Car Radio Display Dim and Fading – Fixed!
Is your car radio display either dimming, fading or both? Well, it’s a problem that is more common than people realize. And the problem for us is, it’s not always clear what is causing the issue.
So I’ve written this article to try and diagnose what’s causing the issue, and then any advice I can give on how to fix the problem. So let’s get started…
How Hot is it in Your Car?
LEDs on a car stereo system aren’t always made for intense heat. If you live in places where it gets over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then the chances are it’s simply too hot in your car.
The easiest way to test is simply turning on the AC and wait for the car to cool off. If the display works normally after the car has cooled down, then heat is the problem.
This is also the most common reason for this issue to exist. And if you’re having a problem like this, you should immediately return the stereo to your car dealer or stereo shop and explain the problem and that you want it replaced.
How Humid is it?
Humidity can also mess with your car’s electronics. If you notice this always happens when it is humid, but not when levels of humidity are low, then you know there is a connection problem somewhere.
Where exactly can be a much more difficult task to answer. And I recommend that you bring it to a professional to look at. Sorry I can’t be more helpful here.
Press the RDM RPT Button
This is common in Nissan models, and the picture is from one of their radios. Press the button for 5 seconds and see if this allows the dim display to brighten. If not, try once more.
This is a tip I found in a few forums and helped me and a lot of other people looking for answers to all this.
Is It a Short?
The next thing you can try when your radio display fades or dims is push the display into the radio a little and see if the display becomes brighter. Don’t push too hard, but enough that you know you’re pushing it.
If this does get the display to light properly, then we know it’s either a short, or a problem with the ground connection.
If it doesn’t get brighter, go to the next part of this article.
So pushing makes things better, now we need to know if it is a connection with the display to the radio, or the ground from the display to the car.
In order to fix this you’re going to need to take the radio out of the car. It’s helpful if you have your car manual handy to see how it’s secured, but it should only be a few screws.
Once out, you’ll see a metal “box” that the radio slides into. This is what holds and grounds your radio.
You’re probably going to need a flashlight and look into the “box” and see where metal touches the car anywhere. See if you can see any sort of dust, debris, or corrosion between the contacts. If so, clean them off. If not, then we need to look at the radio itself.
If it is a radio that has the anti-theft removable cover (also where your display is), then take of the cover and look at all the contact points. If you see anything on any of them, give them a good cleaning with a rag or paper towels and some alcohol. That should be enough to make a clean contact again.
Once done put everything back and see if you’re still having problems.
How Old is the Stereo?
Most older radio displays were meant to have a life span of around 10 years. If your stereo is that old or older, it might be time to have the entire display replaced by a professional.