Car Won’t Start, But Radio Works – Why Is That? (Explained)

A lot of people have experienced this situation. Have you ever been in this situation too? You get up in the morning for work or somewhere else, you go to your car, and your car will not start?

This is frustrating, especially if you have to report on duty or have to be somewhere else urgently. And what is confusing is that you turn on your car radio, and your car radio works!

You have been asking yourself what kind of malfunction this could be that allows you to still listen to your radio but not start your car. This article will help you understand the possible causes of your car not starting but your car radio to work just fine. Without further ado, let us start.

Car Won't Start, But Radio Works

Why Does My Radio Turn On But My Car Won’t Start?

It can be pretty frustrating to find out that your car will not start. Maybe your first suspect is the car battery. Maybe your car battery is dead, or you might need a jumpstart.

But you tried to turn on your radio and your car radio works! So what could be the problem that causes your car not to start? The first thing to blame is the car battery.

But how could it be the fault of the car battery when your radio is turning out fine? This is a confusing and troublesome thing for all drivers. So we will list down all the possible reasons why your car radio works, but your will not start.

You Might Have A Bad Starter

The first thing that can be the cause is that you might have a bad starter. To start your car, you need a starter motor. This starter motor is the one causing your car to start.

This is sometimes referred to as a solenoid. The starter needs power from the car battery. So you need to make sure that your car battery is not dead and is charged.

But if your car radio works, this could already mean that your car battery is good. If your car radio is good, then the motor starter can be the cause.

You Might Have A Dying Battery

This is a complete rebuttal of what most of the drivers think. If the car radio works, then the car battery could be good. However, there can be some rare cases that can be the cause of your dying battery.

Experts said that it is not a guarantee that your car battery is good if your car radio is working. This thought came from the fact that a car radio uses very little power from the car battery.

If your car radio is working just fine, it only requires a small amount of power from the car battery. Therefore, this is not a guarantee that your car battery is working fine, so one reason for this is because you might have a dying battery.

You Might Have An Empty Gas Tank

There is always the possibility of having an empty gas tank. Some people tend to forget what is obvious. The reason your car won’t start could be that you have no gas at all.

Your gas tank can be empty, causing your car not to start. This is very good news because this is not a problem at all. You can just refill your gas tank, and it is solved.

You Might Have A Faulty Spark Plugs

A spark plug is also an essential element in starting a car. Your spark plugs are the one that ignites the fuel on your car. A spark plug will also not last for a very long time.

This is a part of the maintenance that you should check and replace as time goes by. Your spark plugs can also get damaged or get rusted.

If your spark plugs are not in good condition, this can primarily affect your car to start. If this is the problem, you might have to clean your spark plugs, or you might have to replace them entirely.

You Might Have A Blown Fuse

A blown fuse can also be a possible reason why your car will not start. Your vehicle has its own sets of electrical fuses.

If one of these fuses has blown or was impaired, this can be the reason why your car will not start. You need to remove the blown fuse and replace them with a new one.

You Might Have A Bad Ignition Switch

Your car is working on relays. These relays must be successfully performed before your car will start. If one of these relays will malfunction, your car will not start at all.

Your ignition switch is a part of the relay that is needed to start your car. If this will be malfunctioned or is impaired, then you will not be able to start your car.

Can a Car Battery Be Dead if the Radio Still Works?

Not totally. Your car radio needs power from the car battery for it to work. If your car radio is working, then it means that your car battery is not entirely dead.

Your car radio will not work if you have a dead battery. But it does not also mean that your car battery has no problem.

It just means that your car battery is not dead, but it does not mean that your car battery is not without damage or fault.

Can Radio Cause A Car Not To Start?

Yes. There are indeed some cases that fixing your car radio can cause your car not to start. However, there are some things that you must move along in the process of fixing or installing a car radio.

You might have jostled some wires. You might have moved something that causes the car not to start.


In summary, it is possible to turn on the radio but not your car. There are many cases that drivers cannot start their car but can turn on their radio.

This is a very confusing and frustrating situation to be in. However, there are also a lot of possible reasons for this.



Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more