Sony Car Radio Instructions

Updated April 05, 2017

Get the most out of your Sony car audio system by first becoming familiar with its basic controls and functions. Product support and detailed instruction manuals are available for nearly every model at Sony's eSupport website. (See References and Resources section.)

Even if you can't find the user manual for your specific model, this tutorial should help you learn the essential operations. All Sony car radios operate in much the same way; only the functions vary, usually depending on whether your receiver has extras like HD/Satellite radio or Bluetooth. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will use the Sony CXS-GT5416F Xplod Car Radio Receiver with CD Player as an example.

Reset the unit. This is required before operating your new Sony car radio for the first time, after replacing the car battery, or changing the connections. To do this, detach the front panel and press the "Reset" button with a ballpoint pen.

Set the clock by pressing and holding the "Select" button. The set-up display will appear. Press the "Select" button repeatedly until "CLOCK-ADJ" appears. Rotate the control dial to set the hour and minute. Press "Select" again when you're done.

Press "SOURCE/OFF" repeatedly until "Tuner" appears to listen to the radio. Scan the dial manually or use "Best Tuning Memory (BTM)" to find available stations. When you find a station to program, press and hold one of the numbers below the display to add it to presets. Depending on the model, you may be able to store 20 or more preset stations on different bands (AM, FM1, FM2, FM3, etc.).

Press "SOURCE/OFF" to select the CD player or simply insert a CD and the player will start automatically. Use the arrow keys to rewind or fast-forward or skip buttons to move to the next track or chapter. On certain Sony models, you also have the option of skipping around the CD in Quick Browser or "Zappin'" modes for ease of use while driving. (See your model's product manual for detailed instructions on these advanced features.)

Press "DSPL" to change the display of information on your screen. Depending on your car audio model's capabilities, the display will show track number, length, artist/album name, song title, and elapsed playing time/time remaining.

Press "SOURCE/OFF" repeatedly until "USB" appears to playback from a connected USB device such as an iPod. Press "SOURCE/OFF" again when playback is complete.


For details on the compatibility of your iPod, see your user manual or visit the Sony ESupport support site. Check your user manual to find out which types of CD discs can be played on your particular unit. Some models support MP3 playback, while others do not.


Do not disconnect a USB device during playback or your data could be damaged. Never play CDs that have adhesive labels or adhesive residue in a car stereo; they might get stuck in the player.

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About the Author

Lori Spencer has written professionally since 1986. She is the author of three nonfiction books, is writing her fourth and provides content for eHow and LIVESTRONG.COM. She also produces and hosts a weekly radio show. Her subjects of expertise include history, media, music, film and the performing arts.