Automobile CD Player Troubleshooting

Updated April 17, 2017

If the compact-disc player in your car is not working properly, there are several things you can do to troubleshoot the problem. None of these steps are very time consuming and each can be accomplished by individuals who are not car audio experts. Problems with your car's CD player are likely the cause of the player itself and not a reflection of larger electrical problems. However, if these do-it-yourself steps prove ineffective, it is advisable that you bring your vehicle to a car audio system professional for a diagnosis and repair cost estimate.

Check the disc. If compact discs in your automobile CD player are skipping or not playing properly, the first thing you should check is the disk itself. Look at the bottom of the disc to see if it is smudged with fingerprints or coffee. If it is, you can clean it with a cloth and rubbing alcohol or warm soapy water. Also, look for scratches or cracks. Compact discs that are scratched or cracked will not play properly in any CD player.

Clean the CD player. It's possible that your automobile CD player is not working properly because the lens that reads the compact disc is dirty. CD player cleaning kits are available at auto parts stores and department stores. They often include a compact disc that has a small brush installed. This will properly clean the lens of the player. Do not spray any cleaning solution into the automobile's CD player as this will only damage its electronics.

Check the power supply of the CD player. Although it seems obvious, remember that your automobile CD player will not work unless the key is in the ignition and the vehicle's power is operated. As silly as it seems, you should make sure the unit is powered on and that the volume knob is not turned all the way down. If you're still noticing that your automobile CD player is without power, you can check the fuse. The majority of automobiles have a fuse box that is accessible from the front part of the vehicle cabin. It is advisable that a knowledgeable friend or car audio professional check the fuse box, as each automobile model has its own electrical system. If you're noticing other power issues in your car, such as malfunctioning interior lights on the doors or console, a bad fuse could be to blame.

Replace the stereo unit. Remember that it is also possible that your automobile CD player has stopped functioning because of old age or overuse. It is not uncommon for a car's engine and frame to outlast factory installed stereo equipment. There are countless replacement stereo head units available at department stores and car audio stores. Another option for those looking for an efficient replacement is to check with your local junk yard. Junk yards often sell parts, including stereos, from cars that no longer are operable. If you do opt to replace your automobile CD player, be sure to thoroughly research how to install it or contact a car audio expert to complete the installation job.


If your automobile CD player appears to be working and you can't hear any sound, it could be an issue with your car stereo speakers or speaker wiring. Consult a car audio professional.


Working with electronics of any kind poses risks to safety. Don't attempt to uninstall or break into your automobile CD player without the assistance of a trained professional. Doing so can cause injury and also seriously damage your car's electronics system.

Things You'll Need

  • Car
  • Car CD player
  • Rubbing alcohol or a warm soapy water
  • Clean cloth
  • CD player cleaning kit
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About the Author

Robert Dupea has worked as an independent content editor and copywriter for over 10 years. His work has appeared on Ebsco Host and various other websites. Dupea holds a Bachelor of Arts in humanities from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Suffolk University. In addition, he holds a master's degree in public administration from the Sawyer Business School.