Smart & Connected Life Connected Car Tech 132 132 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 tech writer and the creator of a popular blog and video game startup. He also ghostwrites articles for numerous major trade publications. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Jeremy Laukkonen Updated on December 08, 2019 reviewed by Michelle Adeola Adelufosi Lifewire Tech Review Board Member Michelle Adeola Adelufosi is a marketing consultant with 9 years' 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 Michelle Adeola Adelufosi Connected Car Tech Android Auto Apple Carplay Navigation Tweet Share Email Some car radios come with an anti-theft feature that kicks in whenever they lose battery power. This feature typically locks the unit up until the correct car radio code is entered. The code is almost always specific to not only the make and model of the radio but also to that specific unit. If the code for your head unit isn’t written down anywhere in your owner’s manual, you’ll need to have a few different pieces of information ready before you can proceed. Your local dealership can find your car radio code, but there may be easier online options available. Photo Concepts / Cultura / Getty Images Some of the information that you’ll typically have to need includes: The make, model and year of the vehicleThe vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicleThe brand, serial number and part number of the radio In order to obtain the brand, serial number, and part number of your radio, you will typically have to remove it. If you're uncomfortable with removing and installing a car stereo, you may be better off just taking your vehicle to a local dealer and asking them to reset the radio for you. After you’ve located and written down all of the necessary information, you’ll be ready to track down the code that will unlock your specific head unit. At this point, you have three main options available. You can contact a local dealer and talk to their service department, go directly to the website of the automaker that manufactured your vehicle or rely on free or paid online resources and databases. Where you choose to start is up to you, but the chances are excellent that one of these places will have the code you need. Official OEM Car Radio Code Sources In order to obtain a car radio from an official, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) source, you can either contact a local dealer or request a code directly from the manufacturer. Most automakers direct you to your local dealer, but there is a handful like Honda, Mitsubishi, and Volvo that allow you to request your code online. After you've gathered all of the relevant information about your car and your radio, you can 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 decide to contact a local dealer, you will usually need to speak with the service department. You can then ask the service writer whether or not they can look up your car radio code. There is a chance that you will be able to obtain the code over the phone, but you may need to make an appointment to actually visit the dealership. You also have the option to just take your car straight to the dealer, where they 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 will typically have to enter information like your VIN, the serial number of the radio, and contact information like your phone number and email. The code may then 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 also be able to obtain your car radio code from the company that actually built the head unit. Some examples of head unit manufacturers that can provide car radio codes include: 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 Grundig (248)813-2000 Yes (fax online form) Every head manufacturer has its own policy in regard to car radio codes. In some cases, they can help you with any "personal" codes that may have been set by a previous owner, but they will direct you to the vehicle OEM for a "factory" code. In other cases, they may require some type of 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 contacting a local dealer, there are both free and paid databases that may be helpful. Another option is to contact a car audio installer in your area. Since they deal with this type of situation all the time, some car audio installers pay for access to car radio code databases. Keep in mind that since they have to pay for the information, they will typically charge a fee for this type of 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 out there that offer this type of service, but there's always a chance of contracting malware from a malicious site or falling prey to a scammer. More from Lifewire What Is a Car Radio Code? How Difficult Is It to Replace a Car Stereo? 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