Smart & Connected Life > Connected Car Tech 171 171 people found this article helpful How to Find a Car Radio Code How to unlock a car radio code for free by Jeremy Laukkonen Writer Jeremy Laukkonen is automotive and tech writer for numerous major trade publications as well as the creator of a popular blog and video game startup. A fan of EVs since the early 2000s, he stays up-to-date on the myriad complex systems that power battery electric vehicles. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Jeremy Laukkonen Updated on August 27, 2021 reviewed by Christine Baker Lifewire Technology Review Board Member Christine Baker is a marketing consultant with experience working for a variety of clients. Her expertise includes social media, web development, and graphic design. our review board Article reviewed on Apr 12, 2020 Christine Baker Tweet Share Email Connected Car Tech Android Auto Apple CarPlay Navigation 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 code is 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. Photo Concepts / Cultura / Getty Images 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 manufacturers to either locate a local dealer or the official online car radio code request site. OEM Dealer Locator Online Code Request Acura Yes Yes Audi Yes No BMW Yes No Chrysler Yes No Ford Yes No GM Yes No Honda Yes Yes Hyundai Yes No Jeep Yes No Kia Yes No Land Rover Yes No Mercedes Yes No Mitsubishi Yes Yes Nissan Yes No Subaru Yes No Toyota Yes No Volkswagen Yes No Volvo Yes Yes 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 Manufacturer Offline Customer Service Online Code Request Alpine (800)421-2284 Ext.860304 No Becker (201)773-0978 Yes (email) Blaupunkt/Bosch (800)266-2528 No Clarion (800)347-8667 No 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. Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Get the Latest Tech News Delivered Every Day Email Address Sign up There was an error. Please try again. You're in! Thanks for signing up. There was an error. Please try again. Thank you for signing up! Tell us why! Other Not enough details Hard to understand Submit More from Lifewire What Is a Car Radio Code? How to Read an EPA Fuel Economy Sticker for an EV What Is a Single DIN Car Stereo? Android Auto: What It Is and How to Use It How to Listen to Pandora in Your Car How to Use a Car Diagnostic Tool Replacing a Classic Car Radio Is It Smarter to Buy or Lease an EV? Android Auto Wireless: What It Is and How to Use It Fixing a Car Radio That Stopped Working After the Battery Died A Brief History of the Car Radio How to Replace a Factory Stereo Without Losing Features What are Car GPS Trackers and How Do They Work? How to Identify Aftermarket Car Stereo Wire Colors How Do You Get Bluetooth for a Car? What Is a Scan Tool?