Why Car Radio Keeps Changing Stations by Itself? [Easy Fix]

Why does Car Radio Keep Changing Stations by itself?

It is usually caused by grounding problems, open wires, humidity, or software bugs. Most of the time, these problems can be easily fixed without professional help.

There are many different reasons why your car radio keeps changing stations by itself.

The most common is that the driver accidentally hits a button on the steering wheel or grabs the knob to change stations and turned it instead of pushing it.

car radio changes stations by itself

This can also happen if you have a sticky knob on your stereo system.

Another reason could be because you have too much static electricity in your vehicle due to not wiping off the water before entering or using an air dryer that blows out humid air after washing your windows inside.

If none of these sound like they may be causing this problem for you, then there may be something wrong with the wiring in your vehicle’s electrical system.

No matter what’s the cause behind this issue, here are the ways to fix it-

Accidental Push of Button

This is the most common cause of the issue we’re talking about.

If the radio controller in the steering is too sensitive, it may get pressed without you noticing that the button has been pressed.

Before you proceed to the next steps where we talk about solutions, you should try your hands to be away from those radio control buttons in the steering.

This will help you to be a hundred percent sure that the problem is not caused by an accidental press of the buttons.

Faulty Control Buttons

Sometimes, it’s not you who is pressing the buttons, but the buttons themselves are faulty.

In such a case, you should check whether the fault is due to the dirt and debris getting stuck in the buttons or if they have gone bad.

If the cause is dust, simply blowing pressurized air into the buttons should solve the issue. If that doesn’t work, you may need to remove the buttons from the steering wheel and clean them up with pressurized air.

However, a bad switch can’t be fixed and requires you to replace it with a brand new one.

In some cars, steering wheel buttons tend to go bad quickly and start causing issues like this. In such situations, other buttons on the steering wheel will also start malfunctioning. So, it won’t be hard for you to notice this.

Sticky Knob on the Stereo

If your stereo buttons are old, this may cause the issue. In this case, you can try cleaning the buttons with a soft cloth and some rubbing alcohol.

Sometimes dirt causes the buttons to stick inside after a press which makes the system get continuous input. If this is what you’re experiencing, you need to change the buttons of your car radio.

Some stereos come with detachable faceplates and you can swap out the faceplate with one from the manufacturer of the stereo.

This is the better option for the DIYers as replacing buttons requires complicated disassembly of the system along with messing with wires and circuits. Not a great thing to try by a first-timer!

Electromagnetic Interference

If the radio keeps changing stations without your intervention, there may be some electromagnetic interference.

This happens when the power source of the stereo system is not properly grounded or has high impedance in its wiring system.

This can happen if you have a bad alternator that causes electrical problems throughout your vehicle’s electronic systems including speakers and radios.

However, the alternator or battery issue won’t specifically cause problems with car radios, rather it will cause the whole electric system of your car to malfunction. So, we’ll talk about that later in a separate post.

To fix this specific issue, you need to follow these steps-

1. Check Grounding

People often mess with car stereo grounding as it’s a bit complicated to connect with the parking brake.

If you didn’t ground the stereo in the right way, or at least connect the ground wire to a metal object, it’s going to give you a lot of pain.

However, grounding the car radio is easy. Simply remove the stereo from the dash and find the light green cable.

Connect it to a metal object, preferably with a screw in the back of your radio.

2. Look For Open Wires

If grounding is okay, there may have some open wire that’s causing the electromagnetic interference. To find this, remove the stereo and see whether there is any wire open at the back of it.

If not, look for any tear or crack in the wires that are connected to it. Sometimes, the insulation of the wires breaks and creates an electromagnetic field when they come in contact with any metal object.

Replace damaged wire if you find one. If there is open wire, tape them perfectly so that they remain out of the way.

3. Check Humidity

If you live in a moist or humid area, this may cause the issue. Too much humidity can cause the closely located open wire connections to short out and create an electromagnetic field.

Keeping some desiccant in the car, preferably close to the radio can solve this issue.

Radio Controller Wiring Malfunctioning

If your car stereo keeps changing stations, the problem could be with the wiring of that particular system.

If you have had a recent accident or there’s been some damage due to water working inside, it may cause problems with your stereo system.

The wiring could have been damaged and that’s causing the issue.

In this case, you need to find where the malfunction is happening and correct that. If you have incorrectly connected the cables, correcting that should solve the issue.

In case the wire is damaged, replacing it will do the trick.

Software Bug

Despite having everything rightly installed, you can experience the repeated station change issue in the car radio due to firmware bugs.

To solve this, you may try resetting your stereo to restore the factory default settings.

If that doesn’t work, search for an updated firmware on the manufacturer’s website and upgrade the older one with the updated one. You should be ready to roll!


No matter the reason, if your car radio keeps changing stations you should be able to find a solution.

The reasons can vary depending on what’s going on with your vehicle or electronics system – but it doesn’t have to be complicated!

It can be as simple as incorrect grounding or connection to the metal object, an open wire that causes electromagnetic interference, high humidity in your area, and more.

Often times fixing these problems is relatively easy and doesn’t require any advanced knowledge or help from professionals!

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