Category Archives: FAQs

Can stolen Car Stereos be Decoded?

Chris T asked;

Can stolen Car Stereos be Decoded?

Yes! There is nothing to prevent a Stolen Car Stereo from being Decoded.

So don’t be surprised if we ask you to prove ownership of the Radio. We have a very close rapport with both the local and national Police, and often check up on reported serial numbers. We have identified lots of stolen Radios to date, assisted with many prosecutions, and we always pass on information to the Police if we are at all suspicious.

If you suspect that your Radio may have previously been stolen, it may be very unwise to send it to us! If you have had a Stereo stolen, and you have the full model number, serial number, Police crime number, and can prove ownership with receipts, then please E-Mail us with your details, and we will add them to our own Database. Because we cover the UK and most of Europe with our Services, there is a good chance that we may even find it via another Car Audio Dealer sending it in for Decoding, unaware of its history! When we do find them, we always pass on the information to the local authorities.

-Dave Watts

I need to send a radio to you, What do I do next?

Joseph R asked;

I need to send a radio to you, What do I do next?

If you need to send us a Radio for Decoding or Repair, it’s very important to order the correct Decode or Repair from our website, as this will automatically book your Radio on to our system. Click on the relevant Stereo on our website, purchase the service, and follow all of the Checkout procedures. If you are sending multiple Radios, please make sure that you order multiple Decodes where necessary as this will calculate a price for return delivery back to you. The final checkout page will also have a box for you to include any fault details or special instructions where necessary. Print off the final Checkout page and include a copy in the box with any items that you are sending us. You will also receive a confirmation E-Mail as well. When your Radio arrives here we will then have all your payment and contact details, and can process it without any delay.

Our postage charges shown are based on returning via a Secure Carrier to Mainland UK, and this price will be adjusted automatically depending on how many radios you have selected to send. For our Overseas and (Over Water!) Customers, the price will be automatically adjusted at the Checkout. We will only ship via our own approved Secure Carriers. For those of you wishing to pay in € Euros, this facility is currently only available by PayPal. Please contact us if a delivery solution is not shown for your Country.

-Dave Watts

My Stereo has one of your labels on it, Do you keep a record of the Code?

Hannah J asked;

My Stereo has one of your labels on it, Do you keep a record of the Code?

If you have misplaced your paperwork with the Radio Code number on it, or were not given it by a previous owner, we are terribly sorry, but it’s not our fault that you do not have it.

We have decoded literally hundreds of thousands of Radios in our time, and there are many Stereos cropping up all over the world with our labels on them. We regret that due to data storage issues, we longer keep any records of the actual code numbers that have been issued by us. If you are in need of a code number, then you will have to follow the instructions on the website, and if that involves sending it to us again, then I am afraid that is what you will need to do and any charges will still apply.

-Dave Watts

Is it true that you can stick them in the Freezer to Decode?

Sean W asked;

Is it true that you can stick them in the Freezer to Decode?

This one always makes us laugh, but there was once a brief element of truth to it. Back in the very early days of the Radio Code development, (maybe day two or three), some of the Integrated Circuits (Code Eproms) used on pre-production models were not of a very high standard, and if they were used outside of their normal operating temperature range (ie:cold), they would no longer retain the programmed Code data, and the unit would briefly switch on for a split second before it died completely. (This was pre-production models back in the early 80’s).
But although technology has moved on, the old Wives tale remains. But think about it. How can a sophisticated electronic component self interrogate itself and magically display a heavily encrypted security number, by getting as cold as February? But still people try it! And boy, do we laugh when they do.

If you put your Car Radio in the freezer, before long all of that bare and unprotected metal will appear white and frosty. The display may also have frozen, expanded and cracked by this stage. But the real fun starts when the unit thaws out, as all of that ice will turn to rust and corrosion almost as fast as it melts. Your expensive Radio has now been reduced to a pile of furry orange scrap, for want of saving a few quid on Decoding.

But Hey! Don’t panic! As we are more than happy to supply you a brand new one!

-Dave Watts

Can I extract my Code number whilst the radio is still working?

Nick G asked;

Can I extract my Code number whilst the radio is still working?

A fair question, but if you think about it, what use would a security code be if a car thief could also access it before removing the stereo from your car, simply by pressing a few buttons?

The only way that your security code number can be determined if you have lost it, is by using a specialist decoding company, such as ourselves.

-Dave Watts

What about the Code Programs found on the Internet?

Rick M asked;

What about the Code Programs found on the Internet?

There are many myths floating around on the internet about Car Audio Decoding, and many years ago, somebody decided to compile the myths onto an E-Mail and they bounced around the Industry, things like putting the Radio into the freezer to name the most popular. Many Car Audio Dealers, including ourselves thought that these myths were so funny that we all started to add a few of our own, knowing them not to work, and the comical E-Mails just grew and grew.

But a few clever people went a stage further, and as a means to generate some repair work, turned some of these myths into little executable programs, which in turn were compiled onto CD-ROMs and distributed across the Internet for Free. These little programs asked you for a serial number and gave you back a supposed Code number, except that it was not usually the Security Code number, but the Engineers back door Code number allowing access to the main programming menu of the head unit. And after a few guided button presses, Hey Presto, the Radio was Codelocked, and the only way to fix it was to take it to a Repair Centre. For us, this was brilliant, and generated a lot of work for us in resetting these Radios as it was so easy to spot the ones that people had been messing about with.

But these programs then took a turn for the worse. The people that had originally written these as a source of income soon realised that the repair work was being given to places like us instead, so the programs were then re-written. As you are reading this on a computer, you will be aware of terms like Trojans and Viruses, well these programs could now infect the Car Radio with a similar condition, and often erase the internal memory completely. In many cases the Radios are not actually recoverable, as it was decided that if these people were not going to get the repair work, then nobody else would either.

Most of these programs soon disappeared, but thanks to a few idiot E-Book sellers who decided to redistribute these again through eBay, they are doing the rounds once more. If you are a frequent user of eBay, then you may know about the recent changes made to the eBay Rules & Policies regarding digital media and E-Book distribution, and the fact that the Trust & Safety department are enforcing this very heavily. Ever wondered why? Well a lot of it is largely due to the damage being caused by the distribution of these Car Radio Code programs and the number of people complaining to eBay after their equipment has been written off.

Think very carefully before entering a code number generated from a 99p eBay disc into a Radio worth many hundreds of pounds. Would it not make more sense spending an extra few quid with a reputable Decoding Centre that has invested more into their Decoding equipment that you have probably spent on your house?

-Dave Watts

Why Shouldn’t I Ask the Main Dealer to Supply Me a Code?

Mike S asked;

Why Shouldn’t I Ask the Main Dealer to Supply Me a Code?

By all means ask them, but remember that the Dealer will charge you simply for looking for a code whether it is right or wrong (If they can actually be bothered to look!), and I do know of quite a few dealers who will charge and then make up a number, just to get your money.

But please bear in mind that any Code held on record from the Main Dealer will only ever relate to the Radio that was first fitted to your car when it was manufactured. As with the majority of cars, the Radio will have probably been changed several times without your knowledge. Whether upgraded from the original forecourt sale, upon delivery, within the warranty period, or when the used car salesman gets hold of it. The chances of your Radio being the original one it came down the production line with are very remote. So if you Main Dealer asks you for a Chassis number of the car, and not of the Radio, you can be sure this isn’t going to work.

When the Dealer supplied Code doesn’t work, they will often refer you to ourselves, or may offer to send it away to have it Decoded, so why not cut out the middle man, save a few quid, and deal with us direct. After all, where do you think the Main Dealer is sending it to?

-Dave Watts

Is there any Harm in Entering an Incorrect Number?

George N asked;

Is there any Harm in Entering an Incorrect Number?

Yes, very much so. If you enter the wrong code into your radio, then the radio will assume that it has fallen into the wrong hands, and there will be a penalty time of anywhere between a few minutes to several hours before you can try to enter the code again. Each wrong attempt will result in a longer penalty time. If you have tried to enter what you believe to be the right number more than once, and it didn’t work, please don’t keep trying, as the number is almost certainly incorrect. There are only a limited number of times that you can try this number before the radio locks up permanently. Some radios, once they have locked up, cannot be reset, and the stereo may end up being scrapped as new code chips are often uneconomic or unavailable for replacement. Better to send us the unit whilst there are still some attempts left, as resetting a penalty timer on a low setting is much cheaper than replacing locked out Code Ic’s, and certainly cheaper than scrapping the stereo.

-Dave Watts

I know my code number, but do not know how to enter it?

Victor D asked;

I know my code number, but do not know how to enter it?

If you know your Code Number, but do not know how to actually enter it, have a quick search on the DECODE link within the blue bar at the top of the page and see if you can find the listing for your own model. If you can, you will find the Code Entry procedure shown for your Radio along with loads of other useful information. Because you may only have a limited number of attempts before you are “Locked Out” it may be better to read these instructions before any attempts are made!

If you do not find the information you are looking for, please Contact Us by E-Mail.

-Dave Watts

I Can’t find my Stereo on your Database, Can you still Decode it?

Terry H asked;

I Can’t find my Stereo on your Database, Can you still Decode it?

If your Radio is not shown on our Database, it’s probably on our update list. We still have many Stereos to add to our website, and we are constantly researching new models on a daily basis, so if your model is not shown, don’t worry, we may well have a solution for you.

Please contact us with all the Radio details you can find from the label, such as Make, Model, Serial and Part Numbers, and we will be happy to advise you accordingly by return.

-Dave Watts