How to Find a Car Radio Code (2024)

What to Know

  • Easiest method: Contact your local dealer's service department for the code or to reset the car radio for you.
  • Second method: Go to the automaker's website with your car's information and request the code.
  • Third method: Rely on free or paid online resources and databases.

This article explains the options for finding a car radio code. You can contact a local dealer and talk to the service department, go directly to the website of the automaker that manufactured your vehicle, or rely on free or paid online resources and databases.

How to Find a Car Radio Code

Some car radios come with an anti-theft feature that kicks in whenever they lose battery power. This feature typically locks the unit until the correct car radio codeis entered. The code is almost always specific to the make and model of the radio and to the exact unit.

If the code for your head unit isn't written down anywhere in your owner's manual, you'll need a few pieces of information ready before you can proceed, including:

  • The make, model, and year of the vehicle.
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle.
  • The brand, serial number, and part number of the radio

After you have this information, choose one of the three methods to locate the car radio code.

To obtain the brand, serial number, and part number of your radio, you typically have to remove it. If you're uncomfortable with removing and installing a car stereo, take your vehicle to a local dealer and ask the service department to reset the radio for you.

Official OEM Car Radio Code Sources

To obtain a car radio from an official, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) source, you can contact a local dealer or request a code directly from the manufacturer.

How to Find a Car Radio Code (1)

Most automakers direct you to your local dealer. Still, a handful, such as Honda, Mitsubishi, and Volvo, allow you to request your code online.

After you gather the relevant information about your car and radio, use the following table of popular vehicle manufacturersto either locate a local dealer or the official online car radio code request site.

OEMDealer LocatorOnline Code Request
AcuraYesYes
AudiYesNo
BMWYesNo
ChryslerYesNo
FordYesNo
GMYesNo
HondaYesYes
HyundaiYesNo
JeepYesNo
KiaYesNo
Land RoverYesNo
MercedesYesNo
MitsubishiYesYes
NissanYesNo
SubaruYesNo
ToyotaYesNo
VolkswagenYesNo
VolvoYesYes

If you contact a local dealer, you usually speak with the service department. Ask the service writer whether a technician can look up your car radio code.

There is a chance that you can obtain the code over the phone, but you may need to make an appointment to visit the dealership. You also have the option to take your car to the dealer, where the service department will figure out the serial number of the radio and input the code for you.

If the manufacturer that built your vehicle offers online code lookup, you typically enter your VIN, the serial number of the radio, and contact information, including phone number and email. The code may be emailed to you for your records.

Official Head Unit Manufacturer Code Request

In addition to local dealers and OEM online code request services, you may be able to obtain your car radio code from the company that built the head unit. Some examples of head unit manufacturers that can provide car radio codes are listed in this table:

Head Unit ManufacturerOffline Customer ServiceOnline Code Request
Alpine(800)421-2284 Ext.860304No
Becker(201)773-0978Yes (email)
Blaupunkt/Bosch(800)266-2528No
Clarion(800)347-8667No

Every head manufacturer has its own policy regarding car radio codes. In some cases, they can help with any "personal" codes that a previous owner may have set, but they direct you to the vehicle OEM for a factory code.

In other cases, they may require proof of ownership to ensure that the head unit isn't stolen. Unlike vehicle OEMs, head unit manufacturers typically charge a lookup fee to find a car radio code.

Other Sources, Including Online Code Lookup Services and Databases

If the manufacturer of your vehicle doesn't have an online code request service and you prefer using an online resource to contact a local dealer, there are free and paid databases that may be helpful.

Another option is to contact a car audio installer in your area. Because they deal with this type of situation all the time, some car audio installers pay for access to car radio code databases. Since they pay for the information, they typically charge a fee for this service.

Exercise caution when using any site that promises free access to car radio codes, especially if the site asks for your credit card details. There are legitimate sites that offer this type of service, but there's a chance of contracting malware from a malicious site or falling prey to a scammer.

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How to Find a Car Radio Code (2024)
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