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I am having an issue where after my car is off for a while the radio will turn back on and stay on until the battery is drained. I have had a large Chevy dealership along with Best Buy's automotive team (the ones who installed my new radio) and no one can seem to figure out what would be causing this.

The radio always turns off after I turn off the engine and open door, so it does shut off correctly at first, but some days I will come back out to either a dead car or the radio being on (I can look into the car window and see it lit up).

Both places have done full electrical charging system checks and everything has been perfect, but no one can seem to figure out why my radio keeps turning itself back on.

I am looking for some things I can try to do or bring up when I see the mechanic(s) again this week (as I am not much of a car person).

EDIT: Best Buy is going to swap out a module this Thursday to see if that clears up the issue. They think that maybe another component could be triggering it to turn on, such as On Star.

EDIT 2 (August 1st): Removed the module, radio still stays on AND even if the screen is removed over night my vehicle's battery is still being drained to the point where it will not turn on. I am guessing the module is needed to turn off some other components. Going to have mechanic re-add the module and I will attempt to just remove my screen each night to see if that solution works.

8/29 UPDATES

My solution was to take off the screen at night and call it good. However my car is still dying randomly, one morning it starts fine, the next morning it is dead. I have had 4 places now verify my charging system, startup, and battery. All results are perfect.

I do notice when I return to my car sometimes that I can see the P (park) light lit up on the dashboard, I am wondering if something is triggering my electronics to turn back on (might be why the radio is acting up too). I also have noticed that sometimes when I open the car door (after it was off/locked) the ringer starts non-stop (the one that usually indicates that your key is still in the ignition or that your lights are on).

I did some googling (because I know squat about cars) and it sounds like it could be an ignition switch issue with it turning back to acc? Usually in those scenarios though people say nothing turns off right away, whereas in my car my electronics usually turn off but then turn back on later.

Any new guidance appreciated!!

Final Update (5/27/18)

It ended up being the ignition switch. It was somehow turning back into ACC (accessory) mode. I replaced it several months ago and no longer have this issue.

  • Is the radio a replacement or is it wired alongside the OR radio? I'd be interested to see what's happening on the CAN bus. – Ben Jul 25 '16 at 16:41
  • How long has this radio been installed, and how long have you been experiencing the issue? did it start as soon as the radio was installed? I would think the Body Control Module (BCM) would be at fault, but its hard to say without more diagnostics. – rpmerf Jul 25 '16 at 17:00
  • @Ben I went from the stock radio double DIN to a NEX 4200 double DIN. So a complete swap out. – Austin Jul 25 '16 at 17:16
  • @rpmerf This radio has been installed about 1 month and a half, started acting up a few weeks later, but maybe the issue was random enough that I simply didn't notice it off the bat. I only first noticed it after my car was randomly dead twice in the morning before my work commute. And yea, the Best Buy guy wants to try swapping out a module too (Ithink it is that BCM one you mentioned) this Thursday as he thinks something could be re-triggering it such as On Star – Austin Jul 25 '16 at 17:18
  • If this hasn't been resolved I'd suggest putting an amp clamp around the battery ground cable and measuring draw. The next thing you might want to have done is have someone with a Tech2 monitor the cars network while the draw is occurring. Don't let people swap things out just to try as it can get expensive fast. Unless I guess they are willing to eat the cost of swapping modules and wasting time. – Ben Sep 3 '16 at 16:22
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A few things to consider:

  1. I assume it did not do this until you had the new radio installed? If not that puts the problem pretty squarely at Best Buy's feet.

  2. Observe carefully to see if there is a pattern to the radio turning itself on. Does it always happen? Or does it only happen if…? How long does it take before it comes back on? What you discover here will both make it easier to diagnose (intermittent problems are the worst, if you can give the mechanics a "recipe" for reproducing the problem it will help tremendously) and it may also offer clues as to what the problem is.

  3. There are likely several power and sense leads to the radio that it uses to determine when it should be on and off and also to maintain stored settings. Those all need to be connected and connected to the proper places for the radio and car to interact the way they were designed.

  4. It is possible that the problem is a defect in the radio, but if it is not then you will likely see a change on one of the power or sense leads to the radio when it turns back on. Ask the mechanics if they have a device that will let them monitor the radio wires. I would imagine some sort of data logger that would record the voltage on the wires over time and let them see changes. Kind of like a slow-motion oscilloscope.

  5. Consider simplifying the wiring to the radio. If there are "smart" connections, they may be connected to the wrong circuit in the vehicle. Disconnecting them may change the behavior and give you good clues.

  6. Keep in mind that the radio itself may be defective.

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