How to Find a Car Radio Code

find car radio code dealership
Your local dealership can find your car radio code, but there may be easier online options available. Photo Concepts / Cultura / Getty

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.

Some of the information that you’ll typically have to need includes:

  • 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

Tip: 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, OEM source, you can either contact a local dealer or request a code directly from the OEM.

Most automakers direct you to your local dealer, but there are 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 OEMS to either locate a local dealer or the official online car radio code request site.

OEMDealer LocatorOnline Code Request
AcuraYesYes
AudiYesNo
BMWYesNo
ChryslerYesNo
FordYesNo
GMYesNo
HondaYesYes
HyundaiYesNo
JeepYesNo
KiaYesNo
Land RoverYesNo
MercedesYesNo
MitsubishiYesYes
NissanYesNo
SubaruYesNo
ToyotaYesNo
VolkswagenYesNo
VolvoYesYes

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 ManufacturerOffline Customer ServiceOnline Code Request
Alpine(800)421-2284 Ext.860304No
Becker(201)773-0978Yes (email)
Blaupunkt/Bosch(800)266-2528No
Clarion(800)347-8667No
Grundig(248)813-2000Yes (fax online form)

Every head manufacturer has its on policy in regards to car radio codes. In some cases, they can help you with "personal" codes (which 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.

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. Of course, you should always exercise caution when dealing with these types of sources due to the chances of contracting malware from a malicious site or falling prey to a scammer.