How to Keep Radio on When Car Is Off

Every driver experiences those moments when you want to or need to switch off the car and sit somewhere for a bit. Obviously, it is super boring to not have anything to do in the meantime. You can use your smartphone but many times, you might prefer just playing something on the radio.

In those moments, a lot of people think of the question of how to keep the radio on when the car is off. It’s a fair question because you don’t want your battery to give up on you while you’re on the road. In this post, we will look at the answer to that question and then some. Let’s begin.

Can You Listen to the Radio with the Car Off?

Well, that depends on a few factors. The question, “How to keep the radio on when the car is off?” is not an uncommon one. But to answer it, you need to know a few things about the car radio and how it affects the battery.

When your car is on, you create power that keeps the car battery running. So, the battery does not run out even though you are using the car.

But when you turn on the alternator, you won’t be generating any power. In this case, if you are playing the radio, you are using energy without generating any that will keep the battery running.

Now, you can use the radio but you might want to keep an eye on the battery level because it is getting drained. So, short bursts of entertainment can go on without bringing your car to a halt because of a battery drain.

Now, you might get a few hours from the battery if it is functioning well. But otherwise, you shouldn’t do this for too long.

However, that’s not the only factor. This depends on the type of car too. So, here we go looking into that.

How to Keep the Radio on in a Keyless Car?

If you are trying to figure out how to leave the radio on in a keyless car, you need to follow a few simple steps.

Step 1: Take your foot off the brake pedal.

Step 2: Press your car’s start button.

Step 3: The car will now be in the accessory mode which means you can listen to some music or podcasts or the radio without having to switch on the car’s engine.

If you want to leave the vehicle, you just need to press the start button and the radio will switch off automatically. But keyless models are generally categorized as pre-2011 and 2012 to 2015.

The method mentioned above works well for cars without a key before 2011. The models that were launched later on have a slightly different approach.

Car Radio Models from 2012 to 2015

The design of the cars that don’t have keys and were launched between 2012 and 2015 is slightly different compared to the previous models. So obviously, the answer to the question, “How to keep radio on in a keyless car?” is going to be a bit different for these cars.

  • Step 1: Release the brake pedal from under your foot.
  • Step 2: Turn on the e-brake and shift the car into Park mode. This will keep the engine running along with the accessories.
  • Step 3: Get ready to change the gear to Neutral by placing your foot on the brake pedal.
  • Step 4: Press the Stop button and take the foot off your car’s brake pedal at the same time. The car will be in accessory mode and you are ready to play anything you want.
  • Step 5: Now put the car in Park mode which will turn off the engine but the radio will keep going.
  • Step 6: If you want to turn off the radio, you just need to take your foot off the brake pedal.

Models after 2015

The next model of cars which came after 2015 have a digital system that is a bit more advanced. The system will alert you if you are doing something wrong which is an extra layer of protection.

All you need to do is press the Start button of the engine. It will not switch on the engine but you will definitely be able to play your favorite entertainment option. The pressing of the Start button will put the car into accessory mode directly. This will switch the radio on right away.

And if you want to switch on the engine, you need to press the car’s Start button once again while pressing on the brake. After that, you must push the Start button once again and the engine will get turned on.

Models with Gated Shifter

Finally, you have cars with a gated shifter which will give you some more flexibility. This makes it possible to shift the gear towards the right and keep it there. Then you need to press the Start button to turn off the car’s engine.

At this point, the car’s engine will be off while the radio will stay on. Once you have the entertainment on, you can release the gear shifter.


Q: How to Turn on Radio without Starting the Car?

A: This is specifically about older car models. You need to turn the key and stop when you hear the first click. This will put the car in the accessory mode which will allow you to use your entertainment options with the engine off.

Q: How to Keep Radio on When a Nissan Car Is off?

A: If you are dealing with a Nissan car, you need to start by switching off the engine. That happens when you push the Start button one time. Then you must remove your foot from the brake and press the Start button again. This will put the car in accessory mode.


Typically, you will be able to listen to the radio for two to three hours on battery. After that, you will notice that the battery starts to run low. Don’t push it beyond that.

Last Updated on November 20, 2021 by Danny Reid