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Car Stereo Volume Goes Up And Down On Its Own – What’s Wrong?

We all love listening to music on the radio in our cars. However, it can be frustrating when the volume is unstable and keeps going up and down. What could be wrong? We have researched this issue and provide answers below.

The following are the reasons your car stereo volume could be going up and down as you drive:

  • Blown fuse
  • Damaged or loose wiring in the amplifier
  • Antenna Not Receiving Proper Signal Or Is Faulty
  • Blown radio
  • Faulty battery or alternator

 Your car radio volume acting up can be frustrating. Keep reading to know what could be wrong, how to fix these problems, and how to improve the sound of your audio system. We will also be giving you the costs to repair the volume issues in your car radio. 

Car audio system front panel, Car Stereo Volume Goes Up And Down On Its Own - What's Wrong?

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Why Is Your Car Stereo Volume Going Up And Down And How Can You Fix It?

Carradio

It can be annoying when you turn on your radio, and the volume either goes up or down. Let’s go through the possible causes of this problem and how to fix them.

Blown Fuse

A blown fuse can interfere with the volume of your car. Locate the fuse panel and open it to find out if this is the issue. If you are unsure where it is, check your car’s manual. Most of the time, it is underneath the dashboard on the driver's side. 

A vehicle usually has two fuse boxes, one in the engine compartment and the other under the dashboard. Your car stereo fuse will be under the dashboard. 

When you open the fuse box, you will find many fuses. Look for the one that controls your car’s stereo power. To know the specific fuse, inspect the amperage rating, which is typically found at the top of the fuse. You can also refer to the fuse diagram of your vehicle, also found in your car's manual. 

To inspect it, use a fuse-puller like the one shown below to remove it from its holder. Alternatively, you could use a pair of pliers and pull them out with your fingers if you can. 

Check out this fuse-puller on Amazon.

A fuse that is not blown has a silver filament that looks like the letter U. If it is blown, the filament does not have a continuous U. Instead, it has two tiny parallel silver metals. If this is the scenario, replace it with a new fuse.

Check out the video below that shows you how to identify a blown fuse:

Damaged Or Loose Wiring In The Amplifier

If the fuse is intact, the next thing to check is the amplifier. You can remove it using a screwdriver or hex wrench, but the former may be the only tool you require.

Check the cables that connect the radio speakers to the car amplifier. If they are loose, re-connect them properly. If they are damaged, you need to replace them with new ones like those shown below. 

Have a look at these RCA car audio cables on Amazon.

Antenna Not Receiving Proper Signal Or Is Faulty

The antenna of your car works by picking up radio waves. The function of your antenna can be interfered with either externally or internally. Let’s explore each scenario:

External Interference

Have you ever driven through a particular area and noticed your car’s radio volume decrease or disappear? The volume returns when you have moved past the area.

Physical obstacles like tall buildings, trees, and hills, to name a few, can distort the radio signals received by your car radio. Furthermore, moving obstacles like airplanes passing above your car can interfere with your car stereo's volume.

If you are too far away from the station transmitter, you may not be able to catch a good signal. Your radio can also be overwhelmed if you are too close to the radio transmitter signal. 

There isn’t much you can do about the factors affecting your antenna externally. You either wait till you drive past the physical obstacles or wait for the moving obstacles to travel away from your vehicle.

One of the solutions for this type of interference is installing an antenna booster. It helps to boost the weak signals of your favorite FM stations.

The booster is typically installed between the antenna and car radio. However, it’s good to note that interference will still be inevitable, especially if there is physical obstruction. 

Internal Interference

There could be an actual problem with your antenna, which affects its ability to receive a signal. You can either have it fixed or completely replaced. 

Antenna Mast Is Pushed In

A manual antenna, when pushed in, can hinder your radio from receiving a signal from an FM station causing the volume to fluctuate. A passerby, a wash attendant, or even children can push it down without your knowledge. If you notice it is down, pull it back up.

An electric antenna could fail to come up when you turn on your radio, possibly due to a failed mechanism. You may try pulling it back up with a tool like a pair of pliers, but you could damage the antenna’s electrical motor or strip the gears. 

Loose Antenna Connection

If the antenna cable is loose, it may impede adequate volume output. Check the connection in your speakers; if the cable is loose, tighten the antenna.

Antenna Is Broken

You can find this car radio antenna mast on Amazon.

A broken, rusted, or corroded antenna will hinder good reception, subsequently interfering with the volume. In such cases, replacing the antenna would be the ideal thing to do. 

Blown Radio

If none of the above is causing problems with your car’s volume, then you probably have a blown car radio. In this case, you must purchase a new vehicle radio. 

Faulty Battery Or Alternator

dying battery can cause the sound coming from your car radio to be very low. You may need to replace the battery. In addition, a dying alternator can cause your radio to malfunction. This could happen slowly over time or suddenly. Also, in such a case, replacing it may be much better than rebuilding it. 

How To Improve The Quality Of Sound In Your Car

Closeup of young woman hand control radio volume

Other than fixing the volume problems in your car's stereo, ensure the volume is stable. You would most likely want good sound coming from it. There are ways to improve the quality of sound by doing one or more of the following:

Install Higher Quality Speakers

For better sound and volume, you can upgrade to speakers of a higher quality.

Improve Your Receiver

Once you upgrade your speakers, you will need a more powerful output by installing a receiver with higher quality.

Upgrade Your Amplifier

With top-notch speakers and receivers, improving the sound by upgrading your amplifier would be good. For superior sound, install a two-channel amplifier like the one shown below.

You can find this two-channel amplifier on Amazon.

Dampen The Sound

The noise outside on the road can hinder good sound from your car audio system. To counteract this, dampen the noise by installing damping material to keep the inside of your car more silent. This leaves you to enjoy the music in your vehicle.

Go Easy On The Bass Sound

You may be tempted to increase the bass sound in your car. However, doing so can make it worse instead of improving it. Speaker quality often comes from the brand. You always have the option to upgrade to a better speaker system, but this can be costly. 

Cost Of Repairing Volume Issues In Your Car Radio

Monitor on the dashboard of the car in FM receiver

Replacing your car’s radio fuse is cheap, costing around $30 for a part. It is also easy to replace, meaning you can do it yourself.

If you need the services of a professional, you may pay up to $100. The amplifier cables and antennas are also cheap, costing around $10 each.

It becomes expensive to replace an amplifier, which costs between $90 and $300, while the radio head units cost between $97 and $200. The labor to fix them costs between $140 and $400, depending on where you take your car for repairs.

It may be cheaper to install these yourself, but remember, such a job is complex. We advise only to do this if you possess the technical know-how. 

In Closing

Closeup of a Businessman Using a Car Audio System

Driving can be a great experience when the volume from your car radio is stable and not fluctuating. Should you experience problems with your volume, there are various ways to solve them.

We have included ways to improve the sound of your car’s audio system to give you a more enjoyable driving experience.

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