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How to change the preset station frequencies on a car radio

Updated April 17, 2017

The channel preset feature on a radio gives you the ability to instantly tune into your favourite radio stations at the press of a button rather than having to scan through the radio dial in order to find the station you want. The preset feature is especially handy on car radios. Fumbling around with your car radio's tuning knob while driving a car can dangerously divert your attention. If your favourite radio stations are all programmed into your car radio's presets, all you have to do to jump among them is press a button.

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  1. Turn your car radio on.

  2. Tune your car radio to the first radio station you would like to use as a preset. If the radio station you want to establish as a preset has a decimal in its frequency, set your radio to the FM band. If the radio station does not have a decimal in its frequency, set your radio to the AM band. Use the tuning button or knob on your radio to flip through the radio station frequencies until you arrive at your desired radio station.

  3. Press and hold whichever preset button on your car radio you want to assign to the radio station you are currently listening to. For example, if you want the station to be assigned to the 3 preset, press and hold the 3 preset button on your car radio. Your car radio will go silent for a second or two.

  4. Release your hold on your car radio's preset button after the silence has passed. Your radio station preset has been set. Repeat the process for the number of preset positions available on your radio.

  5. Tip

    Each preset button on your car radio can be assigned to two radio stations, one AM and one FM. You can assign AM 1030 to preset 1, for instance, and also assign FM90.9 to the same preset button. These two radio station presets will not cancel each other because they are on different bandwidths. When your car radio is set to the AM bandwidth, your preset buttons will give you the AM frequencies assigned to each preset button. When your car radio is set to the FM bandwidth, your preset buttons will give you to the FM frequencies.


    Some brands of car radios might deviate somewhat from these steps. If this is the case, you will need to track down a copy of your car radio owner's manual.

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About the Author

Maya Austen began freelance writing in 2009. She has written for many online publications on a wide variety of topics ranging from physical fitness to amateur astronomy. She's also an author and e-book publisher. Austen has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the New England Institute of Art and currently lives in Boston, Mass.

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