, anyway…

My dealership wants two grand to replace the unit. I can’t even fathom it. The audio guy did suggest a used unit, but now claims that they are so scarce that we’d likely pay more to get a used one than a new one. He offered an “off-brand,” but it was only marginally less expensive. So, I have to either suck this one up or else just live with the radio alone and listen to the NPR fund drives four times a year.

Try writing to JBL. It’s worth a shot.

I was offered a single-play CD/FM/MP3 unit that would fit in the same dash slot for under $200

Yes, the demise of auto CD players seems to be a given ( all brands I’ve seen ). They’re just too fragile, being made with such tiny components and plastic and such.
With the unit out on a bench you can probably retrieve the CDs but I’ve notice, most often, that once it malfunctions…it’s dead.

Then, top it off with the fact yours is coupled with the nav system and …cha-ching…there goes your money.

This is not unique to Toyota.
Factory sound systems are always high priced.
Here at my Ford dealer my mechanics only remove and install. They bring them to me in the parts room where I have a cleaner, well lit work bench and mini tools. I’ve never seen anything that I can do here for malfunctionibg CD players with their multitude of mini parts and micro electronics.
–About all I can do is get the CDs out.
Sometimes…and only rarely, that’s enough to reset cofused electronics or remove double stacked CDs and return to normal use.

Most of the time they’re dead.

Almost all electronics can be repaired. By my way of thinking you have 2000 reasons to find a good audio repair shop to fix it. Take the unit out of the dash and bring it to someone knowledgable. Sure you can find a double DIN sized deck to replace it for cheap but that doesn’t include a navigation system and most cheap head units look like crap. If I was forced to drop 2K on a head unit I’d hunt down a used McIntosh 406 myself. At least you’d have the panache of McIntosh.

Well, Proacfan, maybe. Often one cannot buy the individual parts.

Even with other electrical car parts this happens. I attempted to get a wiring harness connector for the “optional” foglights. I tracked down the individual commector part number in the Toyota design parts list and stopped by the dealer. He looked it up for me and Toyota will not sell the connector seperately. One needs to buy the entire harness. I’ve had the same problem with other devices as well.

And more often than not it’s simply less expensive to replace a unit than to have it repaired.

I am so happy that I thought about Car Talk after I grew frustrated trying to find a forum on the web. You all are the best! I am looking into audio shops preferably to repair (don’t we have enough electronic junk in landfills as it is?) or replace. I can’t see rewarding the manufacturer/ dealer with my business in this case.

Well there are a lot of other factors that could be involved here. Your system is probably part of the cars security system so jerking it out and sticking in a used one or an off brand model might have other consequences. Some of these also use the first CD inserted in the player as the key to unlock the security code. Before doing anything, you need to gather all this information about the system first.

I have a few questions. Does the CD player still play the CD’s that are stuck in there? If they do, can you change between the CD’s that are in there? Do you have an aux input, a USB or provisions for an iPod? If you do, may I suggest that you get a small iPod or MP3 player and use it instead, the iPod Nano is really great for this but so are older used gen 3 or 4 iPods which are readily available, but usually need a new battery, which is actually not very difficult to replace.

If you can’t play the CD’s that are in there, they still can be retrieved. The head unit has to be removed, then the cover taken off and the CD’s removed. This is not the same as a repair of the head unit. The only problem with this is if the unit needs the first CD inserted in order to reset the security system, then it becomes a big problem. In fact, if this is the case, you will not be able to change the battery unless you have some keep alive battery installed in the power port adapter first.

If you go to amazon they have this complete unit available new for less then $700. Still pricy but much better then $2000.


I had a similar problem with a Dodge. I had the 6-disc changer which stopped working and would not spit out my CDs. I took it to the dealership who replaced the unit under warranty but said that they would need to send the original back to Chrysler where someone would be able to get my CDs back.

This was back around 2006, I still haven’t got my CDs back. I’ve just about written them off now and am thinking about buying new replacements.