My Radio Stays on When Car is Off and Door is Open


Written by

Rafeal Hart


Fact-checked by

Norris Howe

my radio stays on when car is off and door is open

Many people have been saving their car’s battery by minimizing the usage of their car’s accessories. And some of them are even in such a hurry that they immediately turn the parts off after they arrive at their destinations.

But, what if my radio stays on when car is off and door is open? Don’t worry because this article will teach you that the incorrect wirings and installations are its two main causes. Its details and solutions are also included.

What Causes


A radio not turning off in car is difficult to give a solution to if you don’t know what its causes are. So, read the six most possible and common reasons and check one of these answers to your question as to why your radio turn on when my car is off.

1. Inaccurate and improper wiring

This problem might be rooted in the wiring of some parts of your radio. Specifically, try to examine the head unit if it is accurately installed. The improper wiring it has could be the reason why your radio is still on.

2. Drained cylinder

The automatic turning on and off of your unit is greatly affected if you have a drained cylinder. If this exists, it may be the cause why your car radio wont turn off when door opens because it could exhibit malfunctions in giving signals.

Also, the sensor does not receive the power it requires which causes the problem when you turn the stereo off.

3. Wrong positioning

Aside from a drained cylinder, another reason is its wrong positioning. So check if it is correctly situated and aids it by looking in your manual.

4. Defective door switch

Having a defective door switch will give your unit a hard time receiving the signal to turn off. You may want to consider it especially when you notice that the device continues to function when the door is either closed or open and the engine is off.

5. Another power source

If your radio stays on with ignition off, there might be an extra power source running it. Check if there is an existing power line that makes it run itself. Try dealing with it and test if your car radio wont turn off with ignition after that.

Also, for some units of the same problem like Chevy radio stays on after car is off, you need to check the retained accessory power (RAP) and its wiring. This system allows your car accessories to function for not less than 10 minutes after you turn off the engine. If it is not wired properly, you may deal with a problem like this.

6. Design specification

If you have already checked those five factors above and still car stereo won’t turn off with ignition, try to check your unit’s manual to see its specifications and read its details. Today, many radios have been designed in more advanced ways to the point that some of these could stay on for some time after you turn them off.

How to Fix It?


The following are the solutions you may do to aid the problem. Read through the whole article first before you proceed to do any of these.

1. Restart the radio

Before you do anything else right after you notice the problem, try turning off your radio. Then press the power button to turn it on again. Wait for it to load and try turning it off as well as your car.

If it is still on, consider the other factors mentioned and have the appropriate solution which might be the other ways in this guide.

2. Disconnect and reconnect the battery

You may also try to reset the electrical system of your car. Do this by disconnecting and reconnecting the car battery. If you are not used to doing this, skip this step to avoid further problems.

3. Correct the wiring

As mentioned earlier, the head unit might be the cause of this problem. This situation is frequent for those who manually set up their units or did a replacement by themselves. Revisit your radio head unit’s manual and correct the wirings for it to function properly.

Know that the wirings should have two power lines. One is functioning at all times and the other one is only on if the radio is in accessory mode. If the wirings are not accurately done, the system will malfunction causing your radio to turn on without your command because of the misled active electricity.

4. Realign the cylinder

Realign and correct the position of your cylinder if there is still power once you have corrected the wirings. This will supplement the previous way making the extra power not go to your device.

Test if it already functions well by using the key and turning it in the wrong position. Your radio should not turn on and if otherwise, proceed with another solution.

5. Install new part/s

The following steps may not be necessary but for a more convenient way and to avoid future problems, you may replace the ignition switch and the key and ignition cylinder if the above ways did not work. When you do this, make sure you do not just consider the price but also how to properly install them.

If the problem is a defective door switch, you need to also replace it with a new one. This might be easy for you if you have a known place to buy an effective and cheaper one. If none, look for help and call your radio dealer for some assistance.

6. Get professional help

The last thing you could do is to get an extra hand with an expert regarding this matter. Do not hesitate if you have the budget, especially if all those other ways above are not applicable to your situation and if you are not confident to do it yourself.

How to Know if Your Car Radio is Wired Correctly?

No matter what type or brand the car you are using (Nissan, Mercedes, etc.), it is important that the wires be correctly done. The best sign that these are functioning well is when your car accessories, especially the radio, can do well and follow the command when to turn on and off.

Test your car’s key and ignition switches if the devices turn off and on as you operate them. Generally, wires don’t vary in voltage but you may also test them using a multimeter. You may look on the internet for a detailed list of the appropriate voltage or look for your car and radio manual.

How to Prevent the Radio From Turning on When the Car is Off?


The best way to prevent this from happening is to make sure that the wirings in your car are accurately finished and the parts are installed properly. Try to always check if there are no physical damages on the wires and inspect if the parts are properly aligned, especially the mechanical ignition cylinder.

Also, be aware of how an ignition switch is playing an important role in this matter. Make sure that it is working well when you put it in different modes such as start or run position, and accessory.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can a radio drain your battery when off?

As long as you also turn off your radio, it will not drain your car battery. The same as any type of electrical appliance or device, no energy will be consumed when it is turned off. Not unless it contains problems like not switching off, it may.

You should only be worried when radio power stays on when car is off. This way, your car battery may die if it stays unaided for hours.

How long can a car battery on if car is off but radio is on?

Generally speaking, the safest time span for a car radio stays on when car is turned off ranges from 2 to 3 hours. Though, it is not advisable to do this especially if you know that your car battery is no longer new.

As mentioned, its life is also dependent on how hungry your car radio is when consuming electricity. The more specifications you have, like having a high-power subwoofer for example, the faster your car battery drains. It might last only for not more than an hour.

So, if you know that you have an old one and your radio requires high power to function, just do not do this to avoid more inconvenience.


The next time you ask yourself why my radio stays on when car is off and door is open, you now know the answer. Just make sure that you will not compromise any details and always consider your safety.

You may save this article for later and don’t hesitate to share this with your friends so that they don’t have to worry when they encounter the same situation.

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