Car Radio Decoding – An Overview

Rachel W asked;

Can you give me an overview of car radio decoding?

Originally designed to combat theft of Car Audio Systems, one of the features of modern Car Stereos is that of the Security Code. The idea was that if the power was disconnected for any reason, either by battery disconnection or Radio removal, then a unique Security Code number, known only to the owner, would need to be entered in a specific sequence in order to make the Radio function again. This ensured that the Car Stereo was completely useless to the potential Car Radio thief, as without the unique number, the unit was of little or no value to them.

This Security Code system works very well and is proven by the fact that Coded Radios are seldom stolen as often as they used to be. But, this security feature does have a sting in its tail. Every time you have a low or flat battery, or your car goes in for a service, which usually involves battery disconnection at some stage, the question of the code number will rear its ugly head. More often than not, it’s just one number too many for us to remember, and that is of course, if we were ever made aware of it in the first place by the previous owner or dealer that sold us the car.

But above all else, please be aware that the Technician who has just disconnected your battery has no way of knowing your number either, so don’t shout at them because it has now activated. With modern cars becoming so complex to work on, battery disconnection is becoming more commonplace. Your Security Code number is Your responsibility. After all, you wouldn’t expect your Mechanic to know your PIN number for your credit card without telling them would you?

So please be nice to your Mechanic when this happens, as upon telling them your Code number, you may find that they will even enter it into the radio for you.
Maybe even Free Of Charge?

-Dave Watts