Head Unit RCA Output Not Working Properly Complete Guide 2023

In this blog post, we will help you understand things to do when head unit RCA output not working properly. RCA outputs are a common feature in head units. They allow you to connect the head unit to an external amplifier or subwoofer. When they stop working, it can be frustrating. 

RCA outputs are a common feature in head units. They allow you to connect the head unit to an external amplifier or subwoofer. When they stop working, it can be frustrating. 

Things You Can Do When Head Unit RCA Output Not Working Properly

First, you will need to check your RCA cables. Sometimes they get damaged and this is the easiest thing that might be wrong. Also, make sure that your cables are not faulty by using a different set of cables. If it does not work with these cables as well, then something else must be wrong – most likely in the head unit itself.

If replacing the cables did not help and everything else seems to be working fine (MOSFETs and capacitors), we recommend opening up the head unit and checking all connections between the PCB and the distribution board inside the head unit. 

The connection between both boards can become loose over time due to moving parts in your car stereo. It’s also possible that some components on the PCB got damaged and need to be replaced.

Sometimes the head unit detects a short or open circuit due to a faulty connection or component on the PCB and triggers expert mode as a safety feature. Unfortunately, this will prevent music from playing through your speakers until you press an OK button which can be tricky if you cannot see what is going on in your car stereo display. 

To get out of expert mode, we recommend checking all connections between the PCB and distribution board. If that does not help, then it might be necessary to replace some components like capacitors before reassembling the head unit again (we won’t tell anyone).

Another thing worth trying is disconnecting both wires of one channel (front left / rear right for example) and making sure that there is no power going in. After a few seconds, disconnect the same channel again and put both wires on one side of the head unit (either front left or rear right). 

If you notice an immediate change when doing this, then you most likely found the problem – the solder joints connecting the PCB to your car stereo’s distribution board became loose over time (which can happen with heat in your car). 

The good news is that you might be able to fix it yourself by resoldering these joints after heating all connections very carefully with a soldering iron tip.

Reasons Why The Head Unit RCA Output Not Working Properly

If your head unit RCA output not working, don’t worry – you’re not alone. This is a common issue that many people experience, and it can be fixed relatively easily. In this section, we will discuss some of the most common causes of this problem and how to fix them. 

There are a few different reasons why the head unit RCA output might not be working properly.

Symptoms: When you connect your head unit using the RCA cables and press play on any source (radio, CD, AUX) there is no sound coming from the speakers.

  • Verify that you are not playing a radio station or CD in your head unit. If you are, make sure it has stopped playing before starting the troubleshooting.
  • Check to see if there’s anything stuck in the RCA cable jack of your aftermarket receiver; anything from leaves to plastic bags can cause a short and prevent power from reaching your speakers. 
  • If nothing is stuck, take off one of the RCA cables and swap the stereo end with the speaker end; this ensures that it is not a wiring issue. 
  • If you swapped the RCA cables and there’s still no sound coming from the speakers, unplug your head unit from your car battery for about 10 minutes. Doing so will reset all of its settings back to factory defaults including any stored codes for aftermarket stereos which can sometimes cause connectivity issues if left stored. 
  • After 10 minutes, plug it back in and try again with everything reconnected as normal – hopefully, things should work now!

Head Unit RCA: Everything You Need To Know About It

Things To Do When Head Unit RCA Output Not Working Properly

If you are looking to improve the sound quality of your car audio system, you may be wondering what head unit RCA cables are and how they can help. In this blog post, we will explain everything you need to know about these cables and how to use them to get the best sound possible from your car stereo!

What Are RCA Cables?

RCA cables usually referred to as A/V cables, carry the left and right audio, along with the video signal. They can be identified by their characteristic connectors that look like this:

Typically, the red cable is for the right audio channel (or simply put “right”), while white is for left (left). However, there are special cases where black is used instead of red (commonly in professional settings) or yellow for one of the channels. 

An old standard was often used in which red is a video and yellow carried left audio; however modern equipment uses separate wiring for these functions so it does not matter which color you use. As long as you keep it consistent on both the sending and receiving end of the cable, you should not experience any problems.

RCA cables can be used to hook up a wide variety of different audio devices. While they may look like the same type of connectors as on headphones and some computer mouses, RCA cables are very advanced and engineered specifically for transporting audio signals between source units (like your head unit) and amplifiers. 

They carry an unbalanced signal which means that there is no amplification or conversion done by the cable itself, unlike products such as USB or Toslink optical digital cables that need to convert an analog signal into a digital signal at one end and then back out again at the other. 

This reduces interference significantly, allowing for better sound quality than their more complicated counterparts. These cables are also shielded to prevent electrical noise, making them ideal for transmitting your music’s pure signal without interference or degradation in sound quality.

How Can You Use RCA Cables?

RCA cables are usually attached between the car stereo (also known as a head unit) and an amplifier, but can also be used with powered subwoofers and other devices that have speaker-level inputs. 

They will transfer individual audio channels (stereo sound is made of two separate signals: left and right) from the source unit to the amp. It may seem like splitting these two signals would cause half of your music to come out on each side; however, when both ends of the cable are wired properly this should not happen.

When looking to buy RCA cables, you will usually want to keep in mind what kind of equipment they will be hooked up to at both ends (source unit/head unit and amp) as well as the length that you need. 

We recommend keeping these two things separate. It is tempting to get a single cable with both ends wired the same, but this often causes more problems than it solves since head units are designed differently from amps.

These differences include whether or not they have preamp outputs, which RCA jacks are used for input or output, power ratings for each channel, etc., so getting matching cables may just save you some time trying to figure out why your stereo isn’t working right. 

When shopping our selection of RCA cables, try to see which ones have matched connectors and which ones are unbalanced. Unbalanced cables will provide better sound quality than balanced cables at the same length since they do not need to rely on another wire for noise suppression, but you may want to get a balanced cable if it’s significantly cheaper or if your source unit does not have preamp outputs (one or two RCA jacks instead of three).

The Best RCA Cables For Your Head Unit: Types & A Buying Guide

Things To Do When Head Unit RCA Output Not Working Properly

As we mentioned above, there are different types of these cables with individual pros and cons for each. If you’re having trouble deciding what kind is right for you, this chart should help.

RCA cables are a vital part of any car audio system. They allow you to connect your head unit to your amplifier, and your amplifier to your speakers. 

There are a lot of different RCA cables on the market, so it can be difficult to know which ones are the best for your needs. In this buying guide, we will discuss the different types of RCA cables and help you choose the right ones for your system!

Before we continue, it is important to note that there are different types of RCA cables. The standard RCA cable has two male ends (plug-in ends) and is used in most applications. 

A Y-cable, on the other hand, has one male end and two female ends (so you can plug both into your head unit or amplifier). These are mostly used when amplifying front speakers in a vehicle that only has two power/ground connections. 

Types of RCA Cable

Standard RCA Cable

This is the most common type of RCA cable. They have two male ends, so they can be plugged into both your head unit and power/ground connections on your amplifier. If you are not sure which ones to get, we recommend choosing cables that are 2 meters (6-7ft) in length to give yourself some flexibility!

Speaker Cables vs RCA Cables

You will notice that our site mostly refers to speaker cables rather than RCA cables when talking about the connection from an amplifier to a set of speakers (although we will also use “RCA” cables). 

The reason for this is because it is often easier and more cost-effective to replace the factory speakers with aftermarket speakers than it is to replace all of the factory wiring and connections (we would suggest replacing them because factory wiring is very low-quality and doesn’t sound the best).

Coaxial Cables vs RCA

You may be wondering what makes this article different from other articles that discuss coaxial cables. The difference is that almost all standard RCA cables are also made of coaxial cable (if you bought your system, like most people, it probably came with RCA cables). 

A coaxial cable consists of an inner signal wire surrounded by insulation, which is covered in a braided shield to protect the integrity of the electrical signal. An outer metal casing surrounds the shield to protect it further. Coaxial cables are found everywhere in-car audio systems! 

They carry high voltage signals back and forth from the head unit to the amplifier and then on to your speakers. The only time that you will not see a coaxial cable is if it has been converted into an RCA cable (for instance, using Y-cables or adapters).

Things To Do When Head Unit RCA Output Not Working Properly

What Gauge Wire To Use

You might be thinking: “Great! This all sounds great, but what gauge wire should I use? How do I know how much current my speakers can handle?” We get this question a lot; we suggest checking out our articles on Why Amplifier Power Matters and Speaker Impedance for more information. 

You should also check out the Technical section of our site for additional information on operating voltage and speaker power handling! 

The Basics Of Vehicle Electrical Systems

We also wanted to mention that RCA cables are designed for use with 12-volt electrical systems. Many of the systems in newer vehicles (like those found in luxury models and imports) operate at higher voltages; these can seriously damage your amplifiers and other equipment if you attempt to run them off of RCA cables!

What About High Current RCA Cables?

You may have read about “high current” or “superior current” RCA cables before. These sorts of wires contain special shielding and connectors that help reduce signal loss and noise (on paper, anyway). 

While this might be important to someone running a show system with lots of amplifiers, it is rarely important to the average person. The vast majority of aftermarket equipment has very low distortion, so most cable has more than enough conductivity to transmit the audio signal without distortion.


In conclusion, if your head unit RCA output not working properly, there are a few things you can do to try and fix the issue, which have been mentioned in the blog above. If neither of those solutions solve the problem, then it may be time to invest in a new head unit.

This blog post is informative with a call to action at the end. It describes what could be wrong and how you can fix it without asking for help from another party. This blog titled – “Things To Do When Head Unit RCA Output Not Working Properly” has an easy-to-follow format that makes reading through it simple which means readers will feel more confident in their repairs afterward!

We hope that you got all the information that you needed to know. Thanks for reading! 

Right Stereo