Many people drive with dead radios for years. But you don’t have to. If your Kia radio has stopped working, investigate one or more of the following:
1). The Radio Is Dead
Car radios can technically last 25 or more years. But, like most electronic devices, you can’t trust them to survive that long. In fact, mechanics expect drivers to replace or upgrade their radios every six or so years. A car radio will warn you as it approaches the end of its lifespan. Expect various symptoms, such as:
- Distorted audio
- Weak signal
- The radio turns on and off randomly
- Strange sounds from the speakers, etc.
You can’t assume that a car radio has reached the end of its lifespan when your Kia is new. Look for the problem elsewhere.
How to fix it?
- Take the radio out of the slot and clean the contacts. Put everything back together and test the radio. Some drivers in this Kia-Forums discussion tried this approach and fixed their Kia radio.
- If you’ve taken the radio out, check the wires that connect to the component. If you can see signs of damage, replace the cables.
- Is the faceplate loose? This is enough to stop a radio from working. Wiggle it. Better yet, pull the faceplate off and re-attach it. Make sure the pins snap firmly into place.
- If the radio is new, consider the possibility that you installed the wrong radio. This is why aftermarket products are risky. Get a replacement radio from a Kia dealership. Better yet, ask the dealership to install it. They can fix or replace stuck knobs and buttons.
2). The Fuse Is Burnt Or Blown
The fuse is designed to blow. It has a metallic strip that breaks when it encounters a current that exceeds its rating. The metallic strip breaks to prevent the current from flowing.
It wants to protect the radio from the electrical spike. Unfortunately, the radio cannot work with a blown fuse. Find out why the fuse blew. Was it a short circuit? Did the radio develop a fault? Does the car have loose connections and damaged wiring? Any number of defects can blow the fuse.
How to fix it?
Find the fuse box and locate the radio’s fuse. The manual will show you where to find it. Some cars keep the fuse box in a compartment under the steering wheel. Others hide it under the hood. They also include a diagram that allows you to identify the fuse you need.
Pull the radio fuse out and make sure the metal strip connecting the two sections is intact. You can also test it with a multimeter. New fuses are easily accessible, so long as you remember to match the rating of the new fuse to the old fuse. Otherwise, the vehicle will overload the new fuse, blowing it.
3). The Connections Are Loose
Check the wiring harness behind the head unit, amplifier, and speakers. The radio won’t work if these connections are loose. If you’ve tightened the connections, but the radio refuses to work, inspect the wires.
Do you see tears and burn marks on the jacket? Damaged hot wires will disrupt the radio’s power supply. They can also cause arcing. Don’t limit your search to the connectors behind the radio.
Inspect the lines leading to the battery and alternator. They provide power to the radio. Although, you can’t blame them if the radio stops working. A dead battery and alternator would affect various electronic components, not just the radio and speakers.
4). The Speakers Are Damaged
Maybe the radio works, but the speakers have a defect. They can’t generate the audio. Troubleshoot them separately. Check everything from the wires and contacts to the voice coil and cone.
The volume and duration of use will determine how quickly you blow out the speakers. If you don’t hear anything at low or normal levels, but the audio returns at the highest volume, you have a blown speaker. Expect a distorted buzzing.
How to fix it?
- Increase the volume and touch the subwoofer. You should feel vibrations. If you don’t, the subwoofer is damaged.
- Repeat this test with the speaker after turning up the bass.
- The touch test won’t provide concrete information. If you have doubts, use an electric meter. Set it to read impedance and connect a lead to each terminal while the speakers are off. An infinite impedance appears when the speakers blow. Otherwise, you will see 1.0.
- You can also listen for buzzing and distorted audio. This tells you that your Kia needs new speakers.
5). The Antenna Doesn’t Work
The antenna is vulnerable to dirt, debris, water, and extreme weather conditions. You will hear static noises from the radio when the antenna fails.
How to fix it?
- Look for the antenna. For all you know, someone stole it. In that case, install a new one.
- Check the cable running between the antenna and the head unit. Replace a damaged line.
- If the radio signal changes when you wiggle the mast, tighten the assembly.
- If the antenna is broken or corroded, ask Kia to send you a replacement. Life Wire recommends an OEM assembly. Although, this is the most expensive option. Aftermarket antennas are cheaper, but you can’t guarantee their quality. Some aftermarket antennas require an adapter.
- Test the antenna (ohmmeter or multimeter) to confirm it’s truly dead before replacing it.
- Ask a mechanic to determine whether you need a booster to strengthen the signal.
6). The Buttons And Knobs Don’t Work
Dead buttons and knobs are an inconvenience. The radio may refuse to start because the power button doesn’t work. The radio may start, but you can’t change the station or adjust the volume.
Some Kia vehicles use a touchscreen to control the radio. The radio won’t work if the touchscreen won’t respond to your commands.
7). The Kia Has A Software Glitch
Modern cars require regular updates because they use sophisticated firmware to control the vehicle’s complex mechanisms. In some cases, drivers forget to upgrade the firmware. In other scenarios, the firmware develops a glitch that disrupts the vehicle’s electronic components.
How to fix it?
- Update the firmware.
- Perform a hard or soft reset, depending on the options available to you.
- If your car has a ‘Protect mode,’ turn it off. A surge can activate this anti-theft function.
Resetting To Fix The Kia Radio
Have you tried performing a hard reset? This involves disconnecting the negative battery terminal and waiting 30 minutes. This allows the electronic modules to lose their residue charge, resetting the computer.
A hard reset affects every component with memory, which annoys drivers. You’re better off getting a pin and pushing it into the hole next to the radio. Do this for ten or more seconds to reset the radio.
If you’ve hired a mechanic, they might as well inspect the battery and alternator for potential faults.