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I have an '03 Chevy Impala, and I wanted to upgrade its OEM radio (head unit) with an aftermarket one. I just have one concern.

I recently realized (after reading the manual!) that the car has a "secret" settings menu. If the key is at "ON" (or "ACC"), you turn the radio off, and hold down "DISP" for 10 sec, the radio says "settings".

This menu has things like "reset oil life", whether the doors auto (un-)lock when shifting, whether the lights stay on after leaving the car, etc. I think it even has a option to sync remotes.

I was wondering if it would be possible to access those settings with an aftermarket radio. My Googling has turned up almost no info. The best I can find is this:

It keeps the chirp sounds, when you open the door, for example. That's great, but is there an adapter to change my car's "secret" settings?

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I would think the answer is "almost certainly not". This settings menu is likely to use some kind of proprietary interface that it wouldn't make sense for a stereo manufacturer to bother supporting. – mac Sep 6 '13 at 18:35
@mac: That's what I was afraid of! Guess I should just set them the way I want now and leave them that way :) – Rocket Hazmat Sep 6 '13 at 18:36
Maybe there is a way of keeping part of the factory unit connected while routing the audio to the new stereo, or maybe there is a secondary way of accessing the cars computer. – Seminecis Sep 6 '13 at 21:50
@Seminecis: That's what I was curious about. Like is there a external controller I can use, or something? – Rocket Hazmat Sep 6 '13 at 22:26
I think, in this case, it would help to call a Chevy dealership to see what they recommend. I imagine they would have dealt with this before. I can't find anything online, as of yet, that mentions anything helpful. – Seminecis Sep 6 '13 at 22:29
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I called a local Chevy dealership's service department out of curiosity. The technician I spoke to said that there is no way to access the car settings, that are available through the stock stereo, if the unit is replaced.

He mentioned the factory integration adapter that you linked to. He said that it doesn't do anything to access those settings and that he has never seen or heard of a way to retain access to those settings if a new stereo is put in.

That is just one service department's experience but, it sounds like hacking your own solution is going to be your only bet.

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+1 For going the extra mile. – Nick Sep 7 '13 at 14:48

I doubt you will find an aftermarket radio with the functionality of the stock unit.

The functionality you are describing is actually the responsibility of the Body Control Module. The radio is just communicating with it over a CAN (Controller Area Network) Bus. With the proper aftermarket tools, you could probably rig something up to access/change the settings, but it would be a project. A sufficiently advanced scan tool might be able to do it, too, but the only one I can think of off the top of my head would be a GM Tech 2. They're not cheap.

You can probably reset the oil life with the gas pedal. Turn the key to the accessory position and push the gas pedal three times. The change oil light should blink twice.

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