Category Archives: FAQs

How Long does it take to Decode?

Karl T asked;

How Long does it take to Decode?

Please note that we do operate a very strict first come – first served basis, and we do not entertain queue jumping by anybody, no matter how important you think you are. Most Radios that arrive at our workshop are Decoded and processed for dispatch within 48 hours, but it can depend on how busy we are at the time. Our busiest times are during the cold and wet months, (due to lots of flat batteries), and also around the new vehicle registration launch dates.

-Dave Watts

What is the difference between an E-Code & an Instant Code?

Sarah J asked;

What is the difference between an E-Code & an Instant Code?

In order to explain the difference between them, I shall give you a quick insight as to what goes on behind the scenes. Since 1992, we have been collecting data from every radio that has ever passed through our workshops, so that we can find quicker and more efficient means to extract the Radio Codes. In many cases we have successfully developed procedures that can determine a Radio Code either from its Serial Number, or from other data that is easily identifiable without having to actually see the Radio ourselves. Once internal trials of these procedures have been carried out, the next stage is to offer the service Online. These are initially listed on our website as E-CODEs as once an Online form is submitted to us, each Code application is then manually checked and verified, and then sent out via E-Mail (hence the name E-CODE). There is obviously a short delay whilst this is carried out, and this can be anything from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the current workload and who is in the office at the time. Priority is always given to responding to E-CODES though.

Once we are satisfied that our E-CODE service can maintain a 100% accuracy rate over a given period of time, we then take this up to the next level and fully automate the service. This is then called an INSTANT-CODE. When the Radio Details are submitted this time, you are automatically directed to the PayPal website, where payments can be transferred, or for those of you without a PayPal account, Credit or Debit cards can be used to pay. Once Payment has been made, you are then directed INSTANTLY back to a web page where your Radio Code number is INSTANTLY displayed, (hence the name INSTANT-CODE) and if we have them on file, your Code Entry details will also be shown. An automated E-Mail will follow shortly afterwards as well.

-Dave Watts

Can you Decode my Stereo from its Serial Number?

Robert A asked;

Can you Decode my Stereo from its Serial Number?

In some instances, Yes. If your Model of Radio is one that we are able to supply the Security Code for from its Serial Number, then our Decoding Database will indicate this. We will show you easy to follow instructions about the information we require from your Radio, and you will be guided towards an Online form to submit them. Upon submission of Radio details and payment, we will then email your code numbers back to you either via our E-CODE or INSTANT-CODE service, depending on which is available for your radio. But please remember, if the information shown on our website about your radio asks for the unit to be sent to us, please don’t ask if we can do it via E-Mail – we can’t, or it would have said so!

For those that are new to using us, there is obviously the concern of what happens if we get the code number wrong and supply you an incorrect code? Well, we are very good at what we do, and providing that your radio does not show any signs or labels indicating that it may previously have been tampered with, decoded, repaired or reprogrammed, then we are confident that the code number we supply will be the original one that the radio left the factory with. However, should the code not work, then the radio will have to be returned to us for manual decoding, costs of which are readily available upon request, and we will credit any monies paid from our online service towards this. To prevent any fraudulent claims that our codes do not work, we do not offer any refunds on our online Radio Decoding service.

Please note that we are unable to supply any code numbers by telephone.

-Dave Watts

What does it cost to Decode my Stereo?

Luke R asked;

What does it cost to Decode my Stereo?

Because every Car Radio is different, and the Code number has to be recovered in a different way for each model, we have priced the Code number recovery for each Radio accordingly. We strongly believe that we are able to Decode more Radios than any other Company in the UK, and possibly the World, and as a result our Decoding Database is one of the largest you will find anywhere, so before asking us how much your radio is going to cost to decode, 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 price and procedure shown for your Radio along with loads of other useful information.

-Dave Watts

If I Don’t know my Code Number, How do I find out what it is?

Jim D asked;

If I Don’t know my Code Number, How do I find out what it is?

If you do not know the Security Code number for your Radio, then don’t panic, it really isn’t a problem. We have the technology to be able to assist, but before we do, we need to know exactly what radio you have fitted in your car. Telling us that you have the standard radio fitted to the car is of little help, as if you think about it – every radio fitted from new could be called “standard”. If, for instance you told us that it’s the radio that came with the car, and you had a Ford, we would still not be able to identify which Radio you had fitted, as our Decode Database currently lists several hundred different models of Ford Radio, and each and every one could be called “standard”. What we really need is a Radio Model Number. In some cases, the Radio Model or Name will appear on the front of the radio, and in other cases, the radio may need to be removed to find any labels with numbers on. If you are unable to remove your Stereo yourself, you may need to ask your local Mechanic to remove it for you. If you have a browse through the decode pages on our website, you may even be able to identify your radio from the pictures we have listed. Once you have identified your radio on our website, there will be detailed instructions as to what needs to be done next. Some radios may need to be sent to us for reprogramming, and some models can even have the Code numbers supplied Online, it really depends on which radio you have as to the procedure involved. But please remember, if the information shown on our website about your radio asks for the unit to be sent to us, please don’t ask if we can do it via E-Mail – we can’t, or it would have said so!

-Dave Watts

So Where Is Your Radio Code Number?

Jake S asked;

So Where Is Your Radio Code Number?

Firstly, lets dispel a common myth here, and I say this on behalf of every Garage, Motor Trader, Car Audio Shop and back street Mechanic. If the battery has to be disconnected from a car to work on it, and the stereo asks for the security code to be entered when it is reconnected, it is the sole responsibility of the owner of the vehicle to provide the code – and shouting at the guy repairing your car is a really dumb thing to do, as he may not then help you to recover or enter it, should it appear.

Also, bear in mind that whoever is working on your car is being paid by the hour by yourself, and like many others, we too certainly impose an extra hourly charge for rummaging through a mountain of paperwork and service history in the glovebox if we are simply told that the number is probably in there somewhere, and often whilst searching for the correct code passport, we will be presented with numerous scraps of paper, out of date receipts and many other items with numbers randomly scribbled on them.

But think about it, the code number as supplied by the Manufacturers and Dealers was never going to be a scribble on a fag packet, and random numbers on the back of a receipt could be absolutely anything. But also be aware that trial and error can cost you dearly in most cases, as you only have a limited number of code entry attempts.
So what exactly are you looking for? What does a radio code look like?

Although not an exhaustive list, shown below are some of the Code Cards that are supplied by the manufacturer, and this is what you are looking for. If you don’t have something that looks like this, don’t start guessing and entering any numbers you find – as too many wrong attempts can permanently kill some stereos!

But if all else fails, and you really do not have or know your code number, it is not the end of the world, after all, that is what we are here for!!

Have a look at the DECODE section of our website and the instructions will be there for the recovery of your Code Number.

-Dave Watts

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

I Live Nearby, Can I collect goods from you in Person?

Andy J asked;

I Live Nearby, Can I collect goods from you in Person?

Most Definitely! However, we do not operate a retail premises here in Paignton, so if you are coming over to collect any goods, it is very important to contact us first to arrange for the goods to be here for you. We are also not bound by conventional working hours, so if the sun is shining, you may just find the workshop empty and us on the beach instead!

Visitors, Strictly by Appointment Only Please.

-Dave Watts

What is the best way of sending a Radio to you?

Amy P asked;

What is the best way of sending a Radio to you?

If you are sending us a Radio for Decoding or Repair, please ensure that it is safely wrapped in loads of Bubble Wrap, or similar, placed in a sturdy box and then post it to us by some means that not only has a trackable number but also requires a signature when delivered at our end. For extra safety, send us a quick E-Mail with parcel and courier details once sent, and we can also keep an eye open for it at our end.

If you do not have your own Courier facilities, then the Post Office can often provide a number of solutions. Recorded Special Delivery allows you to add extra insurance should you wish, but can be expensive if the parcel exceeds 2Kg. If your parcel is over this weight, ask the Post Office for Parcelforce 48 as can often be much cheaper. They will seldom offer this service without you asking for it.

For the Trade Customers amongst you, or for those sending multiple Radios, we can offer a Courier Collection Service – please contact us for details.

-Dave Watts