Car stereos are one of those features that in no way affect the ability of the car to work and yet are probably used more than most any other accessory in a vehicle. They have a long history in cars and the first radio appeared all the way back to the year 1930. They were not very quick to catch on and many people thought they were a distraction for years. And what could be more distracting than when your CD player won’t eject a CD?
By 1965 you could buy cars with 8-track players in them. Most kids today have no idea what an 8-track is of course because the technology is almost completely extinct at this point. But that did give way to cassette players in radios in cars which became widespread throughout the early 1970s. Cassettes were a part of cars until the 2010 Lexus 430 SC. That was the last production car to come with a factory-installed cassette player.
Fast forward a little bit to the year 1984 when the first aftermarket CD player was available for vehicles. Mercedes-Benz was the first car company to offer the option of a factory-installed CD player all the way back in 1985. These days they are less common because most people's music habits have gone digital. If you're not listening to satellite radio in your car, you can easily plug in your cell phone or another device to stream digital music. But CDs are still an option, and there are plenty of older vehicles that have cd players installed as well. The problem is, as these cars age the CD players start to give drivers problems. One of the biggest problems is when your car CD player won't eject the CD that's in it. If you can't get a CD back out again, it's effectively useless.
Let's take a look at some of the reasons why your car CD player won't eject the disc that's in it, and what you can do to get back to listening to music again.
How Do You Fix a CD Player That Won't Eject?
What a CD gets stuck in your CD player it can be extremely frustrating. Your first fear might be not just that the disc itself is damaged but that you're going to have to pay to get a mechanic to fix the problem for you. That's why many drivers will actually leave a problem with their CD player indefinitely. Since you don't need the player to actually drive the vehicle, it's not essential to get it fixed when something goes wrong. For that reason, a number of drivers would be willing to just let the CD player no longer function and stick with the radio when it comes to listening to music when they're driving. However, you don't actually have to resort to that.
As it happens, most CD players that are installed in cars do have the ability to get them working again if you know what to do. Obviously, it depends on the kind of car you're driving, but there are a few tips and tricks you might want to look into to find out if you can get that CD back from your CD player or not. Let's take a look at some of the more common ones.
The Power Plus Eject Button Trick: Depending on the kind of CD player that's installed in your vehicle it may have a reset feature that you can access by simultaneously holding down the power and eject buttons. In order to get this to work properly you should turn on your car and then turn it off again. With the car off, hold down the power button and eject buttons at the same time for a total of at least 10 seconds. Ideally this will cause the CD to pop out of the player. If that doesn't work, you could also try it again but this time with your car running. Follow the same process of holding down both buttons for 10 seconds. If that doesn't work, then you'll have to switch to a different method to try to get your CD out.
Give it a Tap: Sometimes a CD can get stuck in the CD player just because something internal is very slightly misaligned. We're only dealing with the tiniest fractions of inches in here, so it doesn't take much to make something not work the way it's supposed to. You could always try giving your CD player a series of gentle taps to see if you can shake the CD loose from whatever is holding it in place. This is definitely not a very technical way of trying to get things fixed, and you don't want to use a lot of force or tools like a hammer to try to get this done. That would be a very bad idea and will probably just destroy your sound system. You don't want to do that. You need to be gentle but firm enough to shake it and that's all. If it works, great. If it doesn't, don't press the issue because you don't want to damage anything further.
A Full Reset: If the power button and eject button trick doesn't work you can do an electrical reset of your CD player to try to get that to make it function properly again. This one's a little more in-depth than the button pressing reset option but it's still not too complicated and will only take you a short amount of time to do. The one thing you need to be aware of however is that when you do an electrical reset it's also going to delete any save data that you have in your audio system. That means if you've stored favourite radio stations and all that kind of stuff, you're going to lose it when you do this. It's not the end of the world, but it can be an inconvenience.
To perform a full reset electrically you'll need to turn your car off and then disconnect the negative terminal from your car battery. That's the black one. Once that’s disconnected just wait 10 to 20 seconds before you reconnect it again. That should have effectively reset your stereo and hopefully will allow your CD to eject from the player.
Check the Owner's Manual: This one is a little obvious, but you'd be surprised how often car owners forget that their owner's manual contains an abundance of information about how different systems in their vehicle work and how to best maintain them. It's possible that your owner's manual actually does have instructions on how to remove CDs if they get stuck in the player. At worst it will have no useful information for you and you'll just have to go on to trying a different method. You could also Google the make and model of your vehicle if you don't have the owner's manual handy because odds are you'll be able to find the copy of it online.
Improvise: You can get a little creative sometimes when it comes to trying to get the CD out of a CD player. Just remember that you need to be careful because you don't want to cause any more damage than necessary but there are a few ways that you can possibly pry a stuck CD out of a player without damaging the CD itself or the CD player. For instance, you have a very small space you are trying to get into to pull the CD out of, so you need to get in there with something just a small. That means you could use something like another CD or even a credit card or some tweezers to try to act as a wedge that can lift a stuck CD up so it will pop out of the CD player again.
Basically, you just need something that is rigid and cannot bend when it makes contact with the CD and narrow enough to fit into the opening of the CD player. From there you just need to try to lift or push down the CD, depending on how it's stuck, in the hopes that it will pop up. Again, you don't want to force this or be too aggressive with it and cause greater damage, but you may be able to finesse that CD out if you do it properly depending on how it's stuck.
Why Would a CD Get Stuck in a CD Player?
When your CD is not coming out of your CD player there is a reason for it, it's not just because it was put in wrong although that actually can be part of the reason the CD gets stuck. The most common reasons why a CD is going to get stuck in a CD player are because the ejection mechanism inside your CD player is not able to grip onto the CD. It can become unreliable, especially in older CD players that have seen a lot of use. This is one of the things that using a credit card or a CD to try and pop out the old CD can help with. You're basically resetting that ejection mechanism to get it to pop out.
Another potential cause for your CD player not ejecting your CD is because the motor in the CD player itself has failed, or it's jammed up enough that it's not producing the power to push the CD all the way up. The CD player has a very small motor inside of it and if it becomes stuck because of dust and debris build-up, or it's just worn out from years of use then your CD player will not be able to function the way you need it to. If this is the case then even though some DIY methods may get your CD back out again, you're still probably going to have to replace the CD player because this probably will continue to happen.
What is the Cost of Repairing a Car CD Player?
Assuming none of the do-it-yourself methods work for getting your car CD player functioning again you may need to head into a mechanic to get this job done. Getting your CD player fixed could cost you anywhere between about $150 to as much as $300. Unfortunately, that means in some instances it may actually be more cost-effective to buy an entirely new CD player for your car rather than repairing the old one.
You can get built-in navigation, Bluetooth, CD / DVD / DM receivers for under $200 at places like Best Buy. If you want a more basic audio system you can pick them up for under $50 each on Amazon.com, and that’s still for a pretty high-quality CD player. So, it really is probably a better option just to buy one rather than shelling out the money to fix your old one in some circumstances. Of course, you might need to discuss it with your mechanic first and find out exactly what they might charge you for the repair before you make any decisions.
The Bottom Line
A broken CD player is not something that gets as much respect as other parts of your car when it breaks down. Of course you need to get your transmission, your cylinder heads, your fuel filter and so on fixed if they fail on you. But for many drivers a CD player is considered an extra in a car, something that you don't need, and you can ignore if it's not working the way it's supposed to. Of course, it's true that you don't need the CD player, and you can definitely leave it unfixed and still enjoy your car for many years to come. But remember that a car costs a lot of money. You paid that money to fully enjoy the vehicle and that includes being able to enjoy listening to music when you're driving.
There's no reason that you should put up with a CD player that doesn't work in your vehicle if you're the kind of person who likes listening to their own music while you're driving. And, as we've seen, the ways to get your CD player functioning again and spitting out a stuck CD are actually pretty simple to handle on your own and won't cost you any money at all unless you need a full CD player replacement. For that reason, you've got nothing to lose by trying some DIY methods to get your CD player back in good working order.