Honda 1991 electrical cirduit - radio and brake light

The radio in my 1991 Honda Civic has been dying a slow death over the past year. First it would stop working if the weather was too hot. Then it would only work sporadically, finally it almost never worked. Whenever the radio stopped working, there would be a loud electrical “pop” sound, so I thought it might have a short. Yesterday my husband fixed the upper rear brake light (cleaned contacts) so it would pass inspection. Now the radio works perfectly! Are the brake lights and radio on the same circuit?

No. The brake lights are on fuse 35, and the radio is on fuse 12. Did he by any chance do anything with the cigarette lighter?

Not that I know of - the cigarette lighter has never been used, as far as I know. Darn, that means the radio might stop working again! I want to keep this car for a total of 30 years, but I don’t know if I can go five more years with no radio!

Replace radio, problem solved.

I’m wondering if hubby was inspecting the wiring around the brake pedal, thinking the brake light switch was the problem causing the upper brake light not to work. In monkeying around in that area, he may have wiggled the connector going to the radio. If so, maybe all you have to do is unplug and clean that connector. To do this it might be necessary to remove the radio first, but that shouldn’t be a major job.

Edit: There’s usually two connectors involved with a radio, one for the power and speakers, and one for the antenna. Could be either of them.

The pop sound you heard would seem to indicate that the radio does have a problem, a leaky electrolytic capacitor possibly as they can go bad over the years. If the radio does have an issue simply purchase one on the used market to replace the bad one. Places like Ebay have them for sale.

Be very careful while removing the radio. It’s held in by a screw that’s all the way at the back of the radio. The surrounding metal of the center console is incredibly sharp. Try not to cut your hands.

You can get a brand spanking new one with adapter harness from Crutchfield for under $100.

My husband says too hard to replace (he doesn’t like my car). I don’t know whether I want to undertake this myself.

Are you handy with tools? If you are, there’s absolutely no reason not to try replacing it yourself. Stop by the dealer parts window and request an “exploded view” drawing of the radio installation that’ll show you all the clips, screws, and whogifingots you’ll need to access to remove the old unit and replace it. They ARE removable and replaceable.

The Crutchfield suggestion is a good one, or you can buy a basic head unit at WalMart or Best Buy, just be sure you have an adapter cable. I think they’re about $20 now. That’ll allow you to hook up a connector to the new unit on the kitchen table and then simply unplug the oldone and plug the new one into your OEM wiring harness. Never butcher the harness.

That generation of Civic is very easy to replace the radio in. A few screws to pop the center console off, then a few more on the radio face, one in the back, and pull it out the front. Install of the new one will be even easier since it will have a sleeve that will clip into the radio slot, and then you just click the new radio into place. Your husband is just trying to get out of working on your car :wink:

Here’s a video on doing it yourself.