Radio Keeps Changing Stations by Itself

Unless you think that you’re being haunted by a ghost whose only way of messing with you is to tamper with your car radio, you must know that there are a handful of reasons why this is happening.

It is not unusual for a car radio with a few issues to change stations all by itself. In this piece, we will tell you what those reasons could be. We won’t have to tell you what to do to fix it because they are quite obvious. But we will leave you a little hint anyway. Let’s get started.

Why Does My Car Radio Keep Changing Stations

There are more than a couple of reasons why your car radio keeps changing stations by itself. Here are some of them and let’s start with the obvious, shall we?

1.     Faulty Buttons

This is a very common reason as a result of which a car radio changes stations by itself. And it often happens when the stereo is old and parts of it are starting to give up on you. You will notice that not only do the stations change, but it happens rather frequently and suddenly too.

And when we say faulty, it could be that the buttons are getting a bit sticky on the inside and as a result, they are developing these old person habits. It usually does not get clearer than this that your stereo is giving up on you.

The buttons are wearing out and begging for retirement. Think of this as your grandparents repeating the same thing because they have bad memory. Switching stations on its own is the same for car stereos.

However, it is also possible that somebody—we won’t say who—might have spilled a liquid on the button. This, of course, is the simpler explanation as to why the buttons are sticky.

Whether it is tea or coffee or just “harmless” water, you will face this problem because that is just how electronics work. They do not take it kindly when you drop food and beverages on them.

Either way, the result will be the same. The buttons get sticky and the radio stations on the stereo change on their own. So, buttons are the first thing to check. If you are looking at an old stereo, you can replace it or just get a new set of buttons.

If you are dealing with a liquid spill, you can get a cleaner and take care of it yourself. And maybe even set some ground rules about food and drinks near the stereo.

2.  Interference

The second reason that causes damage in which the result is a car radio changes stations on its own is electrical interference. Here, you might be dealing with a faulty or loose connection between the connector and the wire. They are both located at the back of the radio and might cause the device to act up.

You must start by looking for loose connections anywhere in the wire harness. Fixing this can solve the problem with a lot of ease. This is the second thing to do after checking the buttons.

You must also see if any of those wires are faulty or badly insulated or cross-wired or likely to cause a short circuit. Apart from the radio changing stations by itself, these might also cause bigger problems in the future.

3.  Problem with the Steering Button

The third common problem that leads the car radio to switch stations on its own is a problem with the steering button. That’s right. You might not have thought of it, or maybe you have, but this happens if you have a radio controller that is pre-installed in the steering.

This one is meant to make it easy for you to operate the radio when you are driving, but every function comes with the possibility of malfunction and when it does, you will need to examine all the connected parts.

This is more likely to happen if you have been driving through bumpy roads or bad terrain. That’s because you might end up pushing buttons you don’t have to or intend to and that can cause trouble.

Now, the steering comes with a remote which is also not immune to problems on bumpy roads. So, there isn’t really a win with this feature if and when it malfunctions.

If this has become a major problem, you might want to think about removing the radio controller in the steering entirely. It is possible and makes life on bad terrain a little easier.

Otherwise, you can get a high-end radio controller that is immune to these issues. It will cost you a pretty penny but might just be worth it depending on how big a headache this has become for you.


Q: Why Does My Radio Keep Switching to Aux?

A: This is supposed to happen automatically, the moment you plug in the aux cable. But if it is happening otherwise, you might have a mechanical problem that a professional can solve.

However, it also happens when you have the wire plugged in but haven’t connected the other side to a device to play music from. It is often the case when you are on a bumpy road because the port might be getting triggered every time the car takes a hit.

Q: Why Does My Car Radio Keep Losing Signal?

A: Your car might be losing signal more often than you expect to because you have an antenna that is badly connected. The cable is supposed to be properly fixed to your car’s head unit. If the connections in between are corroded, worn out or loose, you will have a hard time getting signal for your radio.

Q: What Does TP Mean on Car Radio?

A: TP is supposed to relay traffic information, usually broadcast on the RDS network of a given radio station. If you see the TP symbol, it means that the function is now active.

Wrapping Up

You now know that your radio might be acting up because of bad radio buttons or steering buttons or a bad connection between your connector and radio. You also know what to do to get rid of the problem. The answers to the question, “Why does my car radio keep changing stations?” are quite easy, so get going.

Last Updated on April 22, 2022 by Danny Reid