What Are Some Ways to Recover Your Car Stereo Code?

Ways to recover a car stereo code for a factory-installed stereo include looking in the owner's manual and checking for a radio code card or sticker in the glove box. Another option is to remove the stereo to retrieve the serial number from the label located on its top. Armed with this serial number and the vehicle's VIN number, the dealership can contact the manufacturer to request the car stereo code.

Several vehicle manufacturers make it easy for owners to obtain unknown car stereo codes without directly contacting the manufacturer. Honda maintains a security code website where the owner can enter the vehicle's VIN number, radio serial number, and the owner's ZIP code and phone number along with a valid email address. Honda validates the information and sends the code to the provided email address.

While Toyota does not offer a website, it employs common default security codes. Most commonly, the code is the last three digits of the vehicle's VIN number. It may also be the first three digits of the dealer's code or the last three digits of the chassis number.

Non-factory stereo manufacturers, such as Kenwood, utilize Toyota's method. Its stereos come preloaded with common codes, such as 1234, 3051 or KCAR; however, a common flaw in Kenwood stereos makes entering security codes difficult. This flaw changes the security code by subtracting one number from the third digit. For example, for a car with the code 7777, the user must enter 7767 to obtain valid results.