How to Set Preset Radio Stations? – A Detailed Guide


Written by

Rafeal Hart


Fact-checked by

Norris Howe

How to set preset radio stations

Whether you’re a new car owner or not, I’m sure you’d want to learn how to set preset radio stations. After all, you don’t want to deal with the buttons every time you want to listen to a specific station.

You can set it without a remote control: pick the station and, in the stereo panel, hold and press the number one button for about four seconds or until the screen alerts you of the successful preset.

Usually, stereos have six numbered buttons, so you can preset up to six of your favorite radio stations. Happy listening, indeed.

Ways to Set Radio Stations in Car

Step 1: Scan car radio stations


It need not be said that your radio must be on when presetting stations. Furthermore, if the stations are yet to be scanned – like when you reset the stereo – do so before you can preset.

To scan, you can do it manually or let the car do the job for you. Here’s how to scan the stations by hand:

  • From the menu, select which band you want to tune in. You can choose AM, FM, or Satellite.
  • Adjust the frequency using the turn knob or button until you find your desired station.


Manually scanning the stations can take a lot of work, so if you want the process to be automated, follow these steps:

  • Pick the band you want to listen to, be it AM, FM, or Satellite.


  • Find the “Scan” or “Seek” option, select it, and wait for the options to pop up.


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Step 2: Save a radio station in car by presetting


How to set preset stations on your car radio

  • Use the arrow buttons to choose the radio stations you want to preset. As mentioned, most stereos have the standard six numbered buttons.


  • Upon selecting the first station you want to preset, hold the number 1 button for up to five seconds.Depending on your stereo, there will be a chiming sound (BMW) or an alert on the screen (Ford Sync) that you have successfully saved the new settings.


Alternatively, when you successfully program radio presets, the screen will show the station bearing its preset number.

  • Repeat the process until the last digit (number six button, in most cases.)


Usually, you can have more preset stations when your stereo has frequency modulation (FM) 1 or FM 2. Assuming your unit has six numbered buttons plus the two FM settings, you can have up to 12 preset stations. Talk about a good listening experience.

But let’s be honest, if you’re dealing with so many preset stations, then do you really have a favorite one? The fewer, the better, the adage goes.

How to preset stations in a Sony stereo  


If you want to set radio channels in a car with a Sony stereo, you can manually do so by following the steps below.

  • For a radio with preset buttons, press AUTO PRESET until ‘AUTO’ appears on the screen. Afterward, touch the enter button to set the stations you want to save.

For those with MANUAL PRESET or MEMORY buttons, pick the stations you want to save with the TUNE+ and TUNE- buttons. It works on both FM and AM stations.

  • Press the MANUAL PRESET or MEMORY button until you see FM-xx or AM-xx on the screen. Follow it up by clicking the PRESET + or PRESET – button to configure the settings.
  • Select the enter button to save the presets.

For other models, the PRESET + or PRESET – buttons are also your pal, but this time, you need to hold the numbered button for about two seconds. When you hear a beep or the screen alerts you with the button number, the new configuration is saved.


Storing radio stations for quick tuning is easy as one-two-three, so you must learn how to set preset radio stations. It’s a standard procedure for most stereos, be it a brand-new Pioneer radio or an old AM tuner.

Modern units are easier to deal with, but that doesn’t mean old devices will cause headaches when presetting. Upon learning this trick, you’ll have a better listening experience with fewer button presses–only good times.

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