Step-by-Step Guide: How to Turn Off Radio When Car is Off?

Often, things like radio can shake us up and unexpectedly say, “Stop kidding, please!” Indeed, an active radio is a way to enhance the driving experience with entertainment, news, and navigation assistance. But it can be worrying if you get it on while the ignition is already off. In today’s discussion, I will explain how to turn off the radio when the car is off.

The most common reasons to get the radio on while the vehicle is shut down are faulty wiring, a bad ignition switch, or radio shut-off delay issues (1). If you want to turn it off, you can use the power button on the device or its remote (2). Still, if the radio does not turn off, check the ignition and the settings. You may also need to replace the ignition switch.

Usually, turning off a car radio differs in different types and models of your radio and car. Sometimes, specific issues or malfunctions do not let it turn off. In such cases, knowing the reasons and ways to troubleshoot can be a good idea.

Reasons for Radio Stays on When Car is Off

In this part, I will illustrate why radio may stay automatically on. Well, you may not notice, yet you can solve the problem by seeing them thoroughly.

Faulty Door Switch or Sensor

The primary reason is a faulty door switch or sensor. Typically, this switch or sensor disconnects the signal to the radio so that the radio turns off when the door is opened (3).

Defective Ignition Key or Cylinder

A worn or poor ignition key and cylinder can cause the radio to stay on. It may appear in an “off” position while actually in the run or accessory position (4).

Electrical or Wiring Issues

Another possible cause is improper head unit wiring, especially aftermarket units (5). A loose or disconnected power wire can prevent the radio from turning off. Besides, the erratic radio settings can also keep the device on.

Malfunctioning Accessory Power System

A malfunction in the retained accessory power system can also be the culprit. Generally, it allows the system to retain power when the key is off until the door is open (6). Well, a relay failure or a failure in the module that controls this can cause this issue.

Malfunctioning Shut-Off Features

Some modern cars have automatic shut-off features for the radio. These features turn off the radio when the vehicle is turned off. But when they do not work or fail to perform (delay in radio shut-off), you may not turn off the radio after switching off the ignition.

Step-by-Step Guide to Turning Off Your Car Radio

You may already know that turning the radio off is a simple task. But the process can vary depending on the type and model of your radio and car.

Standard Car RadiosDigital Car Radios
Locate the Power Button: The power button is on the front of the unit or the side. Once you have found the power button, press and hold it for a few seconds until the unit powers down.Press the Source Button: Press and hold the ‘Source’ button on the radio like standard radios. The ‘Source’ button is usually found at the left corner of the device.  
Detach the Faceplate (If applicable): If your car stereo has a detachable faceplate, you can remove it to ensure the unit is completely turned off.Turn Off the Screen: If your screen stays illuminated even after the radio is off, you might need to turn off the screen manually. To do this, tap the ‘Display Off’ option on the screen’s menu.

Dealing with Different Car Radio Models

If you have specific type of radios, you may follow these instructions:

  • Pioneer DEH & Touch Screen Radios: You can turn off the display in single-din DEH radios by pressing and holding the ‘SRC’ button for a few seconds (7). If it is a Pioneer Touch Screen Radio, press, and hold the ‘Source’ button on the radio. If your screen stays illuminated even after the radio is off, tap the ‘Display Off’ option in the screen’s menu (8).
  • Hyundai Tucson: You can turn off the radio by pressing a specific button on the media control center. Check this video for a full tutorial.
  • Tesla Radio: In cars like Tesla, select the music icon, pause the audio, and close the window by swiping down to turn off the radio (9).
  • Subaru Forester Radio: The radio can be turned off by long pressing and holding the volume knob (10).

Fixing a Radio That Doesn’t Turn Off After Turning off the Car

Suppose you have followed the above methods to turn off the radio. Still, the radio is on – then you can follow these tips:

  • First, check the wiring of the radio/stereo unit. The yellow wire, labeled “Battery,” should have a voltage of 12 when the car is on and 0 when the vehicle is off (11). If the ground connection is not working correctly, it can make the radio running even when you turn off the engine.
  • Then, check if the head unit of the car is in anti-theft mode. If you find the automotive fuse faulty, you should replace it soon. Similarly, resolve the issues with the pigtail connector and head unit grounds (1).
  • Regularly check your car battery’s health. A weak or old battery may not provide enough power for the radio to function correctly. As a result, the radio won’t turn off when the car is off.  
  • Some cars have an option in the infotainment system to turn off autoplay. You can find it in the Bluetooth settings menu (12). Likewise, you can disable it in a car with Apple CarPlay too. To do so, move to the “Content & Privacy Restrictions” menu on the iPhone and toggle “CarPlay” off (13).
  • You may also replace the ignition switch to turn on and off the radio quickly. If the radio has power and ground but doesn’t turn off, it might have an internal fault (14).
  • If you have recently installed a radio, you should check if it is installed correctly. Incorrect installation can cause problems with the radio turning on and off. If you’re unsure how to install it, call for professional help.
  • If you have a digital car radio, ensure it is up to date with the latest software. It may solve the problem of the radio not turning off.

Why Shouldn’t You Keep the Radio On After Turning Off Your Car?

You may think, “My car, my rules!” So, you may not want to turn off the radio, yet the wheels are not moving a bit. But some reasons are there for which I may suggest switching it off when you get out of the car.

You can conserve battery life if you know how to turn off the radio when the car is off. Leaving it on for extended periods can make the battery drain quickly. And who knows the low battery will leave you stranded or unable to start the vehicle on the road.

Indeed, sometimes the radio can become a distraction even if you are not driving. For example, you stop the car on the road and leave it alone for a few minutes to shop around. It can be a reason for unexpected accidents.

For sure, I always prefer a quieter environment like most others. But unnecessary noise from the radio can disturb our neighbors or where we park the car. So, please turn it off once you turn off the engine.

Final Words

Aha! I am at the last point of the article on how to turn off the radio when the car is off. I hope you have read it entirely – and why not? After all, I have explained the reasons to turn off the radio after turning off the car.

Later, you have learned that some reasons do not let the radio turn off. For instance, problems with the door switch, sensor, ignition switch key, and other electrical or wiring can be the causes of this issue.

You have also learned how to turn off the radio in different vehicles. If you cannot do it, you can solve the problems soon by following my instructions. Still, you can leave your questions in the comment section.

Thank You!

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