How to Remove a CD Stuck in a Car Stereo

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Getting a CD stuck in your car's player can be annoying, but is easily fixed with these methods.Photo by Mpho Mojapelo via Unsplash
One of the most annoying things that can happen to your vehicle is a CD getting stuck in the CD player. Not only does this prevent you from being able to listen to that particular CD, but it keeps you from being able to listen to any CD. It goes without saying that this is a major bummer.
If you have a CD stuck in your car’s CD player, don’t panic: chances are pretty good that you can get it out — this is often a quick DIY fix that rarely involves a mechanic. We’re here to walk you through that process, so you can get back to listening to the music that you love.
In this article, we’ll suggest that you check the owner’s manual, offers advice for overriding the audio system, cover an approach that you may have seen on the TV, teach you how to do an electrical reset, which can fix the issue, and offer some troubleshooting solutions with another CD and a credit card or popsicle stick.

Step 1: Check the owner’s manual

Before doing anything drastic, check the audio system portion of your owner’s manual. There may be information there about how to remove a stuck CD from the car’s CD player. Read through the section thoroughly, and try any tips that it suggests. Can’t find your owner’s manual? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.

Step 2: Hold the power and eject buttons simultaneously

Most car audio systems have a reset feature of sorts for their CD drive. Start by turning your car on, and then turning it off.
With the car off, hold the stereo power button and the eject button simultaneously, for at least 10 seconds. If that doesn’t work, turn the car back on, and try the same thing with the vehicle running.

Step 3: Smack the audio system

You’ve surely seen people try to fix their electronics in the movie by hitting them. While it’s not recommended that you do this as dramatically as is portrayed on the TV (you’re not The Fonz, after all), there’s something to it. Hitting the sound system can jostle things about, and loosen up any parts that are stuck.
Try hitting or slapping the audio system hard enough that it will jolt it, but not so hard that you risk breaking anything.

Step 4: Perform an electrical reset

If the CD is still stuck, it’s time to try an electrical reset. An electrical reset is just what it sounds like: it resets the electrical components of the vehicle, which means that if your CD is stuff because of an electrical problem, then a reset should fix everything.
To perform an electrical reset, simply turn the car off, disconnect the negative terminal on the vehicle’s battery, wait 10 seconds, and then reconnect.
  • Note: An electrical reset will delete all of the information stored in your audio system, such as any radio presets. So write down your favorite stations before trying this method!

Step 5: Use another CD as a wedge

If none of the prior steps worked, it’s time to try and force the CD out. To do this, you can use another, second CD to act as a wedge for the original CD. Find a CD you don’t care about, as it may get scratched, and see if you can insert it into the CD drive.
While holding onto the CD, press the eject button, and see if the stuck CD will come out. If not, try inserting the second CD all the way in, on top of the stuck CD, and then pressing eject.

Step 6: Use a credit card to pry out the CD

If the previous method doesn’t work, you can try to pry the CD out with a credit card. Wrap one end of your credit card in painter’s tape or duct tape, so you don’t damage anything. Then stick a corner in and use it to try and pry the old CD out. As you do this, occasionally press the eject button, to see if that will help push the stuck CD out of the slot. If you don’t have a credit card handy or are worried about putting wear and tear on it, you can also use a popsicle stick. Wooden popsicle sticks are ideal because they don’t conduct electricity. (Though you should still make sure to turn off your car before attempting this.)
Having a stuck CD in your car’s stereo system can be a nuisance, but it doesn’t need to be a big deal. Don’t be afraid that you’ll be stuck listening to the same music over and over until you sell your car! Try these tips, and hopefully one of them will work so you can get back to listening to whatever you want.