If your car’s CD player won’t accept CDs, the first thing to do is check the disc itself. If it’s dirty or has any scratches, clean or buff it. A scratched disc will be unreadable by a CD player and may not eject as a result. To clean a disc, you’ll need to get something that can remove any grease or residue on its surface without damaging the metal layer underneath. You can use soap and water on a soft cloth to do this—just make sure it’s fully dry before trying again in the car. If there are scratches on your disc, try using toothpaste for light ones or a paste of baking soda and water for deeper ones; rub them vigorously with the paste on a soft cloth until they’re gone, then rinse and dry.
If that doesn’t work, look inside your CD slot for debris like dust or pieces of broken discs (those plastic bits from older CDs can sometimes get stuck in there). Use compressed air to clear out any dust or debris you find—you might have to use some force if there’s anything stuck in there good! If you’re able to blow out all of the dust but still having trouble getting anything else out, grab yourself an old card (like an old credit card) and gently see if you can remove whatever is stuck with it.
One last thing: did you remember to turn off your car? This is important because if something goes wrong while your car is running, parts could get damaged quickly!
It might be jammed.
If your CD player doesn’t take discs, the issue might be a jammed disc. A disc could jam if you ever inserted a disc incorrectly, upside down or at an angle. Here are some steps to try and fix it:
- Use something small and rigid, like a paperclip, to gently push the stuck CD past the loading mechanism of your device. Don’t use anything sharp that could damage your machine!
- If there’s no visible place for insertion, refer to the user manual for the specific model of your device — sometimes you’ll need to open a special compartment in order to access it.
- Don’t force anything! If you’re having trouble removing the object using only one paperclip, then don’t try using two or three together; doing this can damage both your machine and yourself!
It might not really be broken.
It turns out that there is a very specific way to insert a CD into your car’s stereo. You need to make sure the CD is fully inserted, and it needs to be straight up and down in order for the stereo to recognize it. It sounds like an odd requirement, but it’s totally true! If you’re driving on a bumpy road and/or if you’ve got something heavy in your trunk (like box-shaped furniture), this could also be why your car won’t play CDs. If you use this method, try putting the CD into the player before getting in the car—it’s easier that way!
The CD might be dirty or scratched.
It’s possible your CD player isn’t working because the disc itself is a little dirty or scratched. CDs are delicate, and even the most careful handling can cause damage to them. Here’s how to clean your CDs, and how to prevent getting things on them in the first place.
The CD slot could be dirty.
The CD player might have accumulated dust or other debris. To clean the slot, check your car manual for information on how to open it. If you don’t have the manual, be sure to look up that information before opening it in case there are any special precautions you need to take beforehand.
- Use canned air and/or a brush made for electronics cleaning to blow or gently brush out the slot. You can also use a small cloth (like an eyeglass cleaning cloth) after using canned air or a brush to remove any remaining lint or other residue. Make sure not to scratch the slot!
You might need a new CD deck or the old one might need repair.
If you have an older car and the CD deck won’t take CDs, it could be because your player needs repair. You can check to see if it’s under warranty on the manufacturer’s website. You can also check with a dealer about whether or not they’d replace it for free.
If you choose to replace the deck yourself, you might save a lot of money by doing this instead of taking your car to a mechanic. It’ll cost less in labor fees and parts than taking your car to a mechanic for pickup and delivery; just make sure that you don’t buy the wrong model, since replacing certain parts can void the warranty on other models.
Your car CD player should work with a little care and effort.
CD players are a little tricky. If your system is old, there’s a chance that the CD player will not work at all. In most cases, it’s not that the CD player is broken. It could just be that it needs to be cleaned with a little gentle care and attention.
If you don’t want to invest in a new car CD player, but you want to take advantage of your music library, keep in mind that some CDs are more scratch-resistant than others. Try to buy or borrow from friends or family if you’re unsure how easy or durable it will be for your system to handle the lifestyle you have planned for yourself in your new car.