Radio Shuts Off When Brake Is Applied – What to Do?

Last week, one of our readers asked us: my radio shuts off when brake is applied, what can I do? We had heard about this problem earlier, so we wrote an article about how to solve it.

The radio of your car is the only thing that keeps you sane during never-ending traffic. It keeps you company on long or short journeys. This is an extremely important part of your car. 

But sometimes you encounter problems such as your radio shuts off when brake is applied.

Oftentimes, the solution is as simple as cleaning the stereo and tightening some wires. Still, if this continues to happen, it might become frustrating.

Lets us dive deep, and understand the reason behind the problem and find out a way to make sure that your radio continues playing, even when you apply the brakes.

Radio Shuts Off When Brake Is Applied

Understanding the Car Radio and Audio System

The stereo system of a car comprises three main components: 

  • The radio controls the entire audio system by generating audio signals. 
  • The amplifier increases the strength of the audio signal. 
  • Lastly, the speakers produce the sound.

The car radio system has evolved since Motorola commercially sold the first car radio system. Back then, audio systems were mainly AM radio receivers that came with a single speaker.

Nowadays, you can find complex sound systems that can play sound from both signals or recorded material through USB, Flash drive, Bluetooth, etc.

Devices to Check When Your Radio Shuts Off When Brake is Applied

Like any other part of the car, the audio system is controlled by the engine, battery, alternator, etc. These devices provide energy and electricity to the radio to operate.

Although it might seem to be a simple problem with the stereo system, it could indicate a faulty engine or alternator. So, if your radio shuts off without you doing anything, check these devices to prevent any mishappening later. 

Radio Shuts Off When Brake Is Applied


An alternator is responsible for providing electricity to your car while running and charging your car’s battery.

If it is not working properly, it will not distribute enough electric power to each part of the car. The alternator could probably be the reason behind your problem.

When you apply your car’s brakes, electric power is taken away from your stereo system and is used to engage the brakes. So it would be a good idea to see if the alternator is working as it should be.

You can easily see if your alternator is working. Start the car and then hold a voltmeter across the battery to measure the potential difference across the terminals, which for a working alternator should be over 13V.

Also read: How to fix Bluetooth lag in your vehicle?


The engine provides energy to all the parts of your car, thus called the heart of your car.

It is a complex machine that converts heat energy produced from combustion into mechanical and electrical work required for running your car.

An internal combustible engine initiates the combustion by starting an ignition by some movement. The engine starts a series of reactions that burns the fuel to give out heat energy. The heat is then converted to provide power to each part of your car.

A good, tough structure is the first sign of a good engine as it needs to withstand extreme heat and energy. The structure of the engine consists of two basic parts.

  • The lower section consists of a cylinder block and a casing. 
  • The upper part is the detachable cover of the cylinder. This part is lighter than the lower section.

The mixture of air and fuel enters the cylinders through passages present in the cylinder head. The gases produced by their combustion are expelled in these passages, which are controlled by valves. The crankshaft and the camshaft are present in the block.

The engine plays a major role in supplying power to all parts of your car, including your stereo system. Disturbance in the working of a stereo could indicate a faulty engine that fails to provide enough energy to the stereo.

 radio shuts off when brake is applied


A car battery usually lasts for a few years. But disturbance in the engine and alternator can remarkably decrease the lifespan of your car battery.

It is advised to check the battery regularly. Otherwise, this could result in the worst nightmare of the car not starting at an urgent time.

It would help if you kept in mind that a faulty battery could result from a faulty alternator. When your alternator fails to provide enough electricity to the battery, it eventually drains.

The battery may cause various problems, such as the flickering of check engine lights and difficulty starting your car.

When your battery does not work properly, it fails to generate enough power to run both the brakes and the stereo. So, your radio is off when you apply the brakes.


When several color-coded wires are taped together with some insulation material to prevent short circuits due to lack of insulation, it is called a loom.

Sometimes the problem is not complex and can be solved by re-doing the wiring of the car stereo and cleaning dust particles from those wires in the process.

The power wire of the stereo is coded red which connects to a red wire from the car.

The ground wire for the stereo is coded black. Lack of grounding can cause several problems, including shutting off the radio. If you cannot find any ground wire, you should attach the ground wire of the stereo to the metal surface of your car, which will act as a ground.

The power wire of your car is sometimes yellow, which can correspond to several colored wires of the car.

The next set of wires connect to speakers. Ideally, you should connect the thick antennae wire before you install the stereo.

Compare the wiring with the diagram given in the repair manual of your car stereo system and check if all the wires are connected to the correct slots.

 radio shuts off when brake is applied

Answers To Some More Questions.

Why did my radio shut off in my car?

Your car radio could shut off due to many reasons. It could also be the result of loose wiring or a lack of grounding. It is advisable to check your engine, battery, and alternator.

When I step on the brake, my car dies?

If your car shuts off when you apply your brakes. Please check for a faulty alternator or engine. A faulty alternator may damage your car battery as well. 

How Can You Fix Your Car Radio That Keeps Shutting Off When Brakes Are Applied?

The problem could be with any device that controls the stereo or the stereo itself. Firstly, you need to identify the cause and then try to fix it. You should start with checking the wiring of the stereo system, making sure that all the wires are connected properly and are not loose. 

Then you should check if the alternator is working properly. Then check for the battery and engine. Once you find the culprit, replace or repair it to eliminate the problem. 

Happy Driving!

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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