How to Fix Head Unit RCA Output Not Working

How to fix Head Unit RCA Output Not Working

Are you dealing with a frustrating head unit RCA output not working?

If so, you’re probably frustrated and lost in getting your audio system up and running again.

Well, take a deep breath – because this blog post is here to help!

We’ll be discussing how to identify the problem with your head unit’s RCA outputs and some possible solutions for fixing them. 

Why Head Unit RCA Outputs Not Working?

Reason #1: Manual Muting of Sub Level

On some head units, the sub-level settings can be manually adjusted and cause the RCA output to become muted. To check this setting, look for a switch or button labeled “Sub Level” on your head unit’s control panel. Make sure it is set to the “On” position.

Reason #2: Messed Up Socket Connection

It is possible that the RCA socket in your head unit may be misaligned, preventing audio signals from passing through. To fix this issue, remove the head unit and use a flat-head screwdriver to gently adjust the socket connection to align it with the port. 

Reasons #3: The audio cable may not be correctly wired

If the audio cable is not wired correctly, it may cause signal interference, resulting in no sound. To check this issue, examine the wiring of the audio cables and ensure that they are connected to their corresponding outputs and inputs.

Reasons #4: The RCA connections may be defective

The RCA connections may be faulty if the audio cables are not securely connected to the head unit’s ports. To check this, unplug the cables and inspect them for any visible damage or corrosion. If detected, replace them with new cables to restore your head unit’s RCA output functionality.

Reason #5: Wrong Pairing of RCA Cables

Make sure you are using the correct RCA cables for the job. For example, if your head unit has two outputs, ensure you pair the correct output with the appropriate RCA cable. Using mismatched cables can lead to poor audio quality and other issues. 

Reason #6: Insufficient Amplifier Gain Setting

Your head unit’s RCA output may not work due to an insufficient amplifier gain setting. To check this, turn up the volume of your amp to its maximum setting and then reduce it back down until you can hear the music coming through the speakers. If the sound is still muffled or distorted, the gain setting is too low and must be adjusted.

Reasons #7: Poor ground connection

If the ground connection on your audio system is not secure, it may prevent the signal from reaching its intended destination. To remedy this issue, ensure that all ground cables are correctly connected and that the ground connection is clean.

Reason #8: Internal Damage

If none of the above solutions work, it is possible that the internal components of your head unit may be damaged. If so, you must take your device to a professional for further diagnosis and repair. 

Testing the RCA Output Using a Multimeter

Step 1: Connect the Head Unit to a Ground Source

Start by connecting the head unit to a ground source. This can be done either directly or through an amplifier. Connect the head unit to a known good ground source. Ensure the connections are secure and that there is no loose wiring or corrosion on any terminals.

Step 2: Connect the Multimeter to the RCA Output Jacks

Next, connect your multimeter to the RCA output jacks on the head unit. Ensure the connections are secure and that there is no loose wiring or corrosion on any terminals.

Step 3: Set your Multimeter to Measure the Voltage Output

Set your multimeter to measure voltage output. Once set, power up your head unit and take a voltage reading at the RCA output jacks. If you are getting a voltage reading, your head unit will likely function correctly.

Step 4: Troubleshoot Any Issues

If you’re not getting a voltage reading, there may be an issue with the head unit or its wiring. Check all the wiring and connections to ensure they are secure. If necessary, you may need to replace any faulty components or wiring.

If all else fails, the head unit itself is defective and needs to be replaced. Make sure you consult with a qualified technician before attempting any repairs yourself.

Step 5: Test the Output with Speakers

Finally, connect speakers to the RCA output jacks and increase the volume. If you can hear sound from your speakers, your head unit will likely function correctly. However, if you’re not getting any sound, there may be an issue with the head unit or its wiring. Again, consult with a qualified technician before attempting any repairs yourself.

Bottom Line

By following the steps above and troubleshooting based on the reasons listed, you should be able to determine why your head unit’s RCA output is malfunctioning.

If all else fails, taking your device in for professional repair or replacement may be necessary. Remember, always consult with a qualified technician before attempting any repairs yourself. Good luck!


How do I know if my RCA cable is bad?

If you think your RCA cable may be bad, there are a few ways to test it. First, check the physical integrity of the cable and connectors. Make sure they are firmly connected at both ends, and that none of the wires or connectors have been damaged in any way. If everything looks good here, you can try testing the cable with a multimeter. 

Connect one probe of the meter to each end of the cable and measure for continuity. If you get a reading, then your cable is good. If there’s no reading or your multimeter is showing an open circuit, then this likely indicates that the cable is bad and should be replaced.

What is RCA output in car stereo?

RCA outputs in car stereo systems provide a way for you to connect external devices such as CD players, MP3 players, phones, or tablets to your system. 

The RCA cables are typically red and white and allow audio signals that are output from the device to be played through the car’s speakers. In addition, some cars also have video RCA outputs that can be used to play video from a device on the car’s built-in display or external monitor.

Why does my RCA say no signal?

If your RCA output says “no signal” it is likely because the device you are trying to connect is not properly connected or that the audio/video signals are not correctly matched.

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I'm Miles Walker and I'm the founder of I've been in the car audio industry for over 20 years and have a wealth of knowledge to offer on all things related to car audio. I graduated from UC Berkeley with an electrical engineering degree, so you can rely on me for top-notch expertise and advice when it comes to upgrading your sound system.

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