A car's radio code is sometimes printed in the owner's manual, and it may be available on the original manufacturer's website. Other options are to call a local car dealer, browse free online databases or pay a reputable business to locate the code. If using one of the latter methods, have the radio's serial and part numbers on hand as well as the vehicle's VIN to facilitate the process.
A car radio code is often necessary to reboot a vehicle's radio system if a head unit loses power. This is due to its anti-theft features. If a radio code is entered incorrectly too many times, users may experience a lock-out, so it is important to ensure the correct code is on hand before attempting to reboot the head unit. Once the code is located, it is wise to write it down and store it somewhere safe in case the car's battery dies again.
Although code input procedure varies depending on the car's make and model, it generally involves using the buttons, volume knobs or tuning knobs to select numbers and pushing in the knobs to proceed to the next character. When experiencing a lock-out from entering incorrect codes, vehicle owners may need to disconnect the battery for some time or leave the radio on for 30 to 60 minutes before being allowed to proceed. This process also varies by make and model.