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Car Radio Not Working but CD Does – Causes & Solutions

Writen by Edwin Jones

Fact checked by Andrew Wright

Car Radio Not Working but Cd Does

It can be very frustrating to discover that your car radio suddenly stopped working. Apart from disrupting your daily driving routines, you can’t immediately pinpoint the problem. However, your CD player is still working. This leaves you pondering about the possible reasons behind it.

In this article, we will discuss the reasons why is your car radio not working but CD does. Let’s discover the possible causes, such as tuner or amplifier malfunctions, antenna problems, short wiring, blown fuse, security features, and faulty speakers, and learn how to fix them.

Understanding How Radio Works in a Car


When the car radio system experiences certain malfunctions, it can cause your radio to stop operating. If you’re wondering why your CD player is still playing, it is because this is a separate component from your radio which may not be affected by the same issues.

Common Causes of Car Radio Malfunctions

1 The Amplifier is Not Working


Car radios are equipped with built-in amplifiers to power your speakers. They are important because they provide both power and volume to your radio.

Specific symptoms of malfunctioning car amplifiers can be noticeable. This includes the amplifier not turning on, sound distortion, low sound quality, and buzzing. Sometimes, using class D amplifiers causes you to listen to music but AM is not received well.

Continued symptoms can lead your amplifier to fail. Sometimes, when your amplifier gets broken, the buttons won’t work.

  • To fix this, see a professional technician. However, if the amplifier still doesn’t work, you should replace the faulty component.

2. Antenna Problems


A car radio’s antenna is necessary for receiving transmissions. A faulty antenna can cause your radio to stop working without affecting the CD. Antennas can deteriorate over time due to various environmental factors which cause reception issues.

Signs of antenna problems typically start when your FM radio is not working or cannot receive transmission.

To ensure that your antenna is the problem, you can use an ohmmeter or a multimeter to test it.

  • If your antenna is not broken, you can try optimizing your antenna’s hardware to get a better transmission. You can also install a signal booster to make your antenna stronger.
  • If none of the above works, you might need to replace your antenna.

3. Short Wiring


Having short wiring is one of the most common causes why your radio is not working, but your CD player works. In this case, your radio won’t turn on but it has power. You need to do a few tests to find out whether you have a short circuit in your car radio system.

  • Check all the fuses in your radio systems and wiring. There can be loose connections that could cause the shorts. You can also check the ground wire to see if it is connected.
  • To find a short circuit, you can use a multimeter. Ensure your car is turned off and the battery has been disconnected. If there is a low resistance, there is a short in your car.
  • The best way to deal with a short circuit is to get it fixed by a mechanic. They can properly diagnose your problems, and you can fix your radio in no time.

4. Blown Fuse


A blown fuse is another common cause for your radio to stop working without affecting the CD playing.

ICar radios have a fuse to protect them from power surges. If the car fuse is okay, the broken fuse is in the radio. A blown radio fuse can happen for several reasons, such as using the wrong fuse type, incorrect installment, and intermittent shorts.

  • If you find a blown fuse, you can either repair it. If it does not work, it needs to be replaced; start by locating the fuse box and replace the blown fuse with new ones of the same type and amperage rating.

5. Security Features


In modern cars, radio systems are often equipped with security features that are designed to prevent theft. This feature can make car radios inoperable if disconnected from the car’s power source.

In some cases, the security feature can be triggered after battery change. In such cases, the radio can lock itself, preventing you from using it. A specific code or security procedure is needed to unlock this.

  • To address this issue, you can consult your car’s manual, retrieve the security code, or enter the security code. By following the steps, you can get your radio running again.

6. Faulty Speakers


In some cases, your car radio is turned on but no sound is being projected. When this happens, your radio will still indicate that it has power but no sound from the speaker will form. This can be an indicator that your speakers are broken or faulty.

  • To fix this, you can start by examining the wires for damages. These damaged wires can interrupt the flow of your audio signals. No sound comes out unless you can trace where the problem is.
  • You can also call a technician to check your wiring so they can have a more detailed examination of your car radio speakers. Sometimes, wiring damage can go beyond the speakers, affecting your car’s audio system. Worst comes to worst, you might even need to replace the speaker.


It can be perplexing to have your car radio not working but CD does. Various potential causes behind this problem might be overwhelming, but discovering the root cause will lead to the right course of action.

These common issues of car radio no sound but CD works can be detrimental to your car radio, from amplifiers to antenna problems, short wiring, blown fuses, security features, and faulty speakers. In most cases, chances are that these issues can be fixed. However, serious causes could result in a radio replacement.

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