Does Your Car Radio Lose Its Memory?


Stereo Memory

Thousands of calls a year come into our technical lines here at Car Audio Centre, everything from “my radio doesn’t turn on” to “what are the voltage of the preouts on the latest Pioneer radio.” You name it, we have heard it, yet the most common one is “I have fitted my car radio and everything is fine until I turn off the key! My Stereo Memory disappears!”

It is such a common issue that I can often answer the question way before the customer has even finished asking the question. Losing stereo memory has become the new norm when novices install stereos, but don’t worry – we can help!

There are more than likely thousands of people who get into their vehicle every single day and have to pair up their mobile phones, re-tune all your radio stations and adjust all those points on your equaliser that make your radio sound so much better. This has become such a nuisance for people.


How To Prevent Radio Amnesia

Here we have a wiring loom from a Pioneer car radio; like most branded car stereos, it will have two live cables. Yellow is the permanent 12-volt feed that comes from the battery or fuse box, which supplies most of the power required for the radio – the key wire in retaining stereo memory. The second one is the red which would be the ignition or switch live, which basically tells the radio that you have turned the key.


stereo memory fix


Now, some vehicles have these cables the wrong way around. Most European manufacturer’s of vehicles have the 12 volt permanent and ignition the opposite way around. Many car radio manufacturers have clocked onto this problem and given us an easy solution.

A simple set of connections that can be easy swapped over, like the image below, where the red and yellow cables have been reversed. This would retain the stereo memory of your car radio.


stereo memory fix


Before you slot your radio into its final resting place, check the memory! It’s as easy as putting in a CD and skipping a few tracks or tuning in your favourite radio station. Remove the key for 20 seconds and retest. If it saves your settings, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, then swap the red and yellow wires over.



We would always recommend getting your radio professionally fitted. If you are installing your new stereo yourself, we advise following the manufacturer’s instructions or getting in touch with our team, who can fit it for you.

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