Kenwood is one of the biggest names in car stereos. Heck, they may just be one of the biggest names in audio equipment in general. These days, they still make their classic and easy-to-use stereo head units that we’ve seen in cars of all sorts for decades.
But, they’ve got into some double-sized car entertainment units as well. DVD players, touchscreens, GPS navigation – believe me, Kenwood is all over it.
The Test of Time
There comes a time in every stereo system’s life when it needs a break. Just like you and me, the constant battles of stress and improper use can take a toll.
At some point, the only thing that you can do to get things back to normal is start from the beginning. So, that’s why you need to know how to reset Kenwood car stereo devices, so that they work as good as new.
When to Reset Your Kenwood Stereo
As I said, electronic devices like stereos are a lot like you and me. When they’re young and fresh, they can do just about anything. But once they start to get a little bit older, things start acting up.
Sometimes, buttons stop doing what they’re supposed to. You might press them, and they don’t respond right away, or at all. Or they might do the opposite – they might do more than they’re supposed to when you just press them once.
Different modes might stop working. Sudden changes in volume, tuning, or more might spontaneously happen on their own.
Are these things happening with your Kenwood stereo?
If so, it’s probably time for a Kenwood stereo reset. A simple reset is usually enough to snap things back into place and get your system working properly again. But if that doesn’t work, there’s another option.
A full factory reset is an answer to problems that don’t go away. It might be that you’ve managed to get into the wrong modes, or even a buddy might have messed with your system, using it incorrectly.
Normally, a factory reset will be a solution to Kenwood stereo issues you could be having, unless you have an electrical short or a wiring issue.
But be warned…
A factory reset will delete all saved information you have in your system. Such as your pre-programmed radio stations or the addresses saved in your GPS. So, use this method wisely, and only when you really need to.
How to Reset Kenwood Car Stereo Systems
Kenwood car stereos come in a variety of models with different attributes. Some are simple CD and radio systems. Others include Bluetooth and DVD players. And some control full touch screen navigation and entertainment systems.
In general, we can separate these into two different groups: Single-DIN and Double-DIN stereos. DIN is the standard size of a car stereo, which is 2” tall by 7” wide for a Single-DIN and 4” tall by 7” wide for a Double-DIN.
If you don’t have an easy way to measure your stereo, here’s a simple rule of thumb. A Single-DIN stereo won’t have a touchscreen, while a Double-DIN will. Easy, right?
Reset Method 1 for Single-DIN Kenwood Stereos
This is the method to use if you have a regular-sized car stereo without a touchscreen, like the Kenwood KMM and KDC models. It’s easy enough to reset Single DIN Kenwood stereos, and I’ll explain the method to you in three simple steps.
Step 1: Turn on your stereo
The stereo needs to be powered up to be reset. So, start your car as you normally would and press the “Home” or “Power” button to turn on the stereo. You’ll see a light come on to indicate that the stereo is powered up and ready to go.
Remember, you can’t reset your stereo if it’s not powered up. So, this is the important first step to get things going.
Step 2: Detach the faceplate
This might be something you’re familiar with if you take your faceplate off frequently for security reasons. After all, no one is going to steal a stereo that has no control panel, right?
But if you’re not familiar with how to do this, listen carefully. It’s easy, but you just have to be a bit careful. You should never jerk or pull hard on the stereo faceplate. It’s designed to come apart easily. So, just be gentle, and the plate should come off without being damaged. Here’s how to do it.
On the bottom of the stereo, you’ll find a detach button. Depress this button while holding on to the faceplate. The button is normally on the bottom left. Once you press the button, the faceplate should pop off the mounting, and you can slide it out of the way and put it aside.
Step 3: Press and hold the reset button
Once the faceplate is out of the way, you need to locate your reset button. This is a very small button (so that you don’t hit it by accident), but you’re in luck – it’s labeled RESET.
Now, the trick lies in how to actually press it. Unless you have seriously tiny fingers and pointy nails, you’re going to need a tool. I would recommend something like a ballpoint pen or even a bamboo BBQ skewer. Try to use something small but strong, but not sharp, so you don’t damage your stereo.
Now you’re ready…
Using your tool, press and hold the reset button for a full five seconds. Once that’s done, you should see that your stereo has started to reset, and you can replace the faceplate. Give it some time to sort itself out, and you should find your stereo is back to working properly.
Reset Method 2 for Double-DIN (large touchscreen) Kenwood Stereos
If you have a large touchscreen stereo, such as the Kenwood DDX line or the cream of the crop DDX Excelon entertainment system, you’ll need to use a different method. I have two different methods for you, a soft reset and a full factory reset.
I always recommend trying a soft reset first to sort out minor problems like finicky controls or an unresponsive touchscreen. If it doesn’t solve your issue, then and only then, should you move on to a full factory reset that will wipe all of your settings.
Step 1: Power on
For a soft reset, all you have to do is turn on your car ignition to power up the stereo.
Step 2: Find the RESET button
Once your stereo is on and lit up, locate the reset button. This button is lit up (normally red) and can be found in the top left corner of most models.
Step 3: Press and hold to reset
This button is tiny, so you’ll need a small tool to press it. You can use a ballpoint pen, a BBQ skewer, or anything else handy that won’t scratch your stereo.
Press your tool into the triangle and press the button down for a full five seconds. Don’t rush. After five seconds, you’ll see lights and a display showing you that the stereo is resetting.
This is a full factory Kenwood stereo reset that will wipe your data and all of your saved settings. It’s also more difficult to perform to ensure you never do this by accident. Only perform this reset if your stereo will not respond to a soft reset.
Step 1: Turn on your stereo
Turn the ignition to power up your stereo.
Step 2: Press 3 buttons at once
This part is tricky, and you can do it by yourself. Although it might be even easier with someone to help you.
Find the CD/DVD EJECT button and hold that down. At the same time, hold down the VOLUME button on your unit. Then, using a small tool, press and hold the triangular REST button in the top left corner.
Hold down all three buttons until the system has turned off and then switched back on. You can let go when the screen comes back on.
Step 3: Initialize
Once the screen is back on, you’ll see a command button on the touchscreen that says INITIALIZE ALL. Tap it. You will then need to wait until another prompt comes up on the screen.
Step 4: Final reset
You will see a prompt that tells you to press the RESET button one more time. Simply press it once using your tool, and you will complete a Kenwood stereo factory reset.
You’ll be back to the original factory settings for your Kenwood stereo, and hopefully, everything will work just fine.
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How to Reset Kenwood Car Stereo – Conclusion
I hope you found these instructions clear and easy to follow. It’s never fun when your devices stop working properly, but at least the reset option is there.
Now, if you have tried these methods on your stereo only to find that the darned thing is still acting up, it’s time for a visit to a professional. If a hard reset doesn’t solve your problems, there could be a wiring issue, or else your stereo could be faulty or even damaged.
But, I hope it doesn’t have to come to that. Try a rest, and nine times out of ten, all your Kenwood stereo woes will disappear.
Until next time, happy listening.