How To Clean Car Stereo – Detailed instructions

Car stereos are not the easiest internal component to clean. They can capture a lot of dust over time. So, you should try to clean them every once in a while. But if you don’t know how to clean car stereo correctly, you might damage it. 

How To Clean Car Stereo

Since the stereo is delicate, you must adopt appropriate precautions and use the right materials to clean it. So, let’s find out what you need to do to clean the car stereo without damaging it. The cleaning process is a bit different for manual and touchscreen stereos. So, we will discuss them separately. 

How To Clean Car Stereo 

How To Clean Manual Car Stereos 

Things You Need 

  • A toothpick or a paper clip 
  • Microfiber cleaning cloth 
  • Glass cleaner 
  • Rubbing alcohol 
  • Cotton Swab 
  • Automotive Interior Brush 
  • Compressed Air Duster 
Step 1. Clean The Grooves

Old-school stereo systems come with numerous buttons. There are many hard-to-reach areas between these buttons that are nearly impossible to access with your hands. So, try to remove the dirt from these spots with a pointy object like a paper clip or a toothpick. Make sure to scrape gently. You don’t want to scratch the stereo body. 

Step 2. Follow Up With Cotton Swabs 

Toothpicks or paper clips can remove most of the dirt buildup, but you can remove only so much using them. Take out as much dirt as possible with the toothpick or the paper clip. Once you are done, use cotton swabs to remove the leftover dust. 

Why not use cotton swabs from the start? Because it’s not going to be enough to remove the hardened muck from the stereo. You will need to get rid of the stubborn dirt with toothpicks or paper clips. Then, finish up with cotton swabs.

Step 3. Remove Fingermarks 

Since you’ve been using the stereo for a while, it’s likely that your fingerprints are all over the switches and side panels, some of which you can see and some of which you can’t. Always clean the top layer with a delicate microfibre towel to remove such stains. To get rid of any markings and smudges, repeat the process using a little alcohol solution.

Step 4. Take Out The Stereo System And Clean It 

It’s best to clean a car radio or a CD player by completely removing it from the dashboard. Take a compressed air duster and blow out all the accumulated dust from the device. If you have not cleaned the CD payer in a while, you can remove the outer casing and clean the lens. Reinstall it to the dashboard after cleaning it. 

Spray some CD cleaner liquid on a piece of soft microfiber cleaning cloth. Slowly rub the lens with it and then reattach the casing. If you have an older vehicle that comes with a cassette player, reinstall the cassette player first before cleaning the head.

Take a cotton swab and dip it in rubbing alcohol. Put the cassette player on fast forward mode or fast rewind mode and place the tip of the swab right underneath the head. Alternate between fast forward and fast rewind two or three times. Since the heads are moving, you will get to catch all the grime that was stuck into it. 

After cleaning the heads, you need to clean the pinch roller of the cassette player. Press play so that the roller starts to move. Clean the roller just like you cleaned the heads. You can clean the capstan in the same way as well. 

How To Clean Touch Screen Car Stereo 

Things You Need 

  • Plastic Cleaner 
  • Microfiber Cloth 
  • Touchscreen Wipes 
  • Compressed Air Sprayer 
  • Automotive Interior Brush
Step 1. Switch Off The System 

You should never clean a touch screen while it’s still on. It could result in dead pixels and other forms of display damage. Electrical shocks are also a possibility. So, the first thing you must do to clean a touchscreen is to switch it off.

Step 2. Clean Dust From The Spacings 

Dust the switches and gaps between the plastics with a soft bristle car interior brush. You can also blow away the dirt with a gentle blast of compressed air.

Step 3. Use Plastic Cleaner 

Spray a small amount of plastic cleaner on a piece of microfiber cleaning cloth. Then, gently wipe the panel with it. Don’t apply too much force while rubbing, and avoid using abrasive cleaners. Otherwise, the buttons might get loose, and the panel will get discolored. 

Step 4. Clean The Display 

Move on to the display next. Use a soft microfiber cloth to wipe it. This is a highly sensitive surface, so make sure to apply minimal force. Only use LCD display cleaners for cleaning the screen. 

Final Words 

Everyone who owns a car needs to learn how to clean car stereo appropriately. If you know what you are doing, it will take minimal time and effort to clean your car stereo without damaging it. If you don’t, you could be wasting your time doing more harm than good to your stereo. So, follow our guidelines and prolong the lifespan of your car stereo.

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