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

Listening to radio while "dashboard dining"

Hey, I am sure you all have experienced those “driveway moments” when you have just gotta hear the rest of a favorite NPR show, like CARTALK :slight_smile: – and you end up sitting for longer than you thought you would. Or, you are “dashboard dining” and want to listen to the radio without the motor is running while you eat your meal… Any guidelines for how long it is ok to have the radio on without the engine running? Should the key be turned to the first or second position before the engine is engaged? I’d really appreciate your input on this and your taking time to answer.

Grateful Listener,


PS I have children several years apart in age. Needless to say, it was very hard to find activities as they grew up that we could all enjoy together considering their wide range of difference in age. I thought you may enjoy knowing that listening to your show was one of only three things they each enjoyed doing with me together. (Ok, I know you are dying to know what the other two things were: watching Andy Griffith Show re-runs and going to a small town near us to enjoy its charms. Thanks for the memories! :slight_smile: take care, blessings to you both

With a healthy battery (meets CCA specs.) the radio listening time(no high-powered systems)is many hours.Key in Acc. position ,does your car have the option of turning “backwards” and have the radio operate? The goal is to have the radio powered up without powering up the ignition system (no dash warning lights).

I have a high-powered radio system, a 100-watt stereo unit and a 300-watt amplifier driving two 10-in sub-woofers. Even on a 5-year old battery, I listen to the car stereo with the engine off for as much as 5 hours at a time without killing the battery. This usually coincides with hanging out with some friends and working on someone’s car away from a typical garage.

As much as 5 hours? Boy, you must be real popular with your neighbors BK.

On my old VW, I used to accidentally leave the radio on overnight from time to time and it started just fine in the morning. This was a common mistake because the radios ran off an “always on” circuit so you had to turn it off manually.

If you turn the key to the accessory position you should be o.k. for several hours–I believe that hisis the first position from lock position.

In the old days of the vacuum tube radios, the battery would be depleted sometimes in less than a couple of hours. This did have its advantages. I could go out on a date and park with the radio on in the 1947 DeSoto my family owned when I was in high school. I would park on a hill so that I could start the car rolling, let out the clutch and get it started if my date yelled too loudly. I didn’t have to revert to the “running out of gas” trick.

It’s the only way I can hear my music over theirs! :wink: